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Monday, August 31, 2015

BLOODY TISSUE

Home from their trip to Paris, Sheila's mom, Darla, was still mourning. She couldn't move back into the house where her husband had died. She put it on the market. Sheila suggested she buy a penthouse, but Darla claimed there were too many memories.
Darla had decided to move to Florida. Sheila argued that she wasn't ready for retirement; she was still in her twenties. Her mother told her it was time to cut the umbilical cord. Sheila needed get on with her life. Darla promised to buy Sheila her own condominium, but not a penthouse.
Sheila, stinging from her mother's rejection, took a walk in Central Park. Hurting, sad, and trying to figure out her next step she came across a young man. His bike had a flat, and he was bemoaning his luck when she passed him.
She didn't know why, but she picked up a large rock, just off the path and hit him in the back of the head. He went down. She lifted his head and placed the rock under it. Then she dropped his head with a thud, bone crunched, and blood sprayed. Sheila took a tissue from her pocket and cleaned the mess off her legs and shoes. She wadded the bloody tissue in a ball and threw it into the bushes.
Before returning to her mother's temporary home, the Hilton Hotel, she bought pizza for dinner and ice cream for dessert.

Yolanda Renee © 2015

*****

Sheila's murderous attitude is getting out of hand. 
She openly killed someone. 
Someone she couldn't benefit from 
She didn't even know him. 
Is she losing control? 
Will her sloppiness be her downfall?
Tune in next time for another episode of 
Sheila's Murderous Mind.

Read the other excerpts of 
Sheila's Murderous Mind 
just click on the title!






Remember folks - this is all fiction - 
an exercise of the imagination!


Monday, August 24, 2015

FOXGLOVE TEA

Sheila was having a hard time coping. Her boyfriend and her best friend were dead. She'd just lost her job due to budget cuts and now she lived at home with her mother and stepfather, a man she hated. He never had a kind thing to say. What her mother saw in the bloated, overconfident blowhard she didn't know and honestly didn't care.
One night she overheard a discussion and she was the subject.
"Why don't we help set her up in her own apartment?" George asked.
"No, not yet. She's still too fragile. She just lost the love of her life, and before that her closest friend. She needs family George, at least until we get back from Australia."
Sheila was pleased. Her mother wouldn't be bullied, and while she hated living in a house with two oversexed middle-aged roommates, she wasn't ready to leave, yet.
"I don't know Darla, but it's been a year, she needs to bite the bullet and make a life for herself."
"Please Georgie, just a few more months. She and I have never been closer. Pretty please, I'll do that special thing you like."
Her mother came to her rescue, as always, and Sheila had to admit she did love their weekly shopping and spa excursions. Shopping therapy her mother called it, besides, George was loaded. After Sheila had moved in, he'd paid off her car loan and all her credit cards. She was debt free. Still, she couldn't stand the man.
George's money was all Sheila's mom talked about, that and the next vacation they were planning. Sheila's eavesdropping paid off. She heard her mother ask about the new will, had George made the changes he'd promised. Sheila moved closer to hear the answer.
"Of course, Darla, just as agreed. A sizable sum for each kid upon my passing, but for you, all the rest. Now come on over here and give me some sugar, you know what Daddy likes."
Darla giggled and Sheila almost gagged at the sounds she heard coming from her parents.
*****
Several months later, just weeks before their trip to Australia, George had a heart attack. They cancelled the trip and Sheila became nursemaid to a very cranky man. Darla took over the management of George's holdings, restaurants, bowling alleys, and movie theaters and relied on her daughter to keep George happy at home. Sheila hated the job, but pretended otherwise, and waited on George as a doting daughter should.
Just one week after George got home from the hospital, he was dead.
"Myocardial Infarction, not unusual," the coroner said, "even after a mild heart attack."
The statistics bore him out. No autopsy needed.
Sheila was thrilled. But just in case, she'd made sure all evidence of the foxglove she'd used to prepare George's tea with had been cleared, cleaned, and burned. She cried at George's funeral, but later she drank a champagne toast to her ingenuity.

Now $100,000 dollars richer, she took her mother to Paris to cheer her up.
Yolanda Renée © 2015

*****

Digitalis is a genus of a flower commonly called foxgloves. It is also the term used for the drugs used in cardiac care.

Sheila has done her homework and so far she's managed three murders. Can she continue? Will someone notice the bodies piling up around her? Or is she going to get away with murder, again?

