#GuestDayTuesday – I Am Mayhem by Sue Coletta

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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.”

“Try me.”

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.”

“A what?”

“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.

Released today! Since I AM MAYHEM starts where SILENT MAYHEM leaves off, my publisher put both books on sale for 99c. Ends soon.

Author Sue Coletta Photo
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 

Tirgearr Publishing
Globe Pequot(Rowman & Littlefield)


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 

#ReblogAlert – Sally Cronin’s Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up

As always, I’m delighted to pass along Sally Cronin’s jam-packed Weekly Round-Up post. It’s always a pleasure to share these vastly entertaining and amusing posts, and I highly recommend you stop by to check this one out. Even if you’ve visited a few times this week, there’s bound to be something you missed. Take a look, and enjoy! 🙂

You can read Sally’s Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up post HERE.

And that’s all for now, folks! Have a great weekend!

Have a Great Saturn’s Day!

indigo bunting bird perched amid greeneryIndigo Bunting
(Image found on Pixabay)

Hope everyone is set for a great weekend! I’m off to do a talk at one of my two favorite venues, the beautiful DeBary Hall. Today, I’m going to help folks learn to identify some of the less common backyard birds they might see visiting their feeders, including the gorgeous indigo bunting above. (And his even more gorgeous cousin, the painted bunting, surely a contender for the most beautiful songbird in the world.)

It’s so wonderful to have a safe place to get out once again to share some nature talks with folks in this area! I missed that more than anything else during the year I was pretty much in total isolation.  Between DeBary Hall and the wonderfully restored 1930s schoolhouse that is now Enterprise Museum, I have met some of the nicest people in the world. LOVE talking to them!

See you when I get back!

Photo of DeBary Hall Historic ManorDeBary Hall Historic Manor

#FirstLineFriday Submissions Are Now Closed! Here’s the Answer to Our Quiz,

Submissions for #FirstLineFriday are officially closed now. My thanks to all who emailed me with their guesses. Today, I’m sorry (but not very surprised) to say we have no winners. While I was hoping I’d be wrong, I had a pretty strong feeling this would be a tough one, though well deserving a spot on an official Top 100 Opening Lines list.  

And now, let’s find out just where this really amusing line is found. Here’s the answer to today’s quiz:

“Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French.” is the opening line of The Luck of the Bodkins written by P. G. Wodehouse in 1935.

The Luck of the Bodkins is a comic novel, first published in the United Kingdom on 11 October 1935 in the United States on 3 January 1936. The two editions are significantly different, though the plot remains the same.

The novel was serialized in The Passing Show magazine (UK) from 21 September to 23 November 1935, and this version was published as the UK edition. For its US magazine appearance, in the Red Book, between August 1935 and January 1936, Wodehouse re-wrote the story, reducing its length, and this became the US book edition.

The story concerns the complicated love life of amiable young Monty Bodkin, the nephew of Sir Gregory Parsloe-Parsloe, who had previously appeared in Heavy Weather (1933), when he was employed as the latest in the long line of Lord Emsworth‘s secretaries.

A comic effect is created by the incongruous combination of formal and informal language in Wodehouse’s narrative passages, as in the beginning of the novel: “Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French.” Before the first comma, the passage may be the beginning of a serious novel, but the sudden use of two colloquial words, “shifty” and “hangdog”, prepares the reader for the semantic incongruity of the last part of the sentence.


To the majority of the passengers aboard the R.M.S. “Atlantic” the voyage to America was just a pleasant interlude in life’s hectic rush. But not so to Monty Bodkin. Monty’s wooing of Gertrude Butterwick was not progressing as it should, and the cause of all  the trouble was Miss Lotus Blossom, the brightest star in Hollywood’s firmament.

The easy camaraderie of Miss Blossom, coupled with the idea that Monty was the only person who could send the errant Ambrose back to her welcoming arms, was causing Mr. Bodkin moments of acute distress. But Lotus and Monty were not the only ones to wear the furrowed brow. Reggie Tennyson was another, and so was Ikey Llewellyn. Reggie’s trouble was pecuniary; but Ikey’s was more serious, for he had something on his mind—a dangerous condition for one of his mental capacity.

Finally there was Albert Peasemarch, prince of stewards and singer of ballads, whose sanity was threatened by the complete goofiness of his charges. This is a book of laughter, packed with the most glorious situations and related in the deliciously inconsequential manner which is the hallmark of authentic Wodehouse. In short, another Wodehouse triumph.

Buy The Luck of the Bodkins HERE:

And that wraps up this week’s quiz, folks! Again, sorry I could/couldn’t give away any downloads, but maybe next time. #FirstLineFriday will be back in two weeks, so stay tuned!  😀  See you then!


