FREDERICK CROOK: SEVENTIES DUDE, TWENTY SECOND CENTURY MAN

The Authors Frederick CrookMy friend the scientist could talk for hours with future guy Frederick Crook. Dark themes, distant places, bad guys and star ships, he goes places we dare to follow, if only for the measure of hope he offers: ‘when there’s nothing to lose, there’s everything to give.’ I like that and so might you. Hello, Frederick Crook.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

AuthorPic250300Frederick was born in Chicago in 1970 and now lives in Villa Park with his wife, Rae and their three miniature dachshunds. He began by writing fictional works all through high school, earned an Associate Degree of Applied Science in Electronics in 1994 and the Bachelor of Science in Technical Management from DeVry University in 2005.

In 2009, Frederick began writing his first novel, The Dregs of Exodus, which was self-published in late 2010. This was followed up with another novel, The Pirates of Exodus in 2012.

Throughout that year and early 2013, he continued writing and published four short stories in eBook form for Kindle and Nook. All of these stories share the same premise, but all are independent from one another, though the short eBook, Campanelli: The Ping Tom Affair and his third novel, published by Solstice Publishing, Campanelli: Sentinel, share the same main characters.

Minuteman Merlin was released for the Kindle by Solstice Publishing, March 1st of 2015.

He loves writing and enjoys meeting and talking to readers at book signing events.

THE BOOKS

CampanelliSentinel300

It is 2110 and migration to the colony planet, Alethea, has depleted Earth of billions of people. As a result, migration has been declared illegal by all world governments. Human trafficking becomes highly profitable for organized crime and their influence reaches beyond the Earth’s atmosphere. Many starships returning from Alethea are diverted from the scrapping process and secretly refurbished, allowing the population to shrink further.

Frank Campanelli is a blind Chicago Police detective who depends on his fully functional bio-electronic implants to see and do his job.  After assisting on a botched infiltration of a top human trafficking network, he and his partner, Marcus Williams, are transferred into the CPD’s Organized Crime Division to head the newly formed Sentinel group and bring down the Ignatola family business.

Cover art by Arvin Candelaria & Velvet Lyght of “Stories by CL”.

MinutemanJR

Nebraska, 2121. A widower by the name of Merlin lives in his converted Minuteman-3 missile silo with his Black Lab, Chief. Suffering from stomach cancer, Minuteman Merlin is under the care of Doctor Larry Hammonds. On this post-Great Exodus Earth, the cure has left for the stars along with the vast majority of Mankind, so the doctor must treat him with the long-outdated methods of chemotherapy and radiation.

In the small town where he receives this medical treatment and trades goods, Merlin confronts a child abuser. The situation goes horribly wrong, resulting in the death of the victim’s father and the destruction of Doctor Hammond’s office. To make amends, he opens his home, giving the physician a place to practice medicine and the boy a place to live.

A man with nothing left to lose has everything left to give.

Cover by Arvin Candelaria & Velvet Lyght.

LINKS

Website

http://frederickcrook.wix.com/crooksbooks

Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/home.php

Twitter

@FrederickHCrook

Pinterest

https://www.pinterest.com/frederick_crook/

Amazon Author Page

http://www.amazon.com/Frederick-H.-Crook/e/B00P83FW02/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

YouTube Channel

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCIiKxKPL6iaEmKqOLfoYbqQ

Proustian Questionnaire Image BIG

What are your thoughts on muses and do you have one?

I’ve never had one specific muse. I am inspired mostly by the old men of science fiction. Heinlein, Asimov, Asimovand Clarke.  I’ve also been influenced by Stephen King and Dean Koontz. The ideas that came to me after I wrote my first novel, The Dregs of Exodus seem to just occur to me. “Dregs” was an interesting scenario about a dystopian future given the right circumstances. I’ve been working backwards for the most part, writing about the experiences of other characters in other times and locations.
Characters have a great capacity to love, yet they’re starved. Why do you think this happens in fiction and in real life?

Well, that depends on the characters, of course and the nature of the story. Starved enough, I suppose, you have a villain on your hands.
Without giving spoilers, would you say you’re a “happy ending” writer?

Not with everything, that’s for sure. There are stories that I’ve written with indisputably positive endings. The rest tend to end on a mixture that I feel makes for a realistic outcome.
What would you like to be remembered for?

I want readers to remember me as an author of dystopian sci-fi stories that did not rely on a disaster to create them. I think many people are turned off by dystopian adventures because of the massive deaths that go along with a 2012 or a Deep Impact scenario. I wanted my work to have a positive back story: The vast majority of Mankind is making a new home on the colony planet, Alethea.
If you could dine with any historical figure living or dead, who would it be and why?

Roosevelt

I’d have to say Franklin Delano Roosevelt. I’d like to know what it was like to be pulling the strings behind
the scenes of the world’s biggest conflict.
Past, present or future? Where does your mind dwell?

I’m in the past for the most part. I really enjoyed the music of the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, and I really enjoyed the way of life back then quite a bit more than these days. All the gadgets that we live with on a daily basis are intrusive in many ways and not necessarily helpful. The reliability of something like the provider of our internet, TV and phone is often subpar because they try to stuff too much capability into it. In the ‘80’s, I had my music on LP’s and cassettes, 40-ish channels on the cable television, and we had a landline phone. It was so quiet and pleasant back then.
What informs your writing most?

I have to have music running, especially lately. My mind is like an old tube-amplified AM radio. It drifts without any outside influences. I can’t even begin to list what I listen to, but you can bet it’s from the ‘70’s or ‘80’s. I like some new stuff, don’t get me wrong, but in a world where a Tom Petty rip-off wins a Grammy for the best song of the year it’s hard to find stuff that I like.
Growing up in the Seventies, school kids were encouraged to think globally and act locally. Have you ever flirted with this philosophy?

In the ‘70’s, I was attending a Catholic school in Cicero that, fortunately, no longer exists. Thought was not encouraged in any form, let alone actions derived from such behavior. While I tend to mind my own business when it comes to most things, I do recycle and think I do a lot to minimalize my negative impact on the Earth, though I think she’s a lot tougher than us and will be glad when we’re off her back.
Guilty pleasures: we all have them. What is yours?

Pretzels in white chocolate are awesome. A Maker’s Mark cigar with its tip soaked in its namesake is bliss. Sneaking a beer before noon is as cool as it sounds.
Your greatest victory?

I hope I haven’t experienced it yet, though the day I left a mind-numbing office job a few years ago without being jailed for assault has to be it. I lost the job but I regained my true self and no one had to get hurt. Setting myself free that day felt better than achieving my degrees.
Tell us about the one that got away. Person, place or thing.

Actually, anything that I’ve gone for and failed at has turned out for the better. I’ve tried for that automobile that I knew I couldn’t afford and was pissed off when the financing companies denied me, but looking back at it, I know it would have ruined me. I’ve tried for that house that I knew I couldn’t swing and was shot down by the mortgage companies. I’m happy about that, too. I’ve pursued some women in my time and I can’t say that there are any that I regret not catching. There’s a saying that I like to keep in mind about such things in life. I don’t know who said it and I can’t even remember when I heard it, but it’s this: “Never pursue a woman or money. Both will leave you in the dust.”

What are some of the overriding themes in your work? Do you have a favorite?

I think that readers should understand that things that change our world are not always for the better. There is a negative aspect to everything we achieve, no matter how small. For instance, the “Great Exodus” that I feature in all of my works is a beneficial event for most of Mankind, except for the people that remain on Earth. Things will happen in our reality that may seem all good for us, but the experience will always produce some sort of negative cost. Most of the time, the bad side of something is a trade that we can live with, but sometimes it’s not. It’s as important to not be naïve as it is to not be jaded.
Who do you admire and why?

I admire men and women of the arts that have become internationally recognized and are genuinely happy. I think Stephen King, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg are prime examples of that. There are musicians that put that feeing across as well. Now, perhaps these are merely facades of contentment, but who is to say other than they?
Are writers fully formed works of art or works in progress?

I don’t think anyone is a fully formed work. We’re all works in progress because we as people are always changing as we get older and experience the world. It’s important to keep evolving and working toward our goals, changing things when we find the need. If we don’t keep changing, then our art will be stagnate and forgettable.

Thank you Frederick Crook for you insights. Be sure and check out F.C.’s YouTube channel. He has a je ne sais quoi for book trailers!

TOMORROW: Baseball aficionade. writer and all round New Yorker Ralph Peluso

rp pix

 

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Roxanne Rhodes, President and CEO
Roxanne Rhodes, President and CEO

Bewitching for Authors

Bewitching Book Tours is geared towards the new author, the ebook author, the small and independent press author, and the mid-list author- the author who doesn’t have a huge marketing budget but wants the most bang for their promotional buck.

Bewitching Book Tours aims to offer just that by pairing authors and their books with targeted book bloggers and readers who enjoy the types of books the authors write.

Bewitching Book Tours specializes in paranormal romance, urban fantasy and paranormal erotica book tours though we tour almost all fiction genres including horror, YA, NA, and all the romance sub-genres (contemporary, historical, thriller, suspense, etc).

Bewitching for Readers

Bewitching Book Tours offers readers the chance to discover new books while getting behind the scenes information about authors, books and characters.

Join us for a virtual book tour -you can read author guest blogs, interviews & book reviews and exclusive excerpts, listen to radio interviews, and participate in chats with the authors- all from the comfort of your home.

And there are always chances for readers to win prizes; free books, gift cards, prize packs, Kindles and more. New tours start every Monday.
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UPFRONT AND PRESENT: AUTHOR SUSANNE MATTHEWS

The Authors Susanne MatthewsToday, the blog welcomes romance author and fellow Ontarian Susanne Matthews. Educator, visionary, novel crafter, Susanne tackles her storylines with a view to a journey. From first page to last, her characters move and we, the readers, are transformed with them. Welcome Susanne.