*****

Read about Sheila's first murder in Killer Flowers.
Read about Sheila's second murder in Killer Spice.

Monday, August 17, 2015

KILLER SPICE

Six months since Lydia's death and things hadn't changed for Sheila. She was almost certain Carey was cheating again, but she had no real proof, just suspicion.
It was almost Christmas and she'd made up her mind to do something drastic if Carey didn't propose over the holiday. She baked all his favorite cookies and pies, saving one batch of snickerdoodles heavily spiced with nutmeg, in the freezer if that engagement ring did not appear.

On Christmas day, Carey hadn't given her a ring. In fact, his gift, a new set of pots and pans, made her angrier. She asked for the new Cuisinart's Pro Stainless Steel Set; instead, he'd gone to Kmart. Sheila seethed but refused to show her displeasure. She had something else in mind, and to achieve her goal, she gave Carey one last gift. Through one of his friends, she'd gotten him a package of blunts, marijuana cigars. Something she knew he couldn't resist while on holiday from work. Carey had two full weeks off. Usually a conscientious guy, he'd partake of weed as long as it didn't interfere with his job. He lit one up right away.
Sheila smiled. Several hours later, Carey was wasted and hungry. She made sure the cupboards were almost bare, but she had Snickerdoodles, his favorite. She gave him a full plate, two dozen cookies, and a glass of beer.
"I have to go to mom and dads for dinner, but you're too wasted, you show up like that and dad'll kill you."
"Bring me a plate. Your mom makes the best garlic mashed potatoes. Honestly, I'm just happy to veg but I might go to Tom's later. He has a new PlayStation 4." He told her without looking up from the football game he was watching. He'd already consumed half a dozen Snickerdoodles. "Be careful. I don't think it's a good idea for you drive high," she warned him but knew he'd do what he wanted.
Sheila was eating dinner with her parents when she got the phone call. Carey had died in a freak accident. Apparently, he'd tried to walk to Tom's house several blocks down the road. The driver, his best friend, had been on the way to pick him because Carey had told him he was too wasted to drive. His friend, Tom, had told Carey to walk. He thought better of it and jumped in his car to pick Carey up when he realized the roads were dangerous with ice, and the night pitch black. He failed to see Carey in time and even though he'd hit the brakes; his car slid head-on into his best friend. 
          Sheila cried.
*****

You read that right folks, nutmeg can kill. 
Want to know more just Google it.

I pulled the information for this post from a Book of Poisons: A Guide for Writers written by Serita Stevens and Ann Bannon.

What do you think? Is Sheila guilty of murder, or was Carey responsible?


Next Monday a new post will tell us whether or not Sheila has changed her ways or if success has gone to her head.


Monday, August 10, 2015

KILLER FLOWERS!

Sheila invited her best friend to join her for a cup of tea in Central Park. She even volunteered to bring the tea with her. A quick stop at Starbucks and the two women were sitting on a park bench feeding the pigeons and talking about their plans for the weekend.

Sheila answered her ringing phone. A look of concern changed her countenance as she listened to the caller. Lydia looked up and mouthed the word what.

"I'll be right there," Sheila,  said with a deep frown on her face. She looked at her friend. "Sorry, looks like our shopping trip is out." 

"What's up?" Lydia asked.

"Some stupid emergency at the office. I have to run, sorry, but you'll be over tonight for dinner, right?"

"Wouldn't miss it."  Lydia stood and took a final drink from her cup. "There's something different about this tea, but I can't put my finger on it. It's still good, though."

Oleander from Wikipedia

         "They didn't have your regular sugar, so I used Stevia. Maybe that's it?"

"Stevia." Lydia looked concerned then said. "I'd heard that was a good sugar substitute, but I had no idea it'd be this good. Nice accident." She finished her tea, threw the cup into the waste receptacle, and waved goodbye.

Sheila headed in the opposite direction.

Once Lydia was out of sight, Sheila retrieved the cup Lydia had thrown away. She replaced it with another cup she'd made sure had Lidia's fingerprints and DNA. There'd be no evidence of poison if they looked.

At the office several hours later, Sheila broke down when she learned her best friend, Lydia, had died in a car accident on her way home from the park.

You won't sleep with my boyfriend again, stupid slut. Sheila thought but smiled behind her hanky. Her coworkers circled around her to express their sorrow.

*****

FYI:
            Flowers can kill, and you may have one or two of those killers in your own garden. Nightshade, Daffodils, Angels Trumpet, Monkshood, White Snakeroot, and Foxglove are just a few that you can make a deadly tea with.

