Thursday, August 24, 2017

FAQ 4 What is Arizona Monsoon Season Black Mesa AZ ?-

FAQ 4 

Monsoon Season in Arizona

Black Mesa AZ

Michael Doyle and Vincent Steven save a boy trapped in a flooded wash.

I start my mornings with a cup of coffee and the Weather Channel. Today I am following (potential hurricane) tropical storm Harvey which is gathering moisture from the Gulf of Mexico with possible 11" of rain in one day over parts of Texas. From the estimated path it might keep going northwest or depending on the jet stream curve to the east. We'll see what's coming to Arizona.

A monsoon is a name given to a seasonal weather pattern in Arizona that changes from hot and dry (110 degrees+ F and less than 20% humidity) to humid (dew points in the 70's) and downpours of rain (5" to 6 " in one day). Dry washes and riverbeds fill up in seconds with a wall of water and debris.

The average rainfall in Arizona is about 12" a year, happening twice a year, once in the Winter months of February/March and next the Summer Monsoon season in July/August. The year 1980 after I moved to Arizona so much rain fell during the winter that the bridges along the Salt River collapsed. The only bridge crossing left from the south to the north was an old WPA bridge over Mill Avenue connecting Tempe to Scottsdale. Luckily I worked for the Mesa Tribune newspaper and lived a few blocks away so I could walk to work.

Also when I lived in Apache Junction, I was headed home, past the Central Arizona Canal where it crosses Apache Trail. The road was dry, from the time the light turned green, I drove my car past the canal. A storm had swollen the banks and water rushed down the Salt River. Within a short time, a minute or so the canal overran its banks and flooded the highway. I felt the water grab my back wheels. I gunned the car and made it past just as water rushed over the highway. 

This was before cell phones. I ran into the nearest store to call 911 to warn the County Sherrif's office what had happened. They immediately barricaded the Apache Trail. A video shows an example of how fast it happens. It doesn't have to be raining where you are, if there is a thunderstorm in the mountains the runoff will trap an unsuspecting motorist.

Click on the links below to see monsoon season in action.

Any amount of substantial rain in Arizona can cause instant flash flooding in the washes and creeks. Don't ever camp or hike near a wash no matter what time of year. Especially don't drive through one. Don't underestimate the power of a flash flood. Many visitors have been injured or died from hiking or camping in a wash.

Monday, August 14, 2017

(Books 2,3,4) Murder @ Black Mesa Free Preview - The Minerva Doyle Mystery Series

Books 2,3,4 in the Series Murder@ the Black Mesa

Who Murdered the Missing Lovers?

“Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage.” 
Shakespeare, 12th Night

Murdered Lovers who disappeared 
20 years ago discovered in a lake. 

Murder @
the Black Mesa Salon
 A Minerva Doyle Mystery (Book 2) –
 Summer 2019

Marty Knox

the Black Mesa
A Minerva Doyle Mystery (Book 2) - Summer 2019

Marty Knox

“Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage.”
Shakespeare, 12th Night

Murdered Lovers who disappeared 20 years ago 
discovered in a lake.

·                  Who disappeared? Anyone, you know?
·        Have you lost contact with a family member or an old high       school friend?
·        Did you wonder where they are now?
·        Is your ex-partner driving you crazy?
·        Want to rid yourself of your ex?
·        Do you leave or commit murder to end a relationship?

Cyber forensic expert, Minerva Doyle, and her husband, Michael Doyle, retired ATF agent, enjoy a lazy summer day at Carriage Lake. They take their kids to one last picnic before school starts.
While relaxing under a tree Minerva spots a submerged car spoiling the pristine beauty of the lake. Leaving his fishing gear, Michael wades in further to investigate the abandoned vehicle. He discovers two bodies. Minerva alerts their friend Marshal Charles Dubois.
Charles reopens the cold case of two people who vanished twenty years ago. He assigns the investigation to Minerva and Michael.
Minerva uncovers the identity of the female victim, and breaks the tragic news to her best friend Rose, whose sister disappeared after a graduation night party.
Michael informs local beautician Francine, whose ex-husband went missing the same night, of the DNA match to the male body.
When Minerva discovers evidence of murder, she pursues justice for the victims. Minerva’s husband, Deputy Marshal Michael Doyle, searches for the person behind the killings among friends, neighbors, and the victims’ families.
As Minerva searches old documents, newspapers, and records, truth and lies surface. Marriages destroyed. Paternity revealed. Liaisons uncovered. Long concealed secrets bubble to the surface as the couple dig into the locals’ past memories, buried scandals, and hidden shame. For twenty years the killer safely hid from justice as an ordinary law-abiding citizen. Who murdered the Lovers?
The tale contains diverse people, cultures, and beliefs. Expect a mystery with two bodies, a murder, and not so grief struck widows. Add in a small town on old Route 66 in Northern Arizona, the Painted Desert, and Petrified Forest.

