For the second time in this year’s Blogging from A-Z Challenge, the post is a day late. Domestic matters got in the way yesterday. Q is for Que will follow this afternoon to get me back on schedule.
I have a new series which debuts on June 10th when Crooked Cat Books will release the first Spookies Mysteries, The Haunting of Melmerby Manor.
First released in the United States in 2007, it has been re-edited, and prepped for re-release on a worldwide audience, but this time it’s with a series in mind.
Essentially, the Spookies Mysteries are whodunits, with a paranormal twist. Team leader is the Lady Concepta Rand-Epping, Countess of Marston, ably assisted by her faithful butler, Albert Fishwick.
Like many British aristocrats, Sceptre, as she is known to her friends, has fallen on hard times. The last of the Rand-Eppings, there is little left of the family fortune, and she earns her living teaching history at Ashdale Technical College. And she is a paranormal investigator.
It doesn’t end there, because she has two other helpers: the sceptical Pete Brennan, a disgraced ex-cop who is tougher than your average block of reinforced concrete, and who helps keep s Sceptre’s feet firmly in this world, and wheeler-dealer, super-salesman and not-so sceptical Kevin Keeley, an electronics wizard and a man who can talk himself into the most dodgy situations and usually needs either Pete or Sceptre or both to get him out of them.
Oh, and did I mention that Fishwick was killed on the first day of the Somme in 1916? Yes, Fishwick is a ghost. Channelling only through Sceptre, he helps out with investigations, both real and ethereal, from the Spirit Plane.
The content is a little stronger than the STAC Mysteries. There’s a little more violence, and while there is no graphic sex, there’s more than a modicum of innuendo. They’re also longer than the STAC Mysteries. Each will run to 80,000-90,000 words. Second and third titles in the series are already in production.
To whet your appetite, here’s a little snippet from The Haunting of Melmerby Manor.
Investigating strange goings on at Melmerby Manor, the team are settled in the cafeteria when Sceptre declares it’s time to take a second tour of the house. As they set out, she hears a noise.
With the total blackness of a foggy night on the outside and the meagre lighting on the inside, the hall had taken on a new, more sinister aura. Faces on portraits lining the grand staircase had developed a Baskervillian air, as if they were ready to leap from their frames and tear out the living hearts of anyone foolhardy enough to pass. At the top of the curving staircase, distant lamps cast elongated shadows of banister rails, like the grotesque bars of a supernatural prison that held unspeakable horrors for the unwary inmate. Silence hung in the tense air: a spine-chilling stillness, broken only by the cry of the moorland wind and the sound of whalesong from Kevin’s CD player.
Then, into the night came a distant bump that might have been a rumble of thunder or the movement of furniture closer to home.
Pete strained his ears. “Will you shut that row up?”
“I haven’t said anything,” Kevin protested.
“Not you; that crap on your CD player.”
The immensity of the entrance hall, its age, grandeur and dark corners (particularly its dark corners) gave Kevin the jitters. Glad to be out of it, he hurried back into the cafeteria, and made for the CD player. He was halfway there when the machine ejected the CD and threw it across the room at him like a razor-edged discus, its polished surface glittering in the half-light of the room.
“Now what?” asked Pete as he and Sceptre hurried back in.
They found Kevin cowering near the cash register at the end of the service counter.
“What’s up?” asked Sceptre.
“Th-the C-C-CD. It came out of the machine and nearly cut my head off.”
Pete picked up the disc. “Well you always said that machine was a bit iffy.”
“I was nowhere near it,” Kevin cried. “It was as if someone picked it up and threw it at me like a Frisbee.”
Sceptre was delighted. “Sir Henry! The poltergeist!”
Is it Sir Henry? Is it merely their imagination? You’ll have to wait until June 10th to find out. In the meantime, there’s a Facebook launch event already set up, and you’re welcome to come along.