A Thoughtful Review of Sheer Panic

One thing I can always count on from my Argentinian writer friend, Marta Merajver is that she sees the true and deeply seated meaning of my writing. Sometimes I refer to my works as ‘fiction with a conscience’ because there is always a message about the ills of society in them, although it’s not always clear. Thank you so much, Marta!

I was thrilled to get this review for my novella, Sheer Panic.

A young woman who leads a quite ordinary, unadventurous life suddenly finds herself in the middle of a nightmare. Someone is stalking her, and she has good reason to suspect four men. The novel unravels at a brisk pace to a surprising end.
  

If read lightly, Sheer Panic could be classified as a thriller. However, it brushes on profound contemporary issues. Ms. Jackson does not spell them out for you; it’s up to the reader to stop at the landmarks and reflect. In the 21st Century, women seem to be as helpless as ever before when it comes to men’s brutality. Social networks can be as dangerous as weapons and even more effective. Children are caught in a revolving door that fails to separate innocence from the complexities of adult life, which they experience vicariously but do not understand. There is much more, of course.

   Readers that enjoy an appealing subject matter, true to life characters, and terse language will appreciate this novel as much as I did. 

Sheer Panic is available from Amazon at 99c.
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FREE FOR A LIMITED TIME

I’m taking advantage of KDP Select’s five day free option and offering a FREE download of my psychological thriller SHEER PANIC from May 15th through May 19th only. 


This is a novella and is only 112 pages. Please feel free to hop over to Amazon and you’ll see it is priced at $0.00. (You’ll need an Amazon account, which is free.) Click on ‘Buy Now’ and if you don’t have a Kindle, Amazon will lead you through it. They have apps that will allow you to read Kindle files on your PC or tablet or phone.

It’s kind of a mix between dark and sweet, which is what I like to do. Just when things seem to be all bad, something uplifting takes place. And of course, I like to feature animals.



What would you do if someone came into your house and moved your stuff while you were sleeping? Breanna Benton’s denial morphs into terror when she finally has to accept the truth, but which one of the three men who harass her is the stalker? 


The maintenance man at college makes her edgy and uneasy when he accosts her with inappropriate comments; Dorky Dorian seems to be following her everywhere she goes, and it troubles her to think he may have tampered with her car; hunky Joaquim at the stables where she keeps her horse takes his flirting to a new level, awakening terrifying and exciting emotions all the way to her core, but did he copy her house keys? 

And then Lance, the boy she had a crush on at high school friends her on Facebook. He never noticed her before. She’s ecstatic, but a little scared. 

She draws comfort from the only stabilizing factors in her life—her niece, Shari, and the elderly neighbor Mrs. Stanley and her dog, Panda. 


Here’s the link:  Sheer Panic

  

Suspense vs Mystery

Back in the day identifying a fiction book genre was simple. The choices were limited to romance, suspense, mystery, comedy, historical, western, etc. Most were identified with one word. Now, it is almost impossible to classify a book’s genre using only one word, as so many sub-categories have been created, originally to facilitate search engine keywords.

A lot of people don’t seem to know the difference between a suspense thriller and a mystery, so here it is:

In suspense, the reader knows what the bad guy (antagonist) is up to before the protagonist knows. The reader’s inside knowledge that someone is lying in ambush waiting for the unsuspecting character creates suspense.  The actual ambush makes it a thriller.

In a mystery, the reader only knows what the primary characters know. If they’re hunting for a clue, you don’t know where they may find it, and if someone is going to ambush them, you won’t know until it happens.

My Redneck P.I. Mystery Series are romantic mystery/comedies.

My Zodiac Series are romantic suspense/thrillers.

Animals always play an important part.

FREE downloads for Kindle or you computer — http://www.trishjackson.com/#!free-stuff/cjci

Sometimes Karma’s a Dog

Karma’s a bitch–we’ve all heard that saying before, but this short story is a little different. 

