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.
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.
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.
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!
Follow Parris on Social Media:
It is a true pleasure to lend my blog space to Author Jacqui Murray so that she can tell you about a new release!
Am I a storyteller? Are you?
By Jacqui Murray
Storyteller vs. writer. It took me a long time and a lot of experience to realize the difference between these two. They both describe authors who create fiction but one makes you want to curl into a comfortable chair and get lost in the tale while the other encourages you to find a better you from what you’re reading. Do you know which one that is?
When I read one, I am awed by the beauty of the words chosen, how they flow together, the emotions they evoke from somewhere within me. The other–I don’t think about the artistry of the writing because I’m too lost in the characters, plot, scenery, and drama.
One is serious writing–where you are expected to learn something, grow within yourself, rigorously examine your thoughts and beliefs. The other–all that’s expected is that you forget the world exists for a period of time and immerse yourself in a different reality created by the author.
One is designed to make you a better person as you travel the journey with the main characters. The other–the goal is to entertain. You will probably come out a better person but the purpose is something else. I don’t think Hemingway wrote Old Man and the Sea as much to entertain as to examine an issue. Which was he–storyteller or writer?
One covers a vast swath of authors, from novice to well-seasoned. The other–you really can’t award yourself that title. Readers do it for you, by their love of your fiction, their eagerness for the next story.
Serious people–authors and readers–have different connotations of these writing styles, often judgmental, sometimes wrong, at least in my worldview. I found this one online. I’ll leave it anonymous but you can click the link and find out who it was. The article resonated with a lot of readers–he has 396 comments!
Writers speak in low, thoughtful tones, and everyone gathers around them at parties as they spontaneously leap into a wine-heightened progression of playful prose and insightful social commentary. Storytellers are generally at the same party, twitching in a closet as they fumble about with an over-willing partner, or, more often, by themselves.
I thought XXXX was pretty accurate about writers’ opinions of themselves and in the end, when I finished the article, not too far off about storytellers (though I objected to the hypercritical nature of the initial description).
Which are you?
A boy blinded by fire. A woman raised by wolves. An avowed enemy offers help.
In this second of the Dawn of Humanity trilogy, the first trilogy in the Man vs. Nature saga, Lucy and her eclectic group escape the treacherous tribe that has been hunting them and find a safe haven in the famous Wonderwerk caves in South Africa. Though they don’t know it, they will be the oldest known occupation of caves by humans. They don’t have clothing, fire, or weapons, but the caves keep them warm and food is plentiful. But they can’t stay, not with the rest of the tribe enslaved by an enemy. To free them requires not only the prodigious skills of Lucy’s unique group–which includes a proto-wolf and a female raised by the pack–but others who have no reason to assist her and instinct tells Lucy she shouldn’t trust.
Set 1.8 million years ago in Africa, Lucy and her tribe struggle against the harsh reality of a world ruled by nature, where predators stalk them and a violent new species of man threatens to destroy their world. Only by changing can they prevail. If you ever wondered how earliest man survived but couldn’t get through the academic discussions, this book is for you. Prepare to see this violent and beautiful world in a way you never imagined.
A perfect book for fans of Jean Auel and the Gears!
Title and author: Laws of Nature
Series: Book 2 in the Dawn of Humanity series
Genre: Prehistoric fiction
Editor: The extraordinary Anneli Purchase
Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular prehistoric fiction saga, Man vs. Nature which explores seminal events in man’s evolution one trilogy at a time. She is also the author of the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers and Building a Midshipman , the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. Her non-fiction includes over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, reviews as an Amazon Vine Voice, a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection, Winter 2022.
Social Media contacts:
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jacqui-Murray/e/B002E78CQQ/
I am super happy to turn my blog over to Gwen Plano today so that she can tell us about her new book, The Culmination A New Beginning!
Thank you so much, Jan, for inviting me to your amazing blog and for helping me launch The Culmination, a new beginning. It just went public on Amazon, and I’m super excited. To celebrate, the Kindle edition is on sale at 99¢ through December.
So, what’s the book about? The Culmination can best be described as a military thriller. It tackles difficult topics such as denuclearization, the power struggles over oil in the Middle East, as well as the ever-present danger of war. Readers will find themselves sitting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, walking in the historic Red Square, and laughing with children in an orphanage in Turkey. They will glimpse the horror of war and watch the give and take of a negotiated peace. Readers will also meet the two heads of state who fall in love and subsequently commit themselves to creating a world in which all are family.
I never expected to write this book, but in some ways, I had no choice. The characters crowded into my office and insisted that I listen to them. In a very real way, they wrote the book. I simply tapped the keys and learned of the urgent need to become family. How perfect for Thanksgiving!
The Culmination, a new beginning is the third book in The Contract thriller series. After an assassination attempt on an Air Force base in northern California, tensions mount. Heads of state meet to craft a denuclearization agreement. The meetings between these nuclear powers take a murderous turn. A nefarious conspiracy re-emerges and leads the characters into the heart of the Middle East, where they encounter the unexpected and find a reason for hope.
Leaders from nine countries with nuclear arsenals gather in Reykjavik, Iceland to negotiate a nuclear disarmament treaty. Vice President Margaret Adler from the United States chairs the meetings. After an intense and heated exchange between two heads of state, Adler calls for order and addresses the group.
“If we’re honest with ourselves, or anyone else, we’d admit freely that we don’t trust, that we live in fear, and that we are always ready to impose a deadly strike. In fact, our power is measured by our ability to destroy. Isn’t that right?
“No one suggests that we abandon our need to protect our country’s boundaries and our people. Rather, today, we lay the foundation for an alternative way of relating. Shall we proceed?”
Members glance one at another and nod their agreement.
For the next two hours, the leaders present and discuss their preliminary ideas for progressive nuclear disarmament. The Pakistani leader asks for a break, and Adler concurs.
“Let’s reconvene in fifteen minutes,” she says.
As chairs get pushed back, and people stand, Adler walks out onto the deck. A chilly breeze brushes her skin, which she welcomes. This is her first visit to Iceland, and she smiles. What a perfect location.
The Russian President interrupts her reveries when he stands by her side. “This is a day I could not have imagined, standing shoulder to shoulder with the Vice President of the United States, looking out on …”
Adler smiles, “I couldn’t have imagined it either. Here we are, the two most powerful countries in the world, nations who have hated one another for a century, marveling at natural beauty and a child playing with a kite. No, I couldn’t have imagined.”
President Smirnov gives a side glance and asks, “Where did it occur?”
Adler realizes that he’s noticed her arm prosthesis. “Afghanistan.”
“Ah, another reason to hate Russians.”
“Don’t we all have reasons? You wonder who holds the power—truly. Those of us who can destroy, or a child who plays innocently with her kite?”
Amazon Author’s page: https://amzn.to/3eAU2Bt
Letting Go into Perfect Love – https://amzn.to/3bToO7t
The Contract between heaven and earth – https://amzn.to/2U2Lgmv
The Choice: the unexpected heroes – https://amzn.to/3lcz8eA
The Culmination, a new beginning – https://amzn.to/3eEWkj9