Hello Again Bloglandia!

After a brief break yesterday, I’m back!!

Now, if the Google gods have sent you to this post by some sort of search witchery, here’s a little catch up (which is not the same as ketchup or catsup)…

This week saw the launch of Hoard It All Before, the first book in my new fantastical cozy mystery series that’s a perfect fit if you like to mix laughs in with your murderous mayhem and mythical beasts.

See, totally not like ketchup. Although the book might go well with a plate of fries…

Anyway, today I’m sharing with you the story behind the story. You know, what inspired the book, the original concept, and what elephants, library books, and my great-great grandfather (or not) had to do with it all.

Of course, if you want to take part in all the frolicking fun of release week, you can do just that with….

 Part One: The Dragon Has Landed…on Your Bookshelf

Part Two: A Quick Lesson in Cursing Lke a Dragon

Also, just after the elephant story, you’ll find samples, reader thoughts, and all kind of bookish goodies.

Alright, as Hannibal once said, let’s bring out the elephants!


Behind the Book, or How an Elephant Became a Dragon

The initial spark for this story began life as a historical novel that wasn’t going to be the least bit fantastical, mysterious, or humorous.

Weird, right?

What ignited the spark was a book on Oregon history I was thumbing through, and smack dab in the middle (okay, maybe not the exact middle) was a picture of a guy with an elephant.

The guy’s name was Al Painter.

Holy hell, my great- great-grandfather owned an elephant!

Well, not exactly. Turns out there might be no relation (“might be”) between me and this Mr. Painter. Still, I was curious about the elephant, Tusko, next to him.

Tusko, it turns out, had quite the story. He was the biggest elephant in the country, he had a penchant for whiskey, and he had plenty of violent tendencies.

He also had a handler named Slim Lewis who wrote a book all about his life with circus elephants.

Slim’s story alone is the stuff of novels, and if you can get your hands on a copy of his I Loved Rogues, you won’t be disappointed (although you may cry a lot over the mistreatment and misunderstanding of circus elephants).

I desperately wanted to write Slim and Tusko’s story. Slim (the inspiration for Cordelia) had made move after move through various circus jobs to get a chance to work with Tusko (the inspiration for Duncan), and the bond these two eventually formed was amazing.

Not wanting to step on any toes, I tried contacting Slim’s family about writing the novel, but got no response.

I didn’t dare risk the legal consequences of “stealing” Slim and Tusko’s story without permission, but it was still a story that simply wouldn’t get out my head.

So, as authors do, I pondered how I could twist reality into my own tale.

Maybe make the circus elephant into a circus dragon? Perhaps with a handler keen to work with him despite his feisty reputation? And why not throw in some centaurs and satyrs for good measure?

This new idea, which would follow similar lines to Slim and Tusko’s journey, was for a single stand-alone fantasy novel (still without a lick of mystery or humor).

After all, I’d just come off of writing three series and was in no mood to start another.

Notice I said “was”.

See, I knew I wanted my circus to have more than just a dragon act. It also needed other creatures, so I picked up a book on mythological animals from the library to get some ideas of who I might add.

And that’s where everything tumbled into place.

As I took notes on some of the beasts that appealed to me, ideas kept sparking.

The creatures could become embroiled in murders and mayhem. The dragon and his handler could solve the mysteries. The circus I had imagined would make the perfect setting for a cozy mystery series.

And there it was. My rather serious historical fantasy novel had turned into a humorous, fantastical mystery.

Also, with so many ideas for murderous story lines, the stand alone would have to become a full series.

Currently, I have two more books written (drafted) and ideas for about ten more.

You have been warned!


Ready to Bring an Elephant Dragon Into Your Life?

If that tale has you curious to see a dragon-filled version of circus life, Hoard It All Before can now be found…

(If you’re not quite sure if you’re ready to run away with the circus, you’ll find a few reader reviews, a link to a sample chapter, and the book’s description just a bit further down.)

On a budget?

You can always read Hoard It All Before for free if you simply ask your local library to purchase a copy — either in ebook or paperback format.

Don’t be shy about this.

Most libraries LOVE keeping their patrons happy and it’s a great way to help Duncan spread his wings.

Want to support your local bookstores?

You can do exactly that by popping in and requesting a paperback directly or by zipping on over to Hoard’s page on Bookshop.org and local bookstores will get a nice little portion of the sale.

(I’ll share a bit more on this as soon as the Book Launch madness is over with.)



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What readers are saying about Hoard It All Before

“I loved it.”

“Once I started reading it, I couldn’t put it down…it was that good!”

“Light and fanciful with a darn good mystery woven in. What fun!”

“…put together with a great plot and humor to keep you entertained.”

“An enjoyable read…the dragon, Duncan…is such a quirky character.”

About the Book

If you like fantastical mysteries that mix in laughs with murderous mayhem and mythical beasts, you’ll love Hoard It All Before!

Like any traveling circus, Zin’s has hair-raising acts and fried food on sticks.

But it’s also got an aura-spotting centaur, a chain-smoking unicorn, and an omelet-addicted dragon.

Oh, and a body in the center ring.

Duncan — aka “Brutus Fangwrath, Deadliest Dragon in the West” — wakes one morning to find his best friend isn’t just sleeping off a hangover. He’s been murdered.

Suspicion for the crime quickly turns to the circus’s new hire, Cordelia Quinn. After all, she’s got motive, she got means, and she’s got loads of circumstantial evidence stacked against her.

When it looks like no one else is going to step in to help Cordelia, it’s up to Duncan to unravel the case, prove Cordelia’s innocence, and uncover a troubling secret along the way.

As soon as he’s done with his omelet, that is.

Set in a 1930s that’s just a tad different than what you’re used to, Hoard it all Before is the start of a delightfully humorous mystery series with plenty of tantalizing twists, a troupe of quirky characters, and death-defying feats both in and beyond the big top.

Get your copy from your favorite retailer today at Books2Read.com/HoardItAllBefore

Want a Sample?

You can try out the first chapter by popping over to THIS POST.

One thought on “How to Turn an Elephant Into a Dragon

  1. Loved hearing the inspiration for writing this book, always very interesting how a writer comes up with such fantasy and turns it into a very enjoyable mystery..looking forward to book 2


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