Tuesday, April 23, 2019


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Hello, Readers,

Our  High Country Mystery novel,  Crying Woman Bridge, was at least partially inspired by tales of La Llorona.  La Llorona , or The Weeping Woman, is a legend that has been around a while in Mexico and the Southwestern states.

Books and movies have been made of the ghostly crying woman weeping for her child or children that she has murdered for some personal gain. In fact, a new 2019 film, THE CURSE OF LA LLORONA was just released which centers around the legend.  And I remember viewing an earlier one one on Netflix as well.  

The La Lllorona Legend

“Ah, mis hijos…” Is it a woman’s voice wailing for her lost children, or only the wind?

Many versions of the La Llorona story exist.  Part of the folklore of Mexico and the Southwest, its origin is impossible to trace.  

The basic story is that a poor but beautiful village woman attracts the eye of a wealthy man. The rich lover doesn't know she has children.  She drowns the children to be with her lover, but the lover then rejects her.  Feeling the anguish of remorse and grief, she drowns herself and her restless spirit forever searches for her lost children. 

In other versions of the story, she is a woman who neglects her children by going to parties in town.  While she is away, the children wander off to the river and drown.   She is often portrayed as a malevolent ghost that caused misfortune.    

Check this site for the most well-known version of the  La Llorona Legend.

Similar  Legends

In the Midwest there are legends of haunted bridges and spirits who, like La Llorona are weeping for their lost child or children.  Theorosa's Bridge, on the outskirts of Valley Center, Kansas, has such a story. The bridge is believed to be haunted by a young woman crying for her lost child.  In some versions of the tale she is the mother of an  infant who was stolen from a wagon train by a band or raiding Indians.  In others, she is a young woman who drowns her illegitimate baby to hide her shame. Like the La Llorona legend, her ghost haunts the bridge, searching forever for her lost child.

La Llorona Comes to Wyoming

We combined these two legends and brought a tale similar to La Llorona to Wyoming in the form of Mirabella.  Mirabella is a pioneer woman who, according to our story’s legend, threw her illegitimate baby from the bridge.  Filled with remorse, she haunts the area and tries to steal children from unsuspecting mothers.

   “When I was in high school, the kids always gathered here to party.  But they were spooked by the place, too.”  McQuede leaned back in the car seat, recalling, “In the old days, it was called Mirabella’s bridge.”
            “That’s because,” Dawson explained, “according to local legend, a young pioneer woman named Mirabella got jilted by her lover and threw her baby over the bridge.”
            “All I know is that at night it is rumored you can still hear her wails.”
“Foolish superstition,” Dawson said.
            McQuede attempted to suppress amusement over his friend’s sudden seriousness.  “It’s a fact, for sure,” McQuede persisted, trying to keep the teasing out of his voice, “if you say her name three times, she will appear and bad things will follow.”  
            “Yes,” Dawson echoed, “Three calls and woe to you.”
            “Did you ever try it?”
            “Not brave enough.”  Midway across the bridge, Dawson stopped the car.  “But you are.  I dare you, McQuede.  Call her name three times, and let’s see what happens.”
            Dawson pressed the buttons that controlled the front side windows, and they slid open with an eerie, mechanical sound that mingled with the noise of rushing water.  A gust of wind from the canyon stirred their clothing and hair.  Instead of waiting for McQuede, Dawson called out in a voice loud and clear, “Mirabella!  Mirabella!  Mira—we’re going to be late,” he broke off suddenly, without finishing.  He promptly checked his watch.  “Too late for this nonsense.”

            Dawson, for the first time silent, stepped harder on the gas as they followed the twisting road.  McQuede’s friend always became too involved in these legends, so much so, that they often became fixed in his mind as solid fact instead of mostly fiction.  McQuede, noting the anxiety that had crept into the professor’s manner, couldn’t help smiling.

Click this link to order CRYING WOMAN BRIDGE from Amazon

We have recently received the news that CRYING WOMAN BRIDGE has been accepted by BOOKS IN MOTION to be recorded in audio.  Audible readers will soon be able to listen t o this new release with expert narration. 

 CRYING WOMAN BRIDGE is also available through Amazon on Kindle, Kindleunlimted, and in paperback.

Saturday, December 8, 2018


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Hello, Readers,

We just received the exciting news that  CRYING WOMAN BRIDGE  has been accepted by BOOKS IN MOTION to be recorded in audio. Our Audible readers will soon be able to listen to this new release with expert narration.

