5 SECRET Facts About the Villisca Axe Murders! A Look into the Historical Murders that Inspired Genesis: The Awakening!

On a quiet residential street in this small town sits an old white frame house. On a dark evening, the absence of lights and sounds are the first indication to visitors that this house is different from the other homes that surround it. Upon closer inspection, you’ll notice her doors and windows are tightly closed and covered. An outhouse in the backyard suggests that this house does not occupy a place in the 21st century but somehow belongs in another era or another story. A weather-beaten sign warns rather than welcomes. This is the “Murder House”.

The Villisca axe murders occurred between the evening of June 9, 1912, and early morning of June 10, 1912, in the town of Villisca in southwestern Iowa. The six members of the Moore family and two house guests were found bludgeoned in the Moore residence. All eight victims, including six children, had severe head wounds from an axe. A lengthy investigation yielded several suspects, one of whom was tried twice. The first trial ended in a hung jury and the second in an acquittal. The crime remains unsolved.

If you haven’t gotten your hands on Genesis: The Awakening yet I highly recommend you stop what you’re doing (yes, that includes reading this blog post) and snatch that thing up!

For those of you who have read Genesis, you’ll know that the Villisca Axe Murder house in Villisca Iowa is central to the plot of the story. A murderer is on the loose in the small collegiate town where our heroes Victoria Bouchard and Grim Reaper Kaizer Dresden reside, and if Kaizer doesn’t move quickly to eliminate the threat, the powerful immortals who cursed him to live on earth will be beating down his door looking for answers.

Despite all the interference from Archdemons and nosy siblings, Kaizer and Victoria are eventually led back to the Axe Murder house where a demon has set up camp, using the souls of the damned victims as bait. As they leap through a portal into the nightmarish realm the demon calls home, our genius heroine speculates that perhaps the original axe weilder was really a servant of the devil all along.

If you don’t know much about the axe murders, here are FIVE secret facts that they won’t tell you in history books.

5: Villisca (Wallisca) is a Native American word which means “evil spirit.”

According to “The Dictionary of Iowa Place Names” Villisca got its name from the Sac and Fox Indian word “waliska,” meaning evil spirit. White settlers of the region mistook the name for meaning “Beautiful View” or “Pretty Place”. When they discovered their mistake, they were quick to cover it up. But there’s no doubt the name left a dark stain on the town, mostly due to the brutal murders that followed.

4: The main suspect was a Reverend.

The Rev. Lyn George Jacklin Kelly, the only man tried for the eight Villisca axe murders of 1912 and a preacher with a well-documented reputation for deviant sexual behavior, served as minister at the Carroll Presbyterian Church for nearly a year following the internationally notorious slayings, as southern Iowa officials

george__laura_kelly.jpg
Reverend Kelly and his wife Laura Kelly.

focused on other suspects.

To be sure, the nearly century-old still-unsolved southern Iowa murder spree is one of the creepiest, compelling episodes in the history of the state, and the fact that more Iowans, particularly in the western part of the state, don’t know about this case is evidence of a breakdown in the teaching of Iowa history.

3: The murder weapon is on display.

Display_0822042_small

You can view the head of the actual axe used in the murders if you visit the Axe Murder house in Iowa today. You can also book investigations and overnight stays at the house, for a fee…if you’re brave enough.

2: There were neighbors sleeping next door when the Moores and Stillengers were killed.

Mary Peckham, the Moores’ neighbor, became concerned after she noticed that the Moore family had not come out to do their morning chores. Peckham knocked on the Moores’ door. When nobody answered, she tried to open the door and discovered that it was locked. Peckham let the Moores’ chickens out and called Ross Moore, Josiah Moore’s brother. Like Peckham, Moore received no response when he knocked on the door and shouted. He unlocked the front door with his copy of the house key. While Peckham stood on the porch, Moore went into the parlor and opened the guest bedroom door, where he found Ina and Lena Stillinger’s bodies on the bed. Moore immediately told Peckham to call Hank Horton, Villisca’s primary peace officer who arrived shortly thereafter. Horton’s search of the house revealed that the entire Moore family and the two Stillinger girls had been bludgeoned to death. The murder weapon, an axe belonging to Josiah, was found in the guest room where the Stillinger sisters were found.

