Available on June 20 ~ the 3rd story with Isabella Newcombe Tarrant!

“Black Heart”

Cover design by Deranged Doctor Design

Pranks and tricks cause inconvenience, misery, and embarrassment.

After one prank goes too far and injury occurs, will Isabella locate the trickster before the next mishap turns deadly?

“Black Heart” is the third short story in the collection Sailing with Mystery. The collection continues the mystery adventures of the artist Isabella Newcombe Tarrant, featured in the Into Death series. Her introduction is in the novel Digging into Death.

~ What’s Up with “Black Heart”? ~

How to Purchase

Sailing with Mystery  ~ Mystery and Peril are dangerous shipmates for an ocean voyage.

Here’s a link to purchase the short story.

From Amazon or from other online, worldwide distributors like Kobo and Barnes & Noble and others.

If you would rather wait for the entire short story collection, Sailing with Mystery, then watch this space for the announcement of the publication and links to online distributors.

Publishing “Black Heart”

I had hoped to have all five stories available in June ~ thus, the “Available Spring 2023” for the collection. I’m going to miss my personal deadline. I hope to have the next two stories [“Silver Web” and “Red Mask”] out in July, with the ebook of the collection also published in July.

That’s the plan. I’ve had lots and lots of disruptions this spring.

Yet that delay has benefited the short stories. The original story plans were not as rich as the finished stories have turned out to be. Twists and turns–unexpected even for me–have developed. And I’ve fallen in love with a character. Originally, he was just a one-off side character, but he keeps saying or doing interesting things!

Writing “Black Heart”

This story–with pranks revealing evil hearts–kept stumping me for a while. I launched into the writing without a clear idea of the types of pranks. The only clear idea was that I hate pranksters.

You see, I taught teen-agers for a long, long time. I loved their energy. I also loved their welcoming and compassionate hearts. Their idea of fun gave me lots of fun as a spectator of it …. unless that idea of fun was more about laughing at other people, setting them up for ridicule, and mocking them when the results of their “fun” developed. Mild pranks were never the problem. Hurtful pranks, embarrassing pranks, pranks intending to hurt people or their property merely for a laugh: those pranks are ones that I despise.

I had an hour during the previous week mapping out an itinerary for the collection. Isabella boards the ship Nomadic in Southhampton, England. The ship stops along the French and Spanish coasts. The first story occurs on the approach to Gibraltar; the second, into the Mediterranean. This third is set in Port Said, Egypt … except it isn’t.

I decided to visit the pyramids, and that gave me the first prank and the launching point of the story.

Everything developed from the launch point along with additional pranks and the black heart required for a prankster.

A couple of twists developed. A research-based conversation changed a planned event to one that had more reality.

Then the ending was upon me. With the last words, I leaned back in my chair. “Whoo! That was fun!”

I hope you enjoy it as well.

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