If you're interested in learning more just Google deadly flowers.
I'd post the link here but I've begun to worry about downloading viruses. 


Sheila used Oleander to flavor her deadly tea. And it looks like Lydia isn't her only victim. Visit next Monday, when we discover her latest victim and the weapon she chooses.

Which flower would you use to flavor your deadly tea?

*All in writing fun, folks, all in writing fun."


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

SHARKS ARE WIMPS

Death by Tooth and Claw

There are a million ways to kill a character and writers have done it all. In fact, we’ve gotten so inventive at killing that it’s a real challenge to come up with a believable death that hasn’t been written into a TV show, movie or book. But that’s part of what makes writing fun. There’s no thrill like doing in someone in a way the reader probably hasn’t experienced before. 

In Bigfoot Blues, the latest in my Elvis Sightings Mystery series, I bump off a guy by animal. Animal themed murder mysteries are pretty common. Dick Francis made a career with horse themed mysteries. The list of pets as murder solving gumshoes or sidekicks is as long as my arm. Lillian Jackson Braun has written over 30 books featuring two crime solving cats named Koko and Yum Yum. But mysteries with animals doing the killing aren’t so common. Probably for good reason. It’s not easy to invest a fairly straightforward death with a shroud of mystery. I mean, the killer is a critter, it doesn’t have motives or try to cover it’s tracks, right? 

The approach I took was to call into question the nature of the killing itself. Was it really even an animal? The official consensus is the deceased was done in by a rogue mountain lion. But with persistent rumors about a chupacabra on the loose, maybe there’s more to it? Cause those things aren’t supposed to even exist. And then add in the fact that the dead man is a taxidermist, with access to things like animal claws and teeth, and all of the sudden “death by animal” isn’t so straight forward. 

My stories all live on the edge of being surreal, some might even say absurd, so I can get away with a lot that traditional mystery writers would have a hard time working into their books. You’d be pretty put off if James Patterson tried to write a chupa into a novel, for example, but when the main character is a Lifestyle Elvis who’s life is guided by “What would Elvis do?” and his sidekick is a querulous 3½ foot tall ex-circus performer, it’s not so much of a stretch.

As oddball as my books can get, I still play fair with the reader. My killer animal, be it natural, supernatural or human, still leaves behind clues and a literal trail to follow. Constructing that trail of clues and the ultimate solving of the mystery, despite the animal theme, is done pretty much the same way as I’d handle a real murder mystery. Before I write word one, I have to know why did it happen, how did it happen, and what happened to make the solution not obvious, but not Agatha Christie impossible to figure out either. Without admitting whether or not it really was an animal, I will say that working from the assumption it is a critter makes answering those questions a lot harder. With a normal murder, the killer doesn’t want to be caught – that’s why it isn’t obvious. Again, my approach was to lay groundwork up front that would make it difficult to conclude whether the death was really a simple animal attack or if the animal angle is misdirection. I started by giving one character a really good reason to want the dead man to be dead, then gave him access to those animal teeth and claws I mentioned. I also made my protagonist prone to seeing conspiracies, so while he suspects foul play, he also had to doubt his reasoning. The result, I think, is that you’ll be hard pressed to figure out exactly who the killer is, and why the killer killed in the first place, and you’ll laugh along the way trying to figure it out.

Humans are rarely killed by animals, but here are some animal attack facts you may not know. 

If you are an American, you are 20x more likely to be killed by a cow than a shark. It’s true. Every year in America there are about 20 people killed by cow and only 1 by shark. This year the sharks are upping their game, but the cows still have a while to catch up.

Actually, sharks really haven’t been living up to their predator of the seas reputation. Jellyfish kill about 8x as many people per year, all without having teeth.

As vicious and blood thirsty as the cow is, you know what’s deadlier? The deer. They manage to do in about 120 people a year by jumping in front of our cars. Kamikaze deer. 

You know what else is deadlier than the shark? Falling coconuts. True, the coconut tree isn’t an animal, but apparently it is really pissed at us for guzzling its milk and takes us out to the tune of about 150 people a year. Vending machines don’t like us either, while we’re on the non-animal theme, and whack about a dozen Americans a year. 
Sharks are wimps.
*****
Thanks Ricardo!

Do you find unique ways to kill your characters?
Oh, do tell!


Now all about Bigfoot Blues!

