I'd like to welcome author Kenya Carlton who is joining us with a great post and her two novels, Jaded and Sweet as Sin!
Urban Legend: American folklore; myths and tales passed down from generation to generation just believable enough to be true.
By the time most American children enter junior high, they are well acquainted with urban legends. These stories passed down like strange gossip take different forms from kooky straight to scary. The thing about urban legends is that they constantly keep changing to keep up with the times. For example to flash your lights at passing cars just might get you murdered by a group of gang-bangers but at one time it used to be a lone mad man.
Whether we would like to admit to it or not, we are all well versed with these tiny ubiquitous stories that have woven their way into our psyche. For example who among us doesn’t know about the alligator in the sewer? It’s probably the most popular urban legend right up there with the kidney heist and the man with the hook. If you think about it, most urban legends are just cautionary tales to warn you away from strangers or to keep teenagers from indulging in those raging hormones here are a few popular ones you’ve probably heard of.
The vanishing hitchhiker: A man picks up a girl and takes her to a house only to find she is no longer in his car. When he rings the doorbell to the home she has brought him to, he finds that the girl has been dead a long time and had even died on that particular day. Supernatural remade this urban legend in their first episode, but the sad teenage girl was replaced with a sexy murderous minx instead.
The babysitter: In the house alone with the children after the parents have left, a normal teenage girl gets a phone from a strange man to check the children. Throughout the night, the strange man calls back numerous times to inquiry about the children. Finally fed up with the prankster, the babysitter calls the police. In an attempt to calm the young lady’s ever rising nerves, the dispatcher traces the phone call and informs her that it is coming from inside the house. In various versions of this urban legend, the young lady is either told to get out of the house or her chargers are found murdered under her crappy care. The alternate endings honestly just depend on who’s telling the story. Made into the movie When a Stranger Calls in 1979 and 2006, this folklore has been scaring teenagers away from joining The Babysitters Club for decades.
The mall: This story has changed drastically from the time I was 8 to 15. I will start off with my eight-year-old self. Growing up, I would have to wait for everything. Wait for lunch, wait for school to let out, and then wait for my brothers after football practice. My mom would sit in the car with me and my friends and tell us horror stories. At the wise age of eight, I was used to her antics by now and this little ritual did not faze me but my girlfriends on the other hand were scared shitless.
Like all urban legends my mom knew someone who allegedly knew this woman. So here goes; one day at the mall this woman found this poor old lady lost and scared. The old lady claimed to have forgotten where she parked. The Good Samaritan took pity on the elderly woman and decided to help her by driving around the vast parking lot looking for her car. After some time had passed, the woman knew her husband would be mad if she didn’t get home to make his dinner so she flagged down a security guard to assist the sweet grandma. Happy to help, the security guard offered his hand for the old lady to get out of the car but she refused to leave. The old lady insisted to be taken home by the kind housewife who was more worried about her husband and his stomach than the old bitty so the housewife told her ‘no’. A tug of war broke out between the security guard and the grandmother and soon the secret that granny’s was concealing dropped out of her skirt. A chopping axe fell to the ground revealing granny was a serial killing man which led to the housewife being grateful that her husband was a useless ass who couldn’t cook. Once my mother was done retelling this story in her most sinister voice, my best friend was cowering in the corner trying not to piss herself. Unfortunately my reaction was not quite the same I said, “Why an axe? How are you going to walk around with an axe up your skirt? Why not a gun or a knife?” In turn my mother replied, “Shut up and be scared.”
The fifteen-year-old me version: A woman leaves the mall to find her car has a flat. A well dress man comes out of nowhere and helps her change it with only one request in return. He wants to be driven back to his car that’s on the other side of the mall. Happy to take the free tire change but not happy to help this nice man save his tired ole dogs, the woman says she forgot something in the mall (freak’in ingrate!) She proceeds to get a security guard and when they come back to her car, they find that the Good Samaritan has split but in his haste has forgotten his briefcase in her trunk. Inside is the serial killer rapist kit of duct tape, rope, and a knife that the little freak left behind. (What kind of loser serial killer is this?)
Upon hearing this version I quickly ran back and told my mom, “That’s how you tell a bunk story.” Now instead of stepping on the gas every time I see a cold and shivering old lady afraid that the he/she will drop a big bloody murderous axe from her dress, I will take door number 2. I will proceed to give a sharply dressed serial killer a ride in my car. Who am I to tell the nice man who probably shoved a shiv in my tire ‘no’. And further more I most certainly wouldn’t want him to forget his kill me kit in my car so away we go.