The White CarnationThe last person disgraced reporter Faye Lewis wants back in her life is Detective Rob Halliday, the man she blames for ruining her career and breaking her heart. But when she finds an old friend murdered, he’s the one she calls.

For the past year, Rob and his team have been hunting the Harvester, a serial killer who ritualistically murders new mothers and vanishes with their infants. What Rob doesn’t need is another case, especially one involving his ex-fiancée.

Then Faye is assaulted, and Rob realizes the cases are connected. She may hold the answers he needs to find the elusive killer. But the more they investigate, the more complex the situation becomes. Can they set the past aside and work together, or will the Harvester and his followers reap another prize?

Excerpt from: The White Carnation

After more than four hours of hobnobbing with the rich and not so famous, Faye was hot, tired, and exasperated. The engagement tea had been even worse than she’d imagined. Clowns—they’d had clowns—and she hated clowns. You never knew who was behind that pasty white makeup. What kind of adults used a kiddy theme for their engagement party? Alright, so the groom’s family was in the home party décor business. What difference did that make? There had to be hundreds of themes more suitable to the occasion.

Imagine that snooty little bitch thinking she was the help—it might be the society page, but press was press. Thank God she wasn’t one of them anymore. Sure, the money, clothes, and bling were nice—although Faye wasn’t penniless, she did have to pinch the ones she had—but at least she had a valid reason for getting out of bed each day. Hopefully, Abigail and Reginald would be happy, but she wouldn’t count on it. If ever there was a marriage arranged in the boardroom, that was it. Imagining that couple on their wedding night as they completed the merger made her laugh out loud in the car. Miss Ice Cube wouldn’t possibly warm up enough for Mr. Icicle to penetrate in the first place … clowns or no clowns.

She slapped the steering wheel in frustration. The drive from Wellesley to Beacon Hill seemed interminable, and more than once, Faye cursed inept drivers who didn’t know the least little bit about driving or where they were going. She hated being late, and thanks to overlong speeches and bad traffic, she would be.

“Tourists,” she grumbled when a sudden exit off the highway almost caused an accident. “Too bad GPS doesn’t come with idiot-proofing.” When she eventually got off the I-90 and onto the side streets, she spotted a parking space on Marlborough only half a block from Mary’s family home, a neighborhood she remembered fondly from her youth. Well, at least the parking fairy’s on my side.

Glancing at the heavy gray clouds on the horizon, she cursed. It would rain soon, and she’d forgotten her umbrella in her desk. This jacket needed to be dry-cleaned, and she’d already blown this month’s budget for that. Grabbing the white carnation with the rainbow ribbon that her secret admirer had left on the windshield this morning, she got out of the car. That flower was the only bright spot in her otherwise dismal day. As always, there’d been no card. The individual flowers, their stems tucked in micro-vases that held the precious water they needed, arrived on a more or less regular basis. This was the fourth—no, the fifth one. Sloan had joked about the first one.

“Maybe O’Malley learned you hate roses.”

Jerk!

She was convinced her secret admirer was sweet and maybe a little shy. For a while, she’d thought Jimmy might have been leaving the flowers for her, but he’d been out of town on assignment the last two times. At least Mr. Mysterious wasn’t some crazed stalker sending her death threats. It was good to know someone still admired her, and if the only romance in her life was a carnation four or five times a year, so be it. Her crushed heart wouldn’t be in any danger that way. She usually took the flowers home, but this time, she’d give it to Lucy Green. Why not? The woman deserved a bright spot in her day, too.

The neighborhood hadn’t changed much. Did someone ensure that the geraniums in the window boxes looked exactly the same from year to year? Was a gardener paid to fluff the petals just so? The geraniums she’d hung on her tiny balcony had more than one dead bloom that needed removing. These? Not one.

The Greens lived in a unit on the top floor of a renovated brownstone. As she walked toward the building that had practically been her second home, Faye tried to let go of her frustrations and think of the simpler, happier days when she’d lived just a few blocks away. That had been fifteen years ago; Faye had been sixteen when her life had changed forever. She’d been the fun-loving one, the one people sought when they were down.

“Forgive me. I’m sorry.” God, she hated those words, the last ones her father had penned. She’d trusted him to love her and protect her, but he’d let her down. After one too many bad financial decisions, instead of sticking around and trying to fix things, Dad had taken the easy way out and left her and her mother to pick up the pieces. “Trust no one but yourself” was Faye’s mantra. Sadly, she’d forgotten it four years ago when she’d met Rob, and look at what had happened.

Today, her career was on life support and her heart was broken into so many pieces, she doubted it would ever be whole again. Sometimes, the easy way out didn’t look so bad. Maybe she was more like her father than she thought. She’d certainly made a few bad decisions of her own.

About the author:

new picture of meSusanne Matthews was born and raised in Cornwall, Ontario, Canada. She’s always been an avid reader of all types of books, but always with a penchant for happily ever after romances. In her imagination, she travelled to foreign lands, past and present, and soared into the future. A retired educator, Susanne spends her time writing and creating adventures for her readers. She loves the ins and outs of romance, and the complex journey it takes to get from the first word to the last period of a novel. As she writes, her characters take on a life of their own, and she shares their fears and agonies on the road to self-discovery and love.

Follow Susanne on her:  Website    Blog    Facebook page    Twitter @jandsmatt

Amazon author page    and    Goodreads author page

Proustian Questionnaire Image BIG
What are your thoughts on muses and do you have one? 

Muses are an interesting breed. Since I’m a pantser, I have to have a muse, otherwise, where would the stories come from? I can’t describe her, but she’s real. She enjoys tormenting me at night—giving me all kinds of great ideas that keep me from sleeping—ideas that disappear when I finally do, and even if I write down some key idea, that doesn’t make sense the next day. But, essentially, she’s kind, and shows up when I need her most. Since a lot of my books are suspense novels, she’s got to be the one with the experience, right?
Characters have a great capacity to love, yet they’re starved. Why do you think this happens in fiction and in real life? 

Love can be a scary thing. If you love someone deeply, you have to lay it all out there, and when you do, you can get hurt.  I think in many ways people are afraid to love. As a writer, I torture my characters, make it hard for them to find love because in real life, finding love and keeping it is a struggle. If it comes too easily, it’s not necessarily going to last. We value what we work hard for.

Without giving spoilers, would you say you’re a “happy ending” writer? 

Yes, absolutely. No matter what torment my characters undergo, in the end, things will work out for them.
What would you like to be remembered for?

I’d like to be remembered as someone who made a difference in someone’s life. If they enjoyed reading one of my books that would be great.

If you could dine with any historical figure living or dead, who would it be and why? 

William Shakespeare. I’d like to know how he’d feel knowing that those plays he wrote by hand have been immortalized. I’d also ask him why he created two such weak men as Hamlet and Macbeth. Even King Lear was powerless.

Past, present or future? Where does your mind dwell? 

Solidly in the present at least half the time. Since I write historical romance too, I guess 25% of the time I’m in the past. The other 25 % I’m thinking of the future and planning out what I need to do.
What informs your writing most? 

Not quite sure what you mean by this. If you’re asking about my inspiration, then it’s events in the news. I’ll see an article and research various aspects of it until I find a story notion—that’s where the muse kicks in.
Growing up in the Seventies, school kids were encouraged to think globally and act locally. Have you ever flirted with this philosophy? 

Growing up in the Fifties and Sixties, the world was a smaller place. I might dream globally, but I was firmly rooted at home. That really hasn’t changed. I have lots of friends around the globe now, thanks to Twitter and Facebook, but I tends to stay in my own corner of the world.
Guilty pleasures: we all have them. What is yours?

Cheesecake and red wine
Your greatest victory? 

Selling my first novel, Fire Angel. It was a dream come true.
Tell us about the one that got away. Person, place or thing. 

I had a chance to go to Woodstock in 1969, and I turned it down because I didn’t like the idea of having to sleep in a tent. I was 19.
What are some of the overriding themes in your work? Do you have a favorite? 

Good wins out in the end is the overriding theme. I don’t like to see women diminished or minimized in any way. True love always shines in the end.

Who do you admire and why? 

Nora Roberts. She has always been one of my favorite authors and I aspire to be as good as she is one day.

My daughter, Angela, because she has faced adversity and overcome it. She has four young children, and has raised them on her own while working full time. She’s my hero.
Are writers fully formed works of art or works in progress?

A work in progress for sure—one that gets better all the time.

Thank you for dropping by Susanne and much success with THE WHITE CARNATION.

Tomorrow: Author Raegyn Perry showcases LAVENDER FIELDS and muses her way through the Proustian Questionnaire

RP musing

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Roxanne Rhodes, President and CEO
Roxanne Rhodes, President and CEO

Bewitching for Authors

Bewitching Book Tours is geared towards the new author, the ebook author, the small and independent press author, and the mid-list author- the author who doesn’t have a huge marketing budget but wants the most bang for their promotional buck.

Bewitching Book Tours aims to offer just that by pairing authors and their books with targeted book bloggers and readers who enjoy the types of books the authors write.

Bewitching Book Tours specializes in paranormal romance, urban fantasy and paranormal erotica book tours though we tour almost all fiction genres including horror, YA, NA, and all the romance sub-genres (contemporary, historical, thriller, suspense, etc).

Bewitching for Readers

Bewitching Book Tours offers readers the chance to discover new books while getting behind the scenes information about authors, books and characters.

Join us for a virtual book tour -you can read author guest blogs, interviews & book reviews and exclusive excerpts, listen to radio interviews, and participate in chats with the authors- all from the comfort of your home.

