GHOSTLY BITS O’ WHIMSY WITH K.C. SPRAYBERRY

Night is falling faster and the leaves are turning. What better time to search behind what’s right in front of us? Author K.C. Sprayberry has no difficulty whatsoever doing this. For her, supernatural is second nature. Welcome K.C. and her latest…

COVERGhosts are popping up all over Landry. The town is being overrun and no one knows why—least of all Hailey Hatmaker and her Ghosties crew. Only none of these ghosts are talking. They’re terrified of something that only Hailey and her team can figure out. Something which could prove disastrous for them all.

Excerpt:

It felt so good to discover ghostly action in Landry once again. The Ghosties had just finished a dry spell like no other we had ever seen. We’d just gone through five months with nary a ghost to bother us. No goo oozing out of heating vents, or papers flying out of hands to plaster against the ceiling.

The call this morning had me, the fantastic, fabulous Hailey Hatmaker, gathering my group together lickety-split. We met up on the run, and raced all the way over to Bank of Landry. Once there, we had almost danced with glee at what greeted us. That was an hour ago. This particular ghost was proving far more difficult to exterminate than we had anticipated.

We could have got harsh long ago. I grinned. I sure don’t want this to end any time soon. I’m having fun again.

“You won’t stick around. No ghost has ever ignored me.”

I planted my pink and white beret more firmly on my head and darted forward. When I put on white jeans and a peppermint pink t-shirt this morning, I never expected an emergency call.

Nope, I wasn’t a cop, a firefighter, or even a paramedic. I had my thirteenth birthday just before Halloween and started dealing with ghosts nine years ago. Me and my fellow Ghosties had helped Landry, Georgia deal with weird hauntings, and this one proved we had a lot more ghostbusting to do in the future.

“Banks don’t give out free samples,” I yelled. “Tell me who you are, and what you want.”

That should have worked, except for one little thing. The wispy man behind the counter wearing a baggy black coat, vest, and pants with a white shirt ignored me. With a frantic expression and a bobble of his checkered bow tie as he swallowed, he tossed more money in the air. It was the worst thing to do when the Ghosties carried weapons that brought instant obedience from the other ghosts we had encountered.

I signaled the other Ghosties over. They gathered in a circle, two on each side of me.

“Did you get the dirt?” I asked.

“The manager said he worked here in 1912,” Annie Knott said. “He went bonkers after the Titanic sank.”

She tucked one side of her chin length, light red hair behind an ear after delivering the current info in a clipped voice. Her green eyes darted from side to side when the ghost cackled.

“Did he do this when it happened?” Freddie Conders asked.

“Of course,” she replied. “I’m pretty sure that he won’t quit because we asked nice. Lemon juice and salt?”

“No other way to handle it.” I pulled out a spritzer from a fanny pack. “Sly, Freddie, take the left. Annie, you’re in the middle. Tink and I will handle the right. Don’t miss.”

Sylvia ‘Sly’ Cherboom broke into giggles while Tinker ‘Tink’ Kacklin groaned. None of the others ever lost a chance to remind him about the day he doused one of our sworn enemies. He still claimed that it was an accident.

Like the rest of us wouldn’t have loved to cover Suzie in lemon juice and salt. Tink really needs to explain that better than he has.

“Places,” I said.

Tink held up a salt sprayer, a baby bottle with the tip of the nipple sliced off. I stood beside him with a spritzer filled to the brim with lemon juice. Annie faced our target. She had a weapon in each hand since she was such a great shot. Sly and Freddie hauled out their containers and skidded to their position.

“One last chance,” I said to the spook. “Leave. Don’t come back.”

The ghost tossed a bundle of hundreds into the air. The Ghosties fired. Our target sizzled and howled before vanishing.

https://youtu.be/qphwGt1suyc

About the Author:

author photoBorn and raised in Southern California’s Los Angeles basin, K.C. Sprayberry spent years traveling the United States and Europe while in the Air Force before settling in Northwest Georgia. A new empty nester with her husband of more than twenty years, she spends her days figuring out new ways to torment her characters and coming up with innovative tales from the South and beyond.

She’s a multi-genre author who comes up with ideas from the strangest sources. Some of her short stories have appeared in anthologies, others in magazines. Three of her books (Softly Say Goodbye, Who Am I?, and Mama’s Advice) are Amazon bestsellers. Her other books are: Take Chances, Where U @, The Wrong One, Pony Dreams, Evil Eyes, Inits, Canoples Investigations Tackles Space Pirates, The Call Chronicles 1: The Griswold Gang, The Curse of Grungy Gulley, Paradox Lost: Their Path, Canoples Investigations Versus Spacers Rule and Starlight. Additionally, she has shorts available on Amazon: Grace, Secret From the Flames, Family Curse … Times Two, Right Wrong Nothing In Between, and The Ghost Catcher.

Social Media Links:

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TEN AUTHORS, TEN DAYS: DAY THREE: SHYLA WOLFF

Blogger, tour promoter, cover designer and purveyor of paranormal romance fantasy Shyla Wolff joinsTiny wolves BLOG FUNKHAUSER today. Welcome her aboard as she shares her methods, aspirations, and an excerpt from her latest SHADOWED HORIZONS. Hello Shyla!

  

  1. I was walking in the woods over Labor Day Weekend and found some amazing wolf tracks. I Q & Afollowed for a little bit before realizing that it would be very rude on my part to barge in on the wolf’s den! Do you like the woods?

 

As a hick from the stix – Yep, I absolutely love being in the woods. Can’t say I love the ticks much, but you have to take the sour with the sweet.  My three shepherds and I spend a good deal of time playing/training there, S & R, one furbaby is a therapy dog, the others…not so much. Lol. There’s an innate peace and calm found in the woods I can’t replicate anywhere else.

  1. We’ve enjoyed many discussions as writers and friends. Would you classify yourself as a spiritual person…whatever that might mean?

Not per se. Without excavating personal convictions, I’d say that we’re all a part of something awe inspiring, the whole being greater than the sum of the parts, and that there are forces at work which we’ve yet to understand. I believe in honoring those with compassion, integrity, and motivation.

  1. You have a great blog. Tell the readers what it’s about and maybe share some links to favorite posts?

Thank You. At this point I’m still new to blogging and have much to learn. I’ve been hosting a lot of book tours/ giveaways and drawing a ton of hits to the page. Everyone loves a giveaway.

Now – I’m starting to branch out and do interviews and relevant blog posts. Relevant to writers and readers.

I’ve found it absolutely fascinating to converse with other writers – there’s a wealth of information, not to mention friendships waiting to develop, if you just reach out.

Also – I’m beginning to design book covers and headers for fb, blogs, etc. Below is a sample of what I’m working on now. They will show up on my  blog very soon.

Anath banner

My favorite posts would be to books I’ve read (and would love to have time to read more). Like you, A. B. Funkhauser, I can think of two others whose works have fascinated as well as entertained.  I know there are many more fantastic authors out there, but darned if I can find the time to read their works.

