Thursday, April 30, 2015


The Blackberry & Other Tales That Creep 

. . . has begun the Pre-Launch Sequence.  
Let the Countdown Begin!
We are just hours away from Lift Off!

1  Question: To the left you see what we think of when we think of a single blackberry.  Is it a whole fruit?

Answer: Yes, and no.  What you see here is not a single fruit, but many.  Blackberries, like Raspberries and all the various varietals thereof, are aggregate fruits. They are made up of very small, circular fruity units called "drupelets."

As in other kinds of bush berries, blackberries too are packed with numerous plant nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants, and dietary fibers that are essential for optimum health. The berries are very low in calories. 100 g provide just 43 calories. Nonetheless, they are rich in soluble and insoluble fiber and Xylitol, a low-calorie sugar substitute in the fruit fiber which absorbs slower than glucose inside the gut. It, thus, help in steadying blood sugar levels.

So they are really good for you, . . . as long as they are not eating your pets.

Friday, April 24, 2015


I have have made no secret that the inspiration behind the title story of my new book came while doing battle with invasive brambles in my own backyard.  It was actually less an inspiration than a connection.  That spark is reflected in the story when Cara says "The whole genus has power issues."  I am sure I said something much more colorful while I was picking yet another clipped cane from my clothing.

I had encountered the Snohomish Tribal legend of the Blackberry several years earlier in a very humble but utterly charming volume I bought in a local sandwich shop called AH MO: Indian Legends from the Northwest compiled by Judge Arthur Griffin, and edited by Trenholme J. Griffin.  I fell in love with it and encountered the similar versions of the tale from other sources after that.  The Griffin books (there are two, I believe) are full of short, wonderful tales that are a mix of origin stories, legends, cautionary tales. I recommend them.

If you love First People and First Nation stories as much as I do, you might also enjoy this website First People - The Legends.  It has a wealth of stories from an astounding array of native traditions. One of my all time favorites from this site is the Omaha legend of "How to Count to 100."

Here's a peek at part of one of Rick Geary's sketches for The Blackberry and other Tales That Creep.
A snippet of one of Rick Geary's sketches  for "The Blackberry"

Cara's neighbors, the Halls, have ties to the Native American community.  Dave shares his tribe's tale of the blackberry after Cara has had her first infuriating  encounter with the bramble that just won't go away.  Then Dave shows her something remarkable and more than a little frightening about this specific plant.

(from THE BLACKBERRY by Judith Cullen, copyright 2015)

"Dave laughed, 'That out there is not the blackberry of our legends, Cara.  You’ll find that the native blackberry is still a bush, and still duly humbled as the high ones intended.  This plant is not native to these shores.  It is an invasive tourist brought by Europeans for berry production.  It is known as the Himalayan blackberry.  The European settlers didn’t know quite what they had when they brought it here, and they lost control of Rubus armeniacus.'

 “'The whole genus has power issues, I think,' Cara muttered".

The Blackberry and other Tales That Creep coming soon to Amazon for Kindle and in Paperback.

Thursday, April 16, 2015


Special Note:  The selection from April 1st is still live, and you can still download and enjoy the audio sample of the slightly-famous "chore" scene  -  Click Here 
Our first view of Gorak as drawn by Rick Geary

Pizza, anyone? . . . 

by Judith Cullen
(c) 2015

“That was a quick trip!” Jamie’s Mom observed as he burst happily through the kitchen door.
“Hi, Mom!” Jamie gave his Mom a quick hug that had her gasping from its enthusiasm and the reality of how big her “baby boy” had actually become.  He was almost as tall as his Father, and the thought of it made her head spin.
“It was just a little errand.  It’s all taken care of now.  What’s for dinner?”
“Your Dad and I have an appointment tonight with Mr. Briggs, the accountant.  I’ve ordered a pizza for you.  It should be here in a few minutes. I ordered your favorite: sausage, pepperoni and mushroom. There’s plenty of juice and milk in the fridge.”
“Great.  Thanks Mom!” Jamie kissed her on the cheek, and left the kitchen.  She watched him head down the hall to the stairs.  She was engulfed in amazement.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015


Final Cover Revealed!
*Drrrrummmmm Rolllllllll!!!!*

We are pleased to share the finished cover for The Blackberry & Other Tales That Creep, which will be available for Kindle and in Paperback through Amazon in just a few weeks.

Shortly there after, the four stories will also be available on Audible as an audio-book.

 The final cover is a cooperative effort. Illustrator Rick Geary, whose line art  was the first step. The book will contain Rick's illustrations for two of the stories in the collection" "The Blackberry" & "Gorak the Gobbler"

Rick's original rough sketch

(The "Gorak" sketches are terrific, and if you want a sneak peek at one of them in rough, be sure and check out this week's installment of the story here on my site.")

Saturday, April 11, 2015

NEW AUDIO SAMPLE from "The Blackberry"

We received a lovely thank you card from the Smyrna Public Library in New York State recently.  It is one of two libraries currently carrying my published works in paperback.  Thanks to the success of our recent Kickstarter campaign, there will soon be more!

Today's post includes a new audio sample from the title story – The Blackberry – originally written in 2014.  In this sample you get a sneak peek behind the events which inspired me to ask the question “what if a blackberry actually had evil intent?”

As people in the northern hemisphere begin to resurrect their gardens from the rest of Winter, see if this episode is not a little familiar to you.

Click Here for The Blackberry Audio Sample

If you have been following Gorak the Gobbler and are finding it frustrating that the re-posting is so far back, CLICK HERE to go directly to the latest installment.

Coming Soon: the cover reveal of The Blackberry & Other Tales That Creep!

Thursday, April 2, 2015


Yesterday's NO FOOLIN' Event was great!
Over 600 downloads of my titles available on Kindle, and by the titles that were grabbed I have a really good idea of where my efforts need to focus next!

If you happen to catch this post and are one of the many who downloaded yesterday - don't forget to review!

Thank you one and all!

Special Announcement: In an agreement reached late last night, I've decided to push for the release of an audio book version of The Blackberry & Other Tales That Creep shortly after the print versions  go live. Shandon Loring (narrator of over 30 titles on Audible) and myself will be sharing the microphone and producing.  Look for more news as it emerges.

Special Note:  Since there has already been an installment released of Gorak the Gobbler this week in an audio sample, I am just going to let it ride till next Friday.  You can still download and enjoy the audio sample of the slightly-famous "chore" scene -  Click Here 

Happy Spring to All!