Hey, everyone. It’s been a long time coming, but I’m delighted to announce the release of House of Sorrow.
This short story is a prequel to the upcoming novel Cold Dark Night, and part of my new Legends of Madeira series.
Madeira is a fictional town in New Mexico. The state is known for mountains and deserts, cities and villages, military bases and energy production. Santa Fe, one of the older cities in the United States, was founded in 1610. Taos Pueblo, home to the Native American Puebloan people is estimated to be between five hundred to one-thousand years old.
Some places, such as Clovis, came about in the early 1900s. My fictional town is one of the newer ones, dating to the late 1860s.
House of Sorrow is different than other books and stories I’ve written. There is an element of suspense, but also historical elements. Set primarily in the 1960s, the story chronicles the life of Ruth Hazelton, who reflects on her life when she first moved to Madeira.
I thoroughly enjoyed writing the story as I incorporated historical events from my childhood —both good and bad. I touch on Bobby Kennedy’s assassination, the Apollo 11 moon landing, Woodstock, and (sadly) the breakup of the Beatles.
Dream home or damned home?
Ruth Hazelton is over the moon when her husband Lee agrees the nineteenth-century Victorian in Madeira, New Mexico, is the perfect home for them. While he starts his new job as police chief, she sets about unpacking and decorating.
But it’s not long before Ruth needs more. She becomes a fixture in the community, making time for everyone, volunteering, hosting events—she’s every bit the social butterfly her husband is not. Through her friendships, she learns several former residents of her home met with untimely deaths. If she were superstitious, she might fear a curse, but such nonsense doesn’t faze her.
Until the unthinkable happens.
Now, as the end of Ruth’s life draws near, she must find a way to convey her message and stop the cycle to prevent anyone else from suffering in the house of sorrow.
Ruth watched Lee drive away. She took a sip of tea, opened her journal to a blank page, then began to write.
June 10, 1968
Today is Lee’s first day on his new job. I was so proud of him when he walked out the door, wearing his new uniform and police chief’s badge. He’s worked long and hard to get to this point. Maybe I’m biased, but Madeira couldn’t have picked a better man.
I’m going to enjoy living in this quiet little town. It seems so far away from all the terrible things that have been happening in our country. Last week, someone assassinated Bobby Kennedy while he was on the campaign trail in California…
Thinking about the charismatic young leader brought tears to Ruth’s eyes. She quickly brushed them away. Enough writing for now. She started to rise when an older man waved to her from across the street. Eager to meet her neighbors, she called out to him. “Good morning.”
“Morning,” he shouted back as he walked toward her, stopping when he reached the bottom of the steps. “Name’s Sam Johnson. Welcome to the neighborhood.”
“Nice to meet you, Mr. Johnson. I’m Ruth Hazelton.”
“Ah, yes. Your husband’s the new police chief. Sure am glad to have him. This town has needed new blood in that office for years. Haven’t had a decent chief since Bill Guthrie. That last one…” He shook his head. “Well, I won’t go there.”
Ruth didn’t know anything about Lee’s predecessor, but it was obvious Sam Johnson didn’t care for the man. “Won’t you sit down and visit a while?”
“Don’t mind if I do.” Sam chose the wicker chair closest to the porch swing.
“Would you like some hot tea?”
“Nah. Don’t drink the stuff, and I’ve already had my fill of coffee. Millie limits me to one cup a day. I always sneak a second one when she’s not around.” He grinned.
“Millie must be your wife.”
Sam nodded. “Retired nurse. Volunteers at the old folk’s home these days.”
Ruth smiled at Sam’s use of the term “old folks.” Judging from the wrinkles in his face and his thick, gray hair, she guessed he was in his late sixties or early seventies. At age thirty-three, that was old to her. Then again, teenagers would think she was old. It was all a matter of perspective.
Sam sat in silence for a few minutes. “Damn shame about Bobby Kennedy.”
House of Sorrow is available exclusively on Amazon. You’ll be hearing more about it in the next few weeks as well as the release of Cold Dark Night, planned for early May.
Click here to purchase.