Y’all give a warm welcome to Flo Fitzpatrick, fellow Army brat. She’s a dancer, teacher, & choreographer. When an injury sidelined her she started writing. Flo has written some time travel romance & some ghost/mysteries. One lucky winner will get their choice of a kindle copy of HAUNTING MELODY or IT’S A MARVELOUS NIGHT FOR A MOONDANCE. Flo shares her supernatural brush below. Do you believe in ghosts? Ever have an experience with the other side? Do tell, we’re all aquiver! 😀
I used do a lot of acting and choreographing for the Waco Civic Theatre, where I had the privilege of performing with a charming, funny, smart, kind, honest, marvelous actor named Bob Schmidt. (I probably should pass over any choreography references here – Bob was one of the best actors I’ve ever known but dancing was not his forte!) Bob played a variety of roles over the years, but his signature character was the villain in the melodrama WCT held every summer. His costume consisted of the traditional black stovepipe hat, black long tuxedo coat, white shirt with black string tie, black baggy pants – and white sneakers. A pasted-on moustache that twirled up at the ends completed the ensemble. Bob even had a classic villainous stance – a wide-legged squat with feet turned out, one hand slightly in front of his chest to ward off barrages of popcorn and paper wads from enthusiastic audience members. In the mid-90s, Bob passed away following a long illness.The melodramas continued for a year or two, but no one could really fill his “sneakers” so the theatre quit producing them.
In 1998, the WCT was hosting a children’s theatre camp, run by Linda, a good friend of mine. I taught dance classes on stage since the only mirrored room at the theatre had been designated for costume and make-up classes. (Which was fine with me – the kids were always more comfortable learning to dance in the space where they’d end up performing.) I was in the middle of teaching the finer points of shuffle ball-change or something equally exciting to a group of six and seven-year olds, when three of them began pointing to the balcony of the theatre. “Problem?” I asked. “There’s a man up there,” was the answer. I looked up. I saw nothing. “There’s no one there.” “No!” was the insistent response. “See him? Right there on the rail.” I looked up again. I saw nothing. “There’s no one there. Are you looking into the light booth? Do you see a shadow?”
The leader of the group became clearly exasperated with me and began to describe the man by the railing of the balcony. “Miss Flo, are you blind? He’s wearing black. A really long black coat and black pants and he’s got this funny tall, black hat on his head and he’s got a giant moustache that curls up. He put his foot on the railing a minute ago and he has on big white shoes.” I grabbed one of the techies who happened to be wandering through the theatre house at the time and asked him to take another techie and make sure no pervert had sneaked inside, stolen a melodrama costume then made his way to the balcony to spy.
Nothing. The report was “No one there. No costume was on the floor. Nothing.” I tracked down Linda during a break and told her what the kids had seen. She was quite serene. “Oh, yeah – that’s Bob.” “Bob? As in Schmidt?Are you saying . . .? Wait. Could those kids have seen his picture somewhere?” “No. All the pictures are down because they’re redoing the lobby, remember? All the photos from the wall have been stored away for at least six months and these kids are too young to have seen them before.” “So you’re telling me Bob Schmidt is . . . ?” “Haunting the theatre. Yep. Loves watching your dance classes.Always loved your dancing, you know.”
I was ticked that I personally didn’t get to see my friend, but I filed the incident away in my head and a few years later turned it into Ghost of a Chance, plopping Bob into the book as the ghost who haunts a Dallas theatre. (I ‘murdered’ that character but I knew Bob would have been delighted with twisting the truth for dramatic effect!) My heroine Kiely describes that moment when Linda told me about Bob this way, “My best friend was a lunatic. I’d always suspected it.”
There’s a poignant footnote to this story. My teenage nephew, Karl, battled a very rare form of bone cancer for four years. He died the morning of July 17th, 2004. I lived in Manhattan at the time but had come down to Alabama to be with family a few days earlier. But, I hadn’t brought any ‘good’ shoes to wear to Karl’s funeral, so later on the 17th, I headed for a mall. A bookshop happened to be next to the shoe store. Catnip to a writer, no matter how upset that writer might be. I went in. I was wandering the aisles thinking, “Hmm. Flo Fitzpatrick. Okay – Ghost of a Chance should end up somewhere between several of my favorite “F” authors – right about . . . HERE!!!” And there it was – my first published book on the shelf a good four weeks earlier than expected! I immediately thought that Bob Schmidt had welcomed Karl to the pearly gates and gently told him, “Your Aunt Flo is really upset right now – howzabout we pull some strings and get her book out there today? That way she’ll always think of you whenever she sees the cover and she’ll think of me – because I’m the most important character in the book!” Both statements are true. Bob did inspire the character of ghostly Don Mueller in Ghost of a Chance. And every time I see the cover I think of Karl. I dedicated my second book, Hot Stuff, to him but I still connect him more with the first book because of that moment in the store. I’m not sure how important comforting an aunt and a friend is in the scheme of the afterlife, but I felt better believing Bob and Karl them engineered an early book release – perhaps with the help of an theatrically-inclined angel?
An antique musical doll, cranberry-stained sheet music and the machinations of an eccentric, stupidly-short witch with a fondness for Elvis throw Melody Flynn through time to the 1919 Ziegfeld Follies. Mel soon finds herself dealing with jealous chorus girls while trying to learn songs and dances created nearly 100 years before she was born.
That’s the easy part. When she begins a race to track down missing chorines, she’s suddenly battling fanatic Egyptian cultists, murderous bordello madams – and her growing feelings for stagehand Briley McShan.
Autumn in Texarkana and the Harvest Moon is shinin’ on. Boston native Sybil (Mac) MacKenzie, in town to choreograph a local theatre’s production of ‘South Pacific,’ is becoming moonstruck. Mac’s falling in love with Johnny Chandler who plays Lt. Joe Cable, even though he’s fifteen years younger, the pair are entering the annual fall swing dance contest and she’s rethinking career plans when forced to take over the lead role in the show.
Life gets twisted when Mac and Johnny begin reliving events that involve a pair of teen-age lovers and images of Texarkana in the grip of the Nineteen-Forties Phantom Moonlight Killer. As their past-life memories grow stronger and a copycat Phantom tries to outdo the original, Mac and Johnny learn their Forties counterparts met a violent death in 1947. Events seem destined to repeat themselves unless Mac and Johnny find a way way to confront the past and embrace the present.