“Pia Pucknucker And The Mystery Of The Indian Treasure” is finally out! I am still waiting for my hardcovers to arrive. In the meantime, my creative flow is stalling. I’ve been traveling a lot this month and I just got back from my trip to New Hampshire where my husband, Joe and I went on a vacation. The autumn leaves were so vivid and colorful it left us speechless! We also went on a three hour murder mystery train ride. It included a five course dinner. It was fabulous! Back in the day, when I used to do plays and theatre, I also did murder mysteries.(You did’nt know I was actress, did you?). Well, I was but I haven’t done theatre in ages. My memorization skills are a bit rusty. This time I’m in the audience and I get to eat! Now that this trip has ended I can hopefully get unpacked and relax. Maybe this va-cay was just what I needed to get my creative flow back.
Tag Archives: murder
Clara Lindgren stood at the edge of the desolate field as the chilly December wind whipped about her. The fields were barren now; winter had come to the land. The broken corn stalks, once so full of potential, lay scattered in the fields, the wind tossing them about as it played in the ruins of the harvest.
She felt that the land was a metaphor for her life, barren, and the springtime of her days were far behind her. She shivered against the cold that penetrated her thick, woolen sweater as she thought about her life.
She was twenty-three now and feared that she was doomed to spend her years as a spinster, to live as a maiden aunt and help raise one of her siblings’ children if one of them would be kind enough to take her in under their roof. Clara would cook, clean and do all the menial chores of a servant in exchange for her room and board.
It wasn’t how she had wanted her life to turn out. Clara still held onto the tattered hopes that someday she would meet that someone special. But that dream faded more and more with each passing season. Life was passing her by, and she didn’t know if there was anything she could do to change it.
She sighed, her frosty breath enveloping her for a moment before it faded.
A light snow began to fall. She loved the smell of snow, a cold dryness that tickled her nose. Usually the frigid fragrances of winter wafted on the wind long before the snow began to fall. Clara looked up as the flakes fell from a flat, leaden sky. She had heard someone call it Winter’s Communion if you put your tongue out to catch the flakes. She watched as they fell, growing thicker in abundance from above.
She could hear the chunky flakes as they plashed into the earth, landed on her shoulders and nestled into her hair.
Soon the bleak land would be covered in a beautiful mantle of white, transforming everything into a fairyland. If only her life could transform as easily. Clara knew she was shy, but she didn’t think she was ugly. She had soft brown hair that she wore in a stylish bob, dark green eyes, flawless, pale skin, an oval face and a kewpie bow mouth. These were the attributes that everyone seemed to want, so why hadn’t anyone wanted her? What was wrong with her that no man had chosen her?
Snow was beginning to accumulate in the rutted furrows, filling them up, transforming the land. Soon the fields would not look so desolate or abandoned with the remnants of that which had been once so full of life and plentiful harvest. The snow now covered the broken stalks, making them over into something wondrous, like something out of a fairy tale.
She realized that it was the first snowfall of the season. She could make a wish now. She had learned of an old French custom of making a wish the first time you did something, or, in this instance, the first of something in a year.
This was the first snowfall of winter, 1923.
She closed her eyes; she knew her wish by heart. She had wished it so often. She wondered if it would ever come true.
“I wish that this might be the last Christmas that I ever see on the farm. I wish to leave this place forever.” Her whispered words took shape in the cold air and hung before her for a moment and then were lost in the frosty wind that snapped them away.
To read more….Clara’s Wish is available on Amazon and Second Wind Publishers.
This is an excerpt from chapter 2 of my new murder mystery, released September 6.
John slowed the airport rental car to a stop in front of the building. He did not get out. He was not sure he could. He sat there. The motor running. His heart raced. It was cool inside the car, but beads of sweat covered his brow. He flexed his fingers. Make a fist. Then straightened his fingers. He did this over and over. It was an exercise his shrink had given him to regain control of his nerves. He took a deep breath and let it out slowly through his mouth. He had flown from DC. Driving still tied his guts in knots. He rarely drove anymore. He rarely even left his apartment anymore. Now that he was here, he did not know if he could make himself go inside.
