Please help me welcome today’s guest, Wild Rose Press Author, M. S. Spencer….
A monster, a murderer, and a mystery lurk deep in the Amazon.
Thank you for having me today, Alicia! I’d like to tell your readers something of the inspiration for my new mystery romance Orion’s Foot.
My son had gone to Peru during his junior year in college, and I was lamenting the fact that I didn’t get to travel much anymore when a friend remarked, “Well, why don’t you go visit him?” Aha. I said. I shall set forth. So I hopped a plane and eleven hours later he met me at the Lima airport. Just like Petra Steele, my heroine in Orion’s Foot, we had a whirlwind tour of Lima, the capital city, a flight to Iquitos, a city set in the midst of winding waterways and dense jungle, and a boat ride deeper into that jungle.
Like Petra, I was greeted by a menagerie of exotic creatures, including capybaras, tapirs, pink dolphins, and monkeys—hundreds of monkeys! It was a great adventure. A lot of it is described in Orion’s Foot.
Petra Steele is wallowing in self-pity after being dumped at the altar, when her brother Nick invites her to come to the Peruvian Amazon. Before she even sets her suitcase down, she’s confronted with a murder victim. In a research station peopled with a quirky assortment of scientists, she is drawn to Emory Andrews, a gruff, big man with a secret past. That is, until his beautiful ex-wife shows up. More murders, more secrets, more mysteries ensue, all in the deeply romantic, sizzling jungle.
Excerpt: The Police Are Coming
“The police!” John glowered at Hector. “Did you call them?”
“No! You said not to. I don’t know what they’re doing here.”
“How close are they?”
“Still half an hour away. My cousin Luis told me they’re coming from the police substation in Nauta.” He faltered. “I…uh…I did send for Don César.”
“Don César?” Aguirre seemed confused. “Who’s he?”
“He’s the local shaman.”
“What do we need him for?”
No one seemed happy at this news except Petra, who felt her interest piqued. A shaman! A real native witch doctor…Will he be naked? Or wear a necklace of shrunken heads? Visions of scalp locks and tattoos swirling in her head, she barely heard Nick.
“Perhaps he’ll be able to tell us what caused Lewis’s death.”
Aguirre laughed unpleasantly. “Great, he can chant and burn smelly plants. Maybe dance around the corpse jiggling shrunken heads on a stick.”
Aha, see? It’s not just me. She regarded Aguirre with approval.
Hector coughed. “Our shamans train in the arts of healing for many years. They know the flora and fauna of the rainforest better than anyone alive. Don César is a banco ayahuasquero—a master shaman. He is very skilled.” His mouth set in a prim line. “We here in Peru do not shrink heads. At least, not anymore.”
Aguirre said something under his breath.
Alex piped up. “What about the body? Should we leave it on the bed? Hide it from the police?” He looked toward John.
Emory wrinkled his nose. “He’s already been exposed to the air far too long.” He glanced at Petra. “The police will only have to follow the aroma to discover him.”
John jumped up. “It doesn’t matter. Let’s hide it, at least until we hear what they want.”
Nick ventured, “We could put him in the lab refrigerator.”
Emory nodded, but the others chorused a loud “No!”
Aguirre whined, “I have specimens in there. There’s one flower I think may be a new variety of bromeliad.”
Alex added anxiously, “And I have two caiman eggs cooling. They were almost ready to hatch. I want to see if lowering the temperature at this juncture in the incubation period will have an effect on the sex.”
“And what about my bottle of Stolichnaya?” This last question probably did not have the effect John anticipated. “What? I was going to share it during the celebration.”
Petra surprised everyone by asking, “Celebration? What celebration?”
Aguirre glared at Nick. “I can’t believe you brought her here.”
“I told you—”
Hector interrupted. “Excuse me, but what shall we do about the police? The shaman cannot come until tomorrow.”
Emory rapped the table. “Here’s a crazy idea. We tell them the truth.”
The sound of a motorboat pulling into the pier brought them to their feet.
Orion’s Foot: Myth, Mystery, and Romance in the Amazon
M. S. Spencer
Wild Rose Press, October 30, 2019
First Crimson Rose Edition, 2019
442 pp; 101,601 words
Rating: Spicy (PG13)
About the Author:
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, speechwriter, literary editor, professional staff at a U. S. Senate committee and at the Dept. of the Interior, non-profit director, and parent. She holds a BA from Vassar College, a diploma in Arabic Studies from the American University in Cairo, and Masters in Anthropology and in Library Science from the University of Chicago. All of this tends to insinuate itself into her works.
Ms. Spencer has published thirteen romantic suspense or murder mystery novels, with two more on the way. 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.
Social Media Links:
Linked in: www.linkedin.com/in/msspencerauthor