Am Ink Publishing will release my horror mystery “Under the Blood Moon” in August.
All hell’s breaking loose in the small desert town of Guadalupe, New Mexico starting with a series of bizarre murders. County prosecutor Matthew Riley suspects a controversial resort development is to blame and unearths a conspiracy that’s opened the door for an ancient evil seeking revenge for old and new betrayals.
Amazon loves Felicity. “Felicity Carrol and the Murderous Menace” has been selected as a Kindle Deal of the Day today, December 1st, priced at $2.99.
Heiress and amateur detective Felicity Carrol makes a perilous journey to apprehend a notorious murderer who has terrorized England–and now continues his vicious killing spree in America and discovers not all killers are as they seem.
“This colorful, action-filled mystery presents a novel twist.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Apples. Apples.” Felicity Carrol sang out in a whiny voice. She held out the fruit to the woman who passed. “Juicy and sweet, dearie. Only a penny.” Her cockney accent was as perfect as the apple she offered.
Standing almost a head taller, the woman ignored Felicity with a wave of her right hand and then crossed Warwick Road. The woman had no little finger. Felicity took in the woman’s scent of lavender, vanilla, and murder.
Bessie Denner was suspected of killing three husbands with arsenic. The Deadly Widow had finally appeared.
Taking a bite out of the apple, which was as good as she had advertised, Felicity watched the woman walk into Simons Apothecary. The suspect wore an expensive though gaudy blue satin dress and hat with the largest ostrich feather imaginable, which made her even taller.
In contrast, Felicity wore a plain dress, apron, and shawl, all topped with an oversized bonnet. Proud of her disguise, she based it on those of other vendors she had seen on the streets. Her wares lay in a wooden tray hung around her waist with a leather belt. Three days before she had started her apple selling right in front of Simons Apothecary. On that first day however owner Alfred Simons had yelled at her to move on, in less than polite terms, and added a little shove for good measure. Slight and short, Simons’s eyes resembled a mole’s, especially when he threw curses at Felicity’s apple seller. So Felicity had moved directly across the street. The vantage point proved sufficient. Through the apothecary’s window, Felicity spotted the woman with the big feathered hat pitch her arms around Alfred Simons and plant an ardent kiss on him.
“Complice,” Felicity whispered. The French word for accomplice sounded so much better in this case.
Felicity had smelled Bessie Denner’s lavender and vanilla fragrance before. Like a mist over a cemetery, the scent had lingered on the clothes of Denner’s latest kill. Felicity had examined the newly deceased Michael Spencer in the London Coroner mortuary. The victim had been dressed as he had appeared in life, a barrister’s clerk natty from his toenails to his neck. Despite the conservative clothing, the face had revealed a kindness even in rigor mortis.
The coroner reported arsenic poisoning as the cause of death.
“They did one of those tests to find the stuff,” said Mr. Hobson, a clerk at the coroner’s office.
Amazon has chosen “Felicity Carrol and the Perilous Pursuit” as a Kindle Monthly Deal for all of November, priced at $1.99.
Felicity Carrol is brilliant, resourceful and not interested in becoming a proper young Victorian lady. When her mentor is brutally murdered she investigates only to find that the realm itself could be threatened.
“[Felicity] is a combination of Sherlock Holmes and Indiana Jones…Recommended to those looking for a female superhero out to right wrongs and defy convention to do so.”—Historical Novels Review
Excerpt from “Felicity Carrol and the Perilous Pursuit”
“Everyone, please take shelter behind the hedges,” Felicity Carrol announced.
Her homemade bomb was about to explode.
The dozen servants obeyed without hesitation. It was nearly ten at night, and they had already rescued what furniture and art they could from the east wing before Felicity told them to leave the rest to the flames. With help, she had first rescued the chemicals and scientific equipment from her laboratory, which was the source of the fire currently consuming the house.
When Felicity determined that the blaze could not be contained and would spread, she came up with a plan to save the rest of Carrol Manor. In the kitchen, she combined the perfect amounts of glycerin with nitric and sulfuric acids. She added torn paper and porridge oats to absorb the unstable mixture. With cautious movements, she packed the volatile paste into an Italian ceramic urn she had always disliked. As she did so, she reviewed the formula in her mind. Many times, pride in her knowledge and abilities suppressed any doubt about her experiments. She loathed that aspect of her personality—taking pleasure in what she could accomplish. For instance, she would bet no other young woman in England, well, in all of Surrey anyway, was capable of constructing a bomb in their kitchen. Despite the delicate work, Felicity wanted to laugh. Besides herself, what young woman would even want to pack an urn with dynamite?
