Phyllis Entis: My Guest Author on tour with The Silver Star Caper – a new Damien and Millie Dickens novel.
I’m thrilled to be able to introduce my Award-winning Guest Author Phyllis Entis, whose 6th Damien Dickens novel, The Silver Star Caper, is available August 31st.
I am so happy to be her first stop on a busy blog tour.
The Silver Star Caper features her married Private Investigators, Damien and Millie Dickens, who live in Carmel-by-the-Sea in California.
Congratulations upon your forthcoming publication. I wish you great success with The Silver Star Caper and the remainder of your blog tour.
Let’s find out about Phyllis and how her series came into being – Phyllis in her own words…
It all began with a Green Pearl.
I have been asked on many occasions how Damien Dickens and his world came into being.
I could say that he was the result of long, careful planning, but that would be a lie.
I could say that the entire plot came to me in a dream, but that, too, would be a lie.
In fact, the genesis of The Green Pearl Caper and the entire Damien Dickens series took place during a drop-in writing workshop in La Jolla, California.
The premise of the hour-long weekly workshop, Pen to Paper, was simple. The moderator began each session by giving us a writing prompt, usually consisting of an opening line, a scenario, or a photograph. Our job was to write furiously for approximately twenty minutes, disregarding grammar, syntax, and punctuation. The purpose was to encourage ideas to flow freely, unfiltered by the urge to edit. After the twenty minutes had expired, we read our stories aloud to the other members of the group.
On the day Damien Dickens was conceived, the prompt we were given was an object. A rope of green plastic beads. Somehow, the beads opened a faucet in my brain, and the following passage is part of what flowed out.
My name is Damien Dickens, and I am a P.I. You know – a Shamus, a Private Investigator. I hate waiting for a client at one a.m. on a foggy night. But who could refuse Sylvia Sutherland – THE Sylvia Sutherland. You know who I mean – the heiress to Sutherland’s Smokes.
And, let me tell you. Sylvia smokes!
I was in my office, looking through the foot-high stack of overdue bills that Millie had left on my desk, when I heard the sound of clicking pearls swooshing back and forth, back and forth across an amply endowed female chest. The sound hesitated at my office door. And when I looked up, there was Sylvia.
She was dressed for success, completely decked out in poinsettia red, except for her emerald-green, 4-inch high heels, her emerald-studded evening bag, and the longest rope of shiny, one-inch diameter matched pearls I had ever seen – dyed green to match her shoes and bag. Who but Sylvia would think to dye a rope of pearls green? Who but Sylvia could afford to?
The next month, my husband and I indulged in a beach vacation in French Polynesia. We had no internet access. The only piece of electronics that accompanied us was my Kindle, the only writing material a notebook and pen. The characters of Damien Dickens and Sylvia Sutherland were eating at me. Demanding to be fleshed out. By the time we returned, I had written the first couple of chapters of what would become The Green Pearl Caper.
When I published my debut novel in 2015, I never thought that it would evolve into a series. Yet here I am, six years later, having just released The Silver Star Caper, sixth book in the Damien Dickens Mystery series.
My main characters, Damien and Millie Dickens are a husband-and-wife team of private investigators, living in the picturesque California town of Carmel-by-the-Sea. In this story, which is more thriller than mystery, California’s attorney general has hired the Dickens Detective Agency to investigate a neo-Nazi organization that is based in Monterey County, but has tendrils spread across the state.
Damien and Millie stage a marriage break-up to provide an explanation for Damien’s disappearance from Carmel. While she maintains their cover story on the home front, he assumes a new identity and infiltrates the neo-Nazi group.
Producing the first draft of this story took me on an emotional rollercoaster ride beyond anything I had experienced with the previous five books. I hope you enjoy reading The Silver Star Caper as much as loved writing it.
PHYLLIS ENTIS – Author Bio
Phyllis Entis is the author of the Damien Dickens Mysteries series, which includes The Green Pearl Caper, The White Russian Caper, The Chocolate Labradoodle Caper, The Gold Dragon Caper, The Blue Moon Caper, and The Silver Star Caper. She was the recipient of the 2019 Top Female Author award (Mystery/Suspense/Thriller).
Phyllis is a free-lance writer and retired food safety microbiologist with degrees from McGill University and the University of Toronto. In December 2020, she released TAINTED. From Farm Gate to Dinner Plate, Fifty Years of Food Safety Failures, an exposé of the shortcomings of the food manufacturing and foodservice industry sectors on which we all rely to supply us with safe food.
Phyllis lives in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada with her husband and their Australian Cobberdog, Shalom. When she’s not writing, Phyllis usually can be found walking around town, baking bagels and pastries, or enjoying her garden.
The Silver Star Caper – Excerpt
Thursday, March 20, 1986
We were seated on the patio of the Hog’s Breath Inn, the downtown Carmel restaurant owned by Clint Eastwood. The place was packed with a lunchtime mix of tourists and locals, most of them talking about the upcoming municipal elections and the likelihood that Clint would be the town’s next mayor. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught a couple of friendly waves, but I ignored them, focusing my attention instead on Millie, who was slowly crumbling a sourdough roll into pieces small enough to feed to the birds.
The last few weeks had been hard on her as we engaged in an ever-rising tide of public displays of discord. Our friends had started asking what was wrong. Had wondered out loud whether our marriage was on the rocks. Today, they would have their answer.
This morning, it was Millie’s turn to pick the fight. She did so in my office, her accusations about my excessive drinking loud enough to carry through the walls to the dental offices next door. I followed through by giving my wastebasket a noisy kick, sending its contents flying, and punctuated my angry retorts by slamming my fist into the wall so hard that the plaster cracked. Millie retreated into her own office, slamming the door with such force that Hershey, our 60-pound labradoodle, took shelter under the reception counter.
A few seconds later, she emerged from her office, a grim smile on her face. “That should about do it, especially since Malvina was scheduled for a dental check-up this morning. Let’s go to lunch and get this over with.”
THE SILVER STAR CAPER. A Damien Dickens Mystery
Damien and Millie take on their most dangerous assignment yet.
After a string of arson fires drives migrant farm workers from their homes and threatens Millie’s daughter-in-law, Damien agrees to go undercover to infiltrate the white-supremacist, neo-Nazi militia responsible for the fires and unmask the identity of their leader.
Millie covers his absence by spreading the news that they have separated, while he travels back to Atlantic City. When Damien reappears in California, it’s in the guise of a former cop with neo-Nazi sympathies.
Left alone to run their detective agency while maintaining a brave front, Millie dives into an investigation of a friend of the new mayor of Carmel-by-the Sea, a local resident she suspects of being a Nazi war criminal in hiding.
The action is non-stop as Damien and Millie risk their lives to eradicate the spectre of violence and racism from their community.
Phyllis, thanks so much for being my Guest Author and for sharing your writing and backstory with us. I wish you much success with all your books and the remainder of your blog tour.
Readers, you can find out more about Phyllis and buy her books, follow the links:
Phyllis Entis – Contact and Buy links
NB: The link to my website goes directly to the “Find My Books” page.
Website and blog: phyllisentis.wordpress.com
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/DamienDickensMysteries/
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/PhyllisEntis
Phyllis is running a 99¢/99p sale for the first five books in the series operating through to August 31st. These short links will take readers to the Amazon site for their country.
The Green Pearl Caper: mybook.to/tgpc2
The White Russian Caper: mybook.to/twrc2
The Chocolate Labradoodle Caper: mybook.to/tclc2
The Gold Dragon Caper: mybook.to/tgdc
The Blue Moon Caper: mybook.to/tbmc
The Silver Star Caper: mybook.to/TSSC