I’ve been too quiet.

Hey – I’ve been very quiet on here and I guess I need to say something.

Eye of Newt has six good to outstanding reviews – I appreciate those.

I nearly have the first Carol Montgomery Mystery ready to go to press and I’m well into the sequel. Writing about witches, haunts, and telepathic cats is a different world for me, so I find it sometimes rather slow going. Besides, my muse took a vacation – but it’s back and nicely refreshed.

I’m thinking about including some stuff about the Piro Tribe of Native Americans in the sequel to “The Old Courthouse”. They resided in the Las Cruces/El Paso area for millennia before the Spanish and English Entrada’s and have been trying to get Federally recognized for decades. I have to do some research on their cultural and religious traditions. That should be interesting and fun.

I may have a new O’Flaithearta Biological Consults mystery in the cooker. We’ll see how the new Carol Montgomery book goes, then move forward from there.

Eye of Newt, Skin of Toad – Teaser

“Hello, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police dispatch. How may I help you? Yes, ma’am, we are aware that there’re some folks at Tule Springs, and they have a fire. Yes, ma’am, they have a permit. According to my log, ma’am, they will be there all night. Yes, ma’am, they are some sort of witchcraft group, but what they are doing is perfectly legal. I will have an officer check on them, ma’am. Yes, ma’am. Thank you, ma’am.”

Ok, let’s see – who’s got patrol out there? Mary – Ok.

“267, this is dispatch – come in.”

“Dispatch, this is 267; what can I do for you?”

“Mary, what’s your 10-20?  

“I’m in the West Charleston area, not too far from Rainbow.”

“I just got a citizen call about a group that’s toasting marshmallows at Tule Springs. Any chance you can cruise by there and check them out?”

“10-4, dispatch – just as soon as I get done with this domestic bliss call that I’m on.”

“10-4, 267 – be careful – dispatch out.”

The two archaeologists climbed out of their truck and strolled toward the tarp they had left covering their small excavation pit.

“What’s this I heard about a witch’s coven having some sort of ritual here last night, Charlie?”

“Yeah, that’s what I heard from the Metro. They gave me a heads-up in case we had anything that might need protecting. I understand that the coven folks think Tule Springs is some sort of astral power center. I think they got onto the notion from some of the local Paiutes.”

“You know, I think I have heard that the Paiutes have some ancient stories about Tule Springs. That’s not too surprising, considering how long humans appear to have been around here. That reminds me, did you remember to photograph that flake we found yesterday?”

“Oh, damn. No, I completely spaced on that. Let me get my camera. We left the flake in situ when we finished and covered the pit yesterday.”

“Ok, I’ll pull the tarp back. Sure hope the witches didn’t decide to wander over here and check out what we are up to.”

Dr. Charlie Meroux, the number two person on the new Tule Springs ancient man dig, turned and walked back toward the truck. Dr. Alex Gibson, the site lead, continued toward the tarp covering the excavation’s first pit. When Alex reached the tarp, he leaned down, grabbed one corner, and turned to pull the tarp back, away from the dig site. As he did so, Alex caught a glimpse of something under the far edge of the tarp. Pulling his corner away from the side of the hole, he walked over, grabbed the other corner, and started to pull it back. Alex stopped in mid-pull and let out a whistle.

“Holy shit! This ain’t no ancient man.”

☼ ☼ ☼ ☼

Like Cozies?

Ghosts in a historic courthouse and jail?

Telepathic cats?

Ph.D. Engineer and adobe expert that has wiccan powers?

What is going on in the Old Courthouse? Carol Montgomery and her cat, Rogue, get to the heart of the mysterious noises coming from the abandoned jail and courthouse.

Eye of Newt, Skin of Toad – Newest O’Flaithearta Biological Consulting Mystery

Coming within the next month or perhaps less a new mystery, “Eye of Newt, Skin of Toad”. A musician is found dead in an archaeological site pit in a Las Vegas Park. The man was attending a wiccan celebration at a power center in the park. An autopsy reveals he died of toad poisoning. A shady casino owner is found executed in a canyon in the Red Rock National Conservation Area outside of Las Vegas. The casino owner owed the musician money. An Ayahuasca shaman seems to be connected to both of the men. TheHerbster, an authority on desert amphibians, is hired by the Las Vegas Metro Department to help determine what kind of toad provided the poison. Herb finds himself in Peru’s Amazon forest collecting skin swabs from poison dart frogs, and is nearly murdered.

A 5-Star Review of Bear Market.

An Interesting Wildlife Read in Tahoe

Reviewed in the United States on January 12, 2021.

This was an interesting look at biological bear studies, framed in a fictional mystery about a group of biologists trying to bust a bear poaching ring. You can tell that scientifically, the author knows his stuff, and I enjoyed this read, I finished it very quickly. It has a full cast of diverse characters working the case. I found the format interesting too, much of the book is set up as one-sided phone conversations, and you see the plot unfolding as it bounces from person to person calling around. I thought that was creative.

However, at times I felt the characters were a bit too dispassionate. I thought there would be more of a connection to these animals the biologists were tracking in the field, and more anger when the bears met their needless demises. The biologists seemed just as concerned about what they were going to eat for lunch as for the fates of the bears. I also wish that maybe there had been more details about black bears, or the lore of traditional Chinese medicine. What exactly are the healers doing with those parts?

That said, I am curious about the undercover op that seems to be setting up in the end of this book, and I want to know what happens next!

Two Reviews of The Jaguar Drum

I have gotten two 5-star reviews of The Jaguar Drum. That’s wonderful. Here they are.

Don’t let the cover put you off this hidden treasure!Reviewed in the United States on February 10, 2021 I almost passed this book by, because of the really bad cover. I kept coming back to it though because the synopsis intrigued me, and I wondered if I was bypassing a real treasure of a story because of a home-made cover. And I was right! This is a FANTASTIC story, very well-done plot, likeable and relatable characters, and a strong sense of history, place and time. Don’t pass up this historical gem for your children, to give them a good look into the Mayan and Spaniard cultures and histories of the time of Philip and Elizabeth of Spain.

I loved being transported to a different place and time.Reviewed in the United States on February 11, 2021. I was impressed with the voice of this book. It doesn’t sound like a modern book and has an older style, which for me helped bring me to a different way of thinking. The information is interesting and told in a believable way. The paragraphs are very long and I think could benefit with some breaking up. Also, if the author reads this, his blurb could use some work. The information about the book feels like a dry summary, and makes people less likely to want to pick it up. I assure you, though, readers, that you do want to pick it up. I loved being transported to a different place and time.

I also have one 5-star rating without a review.

I truly appreciate these excellent reviews and the reviewers’ critical comments.

Two New Novels in the Offing

I have two new novels in the offing. The third in the O’Flaithearta series currently called “Eye of Newt, Skin of Toad”. It features The Herbster from the first two novels and is set in Las Vegas and the Amazon of Peru. The second is the first in the Carol Montgomery Mystery series. It is tentatively named “The Old Courthouse”, and deals with the haunted county courthouse in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It features Carol Montgomery, PhD engineering consultant and adobe construction specialist, and a telepathic cat.

You might want to read the first two in the O’Flaithearta series before reading the new one – those give you some context and sense of the people and are quick, but fun reads. The Carol Montgomery book is a cozy and basically lots of fun.