Murder@ the Black Mesa Salon SAMPLE
A Minerva Doyle Mystery (Book 2)

Chapter One-Mid-July

“Many a good hanging prevents a bad marriage.”
Shakespeare. Twelfth Night

“They pester me to death. Everybody wants grades now but waits until the end to turn in their assignments. I could just kill them,” I said.
“Let it pass. We’re headed to Carriage Lake. Want to join us?” my husband Michael asked.
“Summer semester ends Friday. They deserve a big fat F for lateness,” I grumbled.
“Minnie, you’re too soft on deadlines. No means no. Warn your people you don’t tolerate late work. Period,” Michael said.
Easy for an ex-Marine to enforce. but, not so simple for a college teacher who requires students to succeed despite lax self-discipline.
“The students have so much going on between working full time, raising a family and taking classes there’s no margin for Murphy’s Law,” I said.
“The boys and I are getting one more fishing day under our belts before they go home. Truck’s loaded and we’re leaving soon. Just have to grab Tommy and Max’s snacks. Coming or not?” he said.
Once he decided, there was no stopping him. He kissed me on my cheek and strode into the kitchen to pack a picnic lunch. Should I give up another weekend with Michael and the boys to grade late papers? This outing was the last chance for Michael to take them fishing before school started back east.
The heck with grading late papers. I needed a rest and a break. Sunshine, fresh air, and no one nagging me about grades sounded fantastic. Blasting a group e-mail, I punched send and closed my laptop. Michael was right; I was too lenient with the few students who tried my patience.
My favorite D-backs t-shirt from the drawer, comfy jeans, and red Justin Ropers completed my vacation attire, and I dressed in two minutes. Max collided into me as he dashed downstairs in a noisy burst of energy.
“Minnie Mommie, we’re ready to leave,” Max said. He was eight, with Michael’s black hair, intense blue eyes, and long eyelashes. Reminded me of the boy in my favorite childhood book ‘Where the Wild Things Are.’
Michael’s oldest son, Thomas, proceeded into the living room at a dignified pace. Thomas was an awkward sober bookish eighteen-year-old, skinny, whose pants that never fit his 6’ 4” frame. Dreadlocks framed his face and intelligent warm brown eyes peered owlishly out at me. What to call me, Minerva, Minnie, or Mrs. Doyle?
The debate escalated because I was Michael’s second wife and the boy’s new stepmother. The teen was not ready to call me Mother, Mom, or Mommy.
 Minerva hit his passion for ancient Latin and Greek legends, so he picked the dignified sobriquet Minerva Mater. Okay by me; I didn’t plan to replace their mother but I loved them as much as my children.
“Let’s go, fish don’t stick around to be caught,” Michael said.
The boys piled onto the jump seats in Michael’s beat-up old Chevy truck. Then I hung on and snapped my seat belt tight while Michael bumped over the rutted dirt lane to Carriage Lake.
When we arrived at the lake, Michael set up the poles, cooler, grill, folding chairs, and tent. My idea of fishing was to lie on a bank and read a book. Thomas raided one of my favorite books from the library, ‘The War of the Worlds.’
Michael fished in old hip waders. He was trying out the new fishing jacket I bought for our second wedding anniversary. The old one shredded last summer when he worked part-time as a Deputy helping the Marshal, Charles Dubois, with an arrest
Carriage Lake formed when the WPA dammed the Rio de Plata, a tributary of the Little Colorado River. Farmers and ranchers around the town of Black Mesa depended on the irrigation canals. Moisture was late this year, and the shoreline was low.
The Weather Channel predicted a hurricane off the coast of Baja California that meant more precipitation than the looming volcanic outcrop of Black Mesa could handle. Meteorologists estimated four to six inches of rain in one day when we were lucky to get twenty-four inches a year. The authorities had to let water out of the dam soon to prepare for monsoon season.
A brisk wind smelled of fresh grass and wildflowers. I spread an old quilt under a towering cottonwood tree. Thomas and I settled in with our books while the more adventurous Max waded into the water with Michael. I left behind my favorite lady detective, Precious, to her land of Botswana. Butterflies soared in the breeze and I relaxed in the shade. Then I closed my eyes savoring the peace.
“Minerva Mater, do you mind if I go rock hunting? There’s volcanic glass and petrified wood around here.”
“Sure, my friend Flynn told me that Sunset Crater near Flagstaff was once a volcanic caldera that blew up a thousand years ago. The blast scattered ash and debris for hundreds of miles.”
“Do you think we’ll get to see Meteor Crater? Father promised to take us there,” he asked.
“On my bucket list for you boys. You’ll love it. The astronauts practiced their moonwalks in the crater,” I said.
Thomas had surprised Michael and me when he informed us of his acceptance to the University of Arizona instead of a college back east. Planetary Geology was his passion.
Michael had been receiving daily rants from his ex-wife. She hadn’t been able to dissuade Michael or Thomas of the choice they made. Michael was overjoyed Thomas had picked a college in Arizona.
I got up to stretch my legs and followed Thomas on his quest for hidden science treasures.
 “Look, I’ve got fossils,” he was ecstatic. Thomas’ keen eyes found Apache Tears, an ammonite, and two shark’s teeth.
“Wash them in the lake. You can observe details better when they’re wet,” I suggested.
While Thomas washed the fossils, I maintained an eye out for rattlesnakes. The reptiles liked the cool damp sand and could swim. As I gazed out over Carriage Lake, my eye detected a rusted piece of red metal. Someone had abandoned a vehicle. Water lapped the car roof. I stepped closer for a better view. Then I noticed the hood sticking cockeyed in the water. What idiot dumped an auto in a recreational lake?
People dumped old cars in washes because they didn’t want to hassle with the Arizona Department of Transportation. The government didn’t understand a POS rust bucket was not a brand new Mercedes. An impossible task, Michael dealt with a ton of paperwork for a lawful title to a ditched car left in the wash behind our home so he could junk it.
“Michael, watch out there’s a car in the Lake don’t get your line hooked on it. Keep an eye out for snakes,” I called out.
“Okay, I’ll check it out,” he hollered. He waded over to the submerged vehicle.
“What is it?” I wondered how long it had been in the Lake.
“Take the boys back to the Chevy, now,” Michael yelled.
I hustled both boys into the truck while he splashed back to shore. He clumped up to the tailgate. Were drugs deposited in the wreck?
“Minnie, come here a minute. I need to talk to you. You boys stay in your seats.”
“What’s wrong?”
“I found two bodies in the car. Call Charles. Tell him to get out here ASAP. I’ll secure the perimeter.”
“Michael, no signal. I have to reach the highway, past the Black Mesa, to get one.”
“I’ll stay here. You get Dubois,” Michael said.
“Where are we going? What is Father doing?” Thomas asked as I hopped in the driver’s seat.
“I have to call Marshal Dubois. Don’t worry your Dad is fine. He’ll keep an eye out on our stuff,” I said.
In the boondocks, no bars flashed because of the volcanic Black Mesa dead zone. I revved the Chevy and barreled down the dirt road heading away from Carriage Lake. When I approached old Route 66, I had a cell phone signal.
“Be right back, boys. Don’t get out.” I explained to the youngsters, “Making a quick call to the Marshal because your Dad found a car in the water.” While reassuring them, I walked far enough away until they didn’t hear me.
“Charles, Minerva here. I spotted a wrecked car in Carriage Lake. Michael detected two bodies in it. Bring the county team and meet me back at the lake. Yes. Don’t worry. Michael secured the scene.”