Heuer Lost And Found entertains throughout. I love a sharp wit.

http://shylawolff.blogspot.com/2015/05/heuer-lost-and-found-by-b-funkhauser_14.html

Charley Daveler also has a fascinating talent and I’d read her work even though it’s not usually my genre.

http://shylawolff.blogspot.com/2015/08/interview-with-charley-daveler.html

Carnal Beginnings – Everyone loves when an underdog can turn the tables and emerge victorious.  The sequel  – Carnal Innocence will release on Sept. 15, 2015.

http://shylawolff.blogspot.com/2015/08/carnal-beginnings-by-reily-garrett.html

  1. What are you working on right now, this minute?

I’m working on a romantic paranormal fantasy, set in the Amazon jungle. I love to step outside my comfort zone and bring new things to life for readers.

Deep in the rainforest, it is said there is a mythical creature called Kurupira who protects all within his realm from those who would rape and destroy the land. From this, I branched out and had a ball developing the story line.  It should be released sometime in October, 2015. Below is the cover art.

tIAGO for interview

  1. Do you like contests? Ever submitted? Tell us what that feels like?

I’ve never entered a contest, but it’s time I started.

  1. This thing you do called writing. What’s it all about? A gift? A torture? A path to follow?

 It’s a compulsion, pure and simple. I love it.

  1. Got a publishing anecdote? Share, please…lol

I find this the most hilarious thing that’s ever happened to me. A year ago, I’d been working on a novel during the prior six months. A private editor told me I’d never get it published. This person also told me to get over my squeamishness of writing romantic scenes.

Being the obstinate person I am, I wrote what I thought was a scorcher.  While I was waiting on edits for my first book, I submitted the scorcher to a publishing house. It was accepted within 48 hours. Furthermore, it won TOP Pick at The Romance Reviews… I think I laughed for a week.

And the book I was told would never be published? It along with 2 sequels have also been published.

Don’t ever let someone tell you  “You can’t”.

  1. Do you have a muse?

 No. Just tons and tons of ideas that won’t leave me alone until I write them down.

  1. What do you read when you aren’t writing?   

Through my blogging/reviewing, I’ve found quite a few fascinating authors. I love reading those works that are convoluted but yet easily understood.  Now that I have so little time, I don’t get to read near as much.  I’m an avid reader of Dean Koontz.

Other than that – S & R training  stuff for working with my dogs.  One is a therapy dog.  They are my life, my support and my inspiration. I include dogs in each of my books as integral characters.

  1. Guilty pleasure: person, place or thing???leyna snow

Spending too much time with my dogs…

Thanks for the update on your blog and design work. Now let’s tuck into your newest:

SHADOWED HORIZONS

Shadow HorizonsLove is a flame we embrace with open arms.

Kiera, adopted from the streets by her psychic brethren, is fated to protect Carlin, an electronics genius. Passion flares after extracting him from death’s clutches, drawing her into a world of espionage, romance, psychic stalkers and an extraordinary destiny.

Kyley’s years of abuse at Roth’s hands have yet to crush her spirit. In order to prevent him from creating chaos and anarchy, she must escape his psychotic hold and acquire the support of other paranormals.

Taylor is a strong telekinetic craving to set Kyley free, replacing her memories of torture and fear with hope and passion.

Two groups of warriors, their unique skills unknown to mankind, live and fight in the shadows with courage and honor, to preserve our way of life. Their incredible stories are a spirit-stirring journey that speaks to the dreams we all share.

 

ExcerptCarlin strode beside his bodyguard through the dimly lit parking garage fidgeting with his keys. “Adam, this does not make it to my top five favorite places to visit.”

A rat skittered across the floor in the shadows, and he imagined it turning a gimlet-eyed stare on its intruders. Filth, gas, and pizza from a nearby restaurant thickened the air, reminiscent of the alley apartment he occupied during college. Small pools of dingy light challenged macabre shadows for dominance—and lost. Clashing of the bleak rays and murky silhouettes added an ominous, prophetic feeling he couldn’t shake. Water stains mingled with the shadows to create fleeting two dimensional monsters. Carlin was not a fan of Rorschach. Crap, I haven’t been spooked like this in years.

Adam shrugged. “Sir, as your bodyguard, I admit this isn’t my idea of a secure location either, but it is the closest enclosed parking available to meet with your client. The open street leaves you too vulnerable. As much as you cherish your privacy, I’m surprised you agreed to help at all.”

“He’s a college buddy, needed help with a simple, high-tech security task. Seems twenty-first century technology left him in the dust.”

“Next time, why don’t you at least suggest meeting during the daytime?” Adam’s narrowed eyes and tilted head as if listening to a far-off sound—usually spelled trouble.

Next time, remind me a proctologist’s exam would be more enjoyable, okay?” Sweat beaded his forehead despite the cool December breeze drifting over the graffiti-covered knee wall.

“Yeah, I’m feeling it too. Let’s get the hell out of here.”

Carlin’s skidding on a badly patched piece of concrete prompted his bodyguard to scan the area around them. Dirt and crumbles skittered, their audio report echoed off the walls.

“Watch your step, sir, we don’t need to broadcast our location.” Adam murmured as he reached out to steady him.

“You know…” Carlin muttered, “Folks generally think of me as a good analytical and concrete thinker. Perhaps whatever higher power gifted me with intuitive abilities for logistics and computers decided on a mental tariff—common sense.”

“My sixth sense says trouble’s GPS has already locked on. Stay close.”

The gentle slide of Adam’s gun from its shoulder rig compelled Carlin to suck in the cool night air, searing his lungs.

“Sir, instincts are the best survival tool we have. They’re rarely wrong. Better safe than sorry.”

Sharp chirps split the silence, Carlin’s cell threw his heart rate into overdrive. Hair on his nape prickled as he fumbled in his pocket. With an all-thumbs equivalent, he extracted the nuisance and hit ignore.

Massive pillars supported the five-story concrete structure. Rounding one to his left, his foot stalled mid-step when Adam snatched him sideways. The colossal thug he almost plowed into blended into the shadows.

“Jesus!” The man personified hulkish features with abject malice in his gaze. The split-second observation brought Carlin a rush of adrenaline. “You’re huge!” Brown hair pulled back in a ponytail swept his shoulder giving the look of a mob enforcer. A bulge of pitted, tanned skin separated a straight line of bushy eyebrows. Dark eyes appeared to hold a terrible knowledge and gave his hard stare a cold calculating look.

The brute’s gaze raked Carlin’s body head to toe. Chipped yellow teeth appeared as his thin lips pulled back in a wide grin. “Time to meet your maker, prodigy.” He mimicked Carlin’s sidestep in a lightning-fast move and knocked Adam’s gun from his right hand. Its ricocheting underneath a nearby Toyota produced multiple tin-like clinks.

Time seemed to fracture. Adam’s left arm shoved Carlin to the side. His assailant took wily advantage in that flash of time. He watched his bodyguard go down hard from his attacker’s leg sweep.

One blink and a dagger appeared in the thug’s hand. Its arc and swift speed toward his belly made it little more than a glimmer in the weak light. His neurons couldn’t fire fast enough to follow its passage. Two feet stood between Carlin and a trip to his maker, complements of this walking nightmare.