He knew before he left that this trip was going to be difficult, but it was something he had to do. He owed it to Stan. Now he sat in the car, his hands shaking, his heart racing, feeling sick to his stomach. His leg throbbed, even though the doctors said it should not. He cursed at himself and stared out the side window at the hundred year old southern colonial which loomed over the business end of a street of impressive older houses.
John had grown up further down this street. All the lawns were immaculate. He remembered that on Saturday mornings the older ladies, in their “working in the yard” clothes which looked just as nice as their “going to the store” clothes, would put on their straw hats and tend their roses and flower gardens. His hands shook as he raised the soda he bought after leaving the airport. It was warm, but he took another swallow, trying to work up the courage to turn off the engine and go inside.
He smacked the steering wheel with his hand. This is stupid! I’m a grown man, for God’s sake! He stared at the double front doors of the colonial building. A gut wrenching dread knifed through him. He looked away. There were too many ghosts in this town and particularly inside that building. He had spent the last five years avoiding those ghosts. He reached for the keys. His hand stopped short.
Horrible memories of his last visit to this town ripped him apart, but he owed Stan. They had been best friends since first grade, played football together, double dated together. When John went off to college, Stan joined the Parkwood police department. After college, John joined the bureau and moved to DC. Stan was always the one who reached out to make sure they did not lose touch. After the wreck, he called John in the hospital every day to check on him. At least once a week he drove the two-hour round trip Chapel Hill to visit and sit with him. Now Stan was dead. John leaned his head back on the headrest and closed his eyes.
Someone tapped on the window. John jerked upright. He had been lost, drifting in numbness land, and the tap startled him. His heart pounded harder. He looked over and saw his sister, Helen, standing in the street. Traffic moved slowly to go around safely. No one honked a horn. No one stared angrily at her. No one raised a fist or middle finger. Most of the people did throw up their hand, but it was a friendly wave. This was the way people were here.
Savannah Georgia, September 1895
It was hot, stiflingly hot. Tempers frayed as temperatures in the small room rose, making it harder to breathe. The poker game had been going on for hours now, and the players, though weary, weren’t willing to walk away. One man, afraid of changing his luck, soiled himself rather than take a break. The thick, humid air stank of sweat, urine and cigar smoke as the men searched one another for that fatal tell that would let the others know he might be bluffing.
A few of the men relented, looking at their cards one last time, wishing for something better and knowing the cards they needed weren’t going to magically appear. Earl Buchanan had been one of the men who had folded, throwing his cards on the table in disgust; a last thought passing through his mind, had he done the right thing? Earl Buchanan looked about the room as he got up from his chair and took a place along the wall with the other men who had dropped out of the hand. He wondered who held the kind of cards that could win the engorged pot of money in the center of the table. He cast a glance at his friend, George Hutchinson, who still sat at the table his face showing no emotion. Earl Buchanan had never been able to find his friends tell in all the years they had worked together or played poker.
The stakes were high in this hand with thousands of dollars at risk. Now, only three men remained vying for the ultimate victory. The tension between them crackled in the moist, fetid air like heat lightening. As Orville Devey shifted in his chair he looked over his cards again, secreting them close to his chest so no one could peek and give him away. He looked at George Hutchinson to see if he might reveal anything about his hand. Then his eyes darted to the man named Patrick Lemp who claimed his family brewed beer in the caves of St Louis, Missouri, his grandfather having perfected the krausening process nearly fifty years earlier.
“I fold, gentlemen,” Patrick Lemp threw his cards to the table with a sigh. “This has gotten beyond what I can afford to lose.” He leaned back and mopped the sweat from his brow. He counted the cash he had left, and then eyed the kitty longingly.
Orville Devey darted a quick look at Lemp as Lemp pushed away from the table, getting up for the drink he’d needed for a while now. The dense smoky air had parched his throat. The only sound in the room came from the liquor pouring into a glass, and Lemp drinking greedily before sighing with satisfaction.
Devey shifted his gaze back to Hutchinson. He could feel a trickle of sweat dribble down from his forehead and run down his cheek. He wanted the hand to be over so he could collect the pot. His nerves frazzled by the glut of money tossed on the table. The pile of bills and gold coins glittered in the wavering gas light. He took in a breath, slowly filling his lungs, waiting to see what his opponent, Hutchinson, would do next.
