12710959_1119562818078084_3718795190040610704_oBetween the title and the cover art, Sandra Perez Gluschankoff has us asking tantalizing questions about Franzisca’s Box (CLICK ON THE IMAGE TO BUY) before we read a word. Who is Franzisca, and what does she have in that box? What does the key open? We want to know immediately, don’t we? I sure did. As it turns out, we have to work a bit for the answers. But we work side by side with protagonist Sofia who has an enormous amount at stake, and she’s definitely worth spending time with.

Sofia’s grandmother, her beloved abuela, has just died, and it’s up to Sofia to straighten out her complicated affairs. The abuela, Claudia Lazar, is rich. Her past and the source of her fortune is murky. Just how Sofia is to set things aright not at all apparent. Add to this the emotional components, such as the long-lived alienation of Sofia’s from her mother, abuela’s daughter, and you have a rich stew of conflict right off. And there is more to come.

The fact that Sofia calls her grandma abuela sets us up for a Spanish-speaking context, doesn’t it? Well, yes. And no. The spelling “Sofia” works for Spanish, but it also works for where the story takes us next. I’ll hint that the spelling “Franzisca” is a clue, but won’t to insert more of a spoiler than that. Well, except to say that it involves WWII and Jewish horrors.


Suffice it to say that Sofia’s long-held notion that Franzisca is a fictional character her abuela created for her childhood delight turns out to be dead wrong. As do many of her other assumptions about who she and her family are and where they come from. Underlying each of the myriad layers of discovery and truth that await both Sofia and us readers as the search proceeds are knotty and complex questions of good and evil, of pragmatism and idealism, of conscience and compromise. There is unadulterated villainy in Franzisca’s Box, but it is not nearly as important or significant to my mind as the dynamics among the characters who are forced to contend with it. When you look evil in the face, what do you do and how do you do it? And what about love? Can you hang on to it amid utter corruption and challenges to your core values? Sofia’s got some problems to solve. Whether she solves them all or not may be open to question, but she carries on with courage and resolve that keeps us rooting and agonizing for her.

The answers to the questions she confronts are what await us inside Franzisca’s box, and the keys on the cover? They open the way to a plethora of answers while they leave a plethora of others waiting somewhere on the horizon. Though the narrative occasionally bogs down in extended back story and character description, its an amazingly original and successful tale.. I love stories that leave such a tantalizing lack of resolution even after the last word of the last sentence of the last paragraph is done. Good luck, Sofia.

sitting up clapping



The Lie

[THE LIE releases on March 4, 2016. Click on the cover image to order to get your advance copy.] 

For high school siblings, Amy and Bryce, the night began with a football game. Bryce was stuck at home with a cold, brought on by an uncaring coach. Amy was in the stands, playing with the band whose funding had been taken away and given to the football team.

Her best friend, Jane, brought the band together to play a prank on the team in protest.

The prank went wrong. Horribly, tragically wrong.

And the lie that started it all would not stop.


And there’s even more at

About the Author:

IMG_9667Born and raised in Southern California’s Los Angeles basin, K.C. Sprayberry spent years traveling the United States and Europe while in the Air Force before settling in northwest Georgia. A new empty nester with her husband of more than twenty years, she spends her days figuring out new ways to torment her characters and coming up with innovative tales from the South and beyond.

She’s a multi-genre author who comes up with ideas from the strangest sources. Some of her short stories have appeared in anthologies, others in magazines.



 A M Y

 The sun is peeping over the mountains all around us. The members of the Landry High School Band fill in the last of the holes where we placed our planned revenge to go off tonight. None of us has had any sleep since we woke up yesterday, yet we’re charged up and ready for the rest of today and well into tonight.

“Where are your friends?” I ask.

Jane Preston, my bestie, the true mastermind of this prank, smirks at me.



I hear Amy coming home. She doesn’t know that I’ve been awake all night, waiting on her. Not that she sneaks out much—she never does stuff like this, unless it’s a Jane plan. I pretty much figured that from what I caught of the muffled phone conversations going on until eight last night. That’s when I heard the window going up, a box being hidden behind the bush, and Amy sneaking away.

She’s lucky that Mom and Dad didn’t catch her. Thanks to me. If I hadn’t gone into the kitchen, faking that cough, Amy would have been in major trouble.