What urban legends did you find ridiculous or just left you baffled?
By Kenya Carlton
Genre: Mystery/Romance with paranormal elements
War correspondent Mia James is back on US soil and ready to tackle a juicy political story that could make national headlines. A politician’s aid goes missing, and the son of the wealthiest family is the only suspect. Determined to take down the mayor of the small seaside town, Mia comes up against an angry ghost with her own agenda. Afraid she may be suffering from post traumatic stress Mia figures that she’s way over her head and enlists the help of resident black sheep Gabe Montgomery. Now, she must solve the mystery of her not so friendly ghost, stop herself from falling in love with the mysterious winery owner, all while making it out alive.
Martin Conway didn’t know what to expect. He idled in his police cruiser on the curb in anticipation of a few ominous clouds or some menacing lightening to strike down on the house. He wasn’t quite sure since he avoided this place as much as possible.
The manor that sat above Vine was a picture of Victorian splendor. Or at least that’s what the welcome brochure to all new tourists had professed.
No one had occupied the oldest standing mansion in town permanently for years and the historical society made sure no one probably ever would. Restrictions had been placed on the home that most modern families weren’t willing to contend with and older homeowners would be too overwhelmed to be bothered. The most that could be hoped for was the occasional renter. So the mansion that encompassed every viable asset that a haunted house possibly ever could, sat empty.
It didn’t matter that the lawn was cut and the bushes were trimmed. Nor did it matter whether fresh paint was applied every other year or so. Right now all that mattered was that he, Martin Conway, had to get his butt in gear to welcome the new residence of Holloway Manor to Vine.
As Sheriff he took his job seriously. Crime was virtually nonexistent. A few run-ins with the local teenagers now and again were the worse offenses he imagined but that was expected in any small town.
Martin turned the ignition off and grabbed his hat. Vibes of intense displeasure seemed to waft his way from the house, with a deep breath he pushed his apprehension to the side and sorted through his thoughts of what to say to the new neighbors of Vine.
"Good Afternoon, Ma'am." Martin tipped his head to the cute little number at the door. Pleasantly surprised he greeted the woman with all smiles.
"Good afternoon, Officer-"
"Conway, Sheriff Conway," he introduced himself.
The look on her adorable face made him forget the regular spiel he had prepared for all the newbie’s that entered town. She was this tiny little thing with big boobs and a nice ass which was a win-win combination in his estimation. Her smooth cocoa skin made his mouth water not to mention her face was kewpie doll cute but her expression told him she was all about being bad. The pool of her brown eyes seemed to suck him into her.
"Where are my manners? Please come in Sheriff. My name is Tracy and this tired piece of trash over here is my cousin, Mia." He followed the woman into the Holloway home to find it was exactly as he had imagined.
Big and creepy!
The structure was the only house that could be seen from the Carlisle hilltop that looked down on Vine. From the door the stained glass windows cast a colorful dance of colors around the front room. A bright and cheery effect that should have appeared fun and joyful, but came across eerie and haunting instead.
White dust cloths covered what he could only imagine was antique furniture. The unlived look probably lent a helping hand to the spooky factor of the estate.
Entranced with the infamous inside interior of the Holloway mansion, he almost stumbled over this woman. Simply stunned into stupidity by her perfect face he missed the hand that she held out to him.
"Mia James, what can I do for you?" His tongue twisted around his mouth. Ordinarily he would be considered a man of authority but this woman made him babble like a fool.
"I uh, I wanted to welcome you to Vine. I saw your truck and thought I would be first to welcome you to our fine city."
"I appreciate that," she replied.
"We have a little picnic scheduled this evening at The Grove and we would be delighted if you could join us." He flashed his pearly smile in hopes it would be enough to persuade them to come.
"Who is we, Sheriff?"
"The Mayor is sponsoring this little shindig to extend his hand of thanks to the people of Vine."
"Special thanks for what?" Mia asked.
"Uh.” Both women stared at him with something crossed between humor and confusion.
"He wants to thank everyone for their support in Vine and continued support when he runs for Congress."
"Well Conway,” Mia began, “that's a mighty fine invitation but I think I'll pass." she touched his elbow, with the sweetest smile. He was so enchanted with the Egyptian shape of her brown eyes that he found himself outside of the front door without the faintest idea how he got there. "Thank you for keeping us in mind."