   Romney Richlieu cursed. Bad luck followed her as usual.
   Her whole life had been one giant screw up, and now this.
   She mimicked Mrs. Breiton’s words. “We’re so sorry. It’s nothing to do with your leg, Romney. The company is in financial difficulty and we have to let a few people go.”
Sorry, my ass. I don’t know why they hired me in the first place. I didn’t hide my leg. It’s all skinny and ugly and it’s totally obvious my shoe is built-up. They could see that from the time  I  went for the first interview. I suppose it’s because of that silly woman with the Chihuahua in her purse. How was I supposed to know it was there? I like animals. I wouldn’t have put the file on top of the purse if she had told me it was there. And anyhow, the dog is fine.
   She dragged her personal items from her drawer and tossed them all in the trash can. Like her life, nothing in there was worth saving.
   She walked out of that place with her head held high. It wasn’t totally a normal walk, but she didn’t limp so much these days with the new orthotic shoe. So now what? She couldn’t even claim on unemployment because she hadn’t been there long enough. Maybe next time she should wear long pants to the interview and they wouldn’t see her leg. But these days with the recession, it seemed that the only way she could get a job was because of the sympathy factor. The poor crippled girl. We should be nice to her.
   Romney stopped in the park and flopped onto a bench. She hadn’t allowed herself to think about her circumstances, but now fear clutched at her stomach. How will I pay the rent? Will they kick me out? Oh God. I wish I could just die.” She held her head in her hands and cried quietly.
   “What the . . .?” She looked up sharply when something wet made contact with her arm. A dog—and he was licking her.
   “What are you doing?” She pushed him away. He stood there and wagged his tail—and his whole butt wagged with it. He showed her his teeth. But he wasn’t snarling. He was smiling. The mutt was smiling at her. She tried to keep the stern look on her face, but he looked so funny with his butt wiggling like that and the goofy grin, she laughed out loud. Then she noticed his leg. One of his back legs was all shriveled up, the muscles useless and wasted like hers, and he held it up off the ground.
It didn’t seem to bother him. He wasn’t pissed off with life. In fact, he looked epically happy to see her. His  matted, dirty white fur clung to a bony frame. He wasn’t wearing a collar. She reached out and patted him on his head and his butt wagged harder than before. He made a whining kind of noise.
   “I do believe you’re talking to me,” she said. “You must be a stray, and yet you look so frikkin’ happy despite your bad leg, and you probably haven’t had a square meal for a while.”
   She jerked and blinked. An old lady perched on the other end of the bench. Where had she come from? She smiled at Romney and petted the dog. “This is Andy,” she said. “He was mine, but I passed, and he was left to fend for himself. He’s yours now.” Before Romney could even open her mouth to reply, she was gone.
   Was she really ever there?
   Romney shrugged and smiled down at him. Smiling did something to her. It made her feel hopeful.    “Well, Andy, let’s go see what we can do to get back on our feet. The first thing I’m gonna do is get you a square meal. I feel like our luck has just changed.”

   Andy barked twice, and they limped out of the park together.
I grew up on a farm in Zimbabwe, Africa, and lived through some crazy adventures that sparked my imagination; including having to keep a loaded UZI by my side every night in case of an attack by armed insurgents. I love all animals and don’t seem to be able to keep them out of my stories, which usually take place in small, country towns.  Find out more at http://www.trishjackson.com .

Petiquette — Teach Your Kids to Treat Pets Kindly

Last night I watched an episode of  ‘My Cat From Hell’ that was of particular interest to me. Teaching kids to treat their pets with respect. 

The episode showed a family with two cats, one that was so laid back it didn’t seem to care what the kids did with it. It just flopped about in their arms and allowed them to tip it upside down and one kid ever tried to put it into the refrigerator. Basically, the child treated it like it was a stuffed toy. The other cat, understandably, was terrified of the kids, and scratched and spat whenever anyone reached out a hand toward it–or a foot as one of the children did, threatening to kick it.

My peeve is that some parents don’t seem to notice, as was the case with this family. I don’t imagine for one second that they would deliberately be unkind to animals. They’re just uninformed. The cats or dogs either submit to a life of hell, or rebel, and get sent to the shelter or euthanized because they are considered dangerous.

I commend the cat whisperer, Jackson, for his patience and consideration in this episode, in which he admitted he knew nothing about kids or how to get through to them, but he did, in fact, achieve this. He even took the time to visit the children’s school and teach their classmates how to treat animals–what to do and what not to do and how to pet them. By the end of the episode the problem cat had gone through a surprising transformation, and obviously realized the children were no longer going to hurt her.

Writers who do research on psychopaths will often include an episode in which their antagonist does something to hurt an animal, although it is not recommended that you go into any great detail. Readers find it easier to read about people being tortured than animals. Perhaps our empathy for animals comes from their innocence–and the same goes for children. No animal–or child–is born with a cruel and nasty temperament. If they become aggressive, it usually has something to do with the treatment they get from the humans around them.