#ReblogAlert – This Week on #StoryEmpire

As always, another week filled with great stuff on #StoryEmpire. Be sure to check out these terrific posts!

MONDAY: John Howell got a great discussion going with his post entitled What To Do With Books That Are Insensitive to Social Norms. If you missed it, check it out  HERE.

WEDNESDAY:  Joan Hall’s post entitled Useful Writing Tools has some very helpful tips for organizing your writing process. You can read Joan’s post HERE.

FRIDAY:  Mae Clair’s post entitled The Importance of Alt Text was a real eye opener for me! Do you understand how and why you should use this? Check out Mae’s post HERE.

And there you have it folks! See? As I said, it’s great stuff! 😀

#FirstLineFriday – #FreeDownloads – #GiveawayContest

Time for another #FirstLineFriday folks, and fair warning: I’ve about run out of lines on my list that would be easily recognizable, so I’m now choosing them because I find them remarkable in one way or the other. They are the kinds of lines we should all take a look at and learn something from. And if YOU are lucky enough to recognize this one, which I find extremely amusing, then YAY! I will be delighted to declare you a winner, and will compliment you on being so well-read! 

PLEASE READ these simple rules, just to refresh yourself on how this should be done. Thanks.

  1. Be one of the first five people to email me before the game ends at 4:00pm, with the title and author of the correct book. 
  2. Do not reply here on the blog. Email only: marciameara16@gmail.com
  3. Honor System applies. No Googling, please.
  4. Submissions end at 4:00 P.M. EST, or when I receive 5 correct answerswhichever comes first.
  5. Winners who live in the U.S. may request a free download of any one of my books for themselves, or for someone of their choice. OR, if they’ve read all of the offered books, they may request a free download of my next publication.
  6. Winners who live elsewhere may request a mobi or PDF file of the same books, since, sadly, Amazon won’t let me gift you from the site.

And now, the moment you’ve been waiting for! Put on your thinking caps, because here is today’s opening line:

“Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes, there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty, hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French.”

Remember, email answers only, please. Thanks! And now off I go to await your guesses. 





#ReblogAlert – Sally Cronin’s Weekly Round-Up Post

Once again, I’m delighted to share Sally Cronin’s fabulous Weekly Round-Up post. It’s always a pleasure to pass along these vastly entertaining posts, and I highly recommend you stop by to check this one out. Even if you’ve visited a few times this week, there’s bound to be something you missed. Take a look, and enjoy! 🙂

You can read Sally’s Smorgasbord Weekly Round Up post HERE.

And that’s all for now, folks! Have a great weekend!

#FirstLineFriday#2 Submissions Are Now Closed – Here’s the Answer to Our Quiz and the Names of Our Winners

Submissions for #FirstLineFriday are officially closed now. My thanks to all who emailed me with their guesses. Today, I’m delighted to say we have FIVE  WINNERS!  Congratulations go to:

Janet Gogerty, Alex Craigie, Darlene Foster, Harmony Kent, and Teri Polen. Thanks so much for playing, ladies, and for being so quick to recognize this opening line!

Now, without further ado, here’s the answer to today’s quiz:

“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” is the opening line to 1813’s Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen.  Those who love the classics will be very familiar with this one, I’m sure, while many will not have read it yet. I do recommend giving it a try, to see why a book written over 200 years ago has remained so popular for so long.

The novel follows the character development of Elizabeth Bennet, the dynamic protagonist of the book who learns about the repercussions of hasty judgments and comes to appreciate the difference between superficial goodness and actual goodness. Its humor lies in its honest depiction of manners, education, marriage, and money during the Regency era in Great Britain.

Pride and Prejudice has consistently appeared near the top of lists of “most-loved books” among both literary scholars and the reading public. It has become one of the most popular novels in English literature, with over 20 million copies sold, and has inspired many derivatives in modern literature. For more than a century, dramatic adaptations, reprints, unofficial sequels, and many, many films and TV versions of Pride and Prejudice have portrayed the memorable characters and themes of the novel, reaching mass audiences.


Austen’s most popular novel, the unforgettable story of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read.

Pride and Prejudice is a novel of manners by Jane Austen, first published in 1813. The story follows the main character, Elizabeth Bennet, as she deals with issues of manners, upbringing, morality, education, and marriage in the society of the landed gentry of the British Regency. Elizabeth is the second of five daughters of a country gentleman living near the fictional town of Meryton in Hertfordshire, near London. Page 2 of a letter from Jane Austen to her sister Cassandra (11 June 1799) in which she first mentions Pride and Prejudice, using its working title First Impressions.