 

BIOGRAPHY

Life teaches us many lessons. One of the most important ones Shyla’s learned is to take the time to enjoy family and friends. Our circumstances change on a daily basis. However small the differences may seem, they add up over time. Through a lifetime of various trials and tribulations, she’s discovered the enjoyment of sharing her stories with those that would relish participating in the journey of extraordinary people through their everyday lives.

After years of employment in various fields including medical, law enforcement, and private investigations, Shyla’s experiences inspired the stories she brings to life. From the horrific to the awe-inspiring, life’s lessons affect us all, regardless of the virtual walls we build or the blinders we don.

The way we incorporate these into our daily life helps determine our character and how we affect those around us. A simple and small kindness can go a very long way and have a profound effect on others.

 

LINKS

https://www.facebook.com/shyla.wolff

http://shylawolff.blogspot.com/

https://twitter.com/wolff_shyla

http://shylawolff.com/

Amazon buy link

http://www.amazon.com/Shadowed-Horizons-Anath-Book-1-ebook/dp/B00RC7QOIQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1422718443&sr=1-1&keywords=Shadowed+Horizons

Link to Shadowed Origins

Shadowed Origins big pichttp://www.amazon.com/Shadowed-Origins-Anath-Book-2-ebook/dp/B00SKL3O1S/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1422718469&sr=1-1&keywords=Shadowed+Origins

Link to Shadowed Passage

http://www.amazon.com/Shadowed-Passage-Anath-Book-3-shadowedpassage72ebook/dp/B00XFRFAXM

 

 

Thank you Shyla for stopping by. Wishing you every success with SHADOWED HORIZONS as well as all projects current and future.

ABF

 

TOMORROW:

Short story maven Gloria Weber talks speculative fiction and the “What if” that can change worlds. Tune in!

GloriaWeber

TEN AUTHORS, TEN DAYS: DAY TWO: MAIGHREAD MACKAY BLASTS OFF WITH HER SOLSTICE DEBUT!

Today is a HUGE day for author Maighread MacKay: 5-4-3-2-1

Polaris Missile A3

That’s right! It’s LAUNCH DAY for her adult-themed paranormal novel STONE COTTAGE, and she has chosen this blog to be among the first to tell EVERYBODY.

This author/blogger is honored. Not only do we share the same publisher (Solstice) but we also share a penchant for book trailer making. (That’s another story.)

Today is your day Maighread. Let’s jump in with STONE COTTAGE followed by a tasty interview (keep reading)…

 

book coverVictoria Anne McBride is dead, mourned and buried. Unfortunately, she doesn’t see it that way and refuses to move on. There’s something she needs to tell her husband, Will. Until she does, she will wait for his return to their home, Stone Cottage. For as long as it takes, she will wait…wait…wait.

Rebecca Wainwright is a 21st century woman. Her world is perfectly controlled. Just the way she likes it. Tragedy strikes and she descends into chaos. Trying to heal, she searches for a sanctuary…a place of her own, away from the burdensome concern of her family and best friend. A place where she can lick her wounds without anyone watching. She stumbles across a lovely stone home located off the beaten path and feels completely at home, as if she’d been there before. Why is she so drawn to this place? How can it help her to heal?

Perhaps, Annie can help.

 

Q & A

 

  1. Maighread, Stone Cottage has so many things going for it: paranormal, romance, and a journey of self discovery to name a few. How would you classify this work?

I often ponder the meaning of life and had read a book Your Soul’s Plan by Robert Schwartz that presents a different paradigm from what I had been taught to believe. Wondering how his concepts would play out in everyday life, I wrote Stone Cottage. I am hoping that the readers will love the story as much as I do, but I’m also hoping that maybe it will also cause some of them to go ‘hmmm-never thought of life that way’. That said, I would classify the story as one soul’s journey to discover meaning in her life, while being presented with paranormal concepts that challenge her firmly held concepts. There is tragedy, but also hope. It does have a ‘happily ever after’ ending, along the lines of Ghost Whisperer.

 

  1. You’ve published three children’s books already. What made you switch to adult fiction?

Actually, I’ve always written adult fiction and non-fiction. The children’s books were written for my grandchildren as their legacy from me. I wanted my descendants to know who I was through my writing.

 

  1. Your love of the past (history) is apparent. That you weave it seamlessly into a contemporary parallel plot is a testament to your skill. To which time frame did you identify most as you were crafting Stone Cottage?

Ah, yes, I do love history. I love Regency romances, historical fiction, and I am the genealogist in my family. I really did identify with the Victorian era when I wrote the book. I love all of our modern conveniences, but sometimes they are very intrusive. Also, I am the youngest in my family and my Father was the youngest in his family, so a lot of my relatives were born in the Victorian era and I grew up under their influence and am comfortable with the language and customs of that time period.

 

  1. Without introducing spoilers, I’ll suggest that one of the characters starts out in a not entirely sympathetic vein. Was this done on purpose, or did she merely lead the way?

Yes, it was done on purpose. I am hoping that readers will learn that sometimes people we meet have a reason for the way they react to things. The old adage of ‘be careful how you treat people. Everyone carries a burden that you may know nothing about’ applies here. It doesn’t excuse the behaviour but it can explain it and bring understanding instead of judgement.

 

  1. Plotter or pantser?

A combination of both. Probably more of a panster. I have the main plot in my head, and think about it all the time. The characters live with me while I’m writing and they are always showing me new aspects of themselves that end up changing the parts of the plot.

 

  1. I’m so happy to be spotlighting you on today of all days: book launch day! Where can we buy your book?

It can be purchased through Amazon.com and Amazon.ca., through my publisher Solstice Publishing, and through myself.

 

  1. Whet our appetites: What is your elevator pitch?

Victoria Anne McBride is dead, mourned and buried. Unfortunately, she doesn’t see it that way and refuses to move on. There’s something she needs to tell her husband, Will. Until she does, she will wait for his return to their home, Stone Cottage. She’s been waiting a long time.

Rebecca Wainwright is a 21st century woman. Her world is perfectly controlled. Just the way she likes it. Tragedy strikes and she descends into chaos. Trying to heal, she searches for a sanctuary…a place of her own, away from the burdensome concern of her family and best friend. A place where she can lick her wounds without anyone watching. She stumbles across a lovely stone home located off the beaten path and feels completely at home, as if she’d been there before. Why is she so drawn to this place? How can it help her to heal?

It’s a story of second chances. How our lives intertwine like the weave of a tapestry to help us grow and become the people we are. It presents a different way of looking at life that will be new to some readers.

 

  1. What’s next?

I continue to write short stories, poems and such. My big work in progress is another novel with the working title – Friday: Dinner at Mother’s. I’m just at the very beginning stages of it, so I’m not sure where it wants to take me, although I can tell you that it deals with family dynamics and murder. I’m also doing a Twitter chat with Mel Massey of Solstice Publishing at 6 pm EDT on Monday, the 14th and I’m so excited about that! But there’s more: author Marie Lavender is interviewing Victoria Anne on her blog on September 11th.

Ed. — More details on these events later today!

 

  1. A lot of writers find promotions daunting. What will you be doing in the next few months to get the word out on Stone Cottage?