Still, better to be careful in case she did not know as much as she thought she did about bomb making. Although confident in her chemistry, she didn’t want anyone harmed if something went wrong. And plenty had already gone wrong that evening. The fire was proof of that. So she had asked the servants to leave while she created the explosive.
Aided by John Ryan, an affable Irishman in charge of the grounds, she had carried the dynamite-filled urn outside. Together, they placed it in the middle of the long hallway connecting the east wing to the rest of the manor.
After glancing back to make sure everyone was protected, Felicity lit a match to a line of gun powder Ryan had supplied. Spitting sparks, the powder burned toward her handmade explosive.
“Time to run,” she told Ryan.
“As you say, Miss Carrol.”
She picked up her skirt for an unfettered escape. Ryan ran alongside her.
Behind the hedge, they all waited. The air pounded. The ground tremored, and glass
shattered. A burning timber flew over their heads, eliciting gasps from the female servants.
Felicity peeked around the hedge. A good ten-meter chunk of the hallway had been blasted away. Her explosion had contained the fire to the east wing. The main house had suffered some shattered windows but was otherwise safe.
“You did it, Miss Felicity. No doubt they heard your bomb clear to Guildford,” Ryan said in his comfortable brogue.
“How much simpler if we’d had a stick of dynamite. But one must make do, thanks all the same to Mr. Alfred Nobel.” She did not want to appear too pleased with herself.
I’m proud to announce that AM Ink Publishing will release my horror mystery UNDER THE BLOOD MOON next summer. Details to come.
Guadalupe, New Mexico is usually a pretty quiet town. That is until everything starts going to hell with a series of bizarre murders. Not to mention, a demon gives birth at a park. A boy disappears in the middle of a swimming pool. Rattlesnakes invade the town. Asked by his best friend the sheriff to assist in the investigation, Prosecutor Matthew Riley suspects a high-end resort development is at the heart of the crimes. But he also discovers a conspiracy of the living has opened the door for an ancient evil seeking revenge for old and new betrayals that threaten even his own family.
Enjoy Hispanic culture and a good read with “Verdict in the Desert.”
A rich alcoholic attorney defends a Mexican woman accused of murdering her white abusive husband and falls in love with the Latina interpreter in a prejudice Arizona town in 1959.
“An exceptionally well written, complex and riveting novel from beginning to end, “Verdict in the Desert” reveals author Patricia Santos Marcantonio as an impressively gifted writer able to engage and consistently compel her reader’s attention from beginning to end.” Midwest Book Review
Published by Arte Público Press, in Houston, Texas, is the largest US publisher of contemporary and recovered literature by US Hispanic authors, part of the University of Houston.
I will be presenting “What Makes a Good Scary Story?” at the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Virtual Fall Conference, Sept. 18.
This fun and interactive workshop will provide tools so writers of horror and other scary tales can ramp up their stories. There will be discussions on what scares people psychologically and how those fears can be used in writing. Other topics include studying haunted settings and objects and why they are perfect (or not)for such stories. We will discuss the structure of frightening tales and how to use words and phrases that will add more emotion. Also, we will discuss spooky creatures from zombies to Hannibal Lector, and what makes them so fascinating and frightening. Empathized will be the use of originality to break the usual scare mold and avoid the pitfalls of bad scares. Participants will learn how to come up with creative creatures and villains, how to look outside of traditional settings to create something new, and learn a better understanding of what makes good scares so effective.
For more about this great five-day conference, check out their website at:
I am honored to be presenting “Historical Research: Challenging, Daunting and Fun” on Sunday August 1st from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. (PT) at the Willamette Writers Online Conference 2021, July 29, 2021—August 1, 2021.
Conducting research for a book can be challenging, daunting, fun and scary or all of the above. In this interactive presentation, writers will learn how to conduct effective and efficient research, consider out-of-the-box places to research, and when they should stop researching and get to work writing.
Willamette Writers always put on an excellent conference.
Enjoy this excerpt from “Felicity Carrol and the Murderous Menace” — an Amazon Kindle Deal for July. Get your copy for $2.99 thru 7/31.
Heiress and amateur detective Felicity Carrol makes a perilous journey to apprehend a notorious murderer who has terrorized England–and now continues his vicious killing spree across the pond.
Felicity and Helen stepped out of the stagecoach and the ground shook. Horses clomped dirt. Buildings tremored.
“My heavens,” exclaimed Helen who turned around and tried to get back in the coach.
“What an introduction,” said Felicity, who gently tugged on the back of Helen’s dress to stop her. “We’ve come all this way, Hellie. We can’t go back now.”