And there are always chances for readers to win prizes; free books, gift cards, prize packs, Kindles and more. New tours start every Monday.
http://www.bewitchingbooktours.com/

REALIZING A DREAM: AUTHOR RIVAL GATES

The  Authors Rival GatesMichigan born Ontario raised author Rival Gates has a foot in two countries and two worlds. His first novel, QUEST FOR THE RED SAPPHIRE, Book 1 of the Sapphire Chronicles, had its genesis in a young man’s dreams, becoming a reality in adulthood as a finished work under the auspices of Solstice Publishing. Rival owes his determination to supportive family members, but the drive to realize the written word is wholly his own. QUEST fuelled an imagination for years, but it has sparked a career that will span many years to come. Welcome, Rival.

QUEST FOR THE RED SAPPHIRE, BOOK 1

Cover2

General Linvin Grithinshield was used to enemies trying to kill him on the battlefields of the medieval world of Lavacia.  Now he has the fear of being killed anytime, anywhere.  He thinks he is summoned home from the goblin wars to oversee the family merchant empire after his father’s disappearance; and for a while he is right.  Then his mother is assassinated and Linvin’s true purpose is revealed.  He must seek out and find the all-powerful Red Sapphire and claim its might before the murderers find it…or him.  With new dangers around every turn in an ever-escalating spiral of violence, he must prove himself worthy of the gem and lead his party to success against insurmountable odds.  To fail would mean death for far more than just him.  The world, itself, could fall into permanent shadow and darkness.

 

Excerpt 1

Linvin was still. He closed his eyes and tried to put aside the events of the day. At last he spoke, “My life makes no sense to me. There I was, growing up with my parents and then out of nowhere my father tells me, ‘I must send you away, son. You are destined for something greater than the life I can provide. The greatness in your future lies down a separate road than I must travel. To prepare for that, I must send you to the greatest teacher you could have, Sedemihcra.’”

“‘You will be trained to be a soldier, a commander and a leader of men. He will also train you to use your mind to solve problems that force alone cannot solve. He will set you on the right path. When the time is right and your training is complete, I will send for you to return home.’”

“I asked him what was at the end of my path. He had such passion in his voice as he told me, ‘One day you will make an unrivaled difference in the lives of others. The weak, the helpless, the oppressed; all will one-day look to you as their champion. They will be counting on you. I will be counting on you.’”

“‘To send you away is the hardest thing I have ever done. Your mother is against this but the time has come for you to begin your training. There is so much at stake, son. You will have the chance to stand up to tyranny, oppression and all the evils of the world. That task will fall to you alone. You can rise to the challenge or turn your back. If you do turn away though, millions of people will suffer. Terrible storms are on the horizon. You are the only shelter the people will have. So you see my son, that is why you must go.’”

Anvar sat his stein on the rail and began to pace. “Your parents agonized over the decision and your mother was indeed set against the entire idea, but in the end, your father would not defer. He sent you away because he knew that you needed training.”

Linvin finished his ale and refilled the great vessel. “I had many years to ponder those words as I grew up in Valia. It never made sense to me but I had to trust my father’s judgment.”

“So here I am at last, summoned home to fulfill my destiny. As it turns out, I am destined to be a merchant or politician and marry some cold, greedy woman who comes from the right family. I will settle down, make more money and be a proper member of society.” Linvin’s tone had been sarcastic and his movements, grandiose.

He approached Anvar in a combination of frustration and anger. “So, dear uncle, best friend of Dirk Grithinshield, is this the life for which my father sent me to be trained?”

QUEST FOR THE RED SAPPHIRE is on sale on Kindle for .99 and can be bought at  http://amzn.to/1npYd0S 

BIOGRAPHY

Rival Gates Suit Enhanced(2)_peI was born in Port Huron, MI and was the youngest of four surviving children.  At the age of five my Father took a position as a magazine editor in Toronto, Ontario Canada.  We moved to a large city just outside Toronto called Mississauga.  The different cultures and demographics to which I was exposed formed many of the ideas for my story.

When I was thirteen, my Father’s declining health forced him out of work and our family struggled.  It was at that time that I decided to channel my negative energy into a constructive purpose.  I set out to write a short story about a magical gem called the Red Sapphire.  My brothers teased me that such a stone was simply a ruby.  That irony was part of the attraction for me.  After all, who would be writing about a Red Sapphire?  Years went by and we moved down to my Father’s home town of Harrow, Ontario on the shores of Lake Erie.  It was a drastic change from city life and I found myself retreating more and more into my ever growing story.  By age fifteen I had a two-hundred page hand written manuscript.

Advancing from high school to college at Michigan State University there was little time for writing and the project sat in a drawer in my parent’s home.  In spite of my lack of attention to writing, every night I would fall asleep working out details of the book and the series to follow.

I met a wonderful woman at Michigan State who agreed after graduation to become my wife.  As we started our family I began a career in retail management and sales.  For over twenty years I excelled in the field and even incorporated some of my knowledge into the book.  I hold my position in the greatest esteem.

While I rewrote the story several times on my computer, I did not attempt to publish it until the longest supporter of my writing, my Mother, became terminally ill.  She told me the last time I saw her how proud she was of the story I had created and made me promise to publish it and share it with the world.  With the loving support of my wife, our three children and the help of the good people at Solstice Publishing, I am fulfilling that promise.

When my Father (ever the editor) read the book, he told me how proud he was and that somewhere he knew my Mother was equally proud.  I present to you the first part of the saga which is my life’s work, “Quest for the Red Sapphire.”  May it bring you as much joy to read as it has brought me to write.

Rival Gates

LINKS

Web Site: http://www.rivalgates.com/

Blog: http://www.rivalgates.com/blog

http://rivalgates.tumblr.com/

Facebook: Author http://on.fb.me/1qqrjiB

Series: https://www.facebook.com/thesapphirechronicles

Twitter: https://twitter.com/rivalgates1

Buy Links for “Quest for the Red Sapphire”

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1npYd0S

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1mSIAkT

Purchase “The Sapphire Crucible”

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1lGfOVN

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1n8o0yN

Goodreads “Quest for the Red Sapphire”

http://bit.ly/1u1DJxN

Goodreads “Sapphire Crucible”

http://bit.ly/ZqUav3

Excerpt 2

Linvin looked into the darkness but only saw the swaying trees in the night’s sky. “That wolf sounded close,” he noted.

“That was no ordinary wolf,” Rander commented.

“What is so unusual about that wolf?” Linvin inquired as he found his bow and arrows.

“Remember those predators I was telling you about before?” Rander asked. “That’s one of them. You can tell from the low howl. Up here, we call them Trogoandras Wolves.”

“What is so special about those wolves?” Anvar asked.

“Well, to start with, they are the size of a full grown human. Their claws can effortlessly cleave flesh from bone. They have powerful jaws that can snap your thigh in two, like a twig. Inside their mouths, are two rows of teeth. The outer set is for tearing and shredding while the inner ones are for grinding.”

“They have been the bane of loggers and farmers.

You see, for all of the creature’s strength and power, Trogoandras have one flaw. Their legs are disproportionately short for their body. Most of the prey out here is long legged and too fast for them to run down, so they hunt in packs. One will mark a target and call for the pack to assemble. Then they will corner the herd they are tracking and attack. They are reasonably intelligent and crafty hunters, few escape the net of death they drop on their victims.”

“With the ax men driving away the herds from these woods, Trogoandras have set to devouring stock and as necessary, people.”

“They attack people?” exclaimed Linvin as he placed an arrow on the string of his bow.

“Sure do,” said Bander. “Lost two friends in the last month to ‘em. Can’t run as fast as deer, ya’ know. Out a control, them Trogos are.”

“I shouldn’t worry for now,” Rander told his cousin. “That was only one Trogoandras we heard. They seldom attack alone and will never come near a campfire without a pack. As long as we keep the fire going through the night, we should not have anything to fear.”

Proustian Questionnaire Image BIG

What are your thoughts on muses and do you have one?

I have known people who had them and found them instrumental in their art.  It has never been an avenue I have taken as my ideas flow from within.  If you read the lyrics to the Pearl Jam song “Black” you will see the downside when the muse is gone.  I like to look inward for inspiration.

 

Characters have a great capacity to love, yet they’re starved. Why do you think this happens in fiction and in real life?

Often times fiction reflects a writer’s experiences in the world.  There is a huge difference between a person’s capacity to love and the right opportunity to do so.  Love is like a butterfly passing by.  It doesn’t happen often and it is illusive when it is near.  But if you are lucky enough to get your hands on it, you have something special, indeed!

Without giving spoilers, would you say you’re a “happy ending” writer?

Most of the time I am a “happy ending writer.”  I think the books and movies with sad or distressing endings are fine, but I rarely want to read or watch them again.  This life throws enough negative things our way.  We seek entertainment to lose ourselves in another story and I think most people want to finish it happy.

 

What would you like to be remembered for?

Aside from my writing, I would like to be remembered for the lessons I have taught my children and hopefully for being a good father and husband.

 

If you could dine with any historical figure living or dead, who would it be and why?

I would love to dine with Marco Polo and hear firsthand about all his wondrous adventures.  

Past, present or future? Where does your mind dwell?

My mind is usually looking to the future as I am a compulsive planner.  I reflect on the past and draw inspiration from there but I use that inspiration to plan for the future.

What informs your writing most?

I would have to say my imagination.  I dream up different scenarios I think would be cool and then I find a way to fit them into my work.

Growing up in the Seventies, school kids were encouraged to think globally and act locally. Have you ever flirted with this philosophy?

It governs my charitable contributions.  For example, hunger is a terrible thing worldwide.  But before I send my money overseas I would rather feed the hungry in my city. 

Guilty pleasures: we all have them. What is yours?

In a word: Doritos

Your greatest victory?

My greatest victory was publishing my first book.  My father wrote for his whole life and never accomplished that.  So far I have published two with more to come.

