Saturday Snippet of STUCKEY’S BRIDGE

Stuckey's cover_webIf you haven’t yet heard about Old Man Stuckey, he’s a little like Dexter, but with less conscience and a lot more lovable. THE LEGEND OF STUCKEY’S BRIDGE got its start when I wondered about the real man behind the ghostly legend I grew up with in Mississippi. I got so many emails and letters asking about the secondary character, Levi, who is a little psychopath in his own right, I wrote the sequel, STUCKEY’S LEGACY: THE LEGEND CONTINUES. There were similar legends around the same time and the same place, so I pulled them all together and finished up the trilogy with STUCKEY’S GOLD: THE CURSE OF LAKE JUZAN. They are best if read in order, but can stand alone on their own.

Here’s a creepy scene featuring Old Man Stuckey in his younger days…

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He stood silent and still for a long time, not knowing what to do next. It wasn’t like he had ever killed anyone before. He didn’t have this planned out. He was certain his father would beat him to a pulp when he found out. He stood with his back against the barn door, gazing down at his dead brother, and came up with a plan.

He gathered piles of hay and arranged them in mounds in the middle of the floor. He then pulled matches out of his coat pocket and set the hay ablaze. He added more hay. And more. The fire came to life and roared as he watched. Black smoke filled the air. He felt as angry as the fire looked. His brother deserved to die and to burn—in hell. This was as close as he could come to creating the real thing.

He felt the flames hot on his face, and the smoke made him cough. He covered his nose and mouth in the crook of his arm, and breathed through his sleeve as he watched the flames grow higher and larger. The fire crackled and hissed as it quickly raced up the dry wooden ladder into the storage loft above. There was nothing up there but last summer’s hay, which lit with a whooshing sound.

He looked up. The dimness of the barn had been replaced by a bright yellow glow. Within a few short minutes, the fire had spread all the way across the loft and the roof. While he watched the loft, he didn’t notice the fire had spread all around him, eating everything in sight. Even with his nose covered, he began to cough violently, and he made his way through the black smoke to the barn door.

He pulled on it. It wouldn’t budge. He pulled it again. It wouldn’t move an inch. His brother’s dead body was lying in a heap in front of the door, blocking his escape. He bent down and grabbed the arms and attempted to pull the body out of the way, but the dead weight was far too heavy for his small, slender frame. He gave up, coughing even harder, and tried to pull the door again. He was having trouble breathing and thought he should have planned this better. He was going to die in this barn with his brother.

Suddenly, he heard his mother’s voice outside. “Is anyone in there? Thomas? Wilson?” She pounded on the door.

“Ma?”

“Thomas?”

“Ma, I’m in here. I can’t get the door open,” he yelled over the roar of the flames.

“Thomas, is that you? Pull the door!” She was screaming now, hysteria building.

“I am! It won’t open!”

The fire was thunderous; it was almost as loud as a train roaring down the tracks. He never realized fire made such a deafening noise. The flames spread quickly toward the door, licking at his feet. He looked behind him, and all he could see were yellow flames and black smoke.

“Push the door, Ma!”

He pulled the door as she pushed from the outside, and it inched open just enough for him to squeeze out. She grabbed his arm, and they ran about a hundred yards before they stopped and turned to look back at the barn. Black columns of smoke billowed into the sky, and the flames were a continuous rumble.

When he took his initial breath of fresh air, he coughed even harder. He wrapped his arms around his mother’s waist, buried his head into her bony shoulder, and hugged her tightly. She asked again if Wilson was also in the barn, and tried to pull away from him to go check. He coughed more through tears and hugged her even tighter. Again and again she tried to pull away from his grasp to go search for her other son, but he wouldn’t let go until he was sure the fire had erased all traces of his deed.

When the walls collapsed and the flames finally began to die down, he released his grip on his mother and said, “Thank you, Ma. I’m fine now.” He glanced at the smoldering rubble, then back at his mother, and added, “I don’t imagine Wilson is, though.” He turned toward the house and walked away, leaving her standing in the field with tears streaming down her smoke-stained cheeks.

