Monday, August 26, 2013

New Illustration and Poll!

Here it is, the winner from the Stolen Santas poll, from Chapter 9, "Dashing Through the Snow," of the tale:
The bad guy has captured the last of the Snoops, Tricia and Krysten, and is stuffing them into the back of Trish's mom's stolen van to take them and all the Snoops on a deadly ride to Cold Water Lake!  But can Trish leave a message to their would-be rescuers before the villain takes them away?

The poll only got two votes here, but twenty at dA, so perhaps you're voting there.  But just remember to vote early and often, especially for the next poll, which is...

Secret Admirers Gone Deadly!

As one of my early Snowden Snoop heroines finds out in the story The Snowden Snoops and the Case of the Secret Admirer!  It was my first Snoop tale to center on a Snoop beyond the Dwight family, with big, buxom, statuesque Alyson Carson taking the lead.

It is the winter after the events of The Stolen Santas, and Alyson Carson’s late grandmother has left her granddaughter an inheritance of a ancient clasp brooch which was, according to old Carson family legend, supposed to be extremely valuable.  Under her friend Megan Dwight’s encouragement, eternally-boyfriendless Alyson decides to wear the brooch to school for group picture day at Snowden High.  It is that very day that Alyson discovers a note in her locker sent by a secret admirer dithyrambizing about how beautiful she was that day.  Intrigued by a mystery which for once promises romance instead of danger, Alyson and Megan turn their Snoop wits to discovering the identity of Alyson’s secret admirer.  A creative little gambit by Megan reveals the identity of the secret admirer as one Damien Bielznap, an intensely awkward and shy new classmate of theirs.  Another creative gambit on Megan’s part introduced the shy Alyson to the even shyer Damien, and their quick warming to each other left Megan thinking she had settled the little case perfectly.

But of course, things begin to go sour for the Snoops, with mysterious complications.  As Alyson becomes more and more withdrawn from Alyson’s sister Amber and best friend Megan in favor of her boyfriend Damien, Megan philosophizes that Alyson is simply in the thrall of young love, but Amber has had her suspicions raised about Alyson’s new love which Megan quickly comes to share.  Meanwhile, Megan’s kid sister Tricia and her bestie Krysten Parker are suffering through the middle-school trials involved in finding a date to the Snowden Middle School Junior Sweetheart Dance, and just to make things more interesting, the Carson family lawyer has her office invaded and rifled by a burglar who seems to be seeking something important.  Tricia and Krysten bet Amber and Megan that the burglary has to do with Alyson’s supposedly valuable brooch, a bet which Amber and Megan accept.  

While the bet seems to go in Megan’s favor, Tricia is not yet convinced, but with her attention distracted by the task of snagging a date to the Junior Sweetheart Dance, Trish asks to borrow Alyson’s brooch to wear.  Still badly distracted by Damien and growing more and more irritably divided from sister and friend by Damien’s attentions, Alyson allows Trish to borrow the brooch, but cannot find it and sends Trish home empty-handed.  And on her way home, mystery and danger erupts upon her when a masked man abducts her to a nearby parklet, ties her to a tree, and rifles her purse for something he cannot find.  

The mystery revs up when Trish’s Snoop friend Hannah Watson realizes that Tricia, who somehow managed to rescue herself from her temporary captivity, had been bound and gagged by materials similar to those used to bind and gag the Carsons’ lawyer; combined with the fact that the burglar failed to steal the money that had been in Tricia’s purse, suspicion begins to rise that the brooch was the burglar’s target.  As the younger Snoops start investigating the case, Alyson becomes more and more withdrawn and quarrelsome with her friends as she begins to believe they suspect Damien of being the burglar who had taken Trish.  And as Trish, Hannah, Krysten, and Missy visit Megan and Amber at Amber and Alyson’s house to detail the results of their investigation, a trio of masked home invaders—a man, a woman, and a young man—break into the house, tightly tie up its Snoop occupants, and tear the house apart  Trish, unable to resist the burglars but putting her power of observation to good use, identifies the young man as Damien Bielznap himself, which information she reveals to the Snoops when they free themselves after the home invaders leave emptyhanded because Alyson had lent Trish the brooch that morning.  The accusation angers Alyson, who completely breaks off from her sister, her best friend, and her young Snoop friends in favor of Damien, whom she is convinced is innocent of anything and is merely being accused in order to break her up from him.

Convinced that Damien is behind the burglaries and also convinced that the brooch is his target, Megan and Alyson try to follow Alyson in order to protect her from her boyfriend, and they and the younger Snoops try to determine what the Bielznaps are planning to do to steal the brooch from Alyson.  While the younger Snoops are distracted by the Junior Sweetheart Dance—Hannah has an unwanted date with awkward young Tristan Shulbert while Krysten is sulking because she wanted Tricia’s brother Tyler to ask her out—and arguing among themselves, Megan and Amber’s plan to keep Alyson and Damien under surveillance at the Snowden High Sweetheart Dance comes apart as their dates—twin brothers—have their tires wrecked by some well-placed broken beer bottles.  The Junior Sweetheart Dance at the middle school turns out disastrously for most of the younger Snoops—except for Missy, who consoles Hannah’s heartbroken date after she breaks up with him—and biggest Dwight brother Travis, dateless to the Snowden High dance because his crush Clarissa Simpson was not interested in him, is sent to both bring Tricia home and deliver Megan, Alyson, and their dates to the high-school dance at the local country club.  Hearing of the trap the brothers fell into, while Megan and Amber search the club for Alyson and Damien, the younger girls search the golf course and surrounding buildings for the missing couple.  The search ends in a storage room beneath the club where Damien has invited Alyson, wearing the brooch, for some alone time—and danger awaits!  

This tale is the first connection between the petite little redhead Krysten and Tricia’s brother Tyler Dwight, and hints at a future romance between Travis and his classmate and friend Dru Pennington.  The outlines of future Snoop relationships start to take shape; even the future friendship between Trish and her romantic nemesis Bobby Martin is explored, but that one can wait for a future case…

And the entrants for the Secret Admirer chapter-illustration poll are…

1. Chapter 4 “The Game Afoot”; Lawyer Ms. Goodley describing how the office burglar left her tied up and gagged in her office.
2. Chapter 5 “More Strangeness”; Tricia tied to a tree and gagged in the parklet by the masked mugger
3. Chapter 6 “Coincidences”; Tricia getting her bound self loose from the tree
4. Chapter 6 “Coincidences”; Tricia showing up on her back porch bound and gagged
5. Chapter 7 “Return Engagement”; Home invaders tying up and gagging Amber, Alyson, Megan, Tricia, Krysten, Hannah, and Missy
6. Chapter 8 “Invaders”; One of the invaders threatens a helpless Amber Carson
7. Chapter 8 “Invaders”; Bound-and-gagged Amber turning on a light switch with her chin
8. Chapter 8 “Invaders”; Hannah tripping as she tries to hop to the kitchen to retrieve a knife to untie herself and her friends
9. Chapter 11 “The Last Dance”; Alyson sitting bound and gagged in the storage room at the country club
10. Chapter 11 “The Last Dance”; Tricia and Krysten at bay with bound-and-gagged Alyson

As always, vote early and often!…


  1. Nice work, MM! Your shading has definitely improved ;) And great story, as I recall :]

    1. Thanks! The paths tool on GIMP helps, and I was going for a nighttime effect anyhow. Glad you like it...