Tell us about the one that got away. Person, place or thing.

There was a girl in college I had asked out the same week I asked out my wife.  It just so happened my wife was available earlier in the week and we went out.  I knew right then that she was the one for me and I cancelled the other date.  The other girl and I stayed friends throughout college.  She went through a slew of really bad boyfriends and at one point asked me to leave my girlfriend (now wife) to be with her.  I couldn’t do that.  So she moved on after graduation and I never heard from her again.

What are some of the overriding themes in your work? Do you have a favorite?

One of my favorite themes is if you rush into a situation, it will almost always end badly.  If you think it through, the answer is always there.

Who do you admire and why?

I admire the great artists of the past who were often unappreciated in their time but continued to do what they loved even without all the tools we have at our disposal these days.

Are writers fully formed works of art or works in progress?

Writers are definitely works in progress.  We are like water.  We bend around our surroundings and pick up characteristics of them.  Writers change their styles over time and vary quite a bit on different pieces.

 

Thanks Rival, and best of luck with the series. Rival can be found on Goodreads. Be sure to add him to your MY BOOKS list.

Tomorrow: Educator and incurable romantic Susanne Matthews talks about THE WHITE CARNATION and more http://www.mhsusannematthews.ca/

new picture of me

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THE FUNKHAUSER ROAD SHOW; BLOG TOUR, DAY 3: Spotlight, Saph’s Book Blog, http://saphsbookblog.blogspot.com/

Blog Tour brought to you by BEWITCHING BOOK TOURS

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Bewitching for Authors

Roxanne Rhodes, President and CEO
Roxanne Rhodes, President and CEO

Bewitching Book Tours is geared towards the new author, the ebook author, the small and independent press author, and the mid-list author- the author who doesn’t have a huge marketing budget but wants the most bang for their promotional buck.

Bewitching Book Tours aims to offer just that by pairing authors and their books with targeted book bloggers and readers who enjoy the types of books the authors write.

Bewitching Book Tours specializes in paranormal romance, urban fantasy and paranormal erotica book tours though we tour almost all fiction genres including horror, YA, NA, and all the romance sub-genres (contemporary, historical, thriller, suspense, etc).

Bewitching for Readers

Bewitching Book Tours offers readers the chance to discover new books while getting behind the scenes information about authors, books and characters.

Join us for a virtual book tour -you can read author guest blogs, interviews & book reviews and exclusive excerpts, listen to radio interviews, and participate in chats with the authors- all from the comfort of your home.

And there are always chances for readers to win prizes; free books, gift cards, prize packs, Kindles and more. New tours start every Monday.
http://www.bewitchingbooktours.com/

 

LOVIN’ THE VAMPIRE: MARIE LAVENDER

 The Authors Marie LavenderRomance author Marie Lavender takes the chair with a view to SECOND NATURE, the first in her BLOOD AT FIRST SIGHT SERIES. Energetic, prolific and with a love for NOW and dark chocolate (see Proust Questionnaire) she radiates positivity. Maybe vampire relationships can work? Welcome, Marie.

 

SECOND NATURE

SecondNature-final cover

She never expected it…
Desiree Edwards has a problem. She’s been attacked, kidnapped and forced to get along with a vampire of all things. It’s something right out of the story books she reads, or her worst nightmare. But, sometimes he’s not the monster he appears to be. He seems so humanlike that she can’t help it when her emotions betray her, when her body betrays her. To make matters worse, she finds out more about herself than she ever wanted to know.
She was unlike any other…
Alec has a problem. The animal in him wants Desiree. But, so does the man. The more he learns about her, the harder it is to deny what he wants. But, he’s a freak, and she’s just a human. The two species don’t mix that way. Then an old enemy surfaces and Alec is forced to make a choice. His life or hers.
Can Alec’s soul be saved by this unique human? Or will it be far too late?

Purchase Links

Universal Amazon:  http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00Q7FWIWA

Publisher:  http://solsticepublishing.com/second-nature/

Barnes & Noble:  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/second-nature-marie-lavender/1120879883

CreateSpace link: https://www.createspace.com/5131233 

Book Trailer

http://youtu.be/CaD_-pJ0fE8

Book Excerpt

He chuckled. “You’re amusing, Desiree. I knew I liked you the moment I saw you, as soon as I heard your voice.”

The blood drained from her face. Oh my God. He had been that close when he was stalking her? That was eerie. She thought back to the festival and remembered that feeling of being watched. Natalie had brushed it off, but Desiree had sensed something was wrong. “What if … I had seen you?” she managed weakly.

“You didn’t.”

“But what if I had? Would you have given up your pursuit of me? Would you have lost interest?”

“No.”

“But why?”

“You don’t see your appeal at all, do you?”

She went silent. She honestly didn’t know what to say.

They entered a garage, or at least that’s what she thought it was. He turned the car off and got out. When he opened the passenger side, he caught her foot just in time before she nailed him.

His eyes narrowed. “Play nice, sweetheart. I don’t have to be easy on you.”

“You’ve certainly proven that already.”

“You haven’t seen anything yet.” He grasped her body and jerked her out of the seat.

With the bright lights of the garage over them, she had a better look at him now. Alec was very tall, with wide shoulders and defined muscles that she could see through his black tee shirt. He had black hair that sprung over his head in spiky layers. His eyes were dark, almost without color, with such a hypnotic quality to them that she had to blink. He towered over her and the hard look in his eyes didn’t help any.

She shivered. But, that was his intention, wasn’t it? To keep her off-balanced and afraid? “You’re doing this because I know too much,” she said as she stood before him, even though she was still bound. She firmed her lips for a moment. “Take me back now and I won’t say a word to anyone. I swear. This never happened.”

Author Bio

Mariepic2Bestselling author of UPON YOUR RETURN and 19 other books. 2014 BTS Red Carpet Review Nominee. Finalist and Runner-up in the MARSocial’s Author of the Year Competition. Honorable mention in the January 2014 Reader’s Choice Award. Liebster Blogger Award for 2013 and 2014. Top 50 Authors on AuthorsDB.com. Winner of the Great One Liners Contest on the Directory of Published Authors.

Marie Lavender lives in the Midwest with her family and three cats. She has been writing for over twenty years. She has more works in progress than she can count on two hands. Since 2010, Marie has published twenty books in the genres of historical romance, contemporary romance, romantic suspense, paranormal romance, fantasy, mystery/thriller, literary fiction and poetry. Lavender just released Second Nature, a paranormal romance/urban fantasy, in December of 2014. She released Magick & Moonlight, a romantic fantasy, back in March of 2014. Upon Your Honor, released last April, is her second historical romance. Her current series are The Heiresses in Love Series, The Magick Series and The Blood at First Sight Series. Feel free to visit her website at http://marielavender.com/ for further information about her books and her life. Marie is also on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn.

A list of her books and pen names are as follows:

Marie Lavender: Upon Your ReturnMagick & MoonlightUpon Your HonorSecond Nature

Erica Sutherhome: Hard to GetMemoriesA Hint of ScandalWithout YouStrange HeatTerror in the NightHauntedPursuitPerfect GameA Touch of DawnRansomLeather and Lace

Kathryn Layne: A Misplaced Life

Heather Crouse: Express Café and Other RamblingsRamblings, Musings and Other ThingsSoulful Ramblings and Other Worldly Things

Author Links
http://marielavender.com/
http://iloveromanceblog.wordpress.com/
http://marielavenderbooks.blogspot.com/
http://marielavender.blogspot.com/
https://www.facebook.com/marie.lavender.58
https://www.facebook.com/MarieAnnLavender
https://twitter.com/marielavender1
https://plus.google.com/u/0/+MarieLavender/posts
http://www.linkedin.com/pub/marie-lavender/27/187/10a
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6938764.Marie_Lavender
http://authorsdb.com/authors-directory/1578-marie-lavender
http://www.pw.org/content/marie_lavender
http://amazon.com/author/marielavender
http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00Q7FWIWA
http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00JTKTODG
http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00IRKN5P2
http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00I0D9LQ8
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJu8HjRVYCFOqcIoX6ZxdqQ/videos

“A true man does not need to romance a different girl every night, a true man romances the same girl for the rest of her life.”–Ana Alas

Proustian Questionnaire Image BIG

What are your thoughts on muses and do you have one?

Life is my muse. I think that as writers, or at least for myself, we go through experiences, garner knowledge and store it. All of that jumble in our consciousness simmers for awhile and then the muse spits it back out into random ideas, seeds that have the potential to be so much more, stories to be told.


Characters have a great capacity to love, yet they’re starved. Why do you think this happens in fiction and in real life?

It is true that as people, we could probably be kinder, love all human beings more and respect them. We are all human, capable of numerous flaws, with the ability to make mistakes or turn it around and make things right, to carve out a piece of happiness for ourselves. The truth is that those decisions are up to us, and how we look at life within our power. That outlook can color our beliefs in ourselves, and in love. Are people starved for love? Perhaps they are, yet I imagine a lot of their avoidance of love has to do with trust, trust in themselves and other people. Breaking through those barriers is key to finding a deeper understanding of others and opening ourselves up to love.

I think a character is three-dimensional when you give them the ability to love, show them living it on the page and yet still portray the endless array of human emotions in the story. As for seeing starved characters in fiction, if I read a book and I find a character isn’t fully developed, I still see great potential. The author has the opportunity to bring that character to fruition, to delve deeper, to get to the core of the character and discover their hard truths, however heartbreaking and wonderful.

And perhaps the reason why the character is starved is also about trust. It takes a great deal of trust for a writer to relinquish some of their power in order to let a character step into the story and shine in his or her glory. It takes courage to resist the urge to direct everything. As writers, we think we’re in control, but we’re not, not really. We’re along for the ride on this crazy journey of character development. Once a writer starts to truly listen to a character and the story that needs to be told rather than the one he thinks “should” be told, he will never be lost again.