If ever I visit a home in which children don’t seem to understand and have never been taught how to treat animals, I am quick to take them aside and explain to them that animals have feelings too. I hope you guys reading this will do the same.

(I am an incurable animals lover, and always try to include them in my stories. In the Redneck P.I. Series, Twila’s rescue dog, Scratch rides on the back of her Harley with her in a special metal basket fabricated by Twila’s Pops. In Aquarius Addiction, Arlette Xylander’s crazy black cat, Marbles seems to know what’s going on when the Voodoo queen performs a ceremony to find out what secrets the old mansion holds in its walls.)

Chocolate, Romance and a Little Wine

Valentines Day is here once more. A time for romance, chocolates, wine and roses. And how about a good romance novel?

In Virgo’s Vice, Lexie King and cowboy Billy Murphy find themselves among the players in a Survivor type of reality show.
Talk of a monster makes Lexie glad she has the protection of chocolate lab, Jake, who parachuted into the remote part of Zimbabwe, Africa with all of the contestants and the two camera operators. Billy romances her with sunsets and stargazing, and then everything goes to hell . . .
But today is for romance, and these pictures tell a little bit of the story. You can read more at my website at www.trishjackson.com where you will also find free downloads of a few fun short stories.

So Happy Valentines Day to y’all. 

Review — It’s Bad Business by R.L. Cherry

This is the second story featuring detective Morgana (Morg) Mahoney, a captivating character who has an insouciant sense of humor and enjoys a Jameson whisky, (or two) on the rocks.  

In this story, we go back in time to when she graduates from college and starts working as a private investigator. One of her cases is tied up with the Mexican Mafia—La Eme. She blames them when a special friend is murdered, but is unable to prove her suspicions. 

Fast forward fifteen years and Morg’s past catches up with her. . . and maybe she’ll finally solve the mystery and bring the killer to justice.

A mystery that will keep you guessing all the way to the end.  The characters are intriguing, quirky and disparate, and I particularly enjoyed Morg’s sidekick—a Border Collie named Sam.

Here’s where to purchase It’s Bad Business

Bye Bye 2015

I can’t believe I haven’t updated my blog for so long. My excuse is that I went to South Africa to celebrate my amazing mother-in-law’s 96th birthday, and then when I got home the ‘silly season’ was in full swing. 

That’s all in the past now and 2016 looms on the horizon. I’m hoping it’ll be a great year for writers in general. My wish is that you all have something good to celebrate next year.

2015 was a good year for me as a writer. I had two books published and a short story. As always, they include delightful animal characters and romance, plus a message to educate people about the evils of our world.

Sheer Panic is a novella I published myself. It’s my first attempt at a psychological thriller. 

Breanna Barton has no love life until the guy she had a crush on at high school shows up unexpectedly on Facebook and wants to get together. After several strange and terrifying incidents, she comes to the realization that someone is stalking her. But it can’t be him. He lives in another state. 
Her eight-year-old niece, and Panda, the little black and white mutt who belongs to her elderly neighbor rescue Breanna in more ways than one.
Sheer Panic on Amazon

 Virgo’s Vice, the third in my Zodiac Series, was released by Soul Mate Publishing late in the year.

Camera operator Lexie King has a good reason to work out of her comfort zone in Allan Dockery’s new survival-style reality show in Africa. She is determined to overcome her PTSD and make something of herself, but she has no way of knowing he would be there. The monster who molested her repeatedly as a child.
Jake, the producer’s chocolate lab, and sexy cowboy contestant Billy Murphy are her only hope, but can they do enough to save her?  

Virgo’s Vice on Amazon

Lexie’s Story is the prologue to Virgo’s Vice. I self-published this on Smashwords and it can be downloaded totally free in any format.

   Lexie KIng’s childhood sucked. When she wasn’t lying in in her bed at night waiting for ‘the monster’, she was hiding from the bullies at school. It was like she had a sign on her forehead that said “Abuse Me.”
   Lexie’s parents died in a car crash when she was too young to remember, and Aunt Jess refuses to believe that her live-in lover, Phillip could be molesting Lexie. 
   An ugly mutt named Candy — a cross between a boxer and a standard poodle — is Lexie’s only friend in the world.

FREE Download of Lexie’s Story

See you all next year.

