Neferet’s Curse by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast

            This week for the Fiction Friday feature, I am reviewing the young adult fantasy novella Neferet’s Curse by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast. This work was published in February 2013 by Little Brown Group with a page count of 160 pages. This is the third book in the House of Night novella series. The audiobook is 5 hours & 1 minute, in length and narrated by Caitlin Davies. The following plot overview is provided from Barnes & Noble: The White City, 1893: In turn-of-the-century Chicago, with the World’s Fair bringing bustle and excitement to her home city, sixteen-year-old Emily Wheiler should be reveling I her youthful beauty and the excitement around her. But her whole life changed when her mother died, leaving her to be the Lady of Wheiler House. Her father, a powerful bank president, is at the center of an important social hub for the booming young city, and he needs Emily to do everything her mother would have – to be a good hostess and make sure the mansion runs smoothly. As Emily uneasily tries to replace her mother, she also longs for more… for love and a life of her own. When a handsome young man notices her at one of her father’s parties, it seems that her hopes may finally be coming true. Until her father forbids her to see him – or any other man – and starts revealing a darkly violent side that even he can’t understand. At last, afraid for her life and with nowhere to turn, Emily is Marked by a vampyre and brought to the Chicago House of Night, where she begins a magickal new life that should allow the wounds from her past to heal. But as she gains strength, and a powerful new name, she carries a dark need to wreak vengeance on the man she trusted most.

            This novella allowed me to understand Neferet better. I know understand why it was so easy for her to chose darkness. She took the easy route with her anger and let it consume her. Neferet is what happens when you let all the bad that has happened overtake you. There is no light in that existence, there is only darkness, pain and isolation. I love these novellas especially for the insight we get into the different characters and their backgrounds. Neferet’s was the one I wanted to read more than the others. I had this need to understand her more and this was the perfect amount of revelation. Sometimes, when people go back to tell things that have been hinted at in cannon story, they ruin everything that made the original great. But that it is not what happens with these novellas. I loved this novella; I recommend it with the rest of the series.

            I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars.

            Tomorrow for the Missing Person Saturday feature, I am highlighting the Charley Project profile of Eric Bealer. Next week for the Fiction Friday feature, I am reviewing the gothic horror novel, Fallen Hearts by V.C. Andrews. Until then keep reading the chapters; Nerd out!

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Original Scene #25

            This week for the Writing Thursday feature, I am presenting an original scene as part of a one-page challenge. I hope you enjoy my original work below. Tomorrow for the Fiction Friday feature, I am reviewing the young adult fantasy novella, Neferet’s Curse. Next week for the Writing Thursday feature, I am continuing my Personal History series. Until then keep creating whatever your passion is; Nerd out!

Premise: a coastal town in New England is full of crazy characters

            I was riding downtown on my bicycle, when I saw Ronan and his wife, Georgina, in their new costumes. They liked to walk around dressed up as different things to keep things lively for the regulars and fun for the tourists. Ronan was dressed as a lobsterman and it appeared that he had a lightbulb fastened above his head. Georgina was dressed as infantile leopard. Mohammed was busy multitasking between teaching a yoga class and selling fireworks. I could see Theodore and Tazia running art classes for kids. I was fun to see Theodore teaching the children to weave a sitting mat, while Tazia taught them to paint a sunset. I wondered if Theodore was aware Tazia had painted an example of an sunset in the balding spot on the back of his head. This town was full of eccentric people and I loved every minute of existing here with them. They taught me a different way to look at the world. I will forever appreciate this my little nook of earth.

~END

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I am a Killer S2E1

            This week for the True Crime Wednesday feature, I am recapping the first episode in the second season of the true crime documentary series, I am a Killer. I will recap and summarize the information from within the episode, followed by any additional information I found and my opinion on the episode. Content Warning: this episode does discuss drug abuse, alcohol abuse, psychological abuse, domestic violence, suicide and homicide.

Since the reintroduction of the death penalty in the US in 1976, more than 8,000 people have been sentenced to death.

Episode 9 – In Her Hands

Inmate #3018877

Lindsay Haugen

Each yeah in the United States more than 8,000 people are convicted of murder. Of these, fewer than 10% are women.

