Winter Blogfest: Randy Overbeck

This post is part of Long and Short Reviews’ Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win an e-copy of any of the Haunted Shores Mysteries series, BLOOD ON THE CHESAPEAKE, CRIMSON AT CAPE MAY or SCARLET AT CRYSTAL RIVER, your choice! .

Christmas Ghost Stories

When readers pick up a Christmas story today, even a Christmas mystery, they will likely encounter brilliant Christmas lights , a decorated Christmas tree or even a Santa Claus—in addition to a murder victim or a detective, of course. In fact, listening to the incessant stream of cheerful holiday songs, readers might think it was always so. Not true. Not so long ago, during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, children and adults were told stories of a different kind of “spirit.” In England—the same country that gave us such holiday traditions as Christmas cards and mistletoe—children and adults gathered around a fireplace on a wintry Christmas eve and were frightened into the Christmas “spirit” via a few creepy ghost stories.

The most famous of these eerie Christmas tales is, of course, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol with its four specters to scare straight Ebenezer Scrooge. (Insert Christmas Carol cover) But Dickens is hardly alone. Henry James’s most famous work, The Turn of the Screw, which also takes place on Christmas eve, is the tale of a governess who encounters the ghostly figures of a man and a woman.

In the same British holiday convention, A.M. Burrage’seerie short story “Smee” is about a group of young people messing around on Christmas Eve who decide to play a game of hide and seek in a spooky house in which a young girl died years before. What could go wrong?

The list goes on and on.

This tradition of sharing ghost stories on Christmas eve is thought to emanate from the pre-Christian celebration of the Winter Solstice, a time when light dies and the veil between the living and the dead is the thinnestand many of these threads continue even into our time. For years, the BBC hosted “Ghost Stories for Christmas,” spooking late night audiences into the ‘70’s. Even the recent hit series, Downton Abbey—which portrayed life in England in the first half of the twentieth centuryfeatured a Christmas episode where family members are gathered around a Ouija board, trying to access a spirit.

My new title, Scarlet at Crystal River, continues this fine tradition of spooky Christmas ghost stories. During the Christmas holidays, Darrell and Erin travel to Florida for their honeymoon, but, once there, the ghosts of two murdered children interrupt their romantic excursions. The newlyweds are driven to find out what really happened to the two kids, even when they are shot at, driven off the road and nearly killed.

hy not continue a centuries-old tradition and grab an alluring Christmas ghost mystery to read by the burning yule log this holiday?

All Darrell Henshaw wanted was to enjoy his honeymoon with his beautiful wife, Erin, in the charming town of Crystal River on the sunny Gulf Coast of Florida. Only a pair of ghosts decide to intrude on their celebration. And not just any ghosts, the spirits of two young Latino children. Unwilling at first to derail the honeymoon for yet another ghost hunt, Darrell finally concedes when a painting of the kids comes alive, weeping and pleading for his help.

When he and Erin track down the artist, they discover the children’s family were migrant workers the next county over. But when they travel there, their questions about the kids gets their car shot up and Erin hospitalized. Torn between fear and rage, Darrell must decide how far he will go to get justice for two young children he never even knew.


Dr. Randy Overbeck is an award-winning educator, author and speaker. As an educator, he served children for four decades in a range of roles captured in his novels, from teacher and coach to principal and superintendent. His thriller, Leave No Child Behind (2012) and his recent mysteries, the Best Sellers, Blood on the Chesapeake and Crimson at Cape May and new release, Scarlet at Crystal River have earned five star reviews and garnered national awards including “Thriller of the Year–ReadersFavorite.com, “Gold Award”—Literary Titan, “Mystery of the Year”—ReadersView.com and “Crowned Heart of Excellence”—InD’Tale Magazine. As a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Dr. Overbeck is an active member of the literary community, contributing to a writers’ critique group, serving as a mentor to emerging writers and participating in writing conferences such as Sleuthfest, Killer Nashville and the Midwest Writers Workshop. When he’s not writing or researching his next exciting novel or sharing his presentation, “Things Still Go Bump in the Night,” he’s spending time with his incredible family of wife, three children (and their spouses) and seven wonderful grandchildren.

