Parris Afton Bonds – #NewRelease – Reluctant Rebel #Historical Fiction @MotinaBooks

Parris Afton Bonds has published more than fifty novels in her writing career and has garnered numerous accolades along the way. But she is more than an author to me. She is also a friend and I felt it the first time I met her.

Parris and Jan 7-17-21

But enough about that. Today I am thrilled to let her tell you about a new Historical Fiction book she has published. In case you missed it, I posted my review of Reluctant Rebel HERE.


I’m going to back out and turn it over to Parris to let her tell you about the story that inspired the story.

First, Jan, thank you for taking the risk to feature Reluctant Rebel on your blog. My latest novel is not the usual historical romance in that its story also applies to world events ongoing right now. But then, Jan, you are that kind of individual, the hero who answers to call to adventure.

I was halfway through writing the first draft for a novel set in El Paso in the mid-1800s when researching I chanced across an incident in El Paso that set my mind’s wheels spinning. I knew here was a story I had to write – now! I set aside my other story. This is something I have rarely done. Out of fifty novels, if I count rightly, I have only put one on the backburner. It is still there.  Maybe, one day . . .

*** And now the story that stopped me in my tracks: In 1917, a seventeen-year-old redheaded Mexican housemaid, Carmelita Torres, started a riot on the El Paso-Juarez bridge to protest being stripped naked, every bodily orifice probed, and forcibly sprayed with chemicals for typhus by the Public Health Department. Look her up and the accompanying, horrifying photos.  The riot made international news.

It eventually involved over a thousand protestors and for three days shut down traffic both ways on the bridge. Dubbed the Redhaired Amazon by newspapers, Carmelita was arrested that day – and then abruptly disappeared from history and time.  Most likely, authorities worried that to keep her incarcerated would martyr her, and to set her free would risk her creating even greater havoc. Their solution, most likely, was to remove her from the El Paso City Jail and dump her in the desert. Who is alive today to know what really happened? But disappear overnight, she did.

I knew I wanted to write a happy ending for this intrepid young woman, whom I fictionalized as Pia Arellano. I fell in love with the young man I created who comes to her aid most reluctantly. Walter Stevenson is an agent with the newly formed Bureau of Investigation, on a mission to identify the “master spy” being handled by the precursor of the Nazi party there in the Pass. No two lovers were ever more mismatched.

Unfortunately, the disinfecting of Mexicans at El Paso continued for another 40 years until 1958.  Ironically, the Spanish Influenza pandemic that spread across the world a year later, in the fall of 1918, taking its toll also on soldiers stationed at Fort Bliss, proved far more deadly to border residents than the perceived fears of typhus.

**And now for “The Rest of the Story”: As the title of the renowned Paul Harvey radio program, the rest of the Bath Riot’s story is far, far more mind-blowing.

A 1937 German scientific journal specifically praised the El Paso method of fumigating Mexican workers with Zyklon B. Then, at the start of WWII, the Nazis began practicing this Zyklon B fumigation formula at its concentration camps. Later, when Hitler put the Final Solution into effect, the Nazis used Zyklon B in their gas chambers not only to exterminate lice but also millions of human beings.

As our globe faces the assault of yet another unhinged despot in Vladimir Putin, I firmly have faith that there will be enough individuals like Carmelita Torres/Pia Arellano to topple the tyrant.

Jan, thank you for allowing me to share my version of “The Rest of Carmen Torres’s Story,” via my Reluctant Rebel, published by Motina Books.

Courtesy Motina Books

Book Blurb:

In January of 1917, young Piedad Arellano is riding the streetcar across the Santa Fe Bridge that connects Juarez, Mexico to El Paso where she works as a housemaid. When she learns El Paso is using kerosene and toxic chemicals to “treat” workers for suspected lice, she takes a stand and says, No! Thousands join her in the protest, shutting down bridge traffic and making international news.

Walter Stevenson is an agent with the newly formed Bureau of Investigation, on a mission to identify the “master spy” being handled by the precursor of the Nazi party there in El Paso.

Their two worlds collide when Piedad is arrested for inciting the Bath Riots and Walt reluctantly comes to her aid. No two lovers were ever more mismatched.

Spies are pursued, dark family secrets are revealed, and romance may be possible in this historical novel based on the true events of the Bath Riots.