Billings, Montana

In 2015, Lindsay Haugen took the life of her boyfriend Robby Mast.

            Lindsay grew up in Portland, Oregon. When Lindsay was young, she enjoyed going to church, and singing. In high school things changed, she began hanging with a new crowd and smoking cannabis. At 15, Lindsay began to run away from home, and began using harder drugs. At 17, Lindsay found out she was pregnant.

In 2003, Lindsay Haugen returned to her family. Clean of drugs, she enlisted in the National Guard. Lindsay’s son stayed with her mother during her military service.

            Lindsay enjoyed her time in the military. It was there that she met a man at the end of 2013. According to Lindsay, this man would become mean when drunk, he was controlling and did not like the job Lindsay had because of the number of men she worked around. He would become violent with her and sexually assault her. During one incident, he crushed her hand and broke it while mocking her screams.

            In June 2015, Lindsay Haugen’s Partner was jailed for his attack on her. She left the National Guard the same year.

Lindsay found herself alone at home, drinking to cope. She would wake up and drink until she went to bed. She would repeat this pattern day in and day out.

            Lindsay Haugen first met Robby mast at a house party in August 2015.

            According to Lindsay, Robby wanted to live a nomadic lifestyle. Robby had declined her offer of a place to stay, so Lindsay joined him on his travels. She claims that one day he told her that he could not be happy with her even though he wished he could. Lindsay tried to talk Robby out of this line of thinking and thought she had been successful. However, a few days later she says that Robby expressed being tired and wanting to end his life. At one point they were drinking, and Lindsay says Robby asked her to kill him because he could not do it himself. Lindsay started crying and the night ended with Robby holding Lindsay to comfort her. The next morning when Robby made a comment about how he could not have expected her to do that, that Lindsay felt guilty she could not give Robby what he wanted. Lindsay decided she was going to give Robby what he wanted while they were in the Walmart parking lot. At one point while Lindsay was strangling Robby, he began to have a seizure. When he stopped shaking Lindsay, panicked and at first began driving around before stopping in a parking lot to administer CPR. A police officer arrived on the scene and Lindsay told him that she had killed Robby.

Clearwater, Florida

            Dori Greeson was born and raised in Tampa, Florida. Robby was the second son she had with her first husband, Bob Mast.  She had met Bob when she was 24 years old. She describes Robby as fun, outgoing, and precious. Gene Greeson became part of Dori’s family in May 1996. Gene believes that they had a good 12 years as a family before Robby left the house.

            When Robby was 18, he left the family home in Clearwater.

            When Robby left home, it caused Dori great worry and distress. They did not hear from for one year and twenty-four days. Robby rarely called due to the distress his chosen lifestyle caused his mother. Dori admits that there was a lot that they did not know about Robby’s life.

            Over the next 6 years, Dori and Gene had little contact with Robby. They last saw him in December 2014.

            In May of 2015, Robby had checked himself into rehab for alcohol. Robby’s parents had talked with supervisors at the rehab facility. He had been doing well, they figured they would hear from him again when he got out of rehab. However, the next phone call they got four months later was to inform them that Robby had died. Dori remembers the exact day she got the phone call about Robby (September 17th). She had been shocked to learned that he had died then could not believe that he had been murdered. It was in the paper that she read that his murderer was his girlfriend.

Billings, Montana

            Detective Steve Hallam has been with the Billings Police Department for 14 years. When Detective Hallam met with Lindsay, he felt he knew what had happened to Robby. Up until this case Detective Hallam had never heard of someone asking a person to kill them. There were also things that Lindsay had said in her statement to Detective Hallam that made him question the validity of her statement. Detective Hallam also felt that if you look at her actions, to him they do not seem to be actions of a person who claims to love the victim. During the interrogation Lindsay admitting to wanting to take a life. Detective Hallam believes that Lindsay likes to paint a picture of herself to minimize that she is a deliberate killer.

            Lindsay Haugen plead guilty and was sentenced to 60 years in prison.

Clearwater, Florida

            Gene and Dori have been ministering in prisons for at least 14 years. They have compassion for people who have lost their freedom due to bad decisions. Because of Dori’s faith, she has been able to forgive Lindsay. Dori believes holding onto resentments only harms the person holding on to them. Gene believes it is important to get the message about forgiveness out to those that need to hear it.