The gas lamps hissed in mockery as Devey hesitated, searching again his opponent’s face.
Like I said, some people are just lucky. There is no other way to explain it and I’m one of them. You’ve all heard the cliché, “It’s not what you know, but who you know that counts.” Another one is, ”It’s better to be lucky than smart.” Well, I am very lucky in that I know (via the Internet) Mike Simpson and the fine folks at Second Wind Publishing who are the “who you know that counts” part of the clichés.
In the 3 years since submitted my first novel to Second Wind Publishing, I have signed contracts with them for five books. The latest to be released in a month or so, is Body On the Church Steps. Now really, one just does not expect to find a naked body in front of the church. One might find a nude body in front of a bar, or club maybe, but certainly not in front of the church and certainly not dead. And why was it put there and who put it there? Well that is what the story is all about, and it’s going to more than the police to solve this mystery.
The book before that was Murder Sets Sail, released just last month. There is no mystery here. The reader knows right from the first chapter who the killers are and whom they are planning to kill. The question is can the intended target escape? Of course they can. That’s what an adventure/action novel is all about, isn’t it? This is a fun read. A friend of mine told me he got up to give their infant son his midnight bottle and instead of checking his cell phone he started to read the book. His son finished his bottle and went back to sleep and my friend couldn’t stop reading. Next thing he knew it was time for the 4 AM feeding.
The Telephone Killer was published December of 2012. In this one the serial killer calls a television station ahead of time with clues as to who he will kill next. Although those clues are correct, they are often misleading.
So there you have 3 novels that have seen “the light of day” so to speak.
The 4th novel, A Short Futile Life has a tentative release date of December 1 of this year. It is unlike anything I have done before in that it is a near-future political drama. A war hero works to help a man be elected President only to discover that the candidate planned all along to make the Presidency of the United States into a dictatorship. When our hero tries to expose the dictator, he is of course, arrested, brought to trial (a rigged trial), found guilty and executed. No picture of the cover for this one, but maybe something like this.
Finally the 5th novel, Endangered Species, with a tentative release date of March 2015, is a terrorist/adventure novel in which a group of terrorist devises a way to kill all the residence of a major US City. I have no idea what the cover of this book might be, but the team at 2nd Wind will come up with something fabulous.
Did I say I was lucky? Now wait a minute. Lucky has the idea of no reason for one’s good fortune; you know, like “dumb luck.” I think “blessed” is a better word. It implies that there is some force working on your behalf. Maybe that is what George Lucas meant when he had the characters in the Star Wars movies say, “May the Force be with you.” Well, there is certainly a Force with me and it is Mike Simpson and all the team at Second Wind Publishing.
Thank you, Gang, and May the Force be with you!
Body On the Church Steps coming soon from Second Wind Publishing.
A spring, when an old man’s fancy turns to doing nothing and napping at the beach.
Well, here it is the 4th day of summer and I haven’t been napping at the beach or doing nothing although I have somewhat neglected blogging.
Life is just too outrageously wonderful for anything? I have been wonderfully busy living outside myself while in myself.
In the ceramics department with the end of the school semester hours have been cut back at the studio and so I have been doing a bunch of stuff at home. I don’t do wheel work in my little apartment but I have been busy sculpting figurines. Somehow I think sculpting sounds more artistic than hand building, but it’s the same thing. They range in size from about 7 to 15 inches in height.
This next bunch has been bisque fired and waiting for my chance to use the spray booth for applying the glaze. I’m spraying these rather than dipping them. The blue around the bottoms of some is masking tape to keep the glaze off that area.
These are waiting their turn to be bisque fired. The one on the top left sagged a little while drying in the damp room so I have that support under the man in the hope to keep it from sagging more in the bisque firing, but then it may sag more when it is high fired. Ah, the joys of uncertainty in ceramics.
These two have come out of the damp room to dry a little more before they are put on the bisque shelves. All together here we have 21 pieces plus another dozen slowly drying in the damp room. I guess that isn’t a bad months output for someone who was planning to nap at the beach.
inside, right at the beginning I state, “This is an absolutely true story except for the parts that aren’t.” I think one should be honest about these things don’t you? I’ll tell you more about it next time.