The book is also available through Amazon on Kindle, KindleUnlimited, and as a paperback .

Loretta and I got our start at writing when Books in motion published our Ardis Cole series, which is still available Audible.com and was  published in paperback and ebook  through Rowe Publishing.  Since then, we have gone on to publish over fifty books, mostly in the mystery genre.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018



Sheriff Jeff McQuede becomes suspicious when a robber breaks into the Coal County Museum and steals only one item - a black-and-white class photograph. Under the name Jerome Slade the photographer had printed two ominous words: never graduated.  When a body is unearthed beneath the newly demolished school, McQuede realizes Slade had not left Black Mountain the night of the spring dance. McQuede soon uncovers hidden rivalries between Slade and his classmates. When he discovers that Heather Kenwell and the woman of his dreams, Loris Conner, were rivals for Slade's affection, McQuede fears finding out the truth.  Theft, blackmail, and another brutal killing lead back to photographs taken by Black Mountain's eccentric photographer, Bruce Fenton. While others see an innocent collection, McQuede sees murder in black and white.

 Murder in Black and White is a mystery following Sheriff Jeff McQuede as the most unusual burglary occurs...a riveting old-school style mystery that is as fun as it is entertaining.  - Midwest Book Review

Purchase Link: Murder in Black and White


 Sheriff Jeff McQuede finds 'Bartering Bill' Garr murdered at his rural antique store. Only one item is missing -- a rare artifact believed to be the Pedro Mummy. First discovered in a cave in Wyoming, the Pedro Mummy was reported missing in the 1950s. Dr. Seth Talbot, newly arrived in town, has put out a fifteen-thousand-dollar reward for any information on the mummy, hoping that modern technology will prove his theory that a tiny race of people actually existed: one the Shoshones call the Nimerigar, or Little People. McQuede is astounded to find the mummy in the trunk of Seth Talbot's car. Talbot swears he;s being set up by rival co-workers -- Dr. Arden Reed, in particular -- who plans to benefit from his research. McQuede suspects the theft of the mummy is a red herring used to cover up the true motive for the crime. The closer he comes to the truth, the deeper McQuede is drawn into an elaborate hoax that threatens his career and places him in grave danger.

If you like a mystery with an interesting location as well as colorful characters, this is the one for you. --Reader's Favorite, Jean Brickell  

Purchase Link:  Whispers of the Stones


The famous Carlo painting Stealer of Horses sells for cash in a small Wyoming town and gallery owner Sheldon Spence gives the $200,000 to his wife, who walks over to the bank to make the deposit...and never returns.  A witness claims to have seen a frightened-looking Susan Spence in a battered old Chevy, speeding out of town. And each succeeding clue reveals a different angle on her disappearance. Sheriff Jeff McQuede begins to wonder if this is more than a simple case of kidnapping and robbery. Was Sheldon involved in Susan's disappearance? Or did Susan and a lover fake the scheme, planning to run off with the money they stole from Sheldon? The identity of a victim found shot behind the wheel of the Chevy holds the key to one ominous question: Is Susan Spence a kidnap victim-or is she part of some sinister ploy?

"A tremendous story that is on par with the best mysteries available on the market..."
Nicola Davies for Readers Favorite

Purchase Link:  Stealer of Horses   


An ominous black hood, a murdered judge.   When Sheriff Jeff McQuede finds Durmont's highly respected judge, Phil Grayson, bludgeoned to death in his study, a black executioner's hood shoved over his head, he faces his toughest case yet.  The judge has many enemies, including Darin Keefe, sentenced by Grayson and just released from prison. McQuede soon finds out that Keefe's case is linked to a city scandal that may involve Grayson. Seven years ago the judge's best friend, John Harwood, was believed to have taken a bribe from Keefe Construction and to have committed suicide rather than face conviction.  Had Keefe, taking the fall, left prison intent on revenge?   Or is the the judge's murder the result of a robbery gone wrong? Grayson died surrounded by his fabulous Old West outlaw collection, including a death mask, a famous Peacemaker, and other rare artifacts. The intruder could have been after some unknown item of great value.   Is the judge's murder a simple burglary gone wrong or a case of modern-day vigilante justice?