Without giving spoilers, would you say you’re a “happy ending” writer?

I am a firm believer in happy endings, or at least a hint of them. I love reading and writing romance novels, and those usually require an HEA.


What would you like to be remembered for?

I just hope that I have made an impact with my books, that a character will have touched a reader to the point that they will remember him/her for years to come.


If you could dine with any historical figure living or dead, who would it be and why?

I’d like to have dinner with Jane Austen. I think she would be quite fascinating to see in person. Based on her prolific books and from what I know about her history, she had great talent and a quick wittedness that I think would lend itself to good dinner conversation.


Past, present or future? Where does your mind dwell?

While I do think of my goals for future, I am mainly in the present with occasional thoughts about my past.

What informs your writing most?

Meeting new people, having new experiences and learning as much as I possibly can about different subjects helps to shape my writing.


Growing up in the Seventies, school kids were encouraged to think globally and act locally. Have you ever flirted with this philosophy?

Of course. I have definitely considered volunteering for charities. I already donate to several. But, I think the best thing we can do to honor this philosophy is to lend a helping hand however we can. For now, my efforts are virtual as I offer guest slots on several of my blogs and I try to help my fellow authors out whenever possible. Locally, we can do more by helping out in our own cities. Even just doing a favor for your neighbor or helping a stranger out now and then is a good start.


Guilty pleasures: we all have them. What is yours?

One word…well, all right, it’s two.  Dark chocolate.

Your greatest victory?

Probably getting my first book contract. I can’t even describe how exhilarated I felt when I read that email for the first time, and found out a publisher wanted to publish Upon Your Return.


Tell us about the one that got away. Person, place or thing.

In a past life, I had briefly entertained being a music performer. Fate did not see fit to have that happen, and I think I’m better for it because writing is my true calling.


What are some of the overriding themes in your work? Do you have a favorite?

Some themes are love, honor, survivalism, the importance of family, strength and hope. I think I tend to write a lot about strong characters who endured some major traumas in life, and how they rose from the ashes to attain their goals. So, the survivalist theme resonates for several characters.


Who do you admire and why?

I admire my fiancé for his beliefs, and the way he pursues his dreams fearlessly. I am so proud of him.


Are writers fully formed works of art or works in progress?

Whether you’re born with ability to write or you learn it somewhere along the way, I believe we all have room for improvement. We should seek to better ourselves, to develop our skills and cater to our writing careers the way you’d groom yourself for any other career. So, yes, we are, in a sense, still works in progress.

Thank you Marie Lavender for taking care of my site today. Be sure and include Marie on your authors to read list!

Rival Gates Suit Enhanced(2)_peTomorrow: Rival Gates, Author of QUEST FOR THE RED SAPPHIRE, Book 1 of The Sapphire Chronicles. http://www.rivalgates.com/

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DAY 2: FUNKHAUSER GETS BEHIND THE SPIRIT OF HEUER ON Author Rachael Stapleton’s The Mysterious Ink Spot, http://rachaelstapleton.blogspot.ca/

TAKING CHARGE: AUTHOR JOHN DEBOER

The Authors John DeBoerThe page welcomes John DeBoer, our first guest in a spotlight series that will cover the site in tandem with the Blog Tour. Today, John offers up two selections from his authorial archive and boldly tries on the site’s Proustian questionnaire. Eureka! Thank you, John.

THE BOOKS…

Get the Picture

Get the pictureJack Lansing, M.D. is a widower who’s now ready to get on with his life when a chance meeting with a beautiful young woman changes everything – but not in the way he hopes. After a one-night tryst with the enticing vixen, the unsuspecting surgeon finds himself the target of a powerful U.S. senator, organized crime, and a figure from his past he’d long forgotten – all because he succumbs to the charms of a woman he can’t resist, despite the predicament she has put him in. Beginning in Jack’s once-peaceful beach town, a deadly game of sex, money, and retribution plays out to a thrilling conclusion.

The Sincerest Form of Flattery

The Sincerest Form of FlatteryFormer surgeon Jack Lansing, M.D. has become a bestselling mystery writer. At a book-signing event he meets an old colleague who, unbeknownst to Jack, has carried a grudge against him for thirty years. Then murders start popping up in and around Jack’s peaceful beach town – murders that mimic the plots in his books and make him a suspect. Jack must convince the police and the FBI of his innocence while trying to solve the mystery himself. Because, realizes, he and his wife could be the killer’s final victims. It is a chilling tale of twists and turns worthy of Jack’s imagination. But this time he doesn’t know how it will end.

Proustian Questionnaire Image BIG

Q: What are your thoughts on muses and do you have one?

A: I hesitate to invoke Greek mythology to explain what overcomes my “thinking blocks,” but perhaps there is a Muse-like feature we all carry in our brains. All I know is that when stuck thinking of an idea for my next book, or trying to figure out what my character will do next in the one I’m working on, I always manage, though it might take days or even weeks, to have that Eureka! moment. So far.

Q: Characters have a great capacity for love, yet they’re starved. Why do you think this happens in fiction and real life?

A: Love makes the world go around, as they say. Some have it, others don’t but want it. It’s the human condition. I’ve written novels in which the journey to attain love is part and parcel of the story, but in other novels of mine, an abiding love is already present and provides the foundation, the support, for the protagonist’s struggle with conflict. So I don’t think a character, or a real person, for that matter, needs to be always searching for it.

Q: Without giving specifics, would you say you’re a “happy ending” writer?

A: Yup. That’s me. My story conflicts all get resolved in favor of the good guys.

Q: What would you like to be remembered for?

A: Irrespective of career accomplishments, I’d like to be remembered as a good person.

Q: If you could dine with any historical figure, living or dead, who would it be and why?

A:  I’d like to have dinner with Yogi Berra. His unintentional wit has always amused me, and he seems like a genuinely funny guy. I think our senses of humor are compatible. And I love Italian food!

Q: Past, present, or future? Where does your mind dwell?

A: Well, I have a long past, the results of which, especially my family growing up and aging, I continue to see in the present. And this naturally leads to musings about what the future has in store for them. I suppose I dwell in the present – have to write and promote those books! – but I can’t escape thinking of what preceded the now and what lies ahead.

Q: What informs your writing most?

A: Reading . I’m a voracious reader of books in my genre, and seeing what works in them and what doesn’t makes me a better writer for it.

Q: Growing up in the Seventies, school kids were encouraged to think globally and act locally. Have you ever flirted with this philosophy?

A: I assume this question is meant to inquire whether global events affect what I do in my home town. Two of my novels – one published, the other being written – have international aspects, and attendant author points of view, but other than that, I don’t think I’m in the position to respond in a meaningful way to foreign situations. All I can do is use the power of persuasion to sway votes for those who do have the power to effect change in the world for the good.

Q: Guilty pleasures: we all have them. What is yours?

A: Junk food. Not the sugary, dessert-like goodies, but those other snacks that go very nicely with an adult beverage. I’ve never met a chip I didn’t like!

Q: Your greatest victory?

A: Getting my wife to marry me!

Q: Tell us about the one that got away. Person, place, or thing.

A: Linda Anderson. I was smitten with her in junior high school. Alas, it was unrequited puppy love, and I never got the chance to see if it would bloom, because my family moved away, and I never saw her again. Are you still out there, Linda?

Q: What are some of the overriding themes in your work? Do you have a favorite?

A: I try to have different themes in my novels, but the overriding driver in my stories is what is common to all thrillers – the triumph of the good guys against sinister forces.

Q: Who do you admire and why?

A:  Professionally speaking, I, of course, admire the stars of my genre – DeMille, Connelly, Iles, Crais, Child, etc. But I don’t know them as people; I’m not even on their Christmas card lists. The one person I admire the most, and forgive me for getting a little mushy here, is my wife. Not only has she put up with me all these years, her constant effort to do the right thing and her innate ability to put all those she meets at ease, not to mention her work ethic, are what I find most admirable.

Q: Are writers fully formed works of art or works in progress?

A: Ha! I can only speak for myself, but my experiences with other writers, and learning about the early struggles of those writers now at the top of their profession, leads me to the conclusion that we’re all works in progress!

THE BIOGRAPHY

After graduating from the University of Vermont College of Medicine, John L. DeBoer, M.D., F.A.C.S. completed a surgical residency in the U.S. Army and then spent three years in the Medical Corps as a general surgeon. Thirty years of private practice later, he retired to begin a new career as a writer.

When not creating new plot lines for his novels, Dr. DeBoer pursues his interests in cooking, films and film history,  politics, and the amazing cosmos.  Though he’s an avid tennis player, his yet-to-be-fulfilled goal is to achieve a level of mediocrity in the frustrating game of golf.

The father of two grown sons, he lives with his wife in North Carolina.

 LINKS

http://www.amazon.ca/Sincerest-Form-Flattery-John-DeBoer-ebook/dp/B00W23X3CK/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1429530507&sr=8-2&keywords=John+DeBoer

http://www.amazon.ca/Get-Picture-John-L-DeBoer-ebook/dp/B00VKYI2VY/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1429530586&sr=1-3&keywords=John+DeBoer

http://www.amazon.com/Get-Picture-John-L-DeBoer-ebook/dp/B00VKYI2VY/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1429530682&sr=8-2&keywords=John+DeBoer

http://www.amazon.com/Sincerest-Form-Flattery-John-DeBoer-ebook/dp/B00W23X3CK/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1429530682&sr=8-3&keywords=John+DeBoer

Thanks for taking the chair, John. Tomorrow: Romance author Marie Lavender talks SECOND NATURE, BLOOD AT FIRST SIGHT, Book 1 in a series. 