Mary slept peacefully in her bed the night before. Most historian’s find this often overlooked fact extremely strange. In the quiet early 1900’s, it’d be almost impossible to not hear a single sound when eight people are being brutally murdered.

1: Reverend Kelly confessed to the crimes but was not indicted.

One major reason students of the case today and prosecutors in 1917, including then Attorney General Horace Havner, believed Kelly to be the killer is an obvious one: He confessed to the crimes in a signed statement, saying God called him from the Villisca preacher’s house to commit the murders.

“I was lying in bed at the home of Reverend Ewing on the night of the murders and heard a voice say, `Rise, Peter, slay and eat,’” Kelly told investigators, according to Marshall’s book.

In his confession Kelly also would say: “I thought I was the grandson of God. I am ready to do it again.”

At one point Kelly told his interrogators, according to court documents, that “I killed the children upstairs first and the children downstairs last. I knew God wanted me to do it this way. `Slay utterly’ came to my mind, and I picked up the axe, went into the house and killed them.”

What do YOU think happened all those years ago? Let me know your theories! And don’t forget, you can read my take on the Villisca Axe Murder’s in Genesis: The Awakening!

Sources:

Iowa Independent

Wikipedia

Villisca Iowa Homepage

 

Advertisements

#Winterborn Character Introductions and Fan Casting!

I have a secret to confess. I’ve been working on a project for about six months now, steadily hacking away at it in secrecy. But, no more! I’m ready to share Winterborn with you in all its greatness and imperfection!

Winterborn was a project I started as a way to get back to my Paranormal Romance roots, so to speak. Growing up, I was enamored with Vampires, Werewolves, and Witches, the quintessential staple of Paranormal and fantasy literature. It’s been years since I’ve written about any of them and I thought it was high time that I featured them in my work. Thus, a dinky little five-thousand-word short story was birthed and promptly forgotten about. That is, until I realized the little nagging feeling I felt at the back of my brain wasn’t going to go away until I stared my characters in the face and said: “Okay, the hell do you want from me?”

Enter Winterborn’s main characters, Edna, Byron, and Seth. Old school names for an old school story and a plot rife with elements I haven’t touched for years. This blog post will serve as an introduction to the characters and plotline of a story that is not yet completed but is quickly cementing itself as one of my favorite books not yet written.

Main Characters: 

Edna Deveaux Ersland: 

The great granddaughter of Evelyn Deveaux, a Haitian Mambo (Voodoo

Edna Deveaux Ersland played by Amandla Stenberg
Edna Deveaux Ersland played by Amandla Stenberg

priestess) who brought black magic to the French Creole after migrating from Haiti in the midst of the Haitian-French Revolution and slave uprising started by Toussaint Louverture. She is the subject of a “Final Destination” style generational curse that’s actively trying to kill her. Head over heels for Byron Lee since they were kids, she’s dedicated to keeping the newly transformed wolf out of trouble, even when he’s more of a danger to himself than anyone else. Edna, although an adult at twenty-three, is a classic teenager dying to escape from a controlling parent. Having no real concept of time and being an Ancient, Seth quite literally treats her like a child, which is almost entirely to blame for her rebellion and her constant need to test the boundaries of their parent-child relationship. Part of her wants to see how far she can push the Vampire, the rest of her enjoys the danger it brings because she knows without a doubt that he would A, never hurt her, and B, he’ll always be there to have her back.

In a Nutshell: Edna is an extraordinarily powerful young woman in love with a man both her controlling father-figure and the world want dead. Having the power to keep him alive isn’t the issue, it’s fighting off her own demons that will determine their survival.

