I am happy to announce that the third book of my series, ‘The Belly Dance Mysteries’, is now available! Called ‘Murder at the Renaissance Faire’, it follows Ginger and Susan as they go from dancing in Redvue’s first Renassance Faire to solving the murders of several Faire workers! As the clues mount up, they realize that they could be next on the killer’s list!
Available on Amazon as a paperback, hardback, or on Kindle!
In theory, getting a rental car when you’re on vacation should be a wonderful experience. It’s new, clean, and shiny, and it doesn’t have thirty half-empty water bottles clattering around under the seats or that weird smell you can’t quite track to the source.
So you can imagine how happy we were when the car rental guy in Flagstaff, AZ, gave us a free upgrade to an even newer, nicer car than the economy model we’d signed up for. We had just sent hours crammed into two different planes that required the human leg to fold up into origami to fit in the seats. Now we were going to complete our journey to the Grand Canyon in a car that actually had enough legroom to accommodate knees that only bend in one direction. Pure luxury, right?
We should have been more suspicious. Seriously, who gives out free upgrades? If we hadn’t been addle-brained from so many hours of air travel, would we have noticed hidden terror in the faces of the rental employees? A nervous twitch in their eyes? A hurried conversation that included the words, “For the love of god, just get that car out of here?!”
Long story short, our rental car was possessed. It looked beautiful, of course—a brand new black Chevy Impala, still sparkling from its latest car wash. It behaved while we drove it off the lot, but after that it started getting…chatty.
At first we noticed that it honked at us every time we left it. Then it honked every time we approached it (it had an automatic key fob that would unlock the doors as soon as we were in range.)
That was annoying, but we’d seen other cars do the same thing and just thought we’d have to live with it. Then it started to honk four times in a row if: the passenger-side door was opened before the driver-side door; the driver-side door was opened for more than 30 seconds and the driver didn’t get out; the driver-side door was opened and the passenger-side wasn’t; and sometimes when we were packing or unpacking the trunk. Basically, it honked whenever it felt like it—sometime once, sometimes four times, sometimes continuously. We got suspicious and unfriendly looks from people in parking lots. We gradually came to realize that our car was possessed.
Fortunately, as in most cases of possession, there was a holy book to consult. We found it conveniently stashed away in the glove compartment, along with warrantee papers and related documents. Unfortunately, as is often the case with holy books, it was confusing, complicated, and did not address the actual problem (although we did finally learn how to set the parking brake. Sort of.)
We tossed the holy manual back in the glove compartment and started experimenting with the entirely digital dashboard. There were no buttons, no explanations, just an endless series of options to scroll through. Every time we thought we had turned off the car’s alert systems, we’d get out, walk away from the car, and get honked at. Sometimes it would wait a few seconds to get us off our guard, then honk as soon as our backs were turned. I started arguing with the car and calling it names when it did this. This got us even more looks from strangers.
At last it was time to return the car to the rental people—this time in Phoenix. They probably wouldn’t have taken it back in Flagstaff. As we scrambled to gather our luggage and get away, the car started its “I’m being stolen” continuous honk. We grabbed our stuff, ducked our heads and walked away.
I think about that damned car now while I’m driving my pretty little 1999 Ford Escort. I like how there is a key to turn, a lever for setting the parking brake, and a horn that only goes off when I press that part of the steering wheel. Sure, it might have a slightly cracked bumper, stains on the carpet, and a speaker that cuts in and out. It’s just shy of having 100,000 miles on the odometer—a mark of pride in our family (my Dad kept a Pinto alive and running for almost 40 years.) The Impala will never rack up that kind of milage, because one of these days somebody’s going to shove it off a cliff.
I love my car. I’m going to take good care of it, too, because I never want to have to get a new one. New cars suck. My car’s a classic, really. They just don’t make cars like that anymore. I think it—no, I think it’s a she—She needs a name. I’m thinking Christine. Yeah, Christine is nice.
Spoiler Alert: We never actually got on a train.
One of the main problems about visiting the Grand Canyon is that it’s out in the middle of freaking nowhere. You can’t just fly there, because there are no major airports within about a million miles.
To get there from Washington, we had the choice between flying to Las Vegas, renting a car, and driving hundreds of miles to the east. Alternatively, we could fly to Phoenix, rent a car, and drive hundreds of miles north. We chose option three, which involved flying to Phoenix, waiting through a layover, flying to Flagstaff, renting a car, and driving a couple of hundred miles north, but not as many as we would have had to drive from Phoenix.
As it turned out, we missed the layover because our flight into Phoenix ended up getting there so late we had to sprint through the airport to catch the flight into Flagstaff. On one hand, we didn’t have to wait around for an hour or two. On the other hand, there was barely time to use the restroom, let alone eat, and it was already hours after lunchtime. We scrambled onboard, only to discover that no food or beverages would be served because the flight was considered to be too short.