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LASR Anniversary Scavenger Hunt: Crimson at Cape May by Randy Overbeck

Thanks for joining us on our 14th anniversary scavenger hunt! There are two ways to enter to win and it’s easy to play– first read the blurb below, then answer the question on the first Rafflecopter. You might win a $100 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC (along with other prizes). Follow and visit authors’ social media pages on the second Rafflecopter and you’re entered to win another $100 Amazon/BN GC (along with other prizes)!

No matter how far you run, you can never really escape a haunted past.

Darrell Henshaw—teacher, coach, and paranormal sensitive—learned this lesson the hard way. With his job gone and few options, he heads for Cape May to coach a summer football camp. The resort town, with gorgeous beaches, rich history and famous Victorian mansions, might just be the getaway he needs. Only, no one told him Cape May is the most haunted seaport on the East Coast. One resident ghost, the Haunted Bride, stalks Darrell, begging for his help.

He can’t refuse.

Joining forces with Cassie, a street-wise teen and another sensitive, he investigates the bride’s death and discovers her murder is connected to a far greater horror. But can Darrell and Cassie expose those behind the crimes before they end up being the killer’s next victims?

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Incredible sale on the entire Haunted Shores Mysteries series!

BLOOD ON THE CHESAPEAKE-$.99, CRIMSON AT CAPE MAY–$1.99, SCARLET AT CRYSTAL RIVER (pre-publication price)—$2.99.

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LASR Anniversary Scavenger Hunt: Blood on the Chesapeake by Randy Overbeck

Thanks for joining us on our 14th anniversary scavenger hunt! There are two ways to enter to win and it’s easy to play– first read the blurb below, then answer the question on the first Rafflecopter. You might win a $100 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC (along with other prizes). Follow and visit authors’ social media pages on the second Rafflecopter and you’re entered to win another $100 Amazon/BN GC (along with other prizes)!

Wilshire, Maryland seems like the perfect shore town on the Chesapeake Bay—quiet, scenic, charming—and promises Darrell Henshaw a new start in life and a second chance at love. That is, until he learns the town hides an ugly secret.

A thirty-year-old murder in the high school. And a frightening ghost stalking his new office. Burned by an earlier encounter with the spirit world—with the OCD scars to prove it—he does NOT want to get involved.

But when the desperate ghost hounds him, Darrell concedes. Assisted by his new love, he follows a trail that leads to the civil rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and even the Klu Klux Klan. Then, when two locals who try to help are murdered, Darrell is forced to decide if he’s willing to risk his life—and the life of the woman he loves—to expose the killers of a young man he never knew.

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Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bookbub.

Scavenger Hunt:

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Winter Blogfest: Randy Overbeck

This post is part of Long and Short Reviews’ Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win copies of both award-winning books in the Haunted Shores Shores Series: Blood On The Chesapeake and Crimson At Cape May. The can even choose from an e-copy or autographed print version of the titles!.

In the True Christmas “Spirit”

When writers today pen their Christmas stories, they most likely populate them with a helpful angel or a mischievous elf, or maybe a reindeer or two or perhaps even a snowman. In fact, listening to the incessant stream of cheerful holiday songs, readers might think it was always so. Not true. Not so long ago, during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, young ones and adults would more likely have been told stories of a different kind of spirit. In England—the same country that gave us such holiday traditions as Christmas cards, eggnog and mistletoe—children and adults would have gathered around a fireplace on a wintry Christmas eve and been frightened into the Christmas “spirit” via a few creepy ghost stories.

The most famous of these eerie Christmas tales is, of course, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol with its four specters to scare straight Ebenezer Scrooge. But Dickens is hardly alone. Henry James’s most famous work, The Turn of the Screw, which also takes place on Christmas eve, is the tale of a governess who finds herself in charge of two recently orphaned children in a country house. While working, she sees the ghostly figures of a man and a woman. But are they in her mind or are they actually spooky specters? 

Another British James (M.R. James this time) contributed an intriguing short story in this tradition with “Oh, Whistle and I’ll Come to You, Lad.” In this eerie ghost story, which the author originally read to friends on Christmas eve, a snooty Cambridge professor is on his holidays by the seaside when he finds an old whistle with a mysterious and unreadable Latin inscription on its side. Without knowing that the message is in fact a warning, he blows the whistle. After that, he’s haunted by terrifying nightmares and images of dark mysterious figures.