            Ten months after the murder of their son, Dori and Gene wrote to Lindsay to forgive her.

            When they first forgave Lindsay, they did not see themselves having love for her. Through the letters Dori felt that Lindsay was sorry for what she had done and she was paying for it with her time in prison.

            On June 10th, 2017, Dori and Gene visited Lindsay in Montana.

            The first thing Lindsay said upon being led into the visiting room was “I’m so sorry,” to Dori. Dori tells Lindsay, she forgives her, and they hugged. Dori believes Lindsay is an example of how she needs to be with her savior.

Billings, Montana

            Detective Steve Hallam investigated the circumstances leading to Robby’s murder.

            Before reaching Billings, Robby and Lindsay had met with Robby’s friends.

            Lindsay Haugen met Robby on August 20th, 2015. She killed him on September 15th. They had known each other for 26 days.

            Detective Hallam believes that the timeline alone is enough to question the version of events that Lindsay is telling everyone.  Detective Hallam believes that Robby was using Lindsay to get back to the love of his life Kate, and that Lindsay’s jealousy is ultimately what led her to killing Robby.

            Robby Mast’s father, stepmother, brother, stepsisters, and friends declined to participate in this film. Many of them object to Robby’s killer being offered a public voice. Some also believe Dori and Gene are exploiting Robby’s death for their own interests.

            Dori understands why others may not be able to forgive Lindsay, but she does not believe she is betraying her son by giving forgiveness. To Gene it does not matter if Lindsay is telling the truth or if it was premediated murder, it is their place to forgive her. Gene and Dori look at things the way they do so that they can see a purpose in Robby’s death.

            In the state of Montana, prisoners may become eligible for parole after serving a quarter of their sentence.

            The support of a victim’s family is taken into consideration by the parole board. Lindsay Haugen could be eligible for release in 2030.

            While Lindsay is aware that having a good relationship with Robby’s family would help her in front of the parole board, she is not focusing on that. She is okay if she has to serve the entire sentence of 60 years. Lindsay regrets her flippant attitude at the time of her confession. She recognizes where her history of domestic violence played into her decisions and choices. She is forever changed by taking a life and she has to live with it everyday for the rest of her life.

People Interviewed

            These are all the people interviewed for the episode. They are listed in order of credited appearance.

  • Lindsay Haugen, inmate
  • Dori Greeson, Robby’s mother
  • Gene Greeson, Robby’s stepfather
  • Detective Steve Hallam, Billings Police Department

Out of respect for Robby’s family members that objected to this documentary I am going to only say a few things about Lindsay and move on to focus on Robby. Lindsay seems to have stayed out of trouble while incarcerated. She had made appearances on other media outlets for her participation in the music programs offered. Now I would like to highlight the fact that Robby was only 24 years old. I refuse to speculate on Robby’s mental health but I will state that a lot of people who struggle with addiction and alcoholism tend to be self-medicating. Getting proper mental health treatment is the only way for someone to be successful in recovery. I also want to say that I do not believe that the 12-step programs out there are the only way to get and maintain sobriety. If you or someone know is struggle with mental health, domestic violence, sexual assault, or addiction, help is out there. Please use any of the resources listed below.

            RAINN http://rainn.org 1.800.656.4673

            Trevor Project http://thetrevorproject.org 1.866.488.7386

            National Suicide Prevention Lifeline http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org 1.800.273.8255

            National Domestic Violence Hotline http://acf.hhs.gov 1.800.799.7233

            Tomorrow for the Writing Thursday feature, I am presenting an original scene from a one page challenge. Next week for the Missing Person Wednesday feature, I am highlighting the Doe Network profile of Mark Charles Burleigh. Until then keep sleuthing the cases; Nerd out!

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Missing: Heather Cobb

            This week for the Missing Person Wednesday feature, I am highlighting the Doe Network profile of Heather Cobb. Heather is classified as an endangered missing person. She was last seen on January 1st, 2019 in Tucson, Arizona. Heather was born on September 6th, 1982 and was 36 years old when she went missing. She is described as a white female, 5’5”, 140lbs, with dark blonde shoulder-length hair but bleached it and hazel eyes. She also had a coverup tattoo on the back of her neck that looked like a blob, as well as a half-circle on her upper arm, and three prior c-section scars on her abdomen.

