Antique dealer Alicia Trent is hired to appraise a huge collection of treasures hoarded by a woman who has recently died in the town where Alicia grew up.
The huge old house poses mystery after mystery from the moment she arrives, but the stakes become deadly when murder is added to the mix. The question then becomes, can she stay alive long enough to unmask the killer?
Without consciously making a decision to do so, I grabbed my robe and headed for the door. If the thief was in the house, it might be my chance to identify him or her. One last glance at the globe showed the black was now mixed with a lot of orange. It looked like a Halloween decoration.
I turned off the light in the room, then quietly unlocked and opened my door. A flashlight would be a big help, but mine was packed in my suitcase. This was the first time I’d needed it. I eased out into the dark hall. A nightlight plugged in at the top of the stairs made a dim glow and I started in that direction. Moving slowly, I listened intently for any unusual noise. Everything seemed quiet and peaceful. I didn’t think anyone had stayed overnight in the house except Naomi and me. The stairs were solid and didn’t make a sound as I crept down. Time moved in slow motion and it seemed to take forever to reach the bottom. Once there, I began making my way to the living room. We always turned off the electronic security on that door at night since there were no potential buyers coming in and out after five. Even though I still hadn’t seen anything suspicious, somehow the atmosphere seemed wrong. Danger seemed to lurk in every dark corner. I was anxious to make sure the items displayed for viewing hadn’t been disturbed. Moving into the room and closing the door seemed to take forever. I couldn’t wait to get the light turned on. At first glance everything looked fine. Walking around the items for a closer look, I still didn’t see any evidence of tampering. Maybe I was overreacting and chasing ghosts. I decided to return to my room, but instead I veered into the study for a quick look. I wasn’t quite ready to admit my fears were just my nerves playing tricks. This time I hadn’t done the smart thing and called for Dan. He had to be tired of my crying wolf and not finding any evidence. I’d need a darn good reason before choosing to disrupt the entire household again.
At first the study also seemed undisturbed, but as my eyes adjusted, my heart skipped a beat. Someone had pushed the button that moved the desk aside. The light on the stairs leading down into the passageway had been turned on. Someone had entered the house, but I couldn’t call Dan from here and didn’t want to lose the chance to discover the identity of the intruder. All of a sudden my policy of not crying wolf didn’t seem so wise. I picked up a large letter opener from the desk and started down the stairs. The cloying feeling of danger increased with each step. The second bookcase on the left hand side of the hall was moved aside, revealing a passage I hadn’t known existed. The walls in this new passage were lined with artwork. Creeping silently along, I noticed that the art consisted of a variety of styles. At a quick glance I saw pen-and-ink, charcoals, watercolors and oils. I wouldn’t know what all was there until I had time to investigate. Right now my attention was focused on finding out who was down here and why. The passage climbed steadily upward. There didn’t seem to be any side doors, at least none that were obvious, until the end of the passage. Here one door opened to the right. By now my sense of direction had become confused and I wasn’t sure what part of the house this passage ran through, but it might be somewhere on the second floor.
Interview with The Author:
1. Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one,
how do you balance them?
I’m pretty sure that I never chose a genre. In fact, whenever I am sending information about
one of my books to a publisher or reviewer the hardest thing is picking a genre to describe my
work. My favorite books have some mystery, some adventure, maybe a little horror, and just
a tiny speck of magic thrown in. So to answer part two of the question I’d have to say I don’t
balance them, I stir them all up in the same pot.
2. Where did your love of books/storytelling/reading/writing etc. come from?
I’ve often pondered this question. As a kid I would entertain friends with stories. As I got
older I began writing them down. I came from a family of book lovers so that probably helped.
Imagination is a wonderful thing and everyone uses it in their own way.
3. What kind of cultural value do you see in writing?
I believe that if a writer can persuade one person to read a book then you’ve given them a gift,
something they didn’t have before. Writing is creating something new, not just consuming
what already exists.
4. What was the hardest part of writing this book?
The answer to that question is always the same with every book. The only difficult part about
writing is sitting down and doing it. The hardest part is always, always the editing.
5. How do you find or make time to write?
Strangely enough I am asked this question a lot. Making time to do something you enjoy is
something everyone does. For some it’s sewing, baking, or maybe playing tennis. It is the
same with writing.
6. Are you a plotter or pantster?
When I consider those two words, not that I am sure the second one really is a word, I have to
say that I don’t believe they are mutually exclusive. Most of my stories begin somewhere in
the back of my mind. They rattle around in there, maybe for a few weeks or possibly a lot
longer. I consider this the plotting stage. Places grow, people come along, and possibilities
develop. Do I organize this into an outline of the book or make copious notes, no. When I sit
down to do the writing the characters take over and the story evolves. Plotter or pantster, you
7. Do you read your reviews? Do you respond to them, good or bad? Do you have any
advice on how to deal with the bad?
Yes, I do read my reviews. I don’t normally respond to their content, but I do thank the writer
for taking their time to read and review my work. Dealing with a bad review is always hard
because a writer wants everyone to love their books. That’s unrealistic because there is
nothing everyone loves. I look at each review as a gift to help me get better at what I do.
8. How do you feel about ebooks vs, print books and conventional vs. alternative publishing?
I love a printed book. I love the way it feels and I love holding it. I was convinced I could
never love an ebook that much. Then someone gave me a Kindle and I was hooked. Now I
will happily read either way and while I’m reading I’m not aware if I’m holding a book or my
Kindle. It’s the words that matter. I feel the same way about publishing. Anything that gets a
good book out there is okay with me.
9. What inspires you?
Nothing and everything. If I have free time, I just sit down and write. Nothing has inspired me
it just happens. Other times I see a wonderful spooky building, the sun streaming through an
unusual cloud, hear unusual words in a song, etc., and an idea begins.
10. What projects are you working on at the present?
At the moment I have two new books underway. Yes, I usually write more than one book at a
time. I’m writing a mystery that is a bit darker than anything I’ve attempted before. I’m also
working on the latest in the Alicia Trent Series.
Five Fun Questions
1. Anime or cartoons? Cartoons
2. Tea or Coffee? Both. Coffee in the morning and tea in the afternoon.
3. Do you have any tattoos? Sorry, no tattoos.
4. Favorite place? A good restaurant.
5. Favorite animal? Elephant – because they are so smart.
About the Author:
From living off the grid in the Arizona desert, Eileen has moved to the woods of upstate New York. She has authored a standalone adventure novel called Desert Shadow. She is also the author of Alicia Trent Series. The Black Cane : Dowager Diaries Book 1 is her latest release.