Murder Sets Sail is published by 2nd Wind Publishers. This novel is not a mystery. You know from the beginning who the murderers are and who they intend to murder. Adventure aboard a sailboat from Honolulu to Hong Kong.
To watch The Telephone Killer video click here.
The Telephone Killer is now available as an audiobook.
Since everything is copyrighted please feel free to re blog any of my posts but please repost in its entirety and giving appropriate credit.
My next book is a collection of short stories that the publisher, Mike, has promised would be out in the spring. I sincerely hope this will, indeed, be true. For today’s Blog I thought I would give a little teaser to one of the stories: A Death of Convenience. This story takes its inspiration from the rash of robberies that have hit these stores more and more. I thought about the punks who rob them, the clerks who work in these places for pittance wages and the choices they have in any life threatening situation.
Here is a taste of this next book. You can let your imagination take the story where you will. Look for this book by S. M. Senden soon from Second Wind Books. My other publications include Clara’s Wish and Lethal Boundaries.
A Death of Convenience
Jerry Wall peered through the heavy cloud of smoke that haloed about his head as the three teenagers made their way to the door of Cathy’s Convenience Store where he worked the graveyard shift. He hated the punks who came out after dark like grimy rats climbing out of the sewers. They were usually prowling for trouble dressed in their pseudo gang-style clothes of torn t-shirts with skulls, fake blood spatter and dirty words emblazoned on the front, and scuffed pants falling down from their hips revealing soiled underwear. Worst of all, their hairy butts were exposed too. Their profusely tattooed bodies complimented by multiple body piercings. As Jerry exhaled, then sucked more smoke into his lungs he wondered what female in her right mind would find any of these punks attractive.
Jerry wished he could have been more like Clint Eastwood and tell the kids: “Go ahead, make my day,” before blasting their sorry little asses to kingdom come as they deserved. But Jerry knew he qualified as a first class wimp. He’d always been afraid of confrontation so he endured their taunts and insults and even turned a blind eye to their petty thievery rather than confront any of them.
It wasn’t worth his life.
The three punks pushed open the door and stood in the doorway looking around as if the world owed them something. Jerry had seen so many young thugs think they were entitled to something just because they were breathing. He also knew that attitude would catch up with them one day.
Today I am offering a very short story for your enjoyment. It started as a challenge to write a succinct story in very few words. The original story was 500 words, including the title. I have added a few more words for the posting today.
All my life I heard about some entailed, but incredible wealth in a family estate with an odd secret that had been passed down for generations form some eccentric ancestor with a biting sense of ironic humor. No one knew where it was until they received the letter with the key delivered by messenger.
I’d fallen on hard times. My mouth watered at the idea of the estate and its wealth.
One day, my deadbeat uncle got the letter. Enclosed in it was an old, ornate key and directions to his inheritance.
Later, I was informed, by post, that I was next in line. I needed the inheritance more than my uncle did. I made sure he did not live much longer.
What can I say, he had an accident.
Eagerly I waited for the missive to arrive by messenger about my inheritance. Finally the envelope arrived. Greedily I signed for it, and ripped open the packet. The instructions demanded that I live in the house for one year.
“Piece of cake,” I said smiling as I programmed the coordinates into my GPS and drove off to claim my inheritance. The house was a run down shack that had seen better days. It was not habitable.
I returned, disgruntled.
My cousin greeted me with a bullet. He was next in line.
No one knew there was the entrance to a gold mine under the floor. We all saw a shack, and no one, for generations, stopped to give it a second look.
I hope you have enjoyed this little story, and will contemplate where there is buried treasure in your life that you may not be seeing because of outward appearances.
By S. M. Senden, author of Clara’s Wish and Lethal Boundaries available from Second Wind Publishers.
I have just signed another contract with Second Wind Publishing for my new novel, Murder Sets Sail. My first book with them, a murder mystery, was The Telephone Killer.
There is no mystery in this novel. The reader knows from the very beginning who the murderers are and who they intend to kill.
Chris doesn’t know when he charters his sail boat to George Harris for a three-month cruise to Tahiti and other South Pacific islands that George plans to high-jack his boat.
George needs the boat to rendezvous with a sailboat out of Hong Kong carrying a hundred kilos of China White. One week out of Honolulu George commandeers the boat and heads West to rendezvous with the other boat.