“Oh, yes, we can.”
Felicity straightened her velvet hat while their trunks were removed from the coach. At a café across from the station, a man leaned against the porch. A star glinted on his leather vest. A lawman of the West, how exciting just to see one. She noticed how he examined the face of every man in the vicinity. He was searching for someone, and from his severe gaze, she was glad it was not her.
Then the man’s focus landed on Felicity and Helen, and he ambled toward them as if he had more than time on his side.
“This is our lucky day, Helen. I wanted to meet the sheriff, and I believe here he comes.”
“I wouldn’t call that lucky,” Helen replied and pulled at her wrinkled dress. “He’s probably come to throw us out of town.”
“Don’t be so negative, Hellie.” Even if he threw them out, she’d come back, because she had a goal to achieve.
The sheriff walked straight, though perhaps a little too much so, as if he only followed a path he trusted. With his longish dark brown hair, he could have been a good-looking, young Allan Quartermain pursuing adventure in Africa rather than upholding the law in an unruly Montana town. Almost as if he had heard her thoughts, the man licked his fingers to tame a few unruly strands of hair behind his ears.
Pay attention, Felicity chided herself. You’re acting like a silly schoolgirl, not that you were ever were one.
“Welcome to Placer,” the sheriff told Felicity. His voice sounded of an American sunset, rich and rough.
“This place is certainly a long way from New York.”
“Or anywhere.” Helen adjusted her hat. “My insides have never been so shaken around as in that contraption.” Her thumb pointed back at the stagecoach. “And what in blazes was that explosion all about then?”
He noted his short shadow, took the watch out of a vest pocket, and smiled. “Wait one more minute, ma’am.”
Helen mouthed “ma’am” to Felicity and they both tried not to laugh.
A whistle blew in the distance, and the whole town rattled. In the street, horses reared and whinnied. Dogs barked. Windows shook.
“Another earthquake!” Helen started to climb back into the stagecoach, and Felicity again pulled at the back of her dress.
“No earthquake, Helen. A dynamite explosion. If I’m not mistaken, the sound originated from the west.”
“You’re right, ma’am. It’s the noontime blasting at the mines.” The sheriff scratched his head.
From his face, Felicity could tell he was wondering how a woman knew about dynamite.
“I suppose the blasting takes place during the day so as not to wake everyone,” she said.
“That’s the general idea. You two sound British.”
“Your powers of observation are keen. Are you the welcoming committee?” The corners of Felicity’s mouth quirked up with mischievousness. The sheriff replied with a smile he probably used to impress women.
“Sheriff Tom Pike at your service.” He tipped up his hat.
“This is fortuitous. Exactly the person I wanted to meet,” Felicity said.
“How lucky can a fella get?”
Brilliant. Another sarcastic man. Her mouth straightened with determination. “I’ve come to Placer to learn about the murder of Lily Rawlins.”
Pike lost his amiable exterior and instead became a wooden pillar.
She pointed at the star on his chest. “You are the sheriff aren’t you?”
“Last I looked, ma’am.”
“Enough ma’am. My name is Felicity Carrol, and this is Miss Helen Wilkins.”
Pike shook their hands. “A pleasure. But what’s all this about Lily Rawlins? You a Pinkerton detective or something?”
“Heavens no. But what a delightful compliment.” Felicity’s eyes widened.
“When you came out of stagecoach, I told myself spring had arrived. Lovely and refreshing like the flowers on the mountainside,” Pike said.
“How poetic of you, Sheriff.”
“Then you opened your mouth.” Pike’s brow creased with irritation.
Even in America, I have this effect on men, Felicity thought. But she couldn’t worry about annoying this interesting fellow.
“Hundreds of people from all over the United States and other countries land in Placer to work in the mines and smelters or to seek their own golden vein in the ground. It’s my duty to find out who’s arrived in my town.”
“Not only poetic but efficient,” Felicity said.
“You two are among the most extraordinary I’ve ever seen.”
“How kind of you. Wait, was that a compliment?” Felicity said.
“I’m not sure.”
“Now about Lily Rawlins.”
“This is some sort of record, ma’am. You got into town a few minutes ago and have put me in a god awful mood.”
“I suspect you woke up that way, Sheriff,” Felicity replied.
“Why you asking about Big Lil? Her death isn’t exactly the nicest subject for a lady to discuss.” His tone turned harsh as if he hoped to scare her away.
Felicity brushed dust from her skirt. “My dear sheriff, if you’re not a lady then how can you determine what is proper?”