She eloped with Bigfoot. Or maybe Bigfoot kidnapped her. Either way, I've been hired to uncover the truth behind Cindy Funk's disappearance. Me? I'm Floyd, and I'm a PI living my life as Elvis would have wanted. Not just in sequined jumpsuits. With character.

Cindy's trail leads me to River CityOregon—aka the Mythical Creature Capital of the World—where I catch Case #2. This one from an eccentric billionaire who's lost a priceless piece of "art." Enter one dead body and I end up deputized to solve Case #3, tracking down a man-eating mountain lion. Or maybe it's a chupacabra. Or just an ordinary murderer. Hard to say.

I've handled my fair share of crazy, but River City's secrets have me spooked. With an influx of tourists arriving for the town's annual Elvis tribute contest—what are the chances?—I've got to save the girl, solve the rich guy's problem and leash that chupacabra before a second body is discovered. It might just be mine.
Read more about Floyd's adventures in Elvis Sightings, available now!
*****

For More Information

Book Excerpt:
It was ten past two on a Wednesday and I was sitting behind my desk in the office I share with Franklin, a chiropractor. His wife had sent me looking for him almost four years ago, but she was such a harridan that once I’d found him, I couldn’t bring myself to turn over his location. He’d let me use his place as an office, rent-free, ever since.
I checked my watch again.
Wanda was flying back to Kresge today. I resented being dragged away from her, even for just an hour, but the man on the phone had insisted. It had been more than a month since my last case, so while Wanda packed, I came into the office to meet Peter Funk. And he was late.
The clock hit 2:15. I was about to leave when a very lost-looking man in his fifties opened the door.
“You must be Floyd,” he said, taking off his well-worn Caterpillar cap. His bald head had the baked look of someone who spent a lot of time under the hot Idaho sun. “Your Elvis outfit kinda gives it away,” he added.
“You’re Mr. Funk?”
He smiled weakly and bobbed his head up and down in the affirmative.
I pointed him to a seat and sat back down at my desk.
“So what can I do for you?” I asked.
Funk looked down at the cap in his hands and worried at a loose thread with his callused fingers.
“I need you to find my daughter,” he said and looked up at me. “You’ve got to help me. I don’t know who else to turn to.”
“I’d be happy to help, Mr. Funk, but with missing children you’re much better off going to the police.”
Funk stood up and slapped his hat against his thigh. A small cloud of dirt erupted from the dull blue denim of his pants.
“Oh, the cops won’t help me. Cindy’s eighteen. They said they can’t go looking for her if she’s just run off,” he said. “Besides…”
“Besides what, Mr. Funk?”
He took his seat again before finally blurting out, “She ran off to elope with Bigfoot.”
I would have laughed if Funk hadn’t looked so worried.
“Bigfoot?” I said. “That’s a nickname?”
“No, sir.”
Funk pulled a postcard out of his jeans pocket and handed it to me.
On one side was a teenage boy holding up a plaster casting of a giant footprint nearly three feet long. Across the bottom it read “River City—The Home of Bigfoot.” I turned it over. The postmark was three weeks ago in River City, Oregon. The note on the card read:

Dear Daddy,
I’ve fallen in love with Bigfoot and we’ve decided to elope. I won’t be coming back to Pocatello. I’ll write again soon.
Cindy

She’d put a little heart in place of the dot above the is in both Bigfoot and Cindy.
River City… The name was familiar, but I couldn’t quite place it.
“My girl, she’s a willful one she is, but Cindy’s never lied to me. Not once,” Funk said. “If Cindy says she’s eloped with Bigfoot, that’s exactly what she’s done.”
Why did I get all the weirdos? Was it the suit? Or the Lifestyle Elvis thing? Or maybe this was some sort of elaborate practical joke. I let out a low sigh.
A case is a case, I told myself. And this one was just too absurd to be someone shining me on.
*****

About the Author

Ricardo Sanchez is a writer, toy buff, and lifelong comic book fan.

Elvis Sightings, the first novel in his Elvis Sightings Mysteries series, was released in September , 2014. Bigfoot Blues, the follow up, was released in May, 2015.

Ricardo has written several books for DC Comics, including Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight, Teen Titans Go! and Resident Evil among many others. His original project, A Hero’s Death, was a successful Kickstarter released in May, 2015.

In addition to writing, Ricardo is an Emmy award winning video and animation producer. When he’s not writing, Ricardo maintains a vintage toy blog, drives 70's muscle cars, and shops year round for Halloween decorations for his home in California.

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