Yes, promotion can be very daunting. I will be doing more blogs, putting the word out on FB and Twitter, plus I have a book signing on October 11th at our local Chapters store in Oshawa and will be at Bookapalooza in November at Durham College.

 

  1. I’m not letting you go without a word on Chicken Soup for the Soul. You have a story in the next one. Deets, please.

Some of you may not know that I’m extremely fortunate to be married to the guy in the red suit that visits at Christmas. Yup, Santa! When I heard that Chicken Soup for the Soul was looking for stories regarding Christmas, I decided to submit a manuscript entitled “Being Santa” for the 2015 Christmas edition. It gives you a small glimpse of what it’s like to be Santa at other times of the year. I was fortunate that they loved the story and it will be coming out in the Chicken Soup for the Soul: Merry Christmas 2015 edition. The book will be available on October 20th. That will be so much fun. I’m really looking forward to it.

 

Thank you Maighread for the share. Here’s what we can all look forward to in STONE COTTAGE:

 

ExcerptIn the aftermath of the blinding flash, the darkness shimmered like liquid ebony. The wind ripped the leaves from the trees and tossed them aside. The rain slashed the windows of the isolated aged stone house.

Inside the dwelling, all was silent except for the ticking of the longcase clock in the foyer. The parlour to the right of the front door held a sofa placed in the centre of the room facing a large fireplace made of fieldstone. Two tall windows looked onto the lawn at the front of the house. Comfortable chairs flanked the fireside. A small table holding a glass lamp was located beside one of the chairs. A handmade throw rug covered the highly polished wooden floor in front of the hearth. An old dog lay asleep on the mat. With the shelves filled with books, the soft glow of the fire and gas lamp, and the comfortable chairs, the parlour had been warm and cozy in the gloomy night.

Victoria Anne McBride, the solitary human occupant of the room was curled up in one of the chairs, a blanket covering her and a book on her lap.

A sonic boom of thunder shook the house and ricocheted around the room breaking the spell of silence. Startled, she surged from the chair, the eiderdown and tome cascading to the floor. She had been feeling warm and drowsy under the quilt but now realized there was nothing but cold ash left in the fireplace. The gas lamp on the table had burned out and the room was freezing. How long had she been there? She listened as the rain scratched the window glass like the long nails of a ghostly hand pleading to be let in out of the cold. Bringing her awareness back to the moment, she tried to remember why she was here in the parlour.

 

LINKS AND BUY INFO:

 

Buy:

Amazon.com http://amzn.com/B01452HED4

Amazon.ca http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01452HED4

Solstice Publishing:  http://solsticepublishing.com/stone-cottage/

 

Link:

Website: mhefferman.ca

FB: facebook.com/maighreadmackay

Twitter: @maighreadmackay

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RsDj938kUzM

 

TOMORROW:

A mystery? Find out at BLOG FUNKHAUSER *Adult, Unapologetic and Cognizant*

 

 

SPOTLIGHT APRIL KELLEY

TARNISHED COVER Violence has always solved most of his problems, but it can’t help him win over a man whose whole life is surrounded by things that scare him.

Brad Flynn had a rough start to life. With an abusive father and an addiction problem, his life hasn’t been easy. He has always been the resident bad ass and the town drunk. Even when he gets sober and becomes an upstanding member of the community it doesn’t seem to change the town’s mind about him. If it weren’t for his two brothers he would have no one.

His past doesn’t make having a love life easy either, but when he meets Kendrick Ashby, the local bar own, he wants to give it a try. The only problem is Kendrick has his own problems, ones that make having a violent boyfriend impossible. Both have to decide if dating is even worth a try.

EXCERPTKendrick didn’t even bother to knock on the door. He just walked into the house like he owned the place. Caden looked up at him from his seat on the couch with raised eyebrows, but didn’t say a word about him barging into a house that wasn’t his. It was almost as if Caden expected him just to walk in, which was weird.

“Oh good, you’re here. I have some ribs I need you to show me how to cook,” Caden said.

“Okay. But where’s your brother?”

“Luis isn’t home from work yet.” Caden grinned at him.

Kendrick glared. “Smartass. I meant you’re older brother.”

“Luis is my older brother.”

“Caden.” Kendrick took a step closer to him.

Caden chuckled with delight. “God, you’re so touchy. It’s going to be fun having you around.”

“Don’t forget. You need my help with those ribs.”

“Fine. He’s in the shower.”

Kendrick walked down the hall and knocked on the bathroom door when he came to it.

“Come in. Again. You pee more than anyone I know, boy.”

Kendrick sat on the closed toilet seat and gathered up his courage to speak. The fact that Brad was okay was a relief. For some insane reason Kendrick couldn’t understand, he really thought Brad was going to hurt himself. Beyond sounding annoyed with Caden—who could blame Brad—he was unharmed. Kendrick sighed and silently thanked God for that fact.

“I don’t like being hung up on,” He finally said, because that was annoying. If this relationship was going to work then he really needed to be more assertive.

Something crashed down on the tub floor. It sounded like a shampoo or conditioner bottle. “Ouch. Shit.” Brad said.

“Are you okay?”

“Fine. What are you doing here?” Brad said, sounding even more irritated and surly.

“I wanted to make sure you’re okay.”

“I’m just fine. Can I have a shower by myself now?”

Okay that was it. Kendrick had enough with the attitude. Kendrick quickly stripped off his clothes and pulled back the shower curtain. He stepped in behind Brad. Brad whipped around when Kendrick entered. “No. You can’t.”

“Jesus Christ, Kendrick.”

 LINKS

Buy Now: http://www.extasybooks.com/A-Tarnished-Strength/

Amazon Link: http://www.amazon.com/Tarnished-Strength-Pickleville-Book-ebook/dp/B00XMCQRZK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1431687180&sr=8-1&keywords=a+tarnished+strength

About the Author

April lives with her husband and two kids in Southwest Michigan.  She has been an avid reader for several years.  Writing her first story at the age of ten, the characters in her head still won’t stop telling their stories.  If April isn’t reading or writing she can be found outside playing with the animals or taking a long walk in the woods.

Email : authoraprilkelley@gmail.com

Website : http://authoraprilkelley.com

Best of luck to April Kelley in her endeavours. Stop by anytime.

Best, ABF

The Blog Welcomes Author Malay A. Upadhyay

I’ve only known Malay for a short while, but I can already tell you that this guy thinks DEEP. Like my favorite existentialists, Malay commits his fiction to the belief that individuals have the power to alter their existence but with unusual consequences. What lies beneath the surface is something that we, as human beings, cannot but help to toy with. In Malay’s case what lies beneath, what can be found just behind the curtain, is not one but two or more possible realities. The question always, is which one is the better one?

About the author

Malay A. Upadhyay grew up in the Eastern provinces of paradoxical India. It was a childhood of anomalies – a different spacetime, where he could not understand a friend’s passion for books on one hand even as he wrote for school elocution on the other. Recently back to contemporary Earth, he conceived many of the techno-economic ideas described in his book – Kalki Evian: The Ring of Khaoriphea – at Bocconi University in Milano. His Blog of a Fly subscribes to the elusively effervescent, ephemeral connection among beings across space and time. That is after all, a belief that underlies every piece of literature ever written.

