SHORTS FROM THE SHELF SUMMER SPECIAL – “Mysteries of the Phoenix” (Part 1)
SHORTS FROM THE SHELF features short serialized fiction by author Shannon Muir, administrator of SHANNON MUIR’S THE PULP AND MYSTERY SHELF, that may be later released as part of e-book or print collections. The story line featured currently is part one of “Mysteries of the Phoenix,” which will run Saturdays and Sundays over the next three weekends as part of a SUMMER SPECIAL run. This is Part One.
“I still don’t believe this is real,” Phoenix told her older brother Geraldo. “It feels like one of my novels.”
“You mean we almost thought a half-sister you’d just barely reunited with was dead? Yeah, when I showed up as part of the responding medical team to the initial 911 call I couldn’t believe it either. I really thought it was Moira. You think given all the family background, a twin separated at birth wouldn’t be odd.”
Geraldo’s wife Lizabeth entered, with a tray bearing cups for each of them.
“Just decaf tea for you, Ms. Rayner? Did I remember right?”
Phoenix took the cup from her.
“You’re fine, Lizza. And please, just Phoenix is fine. I keep telling you that.”
Lizbeth set the tray down, then handed Geraldo a coffee before sitting down with her own.
“But you’re a famous writer!”
“I’m your family, Lizza. You are aunt of my kids. Just because I’m known, you and Ger and my other siblings know me better.”
“I will say I married into a family full of secrets and mystery,” Lizza laughed, a bit pleased. “It always keeps things exciting.”
“Your patience is amazing, Lizza. But you’re definitely right about our family. Guess it’s no surprise I became a writer, huh?”
“Speaking of family, tell me again how you even found out about all this Greek family in the first place. I am ok with all this, but it’s a lot to keep track of. Your Dad died when you were eighteen, and your mother started to lose her memories early. Geraldo was around then, but I took our children to see my family, so I wasn’t here for when you first learned about them.”
“Sure. It started about a year ago, when I went to my former publisher. I sat across the desk from Gilly Branden, the no-nonsense female editor at the mystery imprint of the publishing house I’d worked with for several years. Now having written the last possible book inspired by my late father’s notes for romance novels, I wanted to take the opportunity to segue into writing a genre that more interested me personally.”
“Really?” Lizza said. “I had no idea.”
“I’d confidently come into the meeting sure I could sell myself as a natural move to have romance readers follow me into doing suspense and hopefully more straight mystery, and leveraging my formal studies and personal passion for archaelology – having recently gone back and finished getting the degree I’d been working on until Wyatt derailed everything – in the strong female heroine lead for the series I pitched.”
“So you were thinking of doing some archaeologist romance?”
“Something like that. But Gilly wasn’t easily sold. She told me she wasn’t convinced it would sell. I insisted I was Stern Rayner’s daughter. The editor clearly had a response prepared to give me.”
“What did she say?” Geraldo said. “I don’t think you told me the details before, just the highlights.”
Phoenix settled in and told her story more in depth.