"But there's barbecue and fireworks," he stupidly stammered.
"Sounds like a true hootenanny of a good time. We will definitely give it some thought." He understood a polite brush off when he saw one. Mia was so gracious he almost didn't mind how she had just kicked him out of the house.
“Oh well.” He stepped off the wraparound porch. Most likely he would see her again around town. Of course, the lack of information about these women would leave room for the Mayor to be unhappy with his fact finding duties.
Martin headed to his cruiser and figured he would go check across town for those vandals that kept spray painting something as silly as ‘Water’ in the quarry. It was the perfect excuse that he was too busy to be nosey if the Mayor asked.
By Kenya Carlton
Genre: Multicultural Paranormal Romance
The rich and available Captain Drake Devilin had the biggest body count in World War I. Injected with serum that turned him into something unnatural, Drake’s troop annihilated the enemy, but once his tour ended, Drake was plunged into a world of family tragedy and financial ruin. Sienna Caldwell is stunning to even the biggest cynic; with her exotic looks and rich brown skin, the playboy wasn’t exempt from her charms. Buckling under the pressure of his financially strapped inheritance, Drake makes a deal with the devil to marry the prosperous landowner in order to protect her. After one year, he can return the black beauty back to her island and collect on the fortune that will save his family’s reputation, but the task proves far easier said than done. The war may have made Drake into something lethal, but he soon finds his new bride was born more powerful than he could ever imagine. Not only does Drake have to figure out away to keep his hands off his alluring wife, but also he has to make sure she stays alive.
Excerpt: pages 15-16
“May I?” The shadow at Sienna's small cottage door asked. Drake's muscular frame was a stark contrast to the chaos from the elements beyond him.
“Do you need an invitation?”
“For the sake of my honor and politeness, I certainly do,” Drake admitted. Not completely satisfied with his answer she considered his request. He may not be the undead but he was definitely something.
Sienna sat nestled in her favorite love seat, facing the fire finally relenting, she told him, “Be my guest.” She noted the quick way he surveyed his surroundings when he stepped across the threshold, first the exits-windows, décor than finally his eyes settled upon her. Unwilling to bend to his close scrutiny, she took a sip from her wine.
“It's cozy here, not anything like the resort. May I?” She nodded for him to help himself to her spirits as he took a seat in a cushioned chair. Masculine man, dainty chair taking up space with his mere presence made Drake appear even bigger and stronger than he had in the gazebo.
“Courage?” she asked him pouring a glass.
“Restraint,” Drake answered before holding it up for a toast. “To good decisions.”
“Good decisions,” she reiterated kissing his glass with hers. A moment was taken to drink and think before he began to press her for answers.
“It's a simple proposition,” he stated.
“Is it?” Sienna tightened the shawl she held around her bare arms, the fire made no difference to the temperature of the room; she merely made the fire for ambiance but now she felt exposed so close to this imposing man. The bright and colorful flames helped with her state of mind as well as the red wine and Mary Shelley book that now lay abandoned on her lap.
“You're exquisite,” he said matter-of-factly.
“That didn't sound much like a compliment, Mr. Devilin.”
“Why aren't you married?”
“A proposal has never come up.”
“I find that hard to believe.” In a single gulp, he finished his wine.
“How old are you, Mr. Devilin?”
“I‟m thirty six. Please call me Drake.”
“And you've never been married?”
His smile was one of a pure blooded playboy. “It's never come up,” he replied with a lopsided smirk.
“What's good for the goose is not necessarily good for the gander, I suppose.”
Sienna grabbed the wine bottle and offered him a refill; he gladly accepted.
“I understand my benefit in this whole crazy scheme but not yours.” He gently pushed.
“Does that make you uncomfortable, not knowing?”
“It makes me question the sanity of this request, Sienna. I don’t believe in one sided deals and I don't believe in modern day martyrs.” From the intense look in his eyes, she believed what he said.
Agitated by this man's closeness and all he would change in her world, she uncurled her feet from beneath her and set them on the floor. The storm beyond her four walls picked up. Sienna crossed to the window to watch the thunder and lightning explode.
“I'm afraid my answer remains the same.”
Kenya has a B.A. in Mass communication, Television and Radio. She has fifteen years in production of television and film and five in television engineering. In 2009 Kenya Produced Dawn a short film and Executive Produced Destination Everywhere the pilot for a travel series through her production company Black R.O.K Productions established in 2008.