The Book In His Own Words

Every choice we make leads to its own unique consequence. To Cover - Kalki Evianchange the consequence, therefore, one must travel back in time to change the choice. But what if such change, instead of altering our future, simply created another – one that came to exist simultaneously with our world?

This is a story of how one such moment of love led to two parallel futures; a story of how your choices have an impact far beyond the world you know; a phenomenon that we had sensed, and wished for, all along. Set in Italy, while one timeline scales a city of the future where not just people but also things like money evolve, the other cradles itself in an amalgamation of contemporary Europe with ingredients of a new age. Step by step, the story embarks on a journey in a parallel world that we all live in but rarely see.

Q & A

What inspires you to write?

Experiences, and the ideas they generate to understand how things around us function on different levels. I try to learn something every day and what I write intends more to document these than to simply entertain with a good story.

Do you listen to or talk to to your characters? (You aren’t alone 🙂 How do you interact with your characters while you are writing?

Certainly. My characters are a mix of three things: an overview to begin with, an inspiration from people I know, which gives them a shape, and their reactions which begin to unfold in each scene and situation as the story progresses, for it lends a level of detail that you could not have imagined at the beginning.

What advice would you give other writers?

There is no specific rule or method to go about a story. It just needs diligence for as long as it takes to write, and a balance of thought – to ensure that you go with the flow without losing sight of where you are going.

How did you decide to publish your books?* What influenced your to publish with a publisher or go the self-publishing route? 

I researched a bit to understand how the process of submissions works. I was lucky to have found an agent – Emerantia Antonia Parnall-Gilbert of Gilbert Literary Agency – who was receptive of new authors and clearly told me how arduous the path was going to be, and the risks involved therein. I will simply suggest new authors to be patient in their search and analysis of online information, to check how the submission process works with publishers in the country they wish to publish in, and to verify publishers/agents by checking them in any of the renowned literary database.

What do you think about the future of book publishing?*

In the medium-term, I think it will strongly be determined by the digital innovations in place. Whether as a mix of sounds, imagery, weblinks or simply the way books are read, both the phenomenon of internet-of-things and the evolution of mobile gadgets will determine how ebooks change. However, the traditional paperbacks would continue to hold fort, albeit with changes in how they are discovered in online and offline stores.

Do you have any unusual writing habits?

I blog as a Fly. That’s one! The other is my habit of taking incessant notes as and when ideas arrive, most of which happen during a re-enactment of conversations that characters may have in the story.

What inspired the book?

The futuristic ideas for Kalki Evian came to me during my time at Bocconi University in Milano. However, I am more drawn towards subtle romance in any story. That is primarily because I find it to be the most natural form of conduct between characters. It lends the strongest incentives to their actions and gifts a sense of beauty to any plot under any circumstance. It is also what makes the characters human, and the story, regardless the genre, have a soul. That is how the plot took shape.

The Excerpt

Nothing gives me greater joy than being able to shine a light on the work of others. Writing takes time; getting it out there: much more.

Malay A. Upadhyay: Kalki Evian – The Ring of Khaoriphea

To those who ceased to trust their instinct
just because everyone told everyone else
that no one did.

Foreword

Hypothesis #1: Every choice has its own unique
consequence.
This would imply that at any given time, the choice
we make leads us on an entirely different path from the one
that any other would take us on. It is like driving a car. Once
we turn right at any junction, all roads on previous left turns
cease to matter. And that right turn takes us on to a new
junction with a new set of turns, each with its own choice of
left and right, and so on. None in particular is better or
worse. It is just different. And these paths may even meet
later on.

Hypothesis #2: Time travel could be possible at
some time in the infinite future.
Time is a dimension like any other; only somewhat
beyond our understanding. The day we evolve enough to
comprehend exactly how it works, we may be able to travel
in time and return to a junction/event that occurred in the
past – our own, or maybe someone else’s.

If we combine hypothesis #1 and #2, it would
indicate that at least someone may have travelled back in
time to warn Caesar of an oncoming conspiracy, or
persuaded Hitler’s father to allow his son to become an
artist, or simply changed something in their own past. In
each instance, that change would involve going back to an
event, and may result in an altogether different set of affairs
to consequence. In other words, the second path – one
different from that which we took initially – could come
alive.
That said, we do not yet seem aware of any such
changes to our known history. Brutus continues to
exemplify treason rather than honour. Hitler remains the
author of Mein Kampf. And our life remains dotted with
specific, unchanged events just as we remember them.
These two points mean that as a consequence of any
active and influential time travel, one or more parallel
realities must come into existence, somehow unknown to us.

Hypothesis#3: We do not yet know how to time
travel.
That is a gap that exists . . . in common knowledge
as per common beliefs. But then, news from many unknown
corners of this world remains obscure.

Hypothesis#4: The relativistic view of time and
space shows a warping of the spacetime plane, audience to
the disparities in distance and time travelled with changes
in velocity.
General relativity is Einstein’s brainchild, whose
applicability to this case shall be assumed to be
hypothetical.

