Thanks for hosting me, Delilah. I love to talk about the inspiration for my new mystery romance, Flotsam and Jetsam: the Amelia Island Affair.
Flotsam & Jetsam: the Amelia Island Affair is a cozy mystery romance set on a barrier island in north-east Florida. Released December 17, 2018 by Wild Rose Press, it arose out of a visit to the island.
I first visited Amelia Island to attend the Amelia Island Book Festival, and was struck by the crazy quilt of events it had witnessed. Known as the Isle of Eight Flags, it had seen wave after wave of conquering armies, some big—like the Spanish, and some tiny—like the Patriots of Amelia Island, who mustered nine gunboats and maybe a hundred men. Timucuan Indians, French, Spanish, pirates, Scots mercenaries, Confederate and Union soldiers—all occupied the tiny island at one point or another. It also has a sizable Geechee (Gullah) community. Faced with a setting like that, who wouldn’t want to craft a nice little murder mystery?
The main town, Fernandina Beach, contains several historical buildings, a marina, and Fort Clinch. Built in 1847 by the US, the fort sits on the northern corner of the island, protecting the entrance to the Amelia River. South of it is Egan’s Creek, a marshy area. In Flotsam & Jetsam, four bodies are discovered, ranging from north of the fort all the way to Egan’s Marsh. While Ellie and Simon investigate the deaths, they have to draw on much of Amelia Island’s colorful history. I hope readers find it as fascinating as I do.
Flotsam and Jetsam: The Amelia Island Affair
Who’s littering the park with corpses?
State Park Rangers Simon Ribault and Ellie Ironstone are used to dealing with messy campers and ravaging raccoons, but when three bodies wash up on the beach, they mobilize all their powers of deduction. Who are they and how did they get to the shore of Amelia Island? Are they connected to the secretive League of the Green Cross? Or linked to a mysterious Jamaican drug ring?
Ellie, new to Amelia Island, must penetrate a close-knit community if she wants to find answers to the mystery, all while deciding between two rivals for her affection: Thad, the handsome local idol, and Simon, the clever, quirky bookworm.
Simon, for his part, will have to call on his not-so-well-honed romantic prowess to lure Ellie away from Thad and at the same time use his wide-ranging research skills to solve the case.
Excerpt: First Kiss
The magic word. He walked the finger up her arm, circled her neck, and brought her lips to his. The kiss lingered, but not enough to satisfy him. He had adored this little creature for so long—since she arrived at the fort in fact, in a crisp new uniform, her campaign hat still unfaded, her expression a mix of terror and determination. He had fallen like a shooting star and could still feel the burn marks. But he had never in his wildest dreams thought she might feel the same way. He sat back, letting his hand fall.
She pulled him toward her and kissed him again. As the kiss wound down, they heard a tapping on the window. Georgia stood on the sidewalk grinning. “There’s a hotel around the corner, you know.”
Simon swiveled to look at Ellie and found himself the butt of a furious, hissing face. “You.”
“Me? What are you talking about?”
“Two-faced, two-timing, two-dollar bill. Or should I say multiple timing. How many other women do you have hidden in island nooks and crannies—this island which you know so well?”
“Huh?” This isn’t going as swimmingly as I thought. “I…uh.”
“Take me home. Now.”
When they rolled up in front of Ellie’s house, a cheery yellow bungalow on Fletcher Avenue with a wide porch and hanging geraniums, a silver sports car sat at the curb. Oh great, the mighty Thad.
Simon’s nemesis disentangled himself from the wheel. Slowly, as if for maximum effect, he unfurled his powerful body, planting his size fourteen shoes solidly on the ground. A beefy hand languidly brushed the sandy hair from his forehead. Strapping shoulders squared, he loped over.
Flotsam and Jetsam: the Amelia Island Affair
The Wild Rose Press, December 17, 2018
Imprint: Mainstream Mystery
Rating: Spicy (PG13)
Paper 430 p.; Ebook 97,578 words
The Wild Rose Press: https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/6345-flotsam-and-jetsam-the-amelia-island-affair.html
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/flotsam-and-jetsam-m-s-spencer/1129787048?ean=2940161601945
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, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, policy wonk, non-profit director, and parent. After many years in academia, she worked for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Department of the Interior, in several library systems, both public and academic, and at the Torpedo Factory Art Center. She has two grown children and a perfect granddaughter. Ms. Spencer has published twelve mystery/romantic suspense novels, and currently divides her time between Florida and Maine.
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