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5-star-largeA five-star recipient at Readers’ Favorite, THE LEGEND OF STUCKEY’S BRIDGE is available in paperback and Kindle at Amazon. CLICK HERE. Pick up a copy and root for the bad guy for a change. 🙂

The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge by Lori Crane is a page-turning winner. This is a five star winner and Lori Crane is a must-read author.” ~Trudi LoPreto for Readers’ Favorite
“Lori Crane is a Southern storyteller of the first order.” ~Writer’s Digest

“Stuckey’s Bridge”

Pick up a Kindle copy of “The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge”! Hop over to Amazon and tell ’em Old Man Stuckey sent ya!

Enjoy…and sweet dreams!

Click HERE 

Stuckey's cover_webIn 1901, the Virginia Bridge & Iron Company began re-building a fifty-year-old Mississippi bridge. In the middle of the project, they began discovering bodies buried on the banks of the river.

Legend has it, he was so evil, he was even thrown out of the notorious Dalton Gang. Years later, he opened an inn near the river, and on foggy nights, boatmen witnessed him pacing back and forth across the bridge, waving his lantern, offering travelers a hot meal and a soft bed.

Those unfortunate enough to take him up on the hospitality were often never seen again.

To this day, eerie experiences are still reported around the bridge that now bears his name. If you travel down to Stuckey’s Bridge, be careful, for not much else is known about the man locals refer to as Old Man Stuckey…until now.

Video Book Trailers… and Facebook

I’m posting this for my author friends. We all stick together when we find something that works…or doesn’t.

I have video book trailers for three of my books. I uploaded them to Youtube and generally mention their existence and include the Youtube link as an excuse to market. My video trailer for The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge was posted on Youtube on May 27, 2013. As of this writing, it has 2,215 views. I’ve been plugging it every now and then for the last twenty months. It is embedded on my blog pages, linked to on my website, and I periodically blast it on Twitter to 6,000 followers and the Stuckey’s Bridge Facebook page to 3,800 followers. The problem with Facebook is if fans aren’t actively following your posts, they never see your status updates in their news feed, and the problem on Twitter is a tweet has a shelf life of only seven minutes. I can’t say the video has sold any books, but it is a useful marketing tool, an excuse to say, “Hey, look at me!”

Fast forward to January 17, 2015.

I realized I hadn’t “uploaded” my book videos to their respective Facebook pages. Honestly, I didn’t know you could do such a thing. I’ve always posted a link to Youtube. Keep in mind Facebook does not like to show links to other sites, so when I do post a link, a majority of my followers never see it in their newsfeed. Well, guess what happened when I uploaded Stuckey’s video to Stuckey’s page!!??…

I uploaded the video at 5 p.m. on a Saturday evening. At 10 p.m., it had 1000 views and 39 shares. People seemed to like sharing and watching the video on Facebook without having to click a link and be taken to a different site, well, that, and Facebook actually let them SEE the post. The video caught fire quickly, and I watched the views go up each time I refreshed the page. Finally, I went to bed.

Sunday evening at 5 p.m. (24-hours in), the tally was at 2200 views and 95 shares. We had accomplished in 24 hours what it took us 20 months to do on Youtube. I knew being Sunday, the numbers would grow by leaps and bounds for the rest of the evening, so I watched. (I also added the Amazon link to the comments.)

Sunday 7 p.m. – 2900 views, 114 shares. (6 views per minute since 5 p.m.)

Sunday 8 p.m. – 3400 views, 140 shares. (8 views per minute since 7 p.m.)

I thought the viralness (my new word) would die down since people had to go back to work on Monday morning, but I was wrong. The views and the shares kept growing.

Monday 2 p.m. – 4675 views, 170 shares.

Tuesday 11 a.m. – 5691 views, 204 shares.

Wednesday 5 p.m. – 6200 views, 218 shares.

Thursday 10 a.m. – 6585 views, 234 shares. We also got 74 new Likes on the page.

I’m calling that a successful campaign and the best part is – it was free! But, did it transfer into sales?

It took a minute of lag time, but it did transfer into sales. Sunday and Monday saw sales increase by 15 per day. Tuesday and Wednesday sales increased by 20 per day. Thursday sales increased by 25. Strangely, the individual books did not increase by much, but the trilogy, containing all three books in the series, is where we saw most of the sales, so you can multiply those above numbers by 3 if you’re counting actual books. These are hardly the numbers the books sold when they first came out, but free marketing is free, so I’ll take ’em!

Note: It helps to have an established book page or author page. I didn’t start from scratch. It also helps that my demographic for that book is the state where Stuckey’s Bridge is located, population 2.9 million. The people there already know the legend and are excited to find out anything new about the bridge.

