The Art of the Vignette –


The following excerpts are from the latest mystery book in the Lance Underphal mystery series.  The upcoming paranormal mystery is in the final throes of publishing.


                        What ho! What ho! This fellow is dancing mad!

                        He hath been bitten by the Tarantula. 

—All in the Wrong                              


Opening lines from Edgar Allan Poe‘s “The Gold-Bug”


Scene 1:

            Dreaming, I catch my breath as a new reality unfolds:

A bright summer day, clear and hot.  A large jet-black wasp appears overhead before I hear the hum of its Halloween-orange wings.  A tarantula hawk headed straight for me.  Flashes of raw panic.  She’s enormous, big enough to carry me away.  She lands in front of me, extending her hooked claws, wings flicking in anticipation.  I rear back on hairy hind legs, baring my fangs and poking segmented forelegs at her in a valiant attempt to ward her off.  She lunges, grappling with wicked claws, pulling me off balance and turning me over in one lightning-quick move.  I flail wildly, arching my back, legs in the air, abdomen exposed and vulnerable.  Holding fast, she thrusts her long black stinger deep into my belly, releasing her  paralyzing venom.  The shock-inducing sting slowly numbs me to the core as I silently scream from within its high voltage spell.  Her vile excretion robs me of all muscular control, leaving me to crackle in a hellish limbo.  I can’t quite feel her dragging me away, but I fear the worst is yet to come.


Scene 2:

Still groggy, I finally climb out of the sack—nearly ten a.m.  When you hurt all the time, it’s no fun waking up.

Grimacing at the bitter day-old coffee, I stand in my boxers and threadbare robe, gazing out the living room window.  I watch the creosotes whip in the gusty wind—autumn’s hard light cutting through the dusty haze, forcing the desolate mesa into sharp relief.  Gusts rock the trailer, whistling through the cracks around the windows, convincing me it’s another cold lonely day in the making.  Suits my mood.  Nothing like a bad dream and a murder scene to give a person the blues.


The tentative release date for Flight of the Tarantula Hawk is Halloween.

In the meantime, the book trailer for Dark Side of Sunset Pointe is up on YouTube.  Take a look, let me know what you think.


As always, my blatant self-promotion as a mystery writer follows:

Dark Side of Sunset Pointe – A Lance Underphal Mystery is available in e-book & paperback on Amazon.

For more on Michael Allan Scott and my work, go to


Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Michael Allan Scott and a clickable link back to this page.