Today, please give a warm welcome to author Sue Coletta who is here to talk about her latest release, I Am Mayhem. Sue is even going to share an excerpt with us, which I know you’ll find as exciting as I did. So, without further ado, I’m turning the floor over to her. Take it away, Sue!
Thanks for having me back on The Write Stuff, Marcia!
I haven’t been sharing excerpts of I AM MAYHEM during my blog tour because the story twists and turns so much it’s tough not to give away spoilers. On my site I created a video reading of a fun scene (dark humor). This time, I’ll share a sneak peek of one of the many nemeses Shawnee Daniels must battle in this story. Enjoy!
Rather than enter through the front door, I clicked my flashlight app and hustled around the side of the house, into the backyard. Halfway to the deck, a twig snapped to my left, and I whirled toward the tree line.
Icy tingles shimmied down my spine. “Mister Mayhem?” Though I couldn’t find him in the pre-dawn darkness, my voice still cracked, pitched. “Please let me explain before you—” Mid-sentence, my mouth gaped open.
Into my light beam stepped the same enormous dog I’d encountered weeks ago. On hind legs, he towered over me. Piercing yellow eyes narrowed to thin slits as it cocked its head, spit dripping off razor-sharp canines, a low rumble growling in its throat. Frozen in place, our gazes locked. His wolf-like stare held me hostage, his overpowering presence weakening my resolve.
A yenaldlooshi—better known to the world as a skinwalker—stood within striking distance. Gigantic, distorted, uncharacteristically canine, its ear-splitting screech fissured cracks across my skull. I couldn’t move. As much as I longed to resist, its spell rooted my boots to the grass, my muscles limp, my mind fuzzy.
Without provocation, the beast lunged toward me, its fangs on full display. Hot breath blew back my bangs, poison huffed in my face. Blinded, my fingers clawed at my eyes, and I folded in half, bent at the waist, choking, coughing, spitting, trying everything to clear the powdery grit off my tongue.
Nadine’s high-pitched shrill shattered the silence.
In a flash, I straightened. Through the haze I could barely make out her silhouette in the porch light’s glow. I choked out, “Help,” and staggered toward the deck stairs. The backyard whirled faster than a carnival ride, and I fell face-first on the grass.
“Shawnee!” Nadine’s footsteps pounded down the stairs. She reached for me, but I flashed a flat palm.
“Don’t touch me. I’m covered in poison.”
“Oh-my-God, you must’ve hit your head. Okay.” Her frantic tone eased. “Time for a quick trip to the emergency room.” She squatted, ready to sling my arm over her shoulder to help me up.
“No, Nay.” I rolled on to my back and angled the cell phone toward my face. “Look.”
“Whoa.” Her finely waxed eyebrows V’d, an intense stare as though I’d sprouted a unicorn horn. “What is that stuff?” She leaned closer. “Looks like some sorta gray powder. It’s all over your face, neck, and chest y’know.”
“Thank you, Nancy Drew. I’m aware.” I shooed her away, not unlike the way one might stave off a hungry mosquito. “Stand back. This shit’s lethal.”
“Alrighty then.” As I crawled to my feet, Nadine took a half-step backward. “How pray tell, did you get covered in poison?”
“Why? You never believe a word I say anyway.”
Hands stuffed in my front pockets, I sloughed off a half-shrug. “What the hell? Got nothin’ to lose at this point. You want the truth? Fine. An evil dog—wolf?—whatever the hell it is, just huffed the shit in my face.”
“See? Told ya, you wouldn’t believe me.”
She quailed back, full lashes fluttering like butterfly wings. But not without reason. Even I could barely grasp the words rolling off my tongue.
“Lemme see if I’ve got this straight.” Her lips smoothed, almost as rigid as her spine. “Crows deliver body parts, and dogs—or wolves—carry around vials of poison. And to top it off, both species are out to get you. Nobody else. Just you.”
“Why do I even waste my breath? You only see what you wanna see.” I slogged toward the stairs, muttering, “And she wonders why I don’t tell her squat.” With one hand on the railing, I turned back. “There are things in this world that defy reason, defy comprehension, but that doesn’t make them any less real.” Oy. Now I’m quoting Mr. Mayhem. “For someone who devours multiple books per week, one might think you’d have an open mind.”
“Y’know what?” She pushed past me, her slippers pounding each tread of the stairs, and tossed “I’m done listening to your lies” over her shoulder.
The moment Nadine slipped through the sliders, two crows rocketed toward me from a nearby tree, screeching at decibels unfit for human ears. Their talons each held the end of a rope, an identifiable object dangling between them. As I raised my cell phone’s flashlight, my eyes widened in disbelief. Are those—?
And…you’ll have to read the book to find out what Poe and Edgar delivered. LOL Sorry! #notsorry 😉
As bloody, severed body parts show up on her doorstep, Shawnee Daniels must stop the serial killer who wants her dead before she becomes the next victim.
But can she solve his cryptic clues before it’s too late? Or will she be the next to die a slow, agonizing death?
With crows stalking her every move, Shawnee can barely function. Things worsen when body parts show up on her doorstep. An unstoppable serial killer wants her dead. Mr. Mayhem threatens to murder everyone she loves, sending Shawnee a piece at a time.
As Mr. Mayhem sits in judgement, his cryptic clues must be solved before the final gavel drops. The game rules are simple—win the unwinnable or submit to a slow, agonizing death.
When Shawnee tries to fight back, she discovers her very existence is based on lies. But the full impact of the truth might become the headstone on Shawnee’s grave.
Author Sue Coletta
Sue Coletta is an award-winning crime writer and an active member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and International Thriller Writers. Feedspot and Expertido.org named her Murder Blog as one of the “Best 100 Crime Blogs on the Net” (Murder Blog sits at #5). Sue also blogs at the Kill Zone, a multi-award-winning writing blog.
Sue lives in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire and writers two psychological thriller series (Tirgearr Publishing) and true crime (Rowman & Littlefield Group). And recently, she appeared on an Emmy award-winning true crime show. Learn more about Sue and her books at: https://suecoletta.com
Thanks again for being here with us today, Sue, and best of luck with I Am Mayhem! Hope it sells millions for ya! 🙂
(All images above were either created by me, used with permission,
or obtained from Pixabay.)