Regardless, it’s worth uploading your video to Facebook. You won’t get the views logged onto Youtube, but when all is said and done, I’d rather have sales. If you’re curious about the video, here it is…embedded from Youtube…

UPDATE FRIDAY, JAN 23, 2015

21,480 people reached, 6,980 video views, 6,019 unique views

851 LIKES, COMMENTS & SHARES

456 Likes: 60 On Post, 396 On Shares

144 Comments: 6 On Post, 138 On Shares
251 Shares: 244 On Post, 7 On Shares
UPDATE FRIDAY, FEB 13, 2015

29,328 people reached. 11, 079 video views, 8,782 unique views

1,250 LIKES, COMMENTS & SHARES

642 Likes: 66 On Post, 576 On Shares

223 Comments: 8 On Post, 215 On Shares

 

385 Shares: 374 On Post, 11 On Shares

 

 

Saturday Snippet – STUCKEY’S BRIDGE

Stuckey's cover_webThe Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge is based on folklore surrounding the real 1850s Stuckey’s Bridge in Lauderdale County, Mississippi. I heard the tales my whole life and was drawn to write a story about the man locals refer to as Old Man Stuckey. He cracked me up in his impatience, but he was still an evil and creepy character. Here’s a bit of the way his brain worked.

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“Wha…what’s going on?” The woman jerked and sat up. “Who are you?”

He poked the rifle into her ribs harder. “Where’s your money?”

The woman didn’t fight back. “In…in the coffee pot in the wagon.”

“You got any jewelry?”

“What? No, we don’t…”

He spoke louder, his impatience building. “Do you have anything worth money?”

“Only the…” She looked at the rifle. “Only the gun you’re holding.”

“Don’t move,” he said as he stomped back to the wagon and climbed in to search for the coffee pot.

A few moments later, the woman unexpectedly appeared at the back of the wagon, pointing a trembling six-shooter at Thomas. “Get out!” she screamed, tears streaming down her cheeks.

Without thinking twice, he spun around and shot her point-blank in the chest with the rifle, killing her instantly.

She collapsed to the ground with a thud. He sighed and turned back to his job at hand, and soon located the coffee pot in the bottom of a box, covered with threadbare dishcloths. He took the money out of the pot and crammed the bills into his jacket pocket.

He climbed down from the back of the wagon, removed the gun from the dead woman’s hand, and said, “Too bad you didn’t stay put. Why don’t you women ever learn to do as you’re told?” He shook his head in exasperation. He shoved the six-shooter into his waistband and moved quickly through the dark woods toward to his waiting horse. He rode most of the night, and as the sun rose hot and red on the horizon, he stopped to count his take. “Fourteen measly dollars, a rifle, and a six-shooter.” He grimaced. “I’m getting too old for this.”

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Lori Crane Books at Amazon

Book Video Trailer 

Halloween Creepiness

Here’s a creepy blog about the Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge by Lowry Wilson at Old South Images…click HERE if you dare.

The three-book trilogy is available exclusively on Kindle at Amazon. Happy Halloween and sweet dreams!

Stuckey's cover_webstuckey Gold Cover smallunnamedstuckey Trilogy_ smal

 

Books – 3 to be exact

Just in time for my favorite holiday – Halloween

I put together my three creepy books into one trilogy.

Stuckey’s Bridge, Stuckey’s Legacy, and Stuckey’s Gold are now available as

The Complete Stuckey’s Bridge Trilogy

Release date is October 1, 2014, but you can pre-order at Amazon if you CLICK HERE!!

Available exclusively on Kindle at Amazon

stuckey Trilogy_ smal “The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge”
Legend has it, he was so evil, he was even thrown out of the notorious Dalton Gang. Years later, he opened an inn near the river, and on foggy nights, boatmen witnessed him pacing back and forth across the bridge, waving his lantern, offering travelers a hot meal and a soft bed. Those unfortunate enough to take him up on the hospitality were often never seen again. In 1901, the Virginia Bridge and Iron Company began rebuilding a fifty-year-old Mississippi Bridge. In the middle of the project, they began discovering bodies buried on the banks of the river. Would Old Man Stuckey get away with murder?