McQuede is a character that would make anybody feel safe and secure. Barry Dawson, is a good friend but you'd just want to smack him for being careless with his life. The Judge? He, like everyone else, was a mixture of good and bad--the question is, which got him killed?
 Sandra Murphy-- King's River Life Magazine

Purchase Link: The Executioner's Hood


 In the heart of a raging blizzard Sheriff Jeff McQuede discovers a woman frozen to death in her car. At first he believes her death to be an unfortunate accident--until he finds clues that point to cold-blooded murder. Margaret's husband, Arthur, left her in the stalled vehicle to brave the storm and manages to reach Joe Trevino's isolated ranch. The case becomes more complicated because of the recent warehouse robberies at Trevino's store. McQueede finds that Trevino is Margaret Burnell's business partner, and that she has traveled from their Casper store to conduct a company audit. In addition, Margaret has planned to meet with her only child, a run-away daughter she hasn't seen in years. Trevino, the missing daughter, and Arthur Burnell would all profit financially from Margaret's demise. Has a relentless killer tracked and sabotaged the Burnells, or did Arthur simply abandon his wife for his share of the money, leaving her to die an icy death?

I loved the setting in An Icy Death...The cold, brutal Wyoming winter is the perfect setting for a book that you want to curl up in front of the fire with and never stop reading...  I also liked the fact that no one w as ever sure that the murder was really a murder. At first, it appeared to be a tragic accident. ... Was the husband at fault? Or was this a simple act of ugly nature? Nice job!  Janelle Fila --Readers' Favorite

Purchase Link:  An Icy Death 


While returning from Professor Dawson's lecture on haunted places, the last thing Sheriff Jeff McQuede and Dawson expect to encounter is a terrified woman clinging to the railing of Mirabella's Bridge, crying for her lost baby. It looks as if Rae Harris has thrown the infant over the bridge in a fit of despair, but she claims he has been stolen by a ghostly figure she calls Mirabella. Similar to the La Llorona legend Dawson just spoke about, Mirabella was a local pioneer woman who was rumored to have drowned her infant after being abandoned by a lover. At first McQuede believes Rae was driven by madness, but he soon finds evidence that her story may be true, and the perfectly timed kidnapping of her child may be in some way related to lecture attendee and local celebrity, Jim Royce, and his vast fortune.

"My favorite book in the series" 
In a crime that mirrors the haunting legend of Mirabella, a 'crying woman' whose story is a variation of the legend of La Llorona, a babe goes missing and the distraught mother claims a ghost has stolen him away. Despite roadblock after roadblock, Sheriff McQuede doggedly pursues the truth, not believing that a legend has come to life...  Lillie Amman, Reviewer

Purchase Link:  Crying Woman Bridge 


Threatened victim, waiting grave…Sheriff McQuede is called to the cemetery by Ben Ward, a member of Durmont's Good Old Boys' Club. Ward's tombstone, where he plans someday to be buried with his first wife, is vandalized. A menacing date of death, fast approaching, has been drilled into the stone, and splotches of red paint drips over it like blood. Ben Ward and his four partners have sunk vast sums of money into a recreational community, Pleasant Valley Retreat, and this failing project has flamed anger among the investors. As the inscribed date of Ward's death draws nearer, a killer stalks the resort. McQuede must act quickly before a vandal's threats turn into reality.

"An excellent story that starts with a unused tombstone being vandalized. Murder follows as a Ponzi scheme is uncovered by the sheriff on the eve of his wedding. Fans of C.J. Box will enjoy this modern day Western series by a pair of sisters. This was a free review copy in PDF format provided by the authors. I'm looking forward to reading more books in the series as once I started the story was difficult to put down.--5 star Goodreads review-- Fredrick Danysh 

Purchase Link: Murder and the Good Old Boys' Club

A DEAL ON A HANDSHAKE:  A Collection of Seven Jeff McQuede Short Stories

In these seven mysteries Sheriff Jeff McQuede finds himself in the middle of a deal made on a handshake—where the result is murder. Set in the high county of modern-day Wyoming, the deal makers are speculators at an old-time mountain man rendezvous, traders vying over rare Native American pottery, or two family patriarchs pretending to bridge a lifetime of feuding. Throughout McQuede battles his arch-enemy Ruger, who he suspects runs a host of illegal activities, but generally manages to evade McQuede’s traps. In each of these stories McQuede, putting his own life on the line, relentlessly seeks out the dangerous men who have broken trust.

Purchase Link: A Deal on a Handshake

All of our books are available on Kindle, Kindle Unlimited, and as paperbacks through Amazon. 

Look for the eight book in the series, RAPID RIVER HOAX, coming this fall!