Malay A. Upadhyay: Kalki Evian – The Ring of Khaoriphea

Chapter 1
“Is this where she falls?”
“Two miles further south.”
“Then,” the former hesitated but asked with hope,
“is this where we save her?”
Wind blew perfectly in accordance with fresh traces
of floating memory that lay in the latter’s mind. The man
smiled. Significantly taller and older than the inquiring
other, he stood with a sparkle in his eyes, unmoved and
unblinking and gazing ahead under the faintest crease of
brows that stood in striking contrast to the amused pair
ordained by one to his right and to the tense pair of a third
who stood behind him, looking up, awaiting a sense of their
plan.
It was pitch dark on a brazen land. Clouds usually
decorated the sky at this time of the year but they had
arrived today in galore, witness to a moment of particular
significance that bore a perfect sense only to the one who
had stood there without a twitch of muscle for over an hour.
Metal cape was a rather unusual coat to adorn those heavy
shoulders, but he wore it as if he had journeyed from a
battlefield. The younger, chubby individual who
accompanied him – Bree was his name – would have
vouched that he had. The graphene, fashionably
complimented his neatly combed silver hair. Uniform white
stubble graced his cheeks, save for three short creases on the
upper end of his cheekbones. Together, it all directed one’s
focus to his sharp eyes that he relied upon to speak out more
than words could. Even under the dark shade of that
evening, his face glowed not through a visible shine but
through a perceptual radiance. Drizzle marked their borders,
illustrating the elder’s stern body language, with his hands
neatly folded at the back and fingers clasping on to each
other. Two in particular seemed to gently toy with a ring on
one of his thumbs. Bree’s younger pair of shoulders,
meanwhile, heaved under his heavy breathing. They bowed
smoothly on to fleshy arms that hung parallel to his thick
legs positioned with utmost care to stand beside but half-astep
behind the pair in boots – as if to conform to the latter’s
authority.
As the first drops began to trickle from above, the
metal-clad almost allowed himself to smile again – one
fairly invisible to any who could see him. For, the sound of
rain had been perfectly tuned to a faint rumble on the metal
rails far in the distance, reflecting a coherence that was
nothing short of little verifications that he belonged there in
that moment.
The third – a doctor and the one with the questions
initially – had heard the rumble too. He tried to stab his sight
through the darkness to find its source. The effort had
brought about a spark of excitement from within his
exhausted body. His shoulders were straighter, the dressing
sharp. Only a little pouch hung across on a thread-like string
and repeatedly bounced off the waist in constant attempts to
fly under the wind.
The little smile on the elder’s face waned amidst
continuing sounds of those drops on metal as he spoke,
unflinching still, “Any issues?”
The task that the doctor had been sent for not many
moments ago had drained sufficient proportion of his
energy. He quickly gathered his breath to reply, despite
having had enough time since his arrival, as if all air had
stalled in his lungs during the anxious moments that had
recently passed. “The information was precise. I reached
just in time to warn them. Such carelessness . . .”
“It wasn’t beyond the norm, doc,” Bree spoke with
an almost juvenile amusement, “It was an inevitable
consequence of a long chain of cause and effect that
perceivably began with a pack of milk.”
“Milk?”
“Yes, and some superstition.”
“I believe that is simply a misnomer for
carelessness,” the doctor quipped.
“It is one for precisely the opposite. Whether
superstitions have any viable meaning is trivial. They are
always true – not because they work but because they make
us believe they do. It’s a belief that often runs stronger than
even any other faith. In this case, it was one that pertained to
spilt milk – a bad omen in these parts of the world. But that
story is quite unworthy of this moment and is rather
irrelevant.”
“How can it not be relevant, Bree?”
“Because subtle chains of cause and effect are too
complex to decipher for an individual mind. There lies no
beginning to such stories, no matter how many millennia
one traverses back in time. The only matter of relevance
then is to know that life is always, and exclusively, what it
turns out to be . . . nothing more, nothing less and certainly
nothing different.”
“That explains your persistent sense of adventure,”
the doctor replied in an implied jest under a very serious
face. “What’s with the tweed cap?”
“My sense of adventure needs props, much like your
little pouch” Bree replied, contrasting his comfort in the
situation with the other’s panic.
Two large bags lay almost kissing his wet feet. The
doctor pointed at them, “I prefer mine to those!”
“Aah, yes. I would help if I could, doc. Sorry to
spoil an otherwise perfect evening . . .”
It was then that the heavy voice intervened once
more. “Perfection is a matter of perception,” the elder said,
“and there’s much left in this evening. She’s here.”
The other two looked out into the distance. A yellow
ball of light shone hazily through the heavy curtain of rain
in the dark but was intensified by a deafening horn riding on
a sudden screeching on rails that stabbed through the space.
A red light in that area was never part of the itinerary for the
train but that order stood defiant, facing the speeding frame
of metal and forcing it to apply its brakes, perhaps unaware
of the catastrophe that may follow for the souls seated
inside. The distance, though, had worked in the train’s
favour as the driver sprung into action the instant the red
light had come into view. The screech was unsubmissive,
the shock unavoidable, but the tracks lay embedded within a
slight cavernous stretch on the land. As short hills rose on
either side of the tracks, the slopes might just cushion the
near-fatal consequence that was soon to be. And so the train
slid more than sped in those last few hundred metres with a
wave of scream and confusion rippling along her entire
length. The last few coaches bounced off but followed
helplessly under the dual force of a roaring engine in front
and the waves of elevated earth on the sides. Things rattled,
tilted, inverted, shook, bounced and broke – all within the
perceived parameters, all except one.
“Make the call,” was the command. Bree sprung into
action. He closed in the fingers on his left hand and gently
rubbed the tips of the three-fingered glove he was wearing,
with his thumb. As the tips illuminated under the charge, it
seemed to the doctor as if light had stuck itself to them, for
the thin spot of illumination stretched in between as the
fingers moved away. Soon, the gluey spot of light turned
into a ray between his forefinger and the little one. It
broadened to produce a thin film on his palm, which
immediately came alive with embedded blue lights. Bree
tapped on the virtual phone.
The three scanned past the rough muddy terrain
under the leadership of the pair of feet that seemed to
outline two steps in advance, a finality of objective as to
where they intended to land. As the three approached the
only coach with a door thrown open, the anticipation on the
doctor’s face gave way to a flush of subdued panic.
Secluded from the air of shock that prevailed around the
train, someone lay unconscious, stained in red.
The victim was pulled to the other side of the slope
as his rescuers got down to business; two inspecting the
immediate wounds while the other stared at his bloodsmeared
face.
“You knew he would fall out?” the doctor asked in
haste.
“Yes,” the elder replied, his eyes fixed on what lay
before him.
“How? What of the others?”
He asked with a calm blink of those eyes, “What
would you say, Bree?”
The man climbed a few feet on the slope and began
to scan the coaches with his naked eye. At length, he replied
with eyes strained on those opaque walls, “Injuries
sustained throughout but I see a conglomeration at only two
places, both in the dismounted coaches. No deaths though,
just urgent movements and significant shock.”
“How long is it before the others arrive?”
“Half an hour for the emergency services; quarter
more for the media. In two, the area should be swarming.”
“Are we in position?”
Sweat was beginning to work its way, softening the
crisp hair of the one nursing the body. The doctor’s words
then, were those of unparalleled concern, “His heart beats
slow.”
“But beats still . . .”
“Yes. But did you check him? Is it him?”
“To every detail,” was the definitive reply. The mass
of metal heaved with the elder’s shoulders as he bent over
the body and analysed it comprehensively with a blank stare
that defied any form of indifference it may have been
ordinarily reserved for. This one belonged to a trance. The
body lay spread out with one palm clenched on to nothing in
particular. The man held something in his fist, something
that had been dear enough to have extracted every inch of
endurance in him to keep it within his grasp even through
the painful – and seemingly endless – course of his fall from
the train. The elder looked at that fist as though he could
conjure the invisible piece in his own imagination. “Hope,”
he uttered softly and blinked. The name had proclaimed
itself louder in its rarity.
He stood up and spoke, with the usual heaviness
back in his voice, “Prepare the cart.” The doctor pulled one
of the bags and dropped inside a miniature stretch of metal
wound on two small rods. He placed the bag on the ground,
stretched it wide, and began tapping on his wrist band.
Streaks of blue shone and faded where he touched it, and the
bag began to twirl from within. Inside, sand-like particles
ran over each other as they encapsulated the little piece he
had dropped inside. Once the rendering was complete, he
took out the object, poured more of the particles, and tapped
a few more times. Gradually, more and more particles
joined in to form a large replica of the tiny object.
The doctor then turned back to the other sack and
dropped another piece. The routine followed and out came a
flat board. He then placed it near the body, and stuck a
charge underneath. It slid seamlessly and activated itself.
Another push and the two boards stuck together as the air
was sucked out from between them. He then dug into his
pouch to extract a metal frame that he attached under the
contraption. A few wrist-taps later, it lit blue immediately
and the light spread along the borders of the board as the
entire mass began to float few inches above the ground.
He looked up once done. Bree was smiling. The
doctor guessed, “Electro-permanent magnets, I suppose.”
The reply was almost instant and familiarly amused,
“Not bad for an expert in biology.”
“The problem when you focus too much on one
subject,” the doctor countered, “is that you lose your grip on
the rest.”
“Unless the rest begin to converge . . .”
Bree had left a cryptic possibility free to implant
itself in the other’s mind and was aided conveniently by the
elder’s interruption to march forward.
The two men pressed charges near their torso while
the doctor climbed on his contraption. With soles lifted
inches above, the three began to move with the body. Many
minutes passed before they came by a small instalment, few
miles away from the railroad and everything else. The site
of commotion had been left far behind and only ghostly
whispers of the breeze continued, sans the drops of rain and
their clinks on metal. The doctor questioned, all thoughts
relegated in the face of a larger lump in his throat, “You
took a risk.”
It was as if the metal-clad elder had been
anticipating it. His words nearly overrode those of the
doctor’s, “One that saved some two hundred lives; perhaps
more.”
“You facilitated one accident to prevent another.”
“It was a necessary risk.”
“Enough to justify this?”
The reply came almost immediately once again, but
the voice was far gentler and had come from behind them.
“Any act has its consequence. Every act changes the world.”
Those broad shoulders turned to face the source of
the sound with an unmistakable constriction in the pair of
eyes above, as if in attempts to fashion a smile. A woman,
dressed in a silhouette sharply accentuated by a short cloak
that covered her head, came towards the three from around a
little tent. She was nearly as old as the elder but carried a
significantly warmer gaze. Her hair was wavy and grey and
seemed to rest on her shoulders with the softest touch,
fashioned with streaks of silver in the front locks.
She looked at the body that lay on the board, and
sighed. A welcoming look then followed on to the man who
sat upon it. The doctor ignored the warmth of that attention
that lay bestowed through seconds of concern. He addressed
the elder again, though with slight hesitancy, “I can’t . . .
just . . .”
“What happened?” Bree asked as if charged with
managing the doctor’s conundrums for the evening.
“Nothing,” came the desolate reply, followed by a
more professional concern, “A hospital would have been
more appropriate . . .”
“That wouldn’t be necessary. We can trust each
other on this,” replied the elder. His words were calm but
bore a striking directive towards haste.
“How . . .” an argument attempted to ensue but
gulped itself down its bearer’s throat, switching instead to a
taunt, “Are you really willing to watch this lad die?”
The elder did not speak. His eyes expressed a
strange concoction of pain and calm as he was helplessly
diverted to the lifeless body that lay in front. That entrapped
chunk of oxygen in his lungs was measured immediately by
the recently arrived. She spoke on his behalf, with a smile
that was an answer in itself, “Of course not. That is why we
have you here.”
“But how do you know I will save him?”
“Because if you had not already done that, we would
still be human.”