Byron Lee Wallace:

Byron is the literal boy next door. He grew up in Warwick Rhode Island beside the Ersland Manor and moved back recently after his alcoholic father was murdered by Ioan Sharks. This move comes years after the drunken brute beat

Byron Lee Wallace played by Joo Hyuk Nam
Byron Lee Wallace played by Joo Hyuk Nam

his sickly mother to death. Because of his hard, strictly religious, upbringing, Byron has always longed for a normal life (white picket fence, the whole nine yards), a prospect that was stolen from him permanently when he was attacked, bitten, and subsequently transformed into a Lycan. He was found one night by his childhood friend and crush Edna, clinging to the shreds of his humanity after accidentally mauling a young woman to death, and she’s been taking care of him ever since. He openly returns the witch’s feelings but, after several mishaps where he’s accidentally scratched and even bitten her, he tries to keep his distance. Much to her dismay. Byron lives in a perpetual whirlwind of guilt, self-pity, and self-deprecation because he blames himself not only for the woman he killed the night of his transformation but for the murders and missing persons cropping up all over town. He still has a very human mindset and has not yet completely transitioned into the realm of the supernatural. Where death, missing persons, and magic are an everyday occurrence for everyone else, he still sees things through the eyes (and morals) of a mortal. He’s a welpling, a literal puppy who’s still in the midst of learning to control his transformations and will be forced to grow up very, very soon.

In a Nutshell: Byron takes being a good person to an entirely new level, but he’s soon to realize that being a good guy and staying alive doesn’t always fall in line. Watch him grow into a formidable force as he realizes that protecting his mate means more to him than his father’s religon ever could.

Seth Ersland:

Seth is a very old Vampire. So old that his personal history is lost to antiquity. (Okay, let’s cut the crap, Seth is Dracula. Literally, the OG Vampire himself. But that’s just between you and me.) Rumor has it, he met Evelyn during the French Revolution and aided her escape to the American South. No one really knows the relationship they shared, but Seth took it upon himself to watch her cursed

Seth Ersland played by Valery Kovtun
Seth Ersland played by Valery Kovtun

family after her unfortunate passing. Some suspect that the two were lovers and her dealings in black magic allowed her to give birth to Seth’s children, thus creating the curse that has now all but wiped them out. The master Vampire has lovingly admitted to having been reduced to a “Housewife with fangs” and it is noted by Lenora Bulwer (a Huntress and agent of the Vatican) that bringing him out of “retirement” would be extremely bad for anyone who crossed his path. Lenora hints at his power and at the fact that he was born Vlad Dracul, the former ruler of Wallachia in what is now modern day Romania. Why he abandoned his life after his suspected death in 1476 is up for debate and is purely speculation. After Edna returns home covered in unexplained cuts and bruises he discovers her illicit relationship with Byron and contracts Lenora into hunting and killing the wolf. He is extremely protective over the last of Evelyn’s brood (and possibly the last of his living bloodline) and will stop at nothing to keep Edna alive. He also could or could not be responsible for all the disappearances in Rhode Island and has a fondness for burning beautiful houses to the ground.

In a Nutshell: Seth is daddy,  by all meanings of the word, and someone you’ll want to keep your eye on. He loves his child, takes care of all who are indentured to him, and rains merciless hell on anyone who even thinks to abuse those he loves.

Stay tuned for more about Winterborn, including more character introductions, the Antagonists, Supporting Cast, and MUCH much more!

Until then, check out the official Pinterest Board for Winterborn! https://www.pinterest.com/KyunnieHuang/winterborn/

Winterborn Fan Casting List:

Seth Ersland: Valery Kovtun

Edna Deveaux: Amandla Stenberg

Byron Lee Wallace: Joo Hyuk Nam

Lenora Bulwer: Bryce Dallas Howard

Finn Larsen: Linus Wordemann

Nick Brawler: Froy Gutierrez

Horace Watt: Buster Keaton

George Cunningham: Adam Beach

Evelyn Deveaux: Theresa Theresa

The Winterborn Cast
The Winterborn Cast

 