Who Murdered
the Nerd?

“If you cannot get rid of the
 family skeleton,
you may as well make it dance.”
George Bernard Shaw

A murdered student 

commits suicide

the Black Mesa

A Minerva Doyle Mystery ( Book 3)
Winter 2020

Marty Knox

the Black Mesa

A Minerva Doyle Mystery ( Book 3) Winter 2020

Marty Knox

Who Murdered the Nerd?

“If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton,
you may as well make it dance.” George Bernard Shaw

A murdered student commits suicide.

  • Has someone you know threatened to commit suicide.
  • How did death affect the loved ones who survived?
  • Have you ever had suicidal thoughts?
  • What kept you from taking your own life?
  • Have you ever prevented a suicide?
  • Do you solve your problems by choosing life or death?
Friends Sunny and Charles Dubois urged, cyber forensic expert, Minerva Doyle, and her husband Michael Doyle, retired ATF agent, to join the line-dancing club. The club is a welcome romantic respite from Minerva’s full-time teaching duties at the local college and Michael’s twelve hour night shift responsibilities as Deputy Marshal in a small town.

Minerva and Michael Doyle are performing on stage at the Navapache College Auditorium. The performance raises funds for the Neonatal Infant Care Unit of the Apex Hospital. While the band plays “Pretty Woman” Minerva and Michael dance to one of their favorite songs.

NICU nurse, Deborah Steven, interrupts the couples’ dance number when she calls Michael and Minerva backstage to the scene of attempted suicide. ER nurse Loretta Steven finds a student hanging from the fly tower backstage and tries to revive the man but to no avail.

