I have traveled all my life, starting with my first airplane ride from Washington, DC to Paris at the age of four, so it’s hard to pick out any particular trip as my favorite—was it traveling by bus through Syria, Turkey, and Iran? Driving through France, Andorra, and Spain to Gibraltar and Morocco? Sailing down the Nile to Luxor?
As it happens, the one on my mind lately is the voyage into the Amazon with my son. That’s because I’m finishing up a new novel set there, which incorporates some of the adventures we had. Tentatively entitled Orion’s Foot: Myth and Murder in the Amazon, it is a murder mystery set deep in the Peruvian jungle, and involves cryptids (animals thought to be extinct and/or legendary creatures), murder, and romance.
It’s based on the week we spent at a research station on the Yarapa River, a tributary of the Amazon. It took two full days to get there, and when we arrived we were greeted by the most exotic creatures I’ve ever seen—tapirs, macaws, sloths, pink dolphins, and capybaras. We saw the smallest monkey in the world (a pygmy marmoset), tarantulas, tiny bats, Morpho butterflies, and the strange hairless dog called an Inca orchid. We fished for (and ate) piranhas. We took dugout canoes everywhere, to the oxbow lakes where the weird hoatzin birds huddle and to watch the sunset over the Amazon. We cooled off by swimming in the chocolate brown river with the dolphins (and the piranhas). It was that hot.
Altogether, one of the most amazing trips I’ve ever had. Stay tuned for the novel!
Title: The Pit & the Passion: Murder at the Ghost Hotel
Series and Book #:
Author/pen name: M. S. Spencer
Genre: Mystery romance; romantic suspense; humorous romance
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Date of Publication: 1/22/2018
Number of pages: 418
Word Count: 97,370
At midnight, in the darkness of a deserted hotel, comes a scream and a splash. Eighty-five years later, workmen uncover a skeleton in an old elevator shaft. Who is it, and how did it get there? To find out, Charity Snow, ace reporter for the Longboat Key Planet, teams up with Rancor Bass, best-selling author. A college ring they find at the dig site may prove to be their best clue.
Although his arrogance nearly exceeds his talent, Charity soon discovers a warm heart beating under Rancor’s handsome exterior. While dealing with a drop-dead gorgeous editor who may or may not be a villain, a publisher with a dark secret, and an irascible forensic specialist, Charity and Rancor unearth an unexpected link to the most famous circus family in the world.
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-pit-and-the-passion-m-s-spencer/1127750685?ean=2940158925351
Charity nursed her drink. She didn’t have to wait long. An agitated Rancor, his face as white as cotton wool, tottered to the table. “What is it?”
“Oh my God. I saw him! I saw Tommy, Charity!”
He slumped down on the chair, then leaned forward and snatched her wine from her hand, downing it in one swallow. “He was…he was sitting there, calm as you please. When he saw me—” He gulped for air.
“What do you mean, he saw you? Don’t ghosts just have eye sockets?”
“Not this one. He had coal black eyes and…and they flashed. He was angry, Charity. Angry at me.”
“Did he talk?”
“Of course not. He’s a ghost. Honestly, haven’t you read anything about ghosts?”
Charity took a deep breath. “Okay, tell me what happened.”
“Well, he saw me and pulled himself up. He wore torn overalls and a cotton shirt.”
“The scrap of denim.”
Rancor nodded. “He opened his mouth as though he were yelling, but no sound came out. He took a step toward me and fell over. That’s when I saw he only had one leg.”
“That’s right—they had to cut it off to get him out of the pit.”
“Yes. He lay there, his hand outstretched toward me, his mouth gaping like a dying mackerel. Charity, he wanted something from me.”
“His toy. The ring.”
“Wow. How did he know I have it?”
Charity gave him a disgusted look. “Hello?”
“Oh.” Rancor held up two fingers. The bartender nodded and began to mix another martini. “Do you suppose Tommy took the ring from the dead man?”
“He must have.” Charity mused. “But the other body arrived later, after Tommy—I mean Theodore— after they took his body away.”
“But his ghost still haunted the pit.”
“And when Biddlesworth decided to sublet, he came out.”
“Spotted the restaurant and decided the men’s room would be preferable to being buried alive.”
“A ghost can’t be buried alive.”
“True.” Rancor scratched his chin. “So, first order of business is to find out when the other one died.”
Although M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five of the seven continents, the last thirty years were spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional assistant, speechwriter, editor, non-profit director, and parent.
Ms. Spencer has published eleven romantic suspense novels, and has two more in utero. She has two fabulous grown children and an incredible granddaughter. She divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.
Author website and social media links:
Linked in: www.linkedin.com/in/msspencerauthor