Then, once everybody was loaded up, the plane sat stewing on the tarmac for a good 45 minutes. More than enough time to run out for a hamburger, or at least have a leisurely trip to the bathroom, you’d think, but they weren’t having any of that. They also wanted you to keep the window shutters closed, because this plane was small and the air conditioning would only work properly once the plane got in the air and up to speed. (Phoenix was just then entering what would turn out to be a record-breaking heat wave, even for Arizona!) Passengers were to remain in the dark, in their seats, seatbelts fastened, and heaven help you if the dragon-lady stewardess caught you with your purses or laptops not properly stowed under the seat despite the fact that the plane hadn’t budged an inch.
The general cussedness of air travel was somewhat made up for by the magnificent views. I will never tire of watching the land below change from forests to mountains to deserts and back again. I like trying to guess where we are and what geological processes formed what I am seeing. I run my guesses by Monty, who replies that a) we aren’t going anywhere near that state and b) I should know the geology by now, seeing as how we’ve been watching geology videos nonstop.
One feature I did recognize on the flight to Phoenix was–wait for it–the Grand Canyon itself! It’s pretty amazing when seen from the air, but it also made me question why we were continuing on south to Phoenix, then north to Flagstaff, and then driving hundreds of miles further north to get to the Grand Canyon when it’s right there, for Pete’s sake! Couldn’t we just get out there? Apparently not.
One of the other things that keeps me entertained during air travel is turbulence, which nobody but me ever seems to enjoy. There was a respectable amount of turbulence on the larger plane to Phoenix, but I held even higher hopes for the flight to Flagstaff. Small planes typically bounce around more than the big ones, and this one did not disappoint. While everybody else was white-knuckling it and Monty was turning green (It might be just as well that we didn’t eat beforehand) I was in my seat going “Wheeee!”
At last, we arrived in Flagstaff and were allowed off the plane. I headed for a Starbuck’s to get food for myself and a drink for Monty (who didn’t seem to be hungry at the moment.) We went to the car rental kiosk, where we were offered a free upgrade from whatever car they were going to give us to whatever was a grade up from that car. We said yes. It was a mistake.
Stay tuned for the next exciting episode: What To Do When Your Rental Car Is Possessed.
Since it’s going to be awhile before the next book in The Belly Dance Mysteries comes out, (hint: it’s set in a ren faire! I will be hassling you, my SCA friends.) I’m just going to have to ramble on about other topics. My first pick–the vacation my husband and I recently took to the Grand Canyon.
Last Christmas, my parents very generously gave us some money to “have fun with.” We quickly decided that a vacation would be the best way to do that. After looking at many different places to go, we decided on the Grand Canyon. We are both geology nerds, and rumor had it that the Grand Canyon was home to a lot of rocks.
Now, if you’ve ever tried planning this particular trip yourself, you’ll know that you can’t just GO to the Grand Canyon. About 50 billion people go there every year, and it’s kind of out in the middle of nowhere. There aren’t many towns nearby, and a limited number of places to stay. Reservations for the local hotels need to be booked as much as a year in advance. We wanted to go in less than 6 months. Good luck! Everything was booked.
Then a miracle happened: Monty was surfing the websites for different hotels on the South Rim, and saw that two nights had just opened up for the end of May–in El Tovar, one of the most historic hotels in the G.C. and situated right on the rim. Yay! We booked it. And so the adventure began.
In the next few posts I’ll be talking about road trips, incredible scenery, squirrels that weren’t there, food poisoning, What To Do If Your Rental Car Is Possessed, and, of course, rocks. Lots and lots and lots of rocks.
I am excited to announce that the long-awaited sequel to ‘Murder at the Arabian Nights’ is finally finished and available to order at Amazon.com!
Ginger and Susan continue their adventures when a man is found dead at the wedding of two of their friends. When people keep dying even after the police arrest a suspect, Ginger and Susan must search for the truth–even if they end up on the killer’s list!
Available through Amazon.com: https://amzn.com/1533305137
It’s spring, and love is in the air–but so is murder. When a murder occurs at the wedding of their friends, Ginger and Susan team up with police officer Tara to prevent an innocent man from going to jail!
The lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer are finally here! It’s a great time to read. To celebrate, the Kindle version of Murder at the Arabian Nights is now on sale at Amazon.com for only $2.99!
Book Giveaway For Murder at the Arabian Nights: A Belly Dance Mystery
Murder at the Arabian Nights: A Belly Dance Mystery
by Rebecca Wolf-Nail (Goodreads Author)Signed copy of Murder at the Arabian Nights–A Belly Dance Mystery
Closed to entries in: 38 days and 13:38:39
The sale on the NOOK version of Murder at the Arabian Nights will now be continued until the end of June. Get your copy now to enjoy on the long 4th of July weekend!