What if I’m NOT a good WRITER? 🌟 Guest post by Margaret Cremer! 🌟

Words that have plagued writers since the first one decided to put pen to paper.  I struggle with enormous self-doubt.  I’ve yet to get paid for a piece I’ve written.  I’ve been published which is a huge accomplishment but not if you want to make a living at it.  I’m currently writing a romance/suspense novel and I know that first drafts are mostly crap but I still wonder will anyone want to read this?  Will the finished product be good enough?  I’ve had enough people tell me I’m a talented writer and I’ve also gotten rejection e-mails and letters.  So yes, I know what that feels like to be on the end of you’re not good enough spectrum.  

I read something today that said, “it’s not the fear of writing that writers are afraid of.  It’s the fear of writing bad.”  I find these words to be very true.  No one wants to be categorized as a “bad” writer.  But what makes someone a “bad” writer?  Critics?  If no one buys your book?  I can think of writers who have written poorly and sold millions of copies and writers whose books were brilliant and whose sales were not so great.  I guess what it depends on is if your happy with your work.  If you go out there and write your absolute very best then it doesn’t matter how many books you sell.  Hopefully you do sell a lot.  

I read something else today that said, “Self-doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.”  These words too, I think, are very true.  You can’t let yourself get in the way of your writing.  You must set aside those thoughts of self-doubt and self-criticism.  

I guess the very best advice I can give you is to ignore the voices in your head that say Am I good enough?  Is my writing good enough?  Will this sell.  And just write.  

Thanks again for stopping by, Margaret!

Check out Margaret’s writing at the link below! 


https://scriggler.com/Profile/margaret_cremer

 

🌟 Guest Post🌟 Continuing our discussion on writers with disabilities: Introducing Margaret Cremer!

For the most part I guess anyone believes their job is the best as long as they like doing it, which there in lies the question. I’m going to say that a lot of people don’t necessarily like the job they are going to every morning. People who like their job, more than that people who have a passion for what they do will always believe there is no other profession. I remember being in high school unable to fathom how anyone could choose a career other than writing. I couldn’t see any other profession holding as much intrigue and pull than that of being a writer. I love the world of writing although I don’t make my living as one which poses yet another question.  

My father loves to build things however he hates the business side of any profession. So I have to wonder to myself will I still love writing when I discover the business side of it. Perhaps I was too hard on people in my previous statement. Maybe that’s the case with most; they simply hate the business end of their careers. When your young say playing doctor you don’t think about not being able to treat a patient because they are uninsured. The business end of my own particular career entails a great deal of compromise over editorial jurisdiction. I don’t know how I would feel if someone were to edit let alone criticize my work. Writers are notoriously insecure and I am no exception.  

My mother is a medical assistant. She loves her job with the exception of the business part of it, the politics basically. She likes drawing blood and interacting with the patients. I know when she was in school she really enjoyed herself; I believe she still enjoys her job, but I think she idealized what it was going to be like. I’m afraid that’s what I’ve done.  

I imagine myself winning the Pulitzer and becoming rich not to mention famous. In reality it doesn’t always work out that way. I’m romanticizing this career, and I know it’s going to be a rude awakening when I’m published at long last. Writing in itself is a very romantic and alluring profession. Of coarse that’s not the reason I love it. I’m drawn to it because there is nothing else that even comes close to the passion I feel about writing. I suppose it doesn’t hurt that I’ve been told I’m good at it as well.  

Which draws another question, what does one do when the thing they are passionate about doesn’t love them back? I don’t know what I’d do if I were told I couldn’t make it as a writer. It would crush my soul; I wouldn’t know what to do. I have never gone to college to hone my craft; I do think I’m a better writer now than I was in high school. However I’ve discovered it’s not just what you’re passionate about it’s also what you have a gift for.  

Those people who are gifted at what they are passionate about are the most fortunate individuals in this life. I can’t say for sure but I hope I am one of those lucky people. There’s a line from a movie that goes you do what you love and fuck the rest. I would have to say that this advice works for me.  