Why Dogs Rock

I was on Facebook the other day when I got one of those postings pointing out that ‘dog’ spelled backwards is ‘god’. As always, I smiled and wondered where people come up with that kind of stuff, but it got me thinking. Most dog owners love their dogs, think of them as family members, and mourn them when they die. I did some research, found some interesting info, and decided to use it for my post on the Write Room Blog.

Dogs and Protection
A dog’s mantra is to protect and serve, and some dogs will risk death to save their owners from danger, even little pet dogs. This inherent desire has been put to good use for law enforcement purposes. German Shepherds, Belgian Malinois, Dobermann Pischers and other breeds that exhibit fearless and potentially aggressive natures are used as canine police officers, trained to attack and apprehend criminals and back up their handlers. Military dogs perform a wealth of different functions including scouting, detecting land mines, detecting explosives, and more, and dog handlers develop a very special bond with their charges. The US military has its own breeding program, and the Department of Defense Military Working Dog School asks regular civilians to foster puppies aged from 6 weeks to 7 months for five months to socialize them. Here’s a link to a program in Texas.  http://www.37trw.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-120611-022.pdf
Dogs and Rescue Operations
Dogs are far superior to humans when it comes to search and rescue, and it has been said that one dog can do the job of 30 humans in search and rescue operations. When we think tracking, Bloodhounds are the breed that automatically come to mind, because they are equipped to do the job more effectively.  Their long ears and the folds around their faces are designed to trap and hold onto scents. Specialized tracker dogs are not limited to Bloodhounds, though. All breeds of dogs, including mongrels or mutts have a superior sense of smell when compared with humans, and are often employed to sniff for people who may be trapped under rubble, snow or mud after natural disasters and terror attacks. Cadaver dogs are used to find dead bodies, thereby helping their loved ones to find closure.
Specialized breeds like Newfoundlands are often used for water rescues because of their strength and swimming skills, aided by webbed feet. We’ve probably all heard of St. Bernards and how they were used for centuries by monks in the Alps to find people lost in the snow. The work was hazardous and so many of these dogs died that the breed came close to extinction. Thankfully a breeding program saved them, but they are no longer used for rescues.
Dogs can be trained to sniff just about anything, and they may be used to detect drugs, bombs, stolen money, or murder weapons.
This post would not be complete if I didn’t mention the wonderful canines who assisted in finding people after the 9/11 attack in New York. Said to be more than 900 in total numbers, and made up of different breeds, they came from all over the country and worked for anything from 12 to 16 hours at a time in chaotic, dusty, smoky and acrid conditions for around 10 days. Sadly, most of them have passed away now, but they will always be remembered as true heroes.
Dogs and Human Health
Humans with physical disabilities rely on dogs to help them with their everyday tasks. Guide dogs empower the blind and hearing-impaired, and dogs can be trained to check if their owners are going into a diabetic coma or an epileptic seizure, sometimes waking them up every hour through the night. If the dog detects a problem, it is trained to press a button that calls for help.
Therapy dogs have been called ‘professional comforters with fur.’ They are taken to hospitals to visit and interact with sick adults and children, who often show marked improvement in their health just from cuddling a dog and feeling their warm, wriggly bodies and their slobbery doggie ‘kisses.’
Autistic children and mentally challenged children and adults, and soldiers with PTSD gain comfort and healing from interacting with dogs. Dogs are used in prisons as therapy and rehabilitation for prisoners, who take care of them and train them, thus learning responsibility and self-esteem.
This is a link to a true story about an autistic boy and his shelter dog—a case of the rescued dog rescues the human, which happens more often than you might imagine. http://www.today.com/pets/shelter-dog-helps-boy-autism-hug-his-mom-first-time-t17686
Some exceptional dogs have displayed an ability to sniff out cancer. This is now being expounded upon, and dogs are being trained in the early detection of cancer using samples of peoples’ breath saved in a test tube, and displaying an unprecedented  98% success rate. This research has exciting and far reaching possibilities. Dogs are being used to aid in mammograms that are hard to read because of dense breast tissue, and to provide a simple (not to mention painless) screening method of cancer detection. (Ref: InSitu Foundation www.dogsdetectcancer.org)
Dogs and Herding
Collies and shepherd dogs of all kinds have an instinctual herding instinct and have been used by shepherds for hundreds of years. Herding dogs can also be quite fierce and protect the animals in their charge against predators. The Great Pyrenees are big, strong dogs that fit into that category. Corgis, Queen Elizabeth’s favorite breed, may look cute, but they were originally bred to herd cattle and other animals.