Mariepic2

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Heuer Lost and Found Banner 540 x 200DAY 1: FUNKHAUSER TALKS SOME NON FICTION http://shylawolff.blogspot.com/

THE FUNKHAUSER ROADSHOW BEGINNING APRIL 20

Hello all.

In support of HEUER LOST AND FOUND releasing on April 23 on all Amazons, Bookgoodies, Solstice Publishing and wherever else Createspace is sending it, I will be popping in on fellow authors through to May 18 (with weekends off—I need my beauty sleep!) Here’s the roster for week one. Feel free to stop by.

Monday, April 20

Interview and Review with Shyla Wolff, Shyla Wolff’s Thoughs

http://shylawolff.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, April 21 Guest Post with Rachael Stapleton, The Mysterious Ink Spot

http://rachaelstapleton.blogspot.ca/

Wednesday, April 22, Spotlight with Saph’s Book Blog

http://saphsbookblog.blogspot.com/

Thursday, April 23, Guest Post with Mythical Books

http://mythicalbooks.blogspot.ro/

Friday, April 24, Interview with Eclipse Reviews

www.totaleclipsereviews.blogspot.com

Sponsored by Bewitching Book Tours. My gratitude to Roxanne Rhodes as I begin this amazing journey.

bewitching_header

Covering off the home desk www.abfunkhauser.com while I’m away are some amazing guest authors who will be answering a Proustian questionnaire of my own design as well as showcasing their latest projects, blogs, interviews and more. Check them out. First up, John DeBoer, author, medical doctor and duffer (that’s golfer for those of you not in the know). Welcome, John.

Biography: John DeBoer

John's author photo

After graduating from the University of Vermont College of Medicine, John L. DeBoer, M.D., F.A.C.S. completed a surgical residency in the U.S. Army and then spent three years in the Medical Corps as a general surgeon. Thirty years of private practice later, he retired to begin a new career as a writer.

When not creating new plot lines for his novels, Dr. DeBoer pursues his interests in cooking, films and film history,  politics, and the amazing cosmos.  Though he’s an avid tennis player, his yet-to-be-fulfilled goal is to achieve a level of mediocrity in the frustrating game of golf.

The father of two grown sons, he lives with his wife in North Carolina.

Get more John DeBoer this coming Monday, April 20 http://www.abfunkhauser.com

VICTORY LAP? FIRST REVIEWS ARE IN

There’s that old saying that one must never put the Lord Robertcart before the horse, so what if I just leave the cart at home and carry on? First reviews for HEUER LOST AND FOUND are in and so far, THEY’RE GOOD. So I think I will leave the cart at home and have a once around. As Lord Grantham would say: “Steady On”.

FIVE STARS
Heuer Lost and Found - PrintEvery now and again you come across a treat and this book was as good as chocolate, mostly because of its originality. It takes a serious premise and gives it a light touch. The author is a word technician. The unusual catalyst? We have a man who dies but is still extremely vocal and active. But if his experiences beyond the Grim Reaper are typical, then I advise you, new readers, to stay in this life – or find some parallel universe.The writing style is racy with no words wasted. Early example: “May had given over to June with its outdoor patios and brain blasting surround sound systems—zesty realities that didn’t always mesh with work.” Midway example: “A tall lamp of ancient origin flickered in a large room ahead of him. Piled high with boxes and debris—a compendium of past lives—the space reminded him of a place he’d just come from and was not anxious to see again.” Late example: “Heuer looked at his smooth hands—a musician’s hands—with their perfectly tapered fingers filled with music that went unplayed. Peace? There was no peace to be made with Werner.”
It’s all tidily edited and I didn’t keep tripping over typos.
The characters are painted clearly right from the start, not in laborious detail, but in the little hints and the ways in which they do things.
A lot of care, background knowledge and zest with the pen has gone into this book.
—David K. Bryant, Author, Tread Carefully on the Sea
FIVE STARS
This beautifully written, quirky, sad, but also often humorous story of Heuer and Enid – one living and the other a spirit stuck between this world and the next – gives us a glimpse into the fascinating, closed world of the funeral director. Years after their relationship ended, the past catches up to both of them in the most unlikely place – the funeral home. Fresh writing filled with rich vocabulary, this story features a vivid cast of colourful, living-breathing characters. This one will keep you reading late into the night until the final page.
—Yvonne Hess, Charter Member, The Brooklin 7
FIVE STARS
Ms. A.B Funkhauser is a brilliant and wacky writer incapable of dumbing things down and amen for that. Her distinctive voice tells an intriguing story that mixes moral conflicts with dark humor, not too mention booze and cigarettes.

The book’s title refers to the lead character, a lawyer who dies in his home. As the body decomposes, the man’s spirit experiences euphoria, rage, disappointment and eventually hope. One of my favourite characters Enid, an employee of the Weibigand Brothers Funeral Home where Heuer now resides just happens to be Heuer the dead lawyer’s former girlfriend, and as we re-live the flawed recollections of their murky past—it really poses the question. How do we deal with death?​

—Rachael Stapleton, Author, The Temple of Indra’s Jewel and Curse of the Purple Delhi Sapphire
FIVE STARS
The macabre black comedy Heuer Lost And Found, written by A.B. Funkhauser, is definitely a different sort of book! Her protagonist Heuer dies but his spirit hangs around as he waits for his body to be collected a week later from his dirty, litter strewn flat. In the funeral home, ready to be embalmed, he finds out it’s an ex-girlfriend, now alcoholic, who will do the process. Add to that a talking rat…
You will enjoy this book with its mixture of horror and humour.
—Diana Harrison, Author, Always and Forever
FIVE STARS
Heuer Lost and Found is a quirky and irreverent story about a man who dies and finds his spirit trapped in a funeral home with an ex-lover who happens to be the mortician. He has to come to terms with his hoarding, degenerate past before he can escape. I love the character of Heuer, the Lawyer. He’s not a loveable character, but he’s as fascinating as watching a bug under a microscope. I found myself rooting for the guy, which is always the mark of a strong character. The characterization is rich the story well-told.
—Cryssa Bazos, Writer’s Community of Durham Region, Ontario, Canada
FIVE STARS
Author A. B. Funkhauser strikes a macabre chord with her book “Heuer Lost and Found”. Written from the perspective of an undertaker, she gives her readers a ringside seat at the Weibigand Mortuary where Enid, a middle aged woman with a taste for scotch, arrives on a Monday morning still in a stupor from the night before. Initially, the reader learns a bit about Enid and the history of the mortuary, its original owners and their heirs who continue to operate the family owned business, along with all of its eccentric employees. Early in the day, a call is received and there after a not so typical day in the life of a mortuary begins. Heuer, a well known middle aged attorney has been found dead in his apartment, where he laid for several days. The story now moves between present day and flash backs to a time when Heuer, Enid and others in the story are intertwined in one way or another. Heuer appears as a ghostly spectre to enchant us with his own take on his past, and his current impressions of what is being said and done as his body is prepared for burial. I for one like this book. I found it to have a similar feel to the HBO series “Six Feet Under”.
Ms. Funkhauser is a wizard with words and did a fine job of weaving this story of Greek, German and English speaking families that bounced back and forth throughout the entire book.
—Young, Author, A Harem Boy’s Saga Vol I, II, and III
FIVE STARS
Heuer’s difficult relationship with women and his mother seems to be a focal here, but so are references to friendship, loneliness and feelings of inadequacy. The irony that it’s an old girlfriend with a ton of problems taking care of him as his funeral director, is startling. The author depicts the flaws and human nature in both characters. This book is an incredible read that does not allow the audience to “fall asleep” at any time. A MUST READ!
—Daisy Kourkoulakos, Mississauga, Ontario
FIVE STARS
Not really horror or occult, this book mixes soul searching with some pretty off the wall humour. When a lawyer dies in his home with his spirit body for company, he must pass the time reminiscing with the walls while learning to move objects with his mind. Once his body’s found by a sexy coroner he madly wants to date, he finds himself stuck at a funeral home with a bunch of odd strangers including an ex girlfriend who likes to drink. What does a guy have to do to get on with his after life? Scaring the crabby neighbor is a start. I enjoyed this book because it’s extremely witty and the characters do really unexpected things like house breaking and scaring mourners at funerals. Perfect for anyone who likes gallows humour!
—Suzanne Fairbrass Stacey, Lake Simcoe, Ontario
FIVE STARS
Having received my copy of the work personally from the author, the first thing I have to mention, is that although not my usual cup of tea, but Heuer Lost and Found, is without a doubt a great story to get into and stay captivated by.

The setting may seem a little unorthodox and considered slightly macabre, but that is what made this work. This is a story that to me, felt like it abides by its own set rules and the pace is brilliantly maintained by the ever wordy A.B. Funkhauser. Even with an extensive vocabulary, the variety of words used were more of a pleasure than a pain and reminded me of the works by Bram Stoker, a personal favourite author of mine.

The story is lovingly crafted and is full of noteworthy lines that just stick in the memory, such as the phrase: Was sein wird, wird sein und was hineinschaut, schaut auch wieder raus—What will be, will be, and what looks in, looks out.

And if that’s not enough to entice, maybe the ensemble cast of Enid, Charlie, Clara is. A trio who although feel like a mix-matched bunch that shouldn’t be in each others lives, author Funkhauser bound them together just so.

For a story centered around death, it is full of Life.