One day I hope to be able to tolerate the business end of my future writing career. Tolerance that is the price we must pay for doing what we love. I wish everyone finds what they were meant to do and does it with the same love and care that I write with every single day.   

I have since run into a snag when it comes to my writing. I have to be forced to do it. It’s now like a gasp, a job! My biggest problem is I don’t want to write when my mental illness’s are acting up, so to speak. I suffer from three of them and it’s very problematic to write while suffering a high or low from bipolar disorder or worrying about how you have to go somewhere next week (agoraphobia), or wondering if you’ll ever be able to be in a loving healthy relationship (borderline personality disorder). Mental illness takes a lot of my time and gets in the way of my writing career.  
One thing I’ve learned though is not to get discouraged if I write one word, one sentence, one paragraph, one page, or one chapter. It’s still writing, even if I had days where I couldn’t write anything, that’s o.k too. It’s going to happen.  

 People think writing for me is more of a hobby because my illness’s prevent me from doing it everyday and that’s fine. It’s a struggle for me to sit down at my computer and write my novel, short story or poetry but being sick has to taken priority over writing. It’s unfortunate that my mental health has to come first but it does. I wouldn’t be able to write anything if it didn’t.  

 I said I didn’t like the business side of writing, I probably never will but what true artist does? It gives me a migraine to think of publishing. It’s hard enough just to get myself to write with my illness’s, I know when the time comes to publish I will probably be scheduling extra sessions with my therapist!  

 I love to write but the problem with having a mental illness is it steals what you love, it steals your joy. You no longer find pleasure in what you love to do which makes writing no longer fun. I hate my mental illness for stealing my passion. But I take my medicine and go to therapy and fight the illness. And eventually the joy of writing finds me again.  

 For all of you struggling to write with a mental illness I leave you with these words, your passion doesn’t die, it just fades from time to time, don’t give up…

Thanks for your post, Margaret! I look forward to having you again and let’s continue this discussion guys. What obstacles have you faced during your writing career? Be it a disability, work, school or children; what have YOU overcome to achieve your dreams? 

Check out Margaret’s writing at the link below! 


https://scriggler.com/Profile/margaret_cremer

Guest Post: Perci T. Brooks – Managing a Writing Career with Disabilities 

Perci Brooks: 

I generally hide the fact that I’m disabled. Not because I am ashamed. But because I was told I couldn’t achieve my dreams by various teachers and other school officials and counselors. They felt my ‘limitations’ would prevent me from understanding the odds against me.

They were wrong. I already knew it wouldn’t be easy. I have learning disabilities, but I am not entirely oblivious to the world around me.

So, how does writing fit in to this? Because my dream is writing!

 I was ten years old when I realized I wanted to be an author. Growing up, I’d doodle about on paper, spinning endless stories in my head and yet, I never seemed to finish them. That’s because I would falter and let those negative voices ramble on in my mind; the ones that told me no one would ever read anything a disabled girl wrote. Those days weren’t often, but they did happen and I’d sigh, putting my journals aside until the next time a burst of stubborn bravery hit me.

 I never gave up dreaming about writing, even if I did frequently put it on the back burner. Of the many things I struggle with daily, the hardest one concerning writing, by far, is comprehension. I have a hard time understanding certain things, such as verb tense and it can be frustrating. It slows me down but I’ve found a small circle of people I trust to not speak down to me and patiently explain the process. Several times.

 It comes down to this: If you want something bad enough, you have to be willing to work hard at it. There is never a time when you should ease back or give less than. The only true failure comes when you give up or give in.

 I’ve begun to incorporate some disabilities into my characters. I hope that there may be someone out there who will read and feel understood, to know they are not alone at all and that those of us with disabilities …our only limits are the ones we place on ourselves. 

Check out an EXCLUSIVE excerpt from Perci T. Brooks’s novel Royal Surrender below!

He pushed open the doors and strode in, approaching the king. “Father, stop this immediately.”The king backhanded him, ignoring the soft gasps of his couriers. His icy tone matched the cold look in his eyes. “Do not talk to me like that. I am your king first, and I can do as I please.”