Determined to find justice for the victim Minerva delves into the student’s past and searches for evidence of the victim’s hidden motive. When she uncovers a suspicious death instead of a suicide, bureaucratic secrets and lies complicate her research. Michael interviews friends, family, students, and teachers but a cover-up at the college thwarts his investigation. Can Minerva and Michael stop the killer before he/she murders another student? 
Who murdered the Nerd?

Who Murdered the
Town Bully?
 “This at least should be a rule through the letter-writing world: that no angry letter posted 
''till four-and-twenty hours will have elapsed
since it was written. “Anthony Trollope

A vigilante murders a cyber-troll.

Murder @
the Black Mesa 
A Minerva Doyle Mystery (Book 4)–
 Summer 2020
Marty Knox

  • “This at least should be a rule
    through the letter-writing world:
    that no angry letter posted
    ''till four-and-twenty hours will have elapsed
    since it was written.” Anthony Trollope

    Who Murdered theTown Bully?
    A vigilante murders a cyber-troll.

    • Identity theft? Hackers? Trolls?
    • Has someone threatened you in a grocery line?
    • Have you ever experienced someone’s road rage when driving?
    • Have you ever been angry enough to hurt someone?
    • What kept you from hurting someone?
    • Did you lash out or walk away?

    Cyber-forensic expert Minerva Doyle, and her husband, Michael Doyle, retired AFT agent, look forward to the grandkids’ visit on Christmas break. Michael relaxes with his second cup of coffee, but Minerva wants to get mail and last minute items from the Country Store.
    Rural mailboxes lined up on the county line resemble nutcrackers. Minerva checks her to-do list as Michael bites his left glove off to open the mailbox. His thumb sticks to the ice cold steel.
    An engine grinds in a hidden copse of cedar trees. Wheels whine over an ice slick dirt road. Dangerously freezing temperatures signal a disaster in the making. Michael and Minerva investigate the helplessly trapped vehicle.
    A murder of black crows beat wings against a broken windshield. As the couple reaches the stranded vehicle, Minerva spots a bullet-shattered window. Michael carefully opens the driver’s side door with a gloved right hand. The driver, riddled with bullets, falls to the petrified ground. Michael reaches past the dead man and turns off the engine.
    Minerva Doyle discovers the victim left a trail of bullied and threatened people. When someone metes out rough vigilante justice, Minerva must find the avenging killer. Deputy Marshal Michael Doyle hunts for a motive even though jurisdictional squabbles stymie his investigation. Who Murdered the Town Bully?
Would you like to be an ARC ebook reader of my next books? Send me an email and tell me if you read electronically on Amazon, on any other electronic device, or on your personal computer.

Monday, July 31, 2017

ARC Readers Feedback Form Murder @ the Black Mesa Café Book 1

ARC Readers Feedback Form
reply to

Thank You for reading my novel Murder @ the Black Mesa Café. A few thoughts on sincere feedback to Murder @ Black the Mesa Café. Jot down a few responses to your overall feelings about the story.  Don't worry about typos, but if you catch one let me know. I’d actually like to receive a truthful blunt comment, what you felt when you read the novel. Be honest! I’d rather you tell me the truth than getting a 1-star review on Amazon! I can fix boring, goofy, confusion, typos, etc. before it’s published. Adapted from 
15 questions for your beta readersPosted on June 16, 2014, by Joe Moore by Jodie Renner, editor & author; @JodieRennerEd

Definition: A Mystery Genre Novel needs a body, a sleuth, a puzzle, red herrings (false suspects), a murderer and justice for the victim.

This list is to jog your memory, use them all or a few:

1. Did the story hold your interest from the very beginning? If not, why not?
2. Did you get oriented quickly at the beginning as to whose story it is, and where and when it’s taking place? If not, why not?
3. Could you relate to the main character? Victim? Did you feel her/his pain or excitement?
4. Did the setting interest you, and did the descriptions seem vivid and real to you?
5. Was there a point at which you felt the story started to lag or you became less than excited about finding out what was going to happen next? Where, exactly?
6. Were there any parts that confused you? Or even frustrated or annoyed you? Which parts, and why?
7. Did you notice any discrepancies or inconsistencies in time sequences, places, character details, or other details?
8. Were the characters believable? Are there any characters you think could be made more interesting or more likable?
9. Did you get confused about who’s who in the characters? Were there too many characters to keep track of? Too few? Are any of the names or characters too similar?
10. Did the dialogue keep your interest and sound natural to you? If not, whose dialogue did you think sounded artificial or not like that person would speak?
11. Did you feel there was too much description or exposition? Not enough? Maybe too much dialogue in parts?
12. Was there enough conflict, excitement, tension, and intrigue to keep your interest? Or too much?
13. Was the ending satisfying? Believable?
14. Theme: Are people worth more than stuff? Agree or Disagree? Why?
15. Do you think the writing style suits the genre? 

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