Chapter 2
The eyes opened gradually. Light had not entered
them for an age, or at least the brain had ceased to process it
so. Any part of the world, then, should have been a beautiful
vision to come across, but all he saw were streaks of blue
running across in mid-air against a plain white background.
Everything was hazy except these sharp blue characters, and
a crystal clear voice of a woman, as if programmed to
initialize the moment he woke up.
“Welcome. Default settings now active. Visuals
confirmed. Data status, basic. Volume level: aligning . . .
aligning . . . aligning. Saved. Thank you. Your world is at
your service.”
The streaks and the sounds faded as the background
came into clearer view – a lone glass frame stood on a white
stretch of the wall, with the words: One hand washes the
other; both get clean. His pupils narrowed in trying to read
it carefully, and immediately, little edges appeared out of
nowhere to focus on the text. There they waited, and
shivered with the confused movement of his pupils.
Fidgeting to get the little blue edges away from his sight, he
shook his head and blinked as he moved. The visuals
hanging in mid-air twitched, lost focus and tried to target
something else on that otherwise bland wall. He resisted but
to no avail and then held his eyes static on the frame,
waiting. Nothing happened. With eyes beginning to burn, he
blinked once more with a perplexed gaze fixed at the wall.
The projection of little edges joined together over the frame
and gently faded away to display a copy of that text in blue,
somewhere in the empty space, followed instantly by the
words: Curaçaon proverb. Origin: Former Caribbean. He
blinked again, and they disappeared.
“I’ve been waiting to see them. . .” It was a different
voice, equally gentle but so much sweeter. He held still,
expecting to see another series of obstructions, until
footsteps sounded somewhere to his left. He turned to find
white flat-soled shoes crisscrossing their way to him,
carrying slender legs that rose up to partially visible fingers
holding a tray, followed higher by a sparkling white shirt
sprinkled towards the top with fluffy locks of hair bouncing
around a young slyly smiling face. Their eyes met, and the
books would have spoken of an emotional concordance. But
the blue edges appeared again. Unable to draw his sight
away, he quickly blinked. The projections displayed one
line of text after another: Friuli, Fridgeon. F, 25.
Permissions denied. Possibly 1st.
“Fri-uli-,” he muttered.
“Those eyes,” she interrupted matter-of-factly, “I’ve
been waiting to see them.”
“Huh?”
“Although now the perplexity seems equally
catchy.”
“Uh-I’m . . . sorry,” he said with weak, broken
voice, continually blinking and shaking his head to ward off
the information displayed.
“You will get used to it. If you want it stopped, just
tell it so.”
“Tell what? Tell whom?”
“Your brain. The password’s right beside you.”
He turned to his right. A table lay at about his height
with a little white card embossed with an alphanumeric code
that was barely visible. He strained once again as the edges
appeared, and managed to read out the letters: QIn45.
Nothing happened.
She corrected him, “It is one word. They confused
with the caps. Sorry for that.”
He uttered it accordingly. The edges disappeared and
nothing followed, drawing his eyes to move all around the
room as if they had been let loose to absorb his
surroundings. They stood wide open in anticipation of the
source of what he had just seen. He fell back on his pillow,
already exhausted under the stress.
“You should rest,” Friuli spoke, smiling still. “Or
you won’t be able to handle it.”
“Handle what?” He enquired.
She waited, looking directly into his eyes, letting
him absorb her tease of curiosity, and then answered, “What
we have done to your world.”
The pupils changed shapes again. He was nervous.
“You?”
“We the people, Qin. Welcome back, and good
morning.”
She walked out and the room fell back to a white
stretch of space. He rose to look at himself, strapped and
bandaged in a long robe. But there was no plaster, stitches
or even pain. How long had he been there? The simplicity of
that query dragged his thoughts back to the dreadful night.
Nothing came back perfectly but in his blur, he remembered
a sudden shock, a muscular effort, a short flight, a series of
scratchy rollovers, and a determined fist. Attempts to think
further strained his nerves as exhaustion overtook a bit
more. Sleep dawned and he closed his eyes with troubled
relief. The images came back in view, but differently so: a
girl breathing heavily . . . he saw himself scream and run
away . . . a train came into view shortly after, and with it
came a feeling of uncontrollable rage. And then there was
shock, a muscular effort, a short flight, a series of scratchy
rollovers, and that determined fist.
It felt chillier and the surface his skin touched felt
rougher than it appeared. He woke again and quickly got off
his bed. His feet dragged and stumbled on their way to the
wash basin. The water was a respite but felt nearly numb
when it splashed against his face. He looked up in some
irritation to find a long stretch of glass, in the centre of
which stood a man many years older than him.
“Wh-,” he jerked back in surprise. “Who are you?”
he asked, feeling misled into believing it was glass. But the
figure mimicked him to produce an unwelcomed realization.
He looked down at his arms, closely and in disbelief. They
looked larger, and older. He tried to take a closer look at his
reflection. It was him, much older than he could remember.
His fingers slowly crawled towards the mirror but the
moment he touched the glass, more words rolled out, this
time displayed firmly over his own reflection, without a
sound: Welcome. Four more words appeared beneath as he
half-muttered what he saw: News, Weather, Sport,
Emergency. But by the time he pronounced the first of
those, the characters disappeared and were replaced by a
statement in bold: Etna wakes up, and puts everything else
to sleep, followed by more texts highlighting the headings
of various articles on the day. He nervously read them while
trying to shake away the text on glass until he found a little
series of icons beneath. He tried each with different results.
A familiar voice read out the text at one, one translated it all
in different languages, one changed the pattern of the text, a
fourth stuck to his fingers and ran along as they moved,
highlighting all text that came in its way, while another
switched to a different screen that began to ask for his
identification. With his head splitting, he drew away and
shouted, “Stop it!”
Everything vanished, and he stood there, alone, in
silence and decades older than he remembered. “The card,”
he thought, and uttered, “Qin45.” A beep sounded as he
took a deep breath, focussed on his reflection and blinked.
Texts appeared again, seemingly in mid-air, but they had no
mirror image. He strained further until he noticed little blue
streaks on the reflection of his pupil. The image was
startling, but his focus was immediately drawn away on to
the text itself: Permissions denied. He tried again, to a
similar result.
He would have screamed again, this time to an
audience extending far beyond the bounds of his room. But
with those very first steps that went backwards without any
direction or intent, carrying a lost mind and a panicking
body, the sweeter voice returned, “I told you to rest.”
He turned in anger to face the face he could not help
being intrigued at. He fought the diversion and addressed
her sharply, the intensity of his voice increasing with each
word, ‘Rest?! You tell me where I am. You tell me RIGHT
NOW!”
“Anger won’t help you, Qin,” she spoke softer still.
“You know this better than most people. Nor would
restlessness, or even solitude.”
The last word hit him as hard as his confusion had,
for it ran on inconvenient memories that came back
distinctly. He breathed again and asked, simply but sternly,
“Where am I?”
“I would tell you right now, but please spare a
thought to this: you are alive. And if you can remember
anything, it was quite unlikely.”
He did realize the fact, for if nothing else, he did
remember an excruciating pain that he had shut his eyes
amidst. He remembered, if nothing else, that more painful
had been his final regret that had stormed out from within
all illusions of uncertainty and righteousness, as he lay in
seclusion, smeared in his own blood and clenching on to
what felt most dear in that moment. I didn’t see, he had
thought as his grip had tightened over a ring. And then, it
had all gone blank.
The nervousness marginally waned as the breathing
normalized but he was restless still when he asked, “Why do
you keep calling me that?”
“Calling you what?”
“Qin, you said.”
“Aah, but that is what we have had registered here.
Is that not right?”
Qin thought for a while but could not explain his
agitation under the severe headache. He exclaimed in agony,
“I . . . don’t know.”
Friuli enquired, “Do you remember anything?”
“Only vaguely. Bits and pieces, but it’s too
difficult.”
“It will come back. You need rest.”
“What is all this, these screens? And what the hell is
on my eye?”
“So you activated it again?” she asked, walking up
to help him back to his bed.
“I had,” he said guiltily, feeling much easier with her
very first touch. “. . . switched it off.” He continued, as he
looked at the smooth stretch of her fair skin, “Couldn’t take
it.”
“You have been in a coma for quite a while, Qin.
Things have changed as they always do with time. So it is
not that the world is upside down now but as you can see,
there have been a few developments. What you see are
automated projections designed to assist you with any
information you need in real time. Some you can switch off
while others are ingrained in the objects.”
“But why on my eye?”
“On your eye is nothing spectacular. Most have it.
As to why we put you in such a shock with it, I extend both
my apologies and my sympathy. These were orders,
intended to help you accommodate with what has come to
be. Quite naturally, you wouldn’t have allowed the
implantation once you woke up, given that you are still,”
she hesitated, “a bit old school.”
“This thing is implanted?!” He asked with a sudden
high pitch.
“Well, of course it is. Is it really that bad a thing,
considering how bad your eye was after that fall?”
“H-how bad was it?”
Friuli gave a gentle smile as she tucked the sheets
around him, never taking her eyes away from his. She
whispered, pointing to the whiteness of the entire room,
“Let’s just say all white is better than all black.”
He knew panic would not help things. He was just
too oblivious at the moment. Friuli walked around his bed,
setting the table straight, replenishing it with fresh water and
taking a good look at everything else.
“The water-,” Qin said, under subtle hiccups,
“doesn’t taste . . . very well. It doesn’t taste at all actually.”
“Well, I guess it’s absolutely pure then! I’ll put that
on record for the maintenance staff,” she mused, and spoke
with greater sincerity, “Sleep Qin. Get your energy back.”
As she approached the door, he interrupted again,
almost shaking in his voice, “Quite a while,’ you said. How
long is that?”
Friuli stopped to take a heavy breath. Few seconds
passed in silence before she answered with a decisive effort,
“Twenty three years.”