Set in England in the early 19th century, Pride and Prejudice tells the story of Mr. and Mrs Bennet’s five unmarried daughters after the rich and eligible Mr. Bingley and his status-conscious friend, Mr. Darcy, have moved into their neighborhood. While Bingley takes an immediate liking to the eldest Bennet daughter, Jane, Darcy has difficulty adapting to local society and repeatedly clashes with the second-eldest Bennet daughter, Elizabeth.

Though Austen set the story at the turn of the 19th century, it retains a fascination for modern readers, continuing near the top of many lists of “most loved books.” It has become one of the most popular novels in English literature, selling over 20 million copies, and receives considerable attention from literary scholars. Modern interest in the book has resulted in a number of dramatic adaptations and an abundance of novels and stories imitating Austen’s memorable characters or themes.

A True Classic that Belongs on Every Bookshelf!


And that wraps up this week’s quiz, folks! Again, congratulations to our winners, and for the rest, best of luck next time!

#FirstLineFriday will be back in two weeks.  See you then!


#GuestDayTuesday – Author Gwen M. Plano


Today, I’m very happy to have my good friend Gwen Plano visiting with us. Gwen is a gifted writer, a contributor to the wonderful #StoryEmpire blog, and a blogger in her own right, as well. Please join me in welcoming Gwen as she tells us a bit about herself and her background. Take it away, my friend!


Thank you, Marcia, for inviting me to your blog site. I’m excited to join you and your followers today. When we first talked, you asked about my background and interests, and I’ll try to answer both in my response below.

I grew up on a farm and that’s important to know, because those formative years shaped who I am today. A simple lifestyle and hard work were part of my life and remain so by choice. As much as I love visiting a museum, I’m just as entranced being outside in nature. To this day, I get up before sunrise and fall asleep not long after the sun sets.

As the eldest of the seven, I helped mom with all the tasks of family life. But I was also a dreamer. My parents had a set of encyclopedia, and I loved turning its pages. I hungered to know more, and that deep desire remains with me today. 

I was the first in my extended family to go to college and were it not for the inconvenience, I would still be taking classes today. I love learning and that is apparent in the research that I do.

My first book is a memoir, and it is followed by a thriller series. I’m currently writing the final book of that series. I jokingly tell my four adult children that I will solve the troubles in the Middle East with this last book.

My most recent publication is The Culmination, a new beginning. It’s a military/political thriller that spans the globe and tackles complicated international concerns. For every hour I spent writing, I doubled that in research. My questions took me to places I never expected and before I knew it, I was traveling down a rabbit hole that had deadly consequences. The Culmination changed my life forever.

I am very grateful for the wonderful reviews I’ve received. The one below is from mystery writer, Mae Clair.

 5-Star Review from Mae Clair

Book three in a series, The Culmination reads easily as a standalone novel. A political thriller, that addresses denuclearization, tensions in the Middle East, and the fate of refugees, much of the story echoes current headlines. The plot is complex involving multiple heads of state, along with the strategical give and take of political maneuvering on a global level. The author clearly put an extensive amount of research into this book, and it shows. Adrenalin-fueled scenes alter with more cerebral moments, and even a few romantic interludes.

I especially loved the evolution of the relationship between the two central characters, Margaret Adler, VP of the United States and Ivan Smirnov, acting President of Russia. During the course of the novel those titles change, and we learn more about each, including richly developed backgrounds. I was thoroughly invested in the difficulties Margaret and Ivan faced, both on personal and political levels. Their scenes together were among my favorites of the book. There’s also a young refugee child who factors into the story and who stole my heart.

A unique combination of character-driven and plot-driven fiction, I recommend this compelling tale to readers who enjoy strong character development and complexly-plotted intrigue.



The Culmination, a new beginning is the third book in The Contract thriller series. After an assassination attempt on an Air Force base in northern California, tensions mount. Heads of state meet to craft a denuclearization agreement. The meetings between these nuclear powers take a murderous turn. A nefarious conspiracy re-emerges and leads the characters into the heart of the Middle East, where they encounter the unexpected and find a reason for hope.

Contact Gwen:

Blog:  https://www.gwenplano.com/blog-reflections
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/GMPlano
Twitter: https://twitter.com/gmplano
Amazon Author’s page:  https://amzn.to/3eAU2Bt 

Book links:

Letting Go into Perfect Love – https://amzn.to/3bToO7t
The Contract between heaven and earth – https://amzn.to/2U2Lgmv
The Choice: the unexpected heroes – https://amzn.to/3lcz8eA
The Culmination, a new beginning – https://amzn.to/3eEWkj9