            It is unknown what Heather was last wearing, she is known to carry a purse. At the time of her disappearance, she was part of a homeless community living downtown. If you have any information about Heather’s disappearance, please contact Officer Cleary of the Tucson Police Department at (520) 310-7545. Please make sure to reference case number 2008190060.

            Doe Network: http://www.doenetwork.org/cases/4005dfaz.html

            Tomorrow for the Writing Thursday feature, I am presenting an original scene as part of a one-page challenge. Next week for the Missing Person Wednesday feature, I am highlighting the Doe Network profile of Mark Charles Burleigh. Until then keep sleuthing the cases; Nerd out!

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13 Reasons Why

            This week for the TV Tuesday feature, I am reviewing the dramatic mystery series, 13 Reasons Why. This show ran from 2017-2020.This series is rated TV-MA for the following reasons: severe sex & nudity, severe violence & gore, severe profanity, severe alcohol/drugs/smoking and severe frightening & intense scenes. This show has 4 seasons for a total of 49 episodes. The episodes have a running time of 1 hour. Starring in this series is Dylan Minnette, Katherine Langford, and Christian Navarro. The following plot overview is provided from IMDB: Follows teenager Clay Jensen in his quest to uncover the story behind his classmate and crush, Hannah, and her decision to end her life.

            I loved season one for the representation I felt for victims of sexual assault, slut shaming, and bullying. There were some things I liked about season two but it was not as good as season one. Season three was an even bigger disappointment than season two. Season 4 was by far the worst. I really did understand a lot of the point to season three which left me with mixed feelings about the show. I feel like parents should consider at least watching the first season to understand experiences they may not have had growing up. If they’re comfortable I really think it could be a great starting off point for important conversations between teens and parents about mental health.

            I give this series 3 out of 5 stars.

            Tomorrow for the Missing Person Wednesday feature, I am highlighting the Doe Network profile of Heather Cobb. Tomorrow for the True Crime Wednesday feature, I am will be recapping season 2 episode 1 of the I am a Killer series. Next week for the TV Tuesday feature, I am reviewing the documentary series, The Last Dance. Until then keep binge watching the episodes; Nerd out!

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The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson

            This week for the Movie Monday feature, I am reviewing the documentary film, The Life and Death of Marsha P. Johnson. The movie was released in 2017 and has a running time of 1 hour & 45 minutes. The film is rated TV-MA with no further explanation as to why it received that rating. Starring in this movie is Kurt Wolfe, Sue Yacka, and Catherine Shugrue Doe Santos. The following plot overview is provided from IMDB: Victoria Cruz investigates the mysterious 1992 death of black gay rights activist and Stonewall veteran, Marsha P. Johnson. Using archival interviews with Johnson, and new interviews with Johnson’s family, friends and fellow activist.

            This was a powerful documentary. It highlights what I feel needs to be highlighted in how certain cases have been neglected to be investigated properly by law enforcement. It should not matter what community a person comes from; their murder deserves the same amount of effort as another. However, that is not the truth of the lived experiences for many citizens in marginalized communities. This film highlights the extraordinary life of Marsha Johnson and the unexplained circumstances around her death. Unfortunately, Marsha’s case did not receive the attention it deserves because Marsha was a black transwoman. I highly recommend that everyone watch this film and really take a moment to understand why it is important to amplify marginalized voices.

            I give this film 5 out 5 stars.

            Tomorrow for the TV Tuesday feature, I am reviewing the dramatic mystery series, 13 Reasons Why. Next week for the Movie Monday feature I am reviewing the action-adventure film, Shazam. Until then keep seizing the cinema; Nerd out!

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Man in the Window

            This week for the Spotcast Sunday feature, I am reviewing the true crime podcast, Man in the Window. This podcast debuted in 2019 and last updated in September 2020. This podcast comes with an explicit language warning. There were 10 episodes available on Apple Podcasts at the time of writing. The following description is provided from the Apple Podcast page: In Man in the Window, Paige St. John, a Pulitzer Prize winning investigative reporter has uncovered never before revealed details about the man who would eventually become one of California’s most deadly serial killers/ From Wondery and the L.A. Times comes a new series that traces his path of devastation through his victims’ eyes.