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Listen: there’s a hell of a good universe next door: let’s go

e. e. cummings–

 Janet Lynn Gray died on —  

Cancer claimed her body, but her indomitable spirit lives on.

IMG_1515She was born Janet Lynn Brush in 1943 in Antioch, California to Pauline Brush (nee Hough) and Maybert Brush. She was their second child, brother Carl having appeared on the scene a year and a half earlier. Pauline was a nurse, “Bert” a teacher.

When Janet was still a toddler, Bert secured a school administrative position in Mount Shasta City, and the family spent about seven years in beautiful environs at the foot of that majestic 14, 000 foot jewel of the Cascade range. It was during this time that sister Sally Ann was born in nearby Weed.

In 1952, Bert changed jobs once more, and the Brush’s moved to Willows, a small town in the heart of the Sacramento Valley, about ninety miles north of Sacramento. Here, Janet grew up and graduated from high school.

IMG_1513She entered San Francisco State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree and a teaching credential. She found that teaching didn’t suit her very well, but she found that John (Jay) Manley, a teacher at Berkeley High School, suited her quite well. The two married, and she concentrated on raising their two sons–Christopher, now of Kailua Kona, Hawaii, and Geoffrey, of London, England. That’s Geoff on the left, Chris on the right.

The marriage dissolved after ten years, and Janet became a single mother. She and Jay remained close, and made a loving parental team as they raised their sons. Mentored by her younger sister, Sally, she launched a pioneering career as a plumbing contractor. The two siblings founded Shakti Plumbing. In a protest against patriarchal tradition, they changed their names from Brush to Gray, their maternal grandmother’s maiden name. Sally also changed her first name, becoming Samantha, but Janet stayed with her original.

Plumbing was, and is, a man’s profession.  She fought both prejudice and physical challenges to succeed in the trade, but her strength and perseverance prevailed. She had a long and successful career of it until her illness forced her to retire in early 2014.

Not to forget her artistic side, she was a sterling photographer, as the picture at the top suggests, and our family albums teem with her fine work.

She had been losing weight for some months when doctors finally diagnosed her with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in June of 2014. Lymphoma is a blood-borne disease, which means the cancer is everywhere and anywhere in her body, making the it inaccessible to both surgery and radiation. Thus, her oncologist, Dr. Pai, launched an aggressive series of chemotherapy treatments.

After the fifth of six scheduled treatments, the tumor had shrunk, but not disappeared. Janet had continued to lose weight, dropping to about ninety pounds. Her condition made further treatments inadvisable,  and was referred to palliative care with the hope that she could gain enough to endure more chemotherapy. She was unable to do so, and in early December, she entered Kaiser Hospice.

Even as she declined, Janet continued to demonstrate that independence and strength of spirit that typified her life. One nurse predicted she wouldn’t make it past Christmas, but on she sailed into the new year. Others declared her finished at various times during the ensuing months. No one thought she’d survive till April 28 to blow out birthday candles on her seventy-second birthday. But blow them out she did.IMG_0277

Astoundingly, Janet remained cheerful to the end, regularly expressing gratitude to all who helped make her comfortable, and displaying her wry humor throughout. Just a couple of days before her death, ago, three of us had made an amateurish job of turning her over in bed, forcing her to endure some tugging, pulling, pushing and cursing. When the task was finished, we asked her if she was okay. “I’m fine,” she said from a half-drugged sleep, “How about you guys?”

Finally, even her incredible will to live couldn’t hold out against the disease that had long since claimed her body. Her sons and niece Erin (and family), came from afar many times during her decline. She died at home, surrounded in body and spirit by family and friends who admired and loved her and will cherish her memory.

The family sends thanks to all the people at Kaiser who helped Janet and the rest of us through this ordeal. Oncologist Ashok Pai, his nurse, Linda Omi; Palliative care Doctor Bonnie Chin and her nurse, Mary. Especially important was the Hospice staff who made it possible for Janet to live out her final months in her apartment rather than an institution. Most especially, we will remember and remain grateful to nurse Gabriella Porter, Social Worker Huldah Cannon, and Chaplain Perry Pike. They helped us negotiate the emotional and bureaucratic straits that at times threatened our family caretaking ship.

In the end, there is no end, only a transition from a world through which Janet made her way in championship fashion.  e.e. Cummings’ words describe her journey well:

To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; and never stop fighting.

And Janet never did.