—Rocky Rochford, Author, Rise of Elohim Chronicles
FOUR STARS
I didn’t know what to make of this at first, and then I was half way through it, and then I was at the end…but I didn’t want it to be over. Funkhauser made me learn new words like “aegis” and then I was laughing too hard to notice that I was actually at a sad part. Like Breaking Bad’s Walter White, Heuer is not a likeable man, but I somehow found myself rooting for him. A strange, complicated character. I have to look at him again. I hope there’ll be more where this came from!
—Kasey Balko, Pickering, Ontario
FIVE STARS
Multifaceted characters layered into a modern plot with plenty of sub cues based in the past. Heuer and Enid in their own way are similar so it makes sense that they’d come together again even if the circumstances are strange. Though spirit and funeral director never meet face to face, their simpatico is strong and their conversations are heartbreaking and real. The staff at the funeral parlour are good for laughs! Charlie, Dougie and poor old Robert the intern, who has to put up with a lot, break the tension and keep this thing rattling to a poignant conclusion.
—Dawn-Jane Dusomos-Guay, Cornwall, Ontario

What a great start to a blog tour!

THE FUNKHAUSER ROAD SHOW BEGINS APRIL 20 WITH AN INTERVIEW AND REVIEW AT http://shylawolff.blogspot.com/

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GUILTY PLEASURES: THE ONE’S THAT STICK

Many years ago, I hooked into a public television series that brought to life the detective novels of Dorothy

Ian Carmichael as Lord Peter Wimsey
Ian Carmichael as Lord Peter Wimsey

L. Sayers. WHOSE BODY? CLOUDS OF WITNESS and UNNATURAL DEATH to name a few brought we, the devotees of Masterpiece Theatre and MYSTERY!, face to face with an immaculately dressed, preternaturally wealthy English nit named Lord Peter Wimsey. Fussy, feckless and a bit grating in his dedication to detail, he was the ideal sleuth, rambling freely against a background of country houses, ornate gardens and immaculately tended lawns. Fans couldn’t get enough of him and neither could his creator Sayers, whom aficionados said was actually in love with her creation.

Lord Peter might not be my type, but I certainly get the notion of a writer getting more out of the character than mere words on the page.

A lot of people have asked me where Jürgen Heuer comes from, and my answers vary, depending on my mood. Yes, he’s a work of fiction, but every fiction, to paraphrase Ian Fleming, “is precedent on some kind of fact.”

Rhett and BelleHeuer, like Sayers’ Wimsey, is incredibly real, although I doubt very much either she or I would make it through a meal with him without an outburst or two. Maybe it’s a condition of what inspires. The bad, the badder, the really, really broken. Good guys—perfect guys—just don’t pack the same punch. Heck, even Rhett Butler hung out at Belle Watling’s house of extraordinary extra circular activities, and NOBODY held that against him.

I did not set out to warp Heuer as much as I did. In fact, he plays rather nicely in the opening chapters of THE HEUER EFFECT which traces his early life. But there was something about the later man, the mature man, that courted the darkness. He’s been through the wars and has been affected by them, such that he screamed “go darker” and so I did.

simcoeThe idea that the bad side of a character is more compelling than the good follows me to this day: The anit-appeal generated by the real life figure of Capt. John Graves Simcoe on AMC’s excellent TURN: Washington’s Spies, is a case in point. Excellently portrayed by actor Samuel Roukin, Simcoe wreaks havoc among Republican forces in Setauket Long Island, hangs innocents without a blink, and composes creepy love sonnets to a winsome lass who’d shoot him herself if she could. And all the while, the lanky red coat finds time to prep for higher office north of the border as the First Lieutenant Governor of Upper Canada. (True stuff and crikey, we even named a lake and a civic holiday after him.)

It’s not the rich sets, protagonists and dialogue that brings me back. It’s Simcoe, and it pains me to say so.

Likewise, there’s the affable, ne’er do well Saul Goodman from BETTER CALL SAUL, another AMC sauloffering on hiatus after just ten episodes. Unlike Simcoe and Heuer, Saul is sweet, rubber faced and apologetically dishonest. With every bad deed, Saul struggles to do good and we love him for it. But each time he backslides into the old life—that of Slippin’ Jimmy from Cicero, Illinois—we’re on our feet, cheering. Shame we know how it ends: Saul is a prequel to BREAKING BAD. But the end’s not the point. It’s the “how” of the getting there that does it.

Heuer’s story isn’t over yet. The third book in the series “Unapologetic Lives” offers hope. But given this writer’s penchant for her creation, redemption is highly unlikely.

Salut, D.L. Sayers

ON PROVENANCE: WHAT MAKES HEUER TICK

Who we are and what we are depends on how honest we choose to be. At least that’s how my character Jürgen Heuer (pronounced ‘lawyer’) likes to play it out in life and death. Born in Bremen, Germany with summers spent in the Austrian Tyrol he is literally preprogrammed to be a romantic.

His mother, a dreamer raised on Schumann, palinka shots and weeping Hungarian violins demands it. “Love, my love, and desire—Sensucht—longing: These are the things that make the history, the things upon which great legends are built. Without these, you have dust in your mouth.”

wandern

Yet Heuer’s love for things musical “the cicada’s song” or lyrical “… her tangs of violet commixing with scents of must, like the old place back home in Europe” are squelched by history and a profound belief that he is “born bad” and cannot undo it.

“Small, both in mind and body, he had tremendous appetites, all of which skewed towards becoming more than what he actually was.” An apropos description not of the man, but of the father, Werner, whose tastes “… classic in [their] narcissism, embraced the moldy old ethos of ethnicity over geography, and, as such, he was first in line when Anschluss came to Vienna…”

anschluss1

Werner Heuer has no time for art or music: “For him, the rhythmic tapping of jackboots on pavement went beyond forced occupation; it was the end of the road after a long trek.”

Eschewing his parents’ hang-ups, Heuer does his best to build a life in America that is, by all accounts, immensely successful and hardly lonely. But it is contrived. Dodging promotion, cruising the outer banks that frame society, he keeps to himself, except when he toys with the lives of others. When a young colleague joins the firm Heuer takes action, not swiftly, but slowly, the way he likes it: “The decision to ruin a young man half his age was taken lightly and on purpose, as if giving weight to the decision conferred unjust power on the youth. To Heuer, it was personal, but also a test to see if he could actually do it.”

All business, Heuer reminds me of another character, Irmtraut Weibigand, currently under construction in POOR UNDERTAKER, a work in progress. A woman of business, she wrestles with secret doubts about the veracity of her citizenship, place in the community, and the integrity of the people she tries to call friends. A raucous Chamber of Commerce luncheon exacerbates this, when she rises in defense of her frenemy Hartmut Fläche, whose effete manners and pomposity alight the simmering hatred of fellow Chamber member Conrad Hickey. Defending Fläche’s right to exist, Irmtraut loses her cool as she’s reminded that she’s as ‘foreign’ as he is even though she has been a part of the community for nearly thirty years. Well read, she cannot help but think of Shakespeare’s monster Caliban from the Tempest making a subtle but conscious comparison to her own place on the ‘island’ that is Portside, Michigan. Thinking back to her mother, her provenance and her roots, she is cut at the knees, reminding herself that no matter how fine she becomes, she will always wear homespun.

Like Irmtraut, like Werner, Heuer wrestles with his identity which takes centre stage anno domini. His inane Germanity  no longer an issue, Heuer wishes only to be cared for and remembered.

FOLLOW THE BLOG TOUR BEGINNING APRIL 20 THRU MAY 18

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http://bewitchingbooktours.blogspot.ca/

Can a fly interview a rat? Malay Upadhyay thinks so. Funkhauser doesn’t argue.

It was with great pleasure that I appeared recently on fellow Solstice author Malay Upadhyay’s blog AUTHORZ & CHARACTERZ in support of the upcoming release of HEUER LOST AND FOUND. Photo - Malay UpadhyayYou may recall that Malay was featured here recently to promote his work Kalki Evian: The Ring of Khaoriphea. Like yours truly, Malay has no problem whatever assigning qualities magical and mystical to humble creatures. In that spirit, he endeavoured to interview me IN CHARACTER; in this case as the incomparable Rat, whose influence in Heuer’s funeral parlor exceeds what one might normally expect. Reproduced today…

Interview with A. B. Funkhauser

Hallo, guyz! Today we are going to teeter around a deathly zone – a fine line between thiz and that world. Az our ezteemed guide, we have A. B. Funkhauser, a funeral director cum wildlife and clazzic car enthuziazt from Ontario, Canada.

Zhe takez uz through her debut novel, Heuer Lost And Found – which combinez Adult, Paranormal and Dark Humor in a fiction – az a rather unexpected creature.

Fly: Welcome, Mz. Funkhauser. I zee you are in a different mold today.

AB: You bet, Fly. Rats have a nasty reputation, but there’s more to me than good looks and an above average competency in Latin. We are clean, clever and very friendly, which is why my life and death in HEUER LOST AND FOUND is celebrated favourably by most of the characters.

Fly: That’z awesome! If it’s any support, flies get a bad rap too. But here we are in a funeral parlor. What’s new?

New Funkhauser ShotRat: Silent. More than usual. The guys – Enid and her manager, Charlie – are trying to make ends meet because deaths have been few and that has robbed them of their payroll! Heuer’s death, while hard on Enid, was the first death call in weeks. He really saves the day.

Fly: I find a zcary zenze of irony in all this! But let’z talk about the novel. Heuer Lost & Found beginz with the death of Jürgen Heuer. How did your alter ego come by that idea?

Rat: It was in the winter of 2010, and after a long day at the funeral home she looked down the long hall joining the director’s office to the back door leading three steps up and out into the parking lot. The back door on the cover is a more than accurate representation of it. It’s from a real funeral home, you know? Anyway, a thought occurred to her at that moment: What if a slightly life-challenged mortician tripped over her man shoes and landed squarely on her posterior, only to learn that someone she once knew and cared about had died, and that she was next on the staff roster to care for his remains? Freaky, no? But there it is Ad infinitum

Fly: Tell uz about Heuer?