            I love this coverage of the Golden State Killer. I especially enjoyed their coverage of the sentencing hearing. If you do not a lot about the Golden State Killer case, I highly recommend this podcast to give you everything you need to know and makes sure to let the victims be hear. I cannot rave about this podcast enough. If you need a quick true crime fix this is perfect for you.

            I give this podcast 4 out of 5 stars.

            Tomorrow for the Movie Monday feature, I am reviewing the documentary film, The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson. Next week for the Spotcast Sunday feature, I am reviewing the true crime podcast, The Murder in My Family. Until then keep listening on; Nerd out!

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Missing: Abby Lynn Patterson

            This week for the Missing Person Saturday feature, I am highlighting the Charley Project profile of Abby Lynn Peterson. Abby is classified as an endangered missing person. She was last seen on September 5, 2017 in Lumberton, North Carolina. Abby was born on February 15, 1997 and was 20 years old when she went missing. She is described as a white female, 5’7”, 140lbs, with brown hair and brown eyes. Abby also has a dark-colored birthmark on the back of her right thigh, and a tattoo of three birds on the back of her right shoulder.

            Abby was last seen wearing a white shirt and brown shorts. She had said she had a few errands to run and would be back in a half hour. She had not been heard from since. If you have any information about her disappearance, please contact the Lumberton Police Department at (910) 671-3845.

            Charley Project: https://charleyproject.org/case/abby-lynn-patterson

            NamUs: https://www.namus.gov/MissingPersons/Case#/62297

            Tomorrow for the Spotcast Sunday feature, I am reviewing the true crime podcast, Man in the Window. Next week for the Missing Person Saturday feature, I am highlighting the Charley Project profile of Eric Bealer. Until then keep sleuthing the cases; Nerd out!

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Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King

            This week for the Fiction Friday feature, I am reviewing the gothic horror novel, Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King. This novella was published in November 1983 by Land of Enchantment with a page count of 127 pages. There is no audiobook version of this work by King. The following plot overview is provided from Barnes & Noble: The first scream came from the snowbound railwayman who felt the werewolf’s fangs ripping at his throat. The next month there was a scream of ecstatic agony from the woman attacked in her cozy bedroom. Now scenes of unbelievable horror unfold each time the full moon shines on the isolated Maine town of Tarker’s Mills. No one knows who will be attacked next. But one thing is sure. When the full moon rises, a paralyzing fear sweeps through Tarker’s Mills. For snarls that sound like human words can be heard whining through the wind. And all around are the footprints of a monster whose hunger cannot be sated…

            This novella was amazing. I always love when an author can raise the hairs on the back of my neck with few words. For how short this novella it, it is terrifying and violent. It is everything I have come to expect from King. I enjoyed this milder themed story to some of other more over the top ones. If you enjoy werewolf lore and stories, this one is a great read and add to your collection. The length of this work is a refreshing experience from the longer works that King is known to produce (i.e., The Stand, It,…). This is also a great introduction to King if you want to dip your toe in without a huge commitment.

            I give this novella 5 out of 5 stars.

            Tomorrow for the Missing Person Saturday feature, I am highlighting Charley Project profile of Abby Lynn Patterson. Next week for the Fiction Friday feature, I am reviewing the young adult fantasy novella, Neferet’s Curse by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast. Until then keep reading on; Nerd out!

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Personal History Part 42

            This week for the Writing Thursday feature, I am continuing my Personal History series. I hope that you enjoy this latest installment found below. Tomorrow for the Fiction Friday feature, I am reviewing the horror novella, Cycle of the Werewolf by Stephen King. Next week for the Writing Thursday feature, I am presenting an original scene. Until then keep creating whatever your passion is; Nerd out!

What was the best part of your 30s?

            Well, since I am only 33, the best part so far has been finding my sister. Finally, having a picture of someone from my biological father’s side has answered a lot of lingering questions I had. My biological father may still be a mystery, but I am totally okay and at peace with it. My sister was all I needed.

~END

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