Still in the British holiday convention, A.M. Burrage’s eerie short story “Smee” is about a group of young people messing about on Christmas Eve who decide to play a game of hide and seek in a spooky house in which a young girl died years before. During the story, as the anticipation builds, the group wonder, is there another person playing alongside them?

The tradition of sharing ghost stories on Christmas eve is thought to be a throw back to the pre-Christian celebration of the Winter Solstice, a time when light dies and the veil between the living and the dead is the thinnest.  And many of these threads continue even into our time, with movie adaptations of these famous stories and magazines regularly featuring ghost stories in their Christmas issues. The BBC hosted its annual strand of “Ghost Stories for Christmas,” which spooked late night audiences through the 1970’s. Even Andy Williams joined the spooky train with his rendition of the holiday classic “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”                “They’ll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago.”
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So this year, after you finish Clement C. Moore’s “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” why not snuggle down next to a fire with a cup of eggnog and read a few pages of Dark Christmas by Jeanette Winterson, In the pages you’ll follow a woman and a few friends to a haunted Victorian Manor house to celebrate Christmas. What could go wrong?

Merry Christmas to all to all a good fright!

No matter how far you run, you can never really escape a haunted past.

Darrell Henshaw—teacher, coach, and paranormal sensitive—learned this lesson the hard way. Now, with his job gone and few options, he heads for Cape May to coach a summer football camp. The resort town, with gorgeous beaches, rich history and famous Victorian mansions, might just be the getaway he needs. Only, no one told him Cape May is the most haunted seaport on the East Coast.

When a resident ghost, the Haunted Bride, stalks Darrell, begging for his help, he can’t refuse, and joins forces with Cassie, another sensitive. As Darrell and the street-wise teen investigate the bride’s death, they uncover something far more sinister than a murder. Can Darrell and Cassie expose those behind the crimes before they end up being the next victims?

Dr. Randy Overbeck is a veteran educator who has served children as a teacher and school leader. For more than three decades, his educational experiences have included responsibilities ranging from coach and yearbook advisor to principal and superintendent and he’s lived the roles of many of the characters in his stories. An accomplished writer, he has been published in trade journals, professional texts and newspapers as well as in fiction, with his third published novel. As a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Dr. Overbeck is an active member of the literary community, contributing to a writers’ critique group, serving as a mentor to emerging writers and participating in writing conferences such as Sleuthfest, Killer Nashville and the Midwest Writers Workshop. When he’s not writing or researching his next exciting novel or sharing his presentation “Things That Go Bump in the Night,” he’s spending time with his incredible family of wife, three children (and their spouses) and seven wonderful grandchildren.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Buy the book at Amazon.

Winter Blogfest: Randy Overbeck


This post is part of Long and Short Reviews’ Winter Blogfest. Leave a comment for a chance to win a numbered and autographed copy of the award-winning novel, BLOOD ON THE CHESAPEAKE and a full color 2020 Wild Rose Press calendar with suggestions for almost 50 great reads for the year (continental US only). 

Our Very Own Ghosts of Christmas Past


It’s no surprise that The Christmas Carol is Charles Dickens’ most beloved work, far more popular than A Tale of Two Cities or Great Expectations. And not simply because of its holiday theme. In fact, Dickens wrote and published four other Christmas tales, but only The Christmas Carol is still remembered and treasured. Today, one hundred seventy-six years after the iconic story first hit bookstores in London, if you call someone a “Scrooge,” they know it’s hardly a compliment. Even Ebenezer’s favorite expression, “humbug,” has lodged its way into the Christmas lexicon. This novella—before we ever had a name for such a book—has left an indelible impression on Western culture. 

 But I believe the appeal of this little book goes far beyond its clever language—“Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that”—and its parade of memorable spectral characters. 

Dickens, through his miserly character of Ebenezer Scrooge— disenchanted, lonely, work-obsessed
—has hit on a dilemma we all struggle with. For most of us mere mortals, Christmas does not often live up to our expectations, the holiday seldom as shining and bright as promised. And there’s always more work to be done.

