Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Please Welcome Mystery Author Mark W. Danielson

Omnimystery News: Guest Post by Mark W. Danielson
with Mark W. Danielson

We are delighted to welcome novelist Mark W. Danielson to Omnimystery News today.

Mark's second mystery to feature Ft. Worth homicide detective Maxx Watts is Spectral Gallows (Night Shadows Press; October 2013 trade paperback and ebook formats).

We asked Mark to give us the backstory to Spectral Gallows … and he is providing our readers a chance to win an amazing prize package, including a signed copy of his new book (details, below).

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Mark W. Danielson
Photo provided courtesy of
Mark W. Danielson

Oddly, I never set out to write Spectral Gallows. At the time I was well into writing a different sequel to Writer's Block, the first in my Maxx Watts detective series. But then an idea came to me as my body begged for sleep. When my mind refused to shut down, it spurred ideas about people suffering from extreme fatigue. What credibility could they have with numb minds and slurred words? Who would believe a Vietnam Vet that is drunk on sleep because he suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? Although I have never experienced such anguish, I know people that do, and while the character in my story is from a war four decades ago, far too many of our returning veterans still face the same devil. So as I toyed with this idea, my lingering insomnia led me to this novel where a tormented soldier and a lingering spirit cross lines.

In the opening scene, our Vietnam veteran is arguing with his buddy about a forty-plus year old death that occurred inside Fort Worth's Scott Theater. As Homicide Detectives Maxx Watts and partner Blaine Spartan eavesdrop, the veteran loudly insists it was murder, not suicide. Intrigued by the claim, they find themselves at the very theater where the reported death occurred. Inside its dungeon they hear someone whisper murder, and yet they are alone. I chose the Scott Theater because it is genuinely haunted by its dead actor's ghost. Welcome to spectral gallows.

Since ideas frequently come in my sleep, it is only natural that I write through subconscious thoughts, which is why I never make corrections until the first draft is complete. This process allows my characters to tell their stories. Stories are more interesting when even I don't know who the culprits are.

Not being an expert on the paranormal or Quantum Theory, I did a lot of research and consulted with experts. Their validated illuminating contributions to Spectral Gallows will leave you wondering, just as the story pits believers against non-believers. Although I have never personally experienced any spectral events, evidence strongly suggests there is far more to our existence than what most are willing to accept.

Make no mistake, Spectral Gallows is a classic whodunit that touches on the paranormal while determining on whether this actor was hanged or hanged himself. If you think the body count ends there, you are surely mistaken. Ghosts are so unpredictable …

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Mark Danielson began taking flying lessons at age thirteen with money earned from delivering newspapers. He earned his Commercial Pilot's License prior to entering the University of Northern Colorado in 1970. He was commissioned a Distringuished Graduate from Air Force ROTC in June 1974 with a BA degree. He went on to fly the F-4 Phantom II fighter with the 80th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Kunsan AB, Korea, where he was selected as the 8th Tactical Fighter Wing's Junior Officer of the Quarter and Top Gun of the Operational Readiness Inspection.

While assigned to Miramar Naval Air Station as an adversary pilot teaching fighter pilots the finer points of air-to-air combat, he revamped his non-fiction writing career with numerous periodical articles, and also began writing fiction novels. Twice recognized as the US Navy's top author, his writing was never limited to military publications.

Mark has been traveling the globe as a FedEx pilot since 1995. His interests include hiking, fine arts, tennis, and restoring cars and boats. His varied professional experience is evident in all of his writing. For more information about the author and his work, please visit his website at MarkWDanielson.com or find him on Facebook.

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Spectral Gallows by Mark W. Danielson

Spectral Gallows
Mark W. Danielson
A Maxx Watts Mystery

Maxx Watts and partner Blaine Spartan blew through the door of The Chuck Wagon Diner, grabbing a table before the lunch crowd hit. They quickly picked up on a heated dialog at the next table concerning police fabricating a suicide ruling. "I tell you, it was murder!" spat a hulky man dressed in black, slamming his fist on the table.

Confronting the two men, "Hulk" bailed out, leaving his companion behind. The detectives were told the argument concerned an uncle who hanged himself in the Scott Theater over forty years ago.

Riveted by the man's claim, Watts and Spartan visit the dungeon where the death occurred. The phenomena they saw and whispers of murder commit them to resolving the case. had the dead man's spirit been leaving clues or had this all been a diversion so another murder could take place?

Uncertain whether to believe in the netherworld, Watts must confront his father's past to determine his future with CSI tech Daisy Woods.

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