“Stuckey’s Legacy: The Legend Continues”
The end of Stuckey’s story left only a legacy – one of murder, treachery, and an intense game of cat and mouse. Young Levi left Mississippi with a wealth of gold, but he found his time in the world of the social elite ending quite differently than it had begun. Was she only after his money? Occasionally, it seemed to him Penny Juzan only wanted him dead. Or maybe it was the other way around.

“Stuckey’s Gold: The Curse of Lake Juzan”
With the gold finally in the hands of the Juzan family, will Penelope Juzan break the seventy-year-old curse, or will she suffer the same tragic fate as her forefathers? In the final installment of the trilogy, we may find the victims in the original tales were merely bit players in a story that is far darker and more sinister than one could imagine.

The Backstory of the STUCKEY’S BRIDGE TRILOGY

Here’s a little background on the Stuckey’s Bridge Trilogy.

stuckey's bridge from VA Iron and Bridge Co on wikiMy childhood: I grew up in Meridian, Mississippi and heard the legend of Stuckey’s Bridge my whole life. It actually began in a book about the area written in the 1970s. The local paper, The Meridian Star, picked up on the legend from the book and the story spread like wildfire. The bridge instantly became THE place to party on the weekends, searching for ghosts and frightening girls into cuddling closer. (If you want to go there: head south out of Meridian on Interstate 59. Turn right at exit 142, then a quick left onto Meehan-Savoy Road. Travel 2.2 miles until you see a dirt road on your left. That is Stucky Bridge Road. The bridge will be about two miles down the dirt road. It is now closed, so you’ll have to turn around to leave. After you read the following legend, you may not want to go.)

The legend goes: In the late 1800s, a former member of the Dalton Gang came to Lauderdale County, Mississippi to find his fortune. He opened an inn near the Chunky River and stood on the old wooden bridge at night, flagging down merchants with his lantern, offering them a warm bed and a hot meal. Supposedly, he murdered his victims in their sleep and buried their bodies on the banks of the river. In 1901, the Virginia Bridge and Iron Company began rebuilding the old bridge and the bodies were discovered. The innkeeper, Old Man Stuckey as he is known to the locals, was hung by a posse from the iron rails of the new bridge.

Stuckey's cover_webIf you know me, you know I couldn’t stop searching until I figured out who this Old Man Stuckey really was…that became the first book in the Stuckey’s Bridge Trilogy, THE LEGEND OF STUCKEY’S BRIDGE. (Check out the book trailer…creepy!)

unnamedWhile writing the story, I didn’t want Old Man Stuckey to be alone all the time, so I had him run across a young boy named Levi. In the story, young Levi took on a creepiness all his own, and I received tons of emails and messages asking what Levi’s past was. As usual with my overactive imagination, I was more interested in his future than his past, so I wrote STUCKEY’S LEGACY: THE LEGEND CONTINUES. At the end of that book, Levi “got his” and the story focused on the young woman he met during the story, Penelope Juzan.

Back to my childhood: There was a second legend around the area where I grew up. Supposedly there was an inn on Lake Juzan in the 1840s where an innkeeper murdered his guests for wealth, much like Old Man Stuckey. The man’s name was Pierre Juzan, and he dumped the bodies in the lake with the help of his Indian sidekick. Toward the end of the legend, one of them killed the other for the wealth of gold they had confiscated.

Side note: There were also a couple different accounts of trunks of confederate gold disappearing as they traveled through the area during the Civil War.

I thought all these stories had a similar thread, and I wondered if I could separate them.

stuckey Gold Cover smallBack to the trilogy: I came to the conclusion that these legends were indeed different stories, but thought they were probably connected in some way. Those crazy ideas in my head became the third book in the trilogy, STUCKEY’S GOLD: THE CURSE OF LAKE JUZAN. 

These tales tickled me pink while writing them, and I hope you enjoy them too!

stuckey Trilogy_ smal

 

 

 

 

 

Update: October 1st release of – The Complete Stuckey’s Bridge Trilogy  available exclusively on Kindle at Amazon. Click HERE!

Lori Crane Books at Amazon

Saturday Snippet – Stuckey’s Bridge

In celebration of the coming release of the third book in the Stuckey’s Bridge Trilogy on August 25th, I’m posting a short snippet of the first book today, the second book next Saturday, and the third book the following Saturday.

Stuckey's cover_webThis is from THE LEGEND OF STUCKEY’S BRIDGE.