Rat: Beyond a word rhyming with “lawyer,” Heuer the lawyer is a very conflicted man. Intensely private, heElevator - Copy craves recognition, but doesn’t want anyone to get too close. When he finds my shattered body on the floor of the Wisteria Slumber Room, he approaches, commenting on the exceptional beauty of my fur. At that moment, he recognizes beauty in an unlikely thing. I found this particularly charming about him. I must confess, however, to being more than a little put out when he confronts my murderer. I had great hopes for moral redress; instead, he takes pity and tries to help her. What can I say? Ecce homo.

Fly: That’z exciting. Where can the readerz get accezz to theze?

Rat: Through Amazon.com .ca .co.uk Bookgoodies and the publisher www.solsticepublishing.com. Here are some buy links:

Buy Link (United States)

Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Heuer-Lost-Found-B-Funkhauser-ebook/dp/B00V6KLAMA/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1427367625&sr=1-1&keywords=heuer+lost+and+found

Buy Link International (Country specific Amazon sites)

Book Goodies: http://bookgoodies.com/a/B00V6KLAMA

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25232328-heuer-lost-and-found?from_search=true

Direct buy presale link (United States): http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=A.B.%20Funkhauser&search-alias=digital-text&sort=relevancerank

Also, information will be posted as it becomes available on her website www.abfunkhauser.com and her author page on Facebook www.facebook.com/heuerlostandfound. I believe she posted a most excellent profile of your alter ego there, Fly. (laughs)

Fly: Zome inspiration that. What would you zay haz inzpired A.B. Funkhauser in real life?

Rat: She has an amazing support group—her family, her writer’s group The Brooklin 7, and pretty well everyone she comes into contact with, from friends at the grocery store and local coffee house to the lady who helps her with her printing at Staples. She also maintains close connections to friends and work colleagues in funeral service, a business I must say that can easily be misunderstood with little effort. She believes in the work, and through writing has tried to shine a light on it.

Fly: And any author or artizt can vouch for how important thoze things are. Working as a funeral director, what iz Mz. Funkhauser’z take on life?

Rat: Like most funeral directors, she is governed by a strong sense of altruism fueled by the belief that life chooses us and we not it. She celebrates it daily, from simple chores to writing new chapters. And she loves the outdoors. It’s been a long winter here in Canada. She needs to get outside and roam.

Enid - CopyFly: In the ztory, we have Enid on one zide, who lozez zomeone important to her – Heuer – without a chance to zay a final goodbye. On the other zide, we have Heuer whose ztory, and in zome way, life itself unfoldz after hiz death. In a zingle ztroke, you introduce uz readerz to both our greatezt fear and our greatezt wizh!

Take uz through thiz experience with regardz to getting zecond chancez in life. Which perzpective would you zay you lean more towards in real life?

Rat: The first thing Funkhauser got rid of after her thirtieth birthday was the idea that all she had in front of her was second chances. She decided instead to roll with the idea that it’s all a continuum…good days, bad days, successes and failures. She refuses to see the end. She sees the next day and all the promise that comes with it. On a micro level, if she suffers less than three disappointments in a day, it’s been a pretty amazing day!

The character Heuer in life goes through the motions of working and acquiring “stuff”. His house is literally packed to the ceiling with ‘treasures’ signifying a life in progress. But there is no real human contact. He avoids his neighbors wherever possible, does not have a spouse or significant other, and lives through what he sees on the television and in old photos. After death, being found is prime to him because his objects can’t call for help, and there is no one out there looking for him.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is Enid. She has done everything her society expects of her: she has a career, a spouse, family, friends and hobbies. But her life is changing. Her eyesight is blurred; her step, less sure footed. “There is unfinished business here,” Heuer says, and it’s to that business that the book turns; so not so much a second chance, but a recognition that the drama and comedy are still continuing.

Fly: That anomaly iz a work of art! I have to bring up a literal one at thiz point, though – The Lamp. Very much living, myzteriouz and absolutely fascinating! Care to introduce uz to it?

The Lamp embodies the spirit of the funeral home matriarch who died decades before. Anchored to the floor by her griffin’s feet, she can travel in the minds of others, but cannot leave her place in the dusty, cramped funeral home basement. There is a parallel here; that her domicile closely resembles Heuer’s and that their predicaments are similar. It was inevitable that the two should become allies, although their relationship is a strained one.

Fly: And you embody one of them?

More Heuer, I think. As I said earlier, rats have a bad rap owing to history and human malfeasance. The same is true for Heuer. He carries with him the sins of his father. Just by being born, he is convinced that he is bad, and rather than try to overcome it, he embraces it in his twenties. The tragedy for him is that his life is a lie and all the angst that ruled him in life was completely without merit.

Fly: Alright, don’t say anymore! I can barely control my urge to flip through the pagez right till the very end. When doez the book come out?

Rat: It hits all the AMAZONS April 23, 2015. Presales began March 26, 2015.

Fly: Time to mark our calendarz then. For now, we make do with the preview. Thank you, dear Rat, for your attendance today.

Rat: You can call me ‘The’. That’s my first name.

Fly: Really?! Mine too! Damn, what are the chances??Rat

Rat: (laughs) That’s my point, dear friend. You and I share the same hang-ups. Of course we’d align. Amicitiae nostrae memoriam spero sempiternam fore.

Fly: The Fly, mind you. It’s time to get out of the funeral parlour! And to all the readerz, enjoy the excerpt from Heuer’z pozthumouz world!

Happy living,

The Fly

It's happening April 23, 2015
It’s happening April 23, 2015

 AN EXCERPT FEATURING “RAT”

Rat should have seen it coming. He was a rat after all and therefore genetically predisposed to a shorter life. As such, he should have taken better care. But tender concern for his friend obscured his view, and this deprived him of a rodent’s perfunctory need to avoid detection.

Mrs. Emmy Shawson-Cooke-With-An-”E” late of The Springs by way of Baycon Hill had died quietly in her bed in her ninety-sixth year. Owing to her advanced age, her family decided that a little-more-than-this-side-of-nothing was required to get her on her way as quickly as possible. To that, arrangements were concluded between Teddy Shawson-Cooke-With-An-”E,” her great nephew and heir, and Charles Emerson Forsythe, funeral director extraordinaire.

“I’m very sad to hear of your great aunt’s passing,” Charlie said somberly, for he liked Emmy very much. A wealthy woman, she was a doyen, a neighborhood fixture, raising funds for world wild life, Christian children and Ethiopian famine relief. But she was more than just money. At the heart of her was a genuinely good human being who said what she meant, and acted on her commitments. In the early years, she was a constant fixture at Weibigand’s, resplendent in a magnificent suite of emeralds that Charlie never tired of commenting upon. “I bring in the business, don’t I Charlie?” she would say through cherry lips under a pillbox hat. Indeed she did, and Charlie encouraged her familiarity. Both shared a special bond. Even after her (some said) forced relocation to the nursing home in The Springs, she never failed to fire off emails to her Charlie to make sure he was okay. And Charlie always visited her on her birthday and at Christmas.

Emeralds? Rat was barely two years old and so had never met Emmy Shawson-Cooke. But he knew well enough about gemstones and other things too, and so it was to this that he turned his attention as he repositioned himself inside Charlie’s monk strap Prada slip on. They were in the front office, Rat’s favorite room by far. It faced the street, was pleasantly lit, and with its high coffered ceiling, offered stunning acoustical advantages. Charlie was reminiscing with Teddy about the gemstones: They sparkled blue at their centers, spanning outward only to be confined devilishly in beveled frames of seawater green. Spectacular—like the Bering Strait meeting the Caribbean Sea. Emmy’s late husband Cecil joked that they could shame Tsars and tease laughs from stone.

“I beg your pardon,” Charlie said noticing Rat beneath him. It was Charlie’s habit to remove his shoes in mid-afternoon to promote better circulation, but they were in the way now under the large desk and he took care not to disturb the Weibigand mascot as he moved the shoes off to one side.

Teddy Shawson-Cooke shifted from haunch to haunch, his incredible heft straining the pound for pound capacity of the Faux Toscano Victorian Rococo wing chair he was sitting on. Forsythe, sensing the man’s discomfort, did his best to speed up the meeting. Emmy had prearranged her funeral and Teddy was undoing as much of it as he could because, he said, “there was no one left” and “doing her up for nothing was just plain stupid.” Truth was, Teddy had the power to add the money saved from a cheapo funeral to his aunt’s estate, from which he could pay himself as executor.

Charlie smiled down at Rat who, in an act of implicit trust, dozed off in his shoe.

“Allow me, if you will, to think out loud,” Charlie said, in anticipation of what Teddy wanted to serve up next. If the meeting went on much longer, Emmy’s casket choice would be undone too and no one at Weibigand’s—Charlie most all—could bear to put Emmy into anything less than the mahogany she’d paid for years before. “Your great aunt put her faith in us to carry out her wishes. I understand where you are coming from, but I must insist on the single night of visiting she paid for.”

Shawson-Cooke, in saying nothing, red-flagged Charlie, and he picked up speed. “Now the emerald suite. I trust she will be wearing it, as always?” Teddy replied that it was “long gone” save for the ring which, he hoped, “found its way out of the nursing home before someone else got to it.”

Down on the floor below, Rat dreamed of Carla and, more particularly, her less than utterly no-good spouse Danny Blue—a musician in a band that had, in the space of two years, eroded the family fortune on protracted road trips through northern Canada. Designed to boost the band’s profile and hopefully springboard them into other gigs in Manitoba, the latest tour had bogged down south of Parry Sound and Danny Blue had forgot to come home. The issue at hand was money. Plain and simple. And in dreams, Rat searched for a solution.

Thank you Malay for your kind hospitality. All the best to you and much success for Kalki Evian.

Find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Bookgoodies. Check out my review on Goodreads.
Find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Bookgoodies. Check out my review on Goodreads.