Dogs and Sport
Dogs have been used for man’s recreational purposes for thousands of years, from beagles, fox-terriers and foxhounds, bred to hunt foxes (tally-ho), to Rhodesian Ridgebacks (where I come from) that were bred to hunt lions, and Karelean Bear Dogs. Modern hunting dogs in the US, mainly hounds, wear tracking collars so their owners can easily follow or locate them in the dense eastern and northern forests.
Pointers find where the quarry is hiding and ‘point’ it out to their owner, Retrievers fetch birds their owners have shot, often having to swim to complete their mission. Sight hounds—Saluki, Whippets and others were bred for their superior speed and vision.
Apart from hunting, dogs show amazing agility when they compete in sports like Frisbee-catching events, canine agility competitions, dock-diving, herding contests, and more, and  Greyhound and lure racing, which has been taking place for literally hundreds of years.
The Iditarod is one of the most grueling races in the world. Teams of dogs compete to pull sleds some 1,100 miles through snow, ice, and sub-zero temperatures. Only northern breeds of dogs, primarily Siberian huskies and Alaskan Malamutes are permitted to be used because other breeds have proven to be unable to withstand the harsh weather conditions. The race can take anything between 9 – 15 days, and is one of the toughest of all competitions in the world. When the race starts, a red lantern is lit, and is awarded to the last team to cross the finish line in recognition that the race is not over until everyone is off the trail.
Dogs in History
It would be an impossible task to choose one most famous dog, but there are a few who deserve a special mention.
While dogs belonging to presidents and world leaders may have been given their share of airtime, Lassie, although fictional, must be one of the most recognizable dogs worldwide. Her part was first played in the movie ‘Lassie Come Home’ by a male Rough Collie named Pal in 1943. Pal was not the first choice because he was a male—he was originally hired to do the stunts. He performed so well in one particular scene that it was decided he would replace the original highly-pedigreed female star.
Rin-Tin-Tin, on the other hand, was a real dog (not fictional), and starred as himself in movies, and has been credited with bringing Warner Brothers out of bankruptcy in the 1920’s.
Laika, the first dog in space, was one of three strays picked up on the streets of Moscow.  She had the misfortune to be chosen from the three to orbit the earth in Sputnik 2 in 1957. Technology at that time was limited, and it was not possible to bring the spacecraft back to earth in one piece. It was reported that Laika would eventually run out of oxygen and die an easy death after a few orbits, but sadly, it is speculated that she died soon after takeoff due to overheating. A statue of her stands as a reminder of her sad mission.
Sinbad, a dog of indeterminate breeding, signed his enlistment papers for the US Coast Guard with a paw print, and received his own identification number. He must be one of the most decorated dogs in history, having been awarded the American Defense Service Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, World War II Victory Medal, and the Navy Occupation Service Medal.
Then there was Able Seaman Just Nuisance, a Great Dane who was the only dog to be enlisted in the British Royal Navy. He got into trouble for constantly boarding the trains to Cape Town from the naval base near the southern tip of Africa, without a ticket. Sailors were allowed to travel free, so he was enlisted to alleviate the problem. His name was given as ‘Just’, last name ‘Nuisance’, and his trade ‘bone crusher’, while his religious denomination was listed as ‘Scrounger.’ His statue can be seen in Simonstown, South Africa, and a movie about his life is currently in production.
On a final note, consider this. Simply stroking any pet can decrease levels of stress hormones, regulate breathing, and lower blood pressure, but dogs are the only ones that watch and wait every time we go out, and greet us with a happy dance and a wagging tail when we return. We are currently ‘between dogs’ in our household—not for long, I hope. It’s the first time in my life I haven’t had a dog, and I love our cats, but that special welcome is what I miss the most.
Originally posted on The Write Room Blog http://www.thewriteroomblog.com 

Lexie’s Story — Free for a limited time.

I am excited  — I published Lexie’s Story today. This is the preview to Virgo’s Vice, the third novel in my Zodiac Series.


It seems to Lexie King that she has a target on her back–or a sign on her forehead that says ‘Abuse Me.’

Lexie’s parents died in a car crash when she was too young to remember, and Aunt Jess refuses to believe that her live-in lover, Phillip could be molesting Lexie. 

An ugly mutt named Candy — a cross between a boxer and a standard poodle — is Lexie’s only friend in the world.

She sometimes thinks about ending her life, but revenge would be so much sweeter.





This short story is totally free. Get yours now.


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