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He staggered down to the river to inspect the boat, carrying the ax in one hand and the lantern in the other. He realized as he walked that he may have consumed one too many swigs of whiskey, for he didn’t remember the path being this difficult to navigate. He giggled as he stumbled toward the bank. The cool mist of the fog felt good on his face, but the lack of visibility made him a little disoriented. He wasn’t sure if the feeling was caused by the fog or the whiskey.

He reached the river, placed the lamp on the dirt next to the boat, and crawled aboard. He searched around the deck, under the seats, and down in the hole, but found nothing.

“Damn it. Why do they always keep the money on them?” he griped.

“Hey! What are you doing there?” called the skinny boy, who surprisingly emerged from the woods and neared the boat.

“I was making sure your boat was tied up securely.” The words sure and securely came out in a slur, but Thomas ignored it and climbed out of the boat, back onto the bank. He still held the rusty ax.

“Why do you need an ax to check on the boat?”

“Oh.” He looked down at the ax. “Just in case I run into something out in the woods. You can never be too careful out here, you know?”

“Don’t you have a gun?”

“Well, yes,” he said as he neared the boy. “But guns make noise.”

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The Creation of a Creepy Trilogy…by accident.

Stuckey's cover_webLast year, I wroteThe Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge. If you haven’t read it, it’s based on an old Mississippi legend and is the story of an inn keeper who murdered his guests, confiscated their wealth, and buried their bodies on the banks of the river. When a nearby bridge was rebuilt years later, the workers began uncovering bodies, and Old Man Stuckey was eventually found out. I had a blast getting inside the head of a serial killer and writing the story. While creating the tale, I decided Old Man Stuckey couldn’t be alone with his thoughts throughout the entire story, so I had him run across a young boy named Levi. I guess being in psycho mode at the time of writing, young Levi became quite a creepy character himself.

Following the book’s release, I received a bunch of emails and messages asking me what the deal was with Levi. Apparently, he captured everyone’s attention.

 

unnamedSo, I gave it some thought and penned the second book in the trilogy, Stuckey’s Legacy: The Legend Continues.” It was released May 2014. In that book, which takes place a decade after Old Man Stuckey paid for his crimes, young Levi is 22 years old and living off the wealth of the Old Man. He’s hobnobbing with the rich and famous on Jekyll Island off Georgia’s coast. When he meets the beautiful and mysterious Penelope Juzan, he is mesmerized, and an intense game of cat and mouse begins.

In the great state of Mississippi, not far from the real Stuckey’s Bridge, lies the black, swampy waters of Lake Juzan. It is surrounded by its own legend of an inn keeper who murdered his guests, confiscated their wealth, and buried their bodies in the depths of the lake. Well, who wouldn’t grab that and run with it? 🙂

 

stuckey Gold Cover smallThe legend of Lake Juzan became the basis for the third in the trilogy, “Stuckey’s Gold: The Curse of Lake Juzan.”  Penelope Juzan’s great grandfather was Lake Juzan’s inn keeper and the original holder of the trunk of gold that made its first appearance in “Stuckey’s Bridge.”  When all is said and done, Old Man Stuckey and Levi are only bit players in a story that is far darker and more sinister than even they could have imagined.

“Stuckey’s Gold” is the tale of four generations trying to escape the curse that is Lake Juzan.

Lori Crane Books at Amazon

 

Goodreads Giveaway of “Stuckey’s Bridge”

Stuckey's cover_webIn preparation for the coming release of “Stuckey’s Legacy: The Legend Continues”, Goodreads is hosting a giveaway of the first book, “The Legend of Stuckey’s Bridge.” There are 20 paperbacks available and the drawing runs through April 10th. Hop over there and claim your FREE copy. Here’s the link —> GOODREADS GIVEAWAY!

Here’s the blurb and the creepy book trailer…

In 1901, the Virginia Bridge & Iron Company began re-building a fifty-year-old Mississippi bridge. In the middle of the project, they began discovering bodies buried on the banks of the river.

Legend has it, he was so evil, he was even thrown out of the notorious Dalton Gang. Years later, he opened an inn near the river, and on foggy nights, boatmen witnessed him pacing back and forth across the bridge, waving his lantern, offering travelers a hot meal and a soft bed.

Those unfortunate enough to take him up on the hospitality were often never seen again.

To this day, eerie experiences are still reported around the bridge that now bears his name, but not much else is known about the man locals refer to as Old Man Stuckey…until now.

Book cover and video trailer by Elite Book Design