“You have always been the king first. Not once have you ever been a father to me. You’ve treated me like a bastard child all these years.”

The servant shifted, biting his lip and attempting to stifle the groan the movement caused. Amory could tell the man’s knees were aching. How long had Floyd kept him in this position? Another furtive attempt to move away caught the king’s attention and he dealt another blow to the servant’s already-reddened face. Raising his arm once more, the king snarled when Amory grabbed it, holding it in midair.

“Unhand me,” the king commanded, staring daggers at Amory.

The prince stood between his father and the servant. He didn’t speak right away, and when he did, he lowered his tone, never breaking eye contact. “With your merciful permission, Your Majesty, I’ll take him. He’ll answer to me, or to Covyll if I am not present.” He paused, choosing his words. “A king of your stature shouldn’t be worrying about the affairs of one lone servant.” Amory knew he was taking a gamble, banking on the fact that as much as his father loved using brute strength and fear as weapons, he also liked playing the benevolent ruler when it suited him.

Connect with Perci!

Social Links:

 Author FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/PerciTBrooks/

Twitter: @duchessdemon

Instagram: duchess_demon

Blog: http://percitbrooks.blogspot.com/

Buy Links:

 Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HAZPQXS/

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01HAZPQXS/

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01HAZPQXS/

Amazon DE: https://www.amazon.de/dp/B01HAZPQXS/

All Romance ebooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-royalsurrender-2061217-158.html

Genesis: The Awakening An Epic Paranormal Fantasy Adventure Romance – PRE-ORDER 10/31/16

cropped-gafbcover.png

Cursed with enhanced mental abilities and consistently degrading eyesight, VICTORIA BOUCHARD is a walking medical phenomenon most talented neuroscientists could never hope to unravel. As she struggles to cope with the news of her impending blindness, she learns of a deranged serial killer deemed by the FBI as the ‘Ghoul Butcher’ who’s rapidly making his way towards her humble University in the heart of Rural Iowa.

With police on a manhunt and the locals in a frenzy, her visual health is suddenly the least of her worries. On the other hand, her lover and best friend KAIZER DRESDEN is determined to keep his distance from the case as it unfolds.

As a Grim Reaper, stripped of his powers and exiled from his home world to serve out a three hundred year sentence on Earth; he knows he would be the prime suspect in the eyes of the immortals who banished him. But with the seemingly unstoppable Ghoul cutting a swath right for them, he and Victoria have no choice but to take matters into their own hands and investigate the murders in order to protect his new found home.

Genesis: The Awakening is a fantasy epic, over four hundred pages of action, romance, and a kickass heroine who flourishes in the face of adversity. Diverse and multicultural, Genesis breaks stereotypes and casts a unique light on the fantasy genre.

What advanced readers are saying:

…one of the best I’ve ever read. Couldn’t put it down.”–Lindsay S.

“…a story that will stay with you a long time. The characters have purpose and by the time you get into the thick of it, you have a purpose too. You have to see the battle to the end.”–Jerrica A.

“…a terrifyingly immersive experience. I have never screamed at a book like characters in a movie before.”–Brook J.

“…there’s finally a heroine that looks like me and the entire story isn’t just a written kung-fu flick.”–Soo Young K.

Coming this Christmas season to all major platforms AND print!

 

I Won an Award! … Last Year! Literary Erotica Mag Contest Winner!

I am still at a complete and utter loss for words. I’ve attached the email sent by Mrs. Kim Burrows below because I am still firmly unable to process this. I was so worried when I released What’s Done in the Dark, because it was my first formal erotica effort. And it won a freaking award! I didn’t get first place, but that never matters to me. I am so completely honored and humbled that my work was even considered. I want to extend a big thank you to Literary Erotica Mag and a formal congratulations on opening their new website and having the courage to do so. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart for remembering me!

screen-shot-2016-09-22-at-11-12-01-pm