After the heroin is transferred at the rendezvous and two accomplices come aboard from the other boat, George shoots one of them for having tried to double cross him while they were still in Honolulu. The Hong Kong boat is scuttled and it is obvious that the owner of that boat was killed before they ever got to the rendezvous. Continue reading
What sells a book?
It is obvious that people are not going to buy something they don’t know about. We are told the best way to inform people in this cyber age is with a website, a blog site and be on every possible social network. I have a website and blog site and I’m on Facebook and Twitter. To be very honest with you I don’t quite yet have Twitter figured out. I’m also on Linked in, but that’s another one I haven’t figured out yet.
Having done all those things, my question is, “When they come to your site what is the more effective sell; an excerpt or a video?” If you want to share your opinion the comment tab is open.
So here is a picture of the cover, and a brief description of The telephone Killer. I will also post a brief excerpt and a short video. What I’m wondering is if the video really does something or is it just fluff in the selling process.
Someone said of the video, “Well it lends credibility.” It seems to me it is the writing that has to be credible. So if you would read the excerpt and watch the video I would love I if you would let me know which, if there was only one or the other, is more likely to get you to buy the book.
OK. Here goes.
Who will he kill next? A local television station is the link between a murderer and his victims. When the unknown killer calls the station, misleading clues cannot help his intended targets.
But why is he killing seemingly random people? An insurance salesman, a police officer and a hitchhiker; the police cannot connect the victims to each other much less to the killer.
The questions haunt Vince Williams as he takes charge of the task force set up to stop the serial killer. When the team comes too close to answers, the killer makes a bold and very personal move against Vince.
As Vince races to find the killer and rescue his fiancé, he is haunted by the killer’s calm promise to destroy the woman Vince loves. Vince will do anything to save her. – Anything.
Excerpt for Telephone Killer
‟KWBD newsroom. Andrea Becker speaking.”
‟I have a news story for you.” The voice was quiet, but was easily heard and had a calm and soothing quality. ‟I would appreciate it if you did not interrupt me with questions until I have finished what I have to say.” He paused. ‟I have just killed a police officer. After determining there was no one else in the area, or anyone in his car with him, I shot him in the head. The bullet entered the left temple and exited on the right side. The killing took place at precisely ten forty-seven this morning. You will find his body in his car located at the end of Harmon Place. He did not suspect a thing. I imagine he thought I was going to ask for directions or something of that nature. He was in car number seven, twenty-six and his badge number is eighteen, twenty-one. I hope as a public service you will make the most of this news opportunity. ”
The phone went dead but still Andrea said, ‟Hello. Hello.”
* * *
Harmon Place rose up the gentle hill to end at a barricade beyond which there was some tall grass and scraggly brush interspersed with a few scrub oak trees. The street was paved with curbs and sidewalks in place and sloping driveways leading to bare dirt lots that were beginning to fill with weeds. From the end of Harmon Place, at the top of the hill, one could look down on Falcon Heights and beyond it to the city. At night, the sight of the city lights was spectacular and the curbs of Harmon Place, and other streets like it, were dotted with the cars of young lovers. Officer Remke had never parked there at night himself, but often in the middle of the morning, he parked at the end of Harmon Place to catch up on his reports so he would have that much less to do back at the station when his shift was over.
The KWBD crew from the senior citizen center, which was two miles away, got there a few minutes before the first patrol car. In that time the KWBD crew were able to get pictures of the dead officer sitting behind the wheel of his car with blood on his cheek and neck and splattered all over his uniform and the car seat. So much of the right side of his head was blown away it would have been hard to determine it was a human head if it were not for the neck and then the uniformed body below it.
More patrol cars arrived, and the police started stringing up yellow tape to keep people back. Unmarked cars with detectives and professionals from the homicide division arrived. Five minutes later, the Live-News truck arrived. Although the crew from the truck was prevented by the police from getting close enough to the crime scene to get any good pictures, the video George Patton had taken before anyone else got there was transmitted by the Live truck to the station for broadcast.
Here is the video for Telephone Killer
Paul’s book The Telephone Killer published by 2nd Wind Publishing will be out in December, 2012.