Parris Afton Bonds – Far-right

A few months ago, Parris moved to Queretaro, Mexico. This is a photo of Parris, her friend of 50 years, Isabella, and Isabella’s daughter, Luz, taken recently in Mexico.

I hope you are intrigued enough to pick up this new book from Parris Afton Bonds. I highly recommend it!


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50 thoughts on “Parris Afton Bonds – #NewRelease – Reluctant Rebel #Historical Fiction @MotinaBooks

  1. Jan – thanks for giving us the author’s words about the book
    And Parris – nice to meet you in this post – wow – you truly followed an inspired idea of you put the other one on hold and hardly every do that!
    It makes me sad to hear about the spraying and for so long!
    Reminds me of Ellis island when immigrants were treated to badly – and got chalk marks to show which category they belonged to!
    Anyhow – back to your book – it sounds like Carmelita and Pia are characters from the past horrid events that can be used to humanity raise awareness for today!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yvette ~ I am so hoping that Reluctant Rebel, if even in a very small way, make a change for the better for those you read it. Thank you!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Mark ~ thank you for the high-five! I am trusting you will enjoy Reluctant Rebel (and after more than 50 books my mind is indeed blown, as friends and family will admit).

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Robbie, I am relieved when I find others who share the same values about history ~ and the rewriting of it. I am trusting you will enjoy Reluctant Rebel. Since Carmen disappeared from history, I felt at ease fictionalizing a happy ending for her.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Jacquie ~ thank you. I worry that with the rewriting of history, our Carmen Torres will be expunged. Yet I am hoping that my story will keep her story alive.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Jacquie ~ Thank you for your compassionate comment. It is frightening to know that to take a stand against something inhumane can result in oblivion.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Coldhandboyack ~ I like your handle there, guy! And yes, it is both a heartbreaking and frightening story in that this is what can happen when you take stand for what is right. This is why I felt compelled to write a happy ending for our Carmen Torres.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Congrats on your newest release. I have never heard of that fumigation, and wish we knew what happened to her. I’m glad tou gave her a hapoy ending and picked up my copy, Parris. Thanks for hosting, Jan.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I do too, Denise, but glad Parris gave her a happy ending in her story. Thank you for stopping by and for picking up a copy of the book!! It was my pleasure to host Parris!


  3. Oh my word, what an amazing sounding story! I love what inspired you to write Reluctant Rebel, Parris. I’m blown away by the history you’ve shared. I believe this is going to be another must read. Jan, thank you so much for sharing your blog with Parris today & sharing about her book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Marlena ~ responses like yours make me glad I battled my way through writing Reluctant Rebel. I hope it makes a difference in our world, somewhere, somehow, if only a small one.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Wow, just another horrible and disgusting practice that got brushed under the rug. I fear there are thousands of them. Every voice matters and we have a duty to speak up and protest such indignities. This sounds like a story I need to read. The best of luck, Parris. You look really happy. Keep your stories coming.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So true, sister. Way too many atrocities have been brushed under the rug over the centuries. I love the way Parris brought a happy ending to this character. Thank you for stopping by! Love you!


    2. Linda ~ your stories are powerful in their presentations, and I feel blessed by your comment, coming from such a talented author as yourself.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m so glad to hear you wrote your character a happy ending, as I fear her real-life counterpart didn’t get one. Congratulations on your new release (and your new home), Parris.

    Jan, thanks for hosting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had the same thought, Staci. The fictional character deserved the happy ending the real character didn’t get. This is such a good historical fiction story. Thanks for stopping by to lend your support to Parris!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I remember your review of this book, Jan. It sounds most intriguing and getting a glimpse of how it came about was a bonus. All the best to Parris and for getting settled in her new home!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Mae Clair ~ in writing Reluctant Rebel, I found my values and views changed. I am hoping Carmelita/Pia’s story does the same for my readers. And I am dancing on sunshine here in Queretaro, Mae Clair!

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Gwen ~ I am so pleased Reluctant Rebel intrigued you. I am hoping my novel also makes a positive difference in the lives of my readers. Thank you for taking time to respond.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Jill ~ thank you for the kind comments about Reluctant Rebel. I am trusting that it will inspire others to take stands again inhumanity.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Harmony ~ I love your name ~ I am trusting that Reluctant Readers will also feel it is a great read. I am counting on you wishes for good luck for me!

      Liked by 2 people

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