 More to the point, though, who isn’t haunted by their own version of Dicken’s ghosts? Who doesn’t have at least one personal horror story about the holidays? The truth is most of us are haunted—if you’ll excuse the pun—by one or more of our own ghosts of Christmas past, wearing us down like the chains the ghost of Marley dragged around in Dicken’s narrative.

So what’s to be done? Another holiday approaches with Godspeed and we must face it.

 “I wish…but it’s too late now.”

These words whispered by Ebenezer echo our own desperation. But, through his inventive story, Dickens proves that it is never too late—though it took four ghosts and a near death experience to convince old Scrooge. 

This Christmas, let’s not be so stubborn. As the sudden death of a close friend taught me recently, tomorrow is promised to no one. Though we may not be able to forget, we always have permission to forgive—both others and ourselves. 

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It’s not too late to say I’m sorry. 

It’s never too late to say I love you.

I hope this year your Christmas season is shiny and bright, restful and blessed.

My ghosts? I have my share like everyone else, but most times I enjoy their company. Of course, I prefer to encounter them in the pages of The Christmas Carol or maybe even, my own ghost
story/mystery, Blood on the Chesapeake.  

 Oh, and I almost forgot. Merry Christmas and, in the words of Tiny Tim, “God bless us, everyone.”

Wilshire, Maryland seems like the perfect shore town on the Chesapeake Bay—quiet, scenic, charming—and promises Darrell Henshaw a new start in life and a second chance at love. That is, until he learns the town hides an ugly secret. A thirty-year-old murder in the high school. And a frightening ghost stalking his new office. Burned by an earlier encounter with the spirit world—with the OCD scars to prove it—he does NOT want to get involved. But when the desperate ghost hounds him, Darrell concedes. Assisted by his new love, he follows a trail that leads to the civil rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and even the Klu Klux Klan. Then, when two locals who try to help are murdered, Darrell is forced to decide if he’s willing to risk his life—and the life of the woman he loves—to expose the killers of a young man he never knew.

Dr. Randy Overbeck is a veteran educator who has served children for more than three decades as a teacher and school leader, winning national recognition for his work. Over that time, he has performed many of the roles depicted in his writing, with responsibilities ranging from coach and yearbook advisor to principal and superintendent. An accomplished writer, he has been published in academia, the popular press and, more recently, for his fiction. His first novel, Leave No Child Behind, won the 2011 Silver Award for Thriller of the Year from ReadersFavorite.com. His second novel, Blood on the Chesapeake, a ghost story/mystery released this year by the Wild Rose Press, has earned 5 STAR REVIEWS from RaeadersFavorite.com, Long and Short Reviews and Literary Titan. It also garnered a national Award, the GOLD AWARD from Literary Titan. Blood is the first in a new series called the “Haunted Shores Mysteries.” Dr. Overbeck is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and an active member of the literary community.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter

Buy the book at Amazon. 

 

 

LASR Anniversary Scavenger Hunt: Blood on the Chesapeake by Randy Overbeck


Thanks for joining us on our 12th anniversary scavenger hunt! There are two ways to enter to win and it’s easy to play– first read the blurb below, then answer the question on the first Rafflecopter. You might win a $100 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC. Follow and visit authors social media pages on the second rafflecopter and you’re entered to win another $100 Amazon/BN GC!

Wilshire, Maryland seems like the perfect shore town on the Chesapeake Bay—quiet, scenic, charming—and promises Darrell Henshaw a new start in life and a second chance at love. That is, until he learns the town hides an ugly secret.

A thirty-year-old murder in the high school. And a frightening ghost stalking his new office. Burned by an earlier encounter with the spirit world—with the OCD scars to prove it—he does NOT want to get involved. But when the desperate ghost hounds him, Darrell concedes. Assisted by his new love, he follows a trail that leads to the civil rights movement, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and even the Klu Klux Klan.

Then, when two locals who try to help are murdered, Darrell is forced to decide if he’s willing to risk his life—and the life of the woman he loves—to expose the killers of a young man he never knew.

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Buy the book at Randy Overbeck.com.

Scavenger Hunt:

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