Thanks for stopping by.

For More Malay, look here:

Blog: http://kalkievian.com/earth

Facebook Page: http://facebook.com/kalkievian

Twitter: http://twitter.com/kalkievian

Bookgoodies link for Country-specific Amazon sites: http://bookgoodies.com/a/1625261888

Link to Book at Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24919828-kalki-evian?ac=1

Link to Print Book at Barnes and Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/kalki-evian-malay-upadhyay/1121223836?ean=9781625261885

Link To Author Page On Amazon: http://amazon.com/author/malayupadhyay

Link to Author Page on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/malayupadhyay

OMG. I have a YouTube Channel and a Book Trailer

I’ve been dancing around for weeks here on the blog and finally, at long last, I can release DAS BOOK TRAILER. Months in the making, I can say, without a hint of irony or fiction, that HEUER LOST AND FOUND, THE TRAILER, is all mine and made with my own two hands. Another milestone on the path to publishing. The learning curve has been incredibly steep and it is only the beginning, but I’m ready…I think. 😉

NOW AND FORWARD

Adult, unapologetic and cognizant, I wish you good day.

ABF

The Unvarnished Interview

In the spirit of brave self-promotion, I continue today’s post (see Heuer Advance Review) with an interview given by yours truly to the ever intrepid Bernard Foong. It’s another first for me, and another reason to do a victory lap around the neighborhood (after I shovel the sidewalk), because self promotion goes against everything I was taught growing up. Careers in politics, the car business and funeral service notwithstanding, I have managed to stay under the wire…until now.
Heuer, Heuer. What have you done?
  1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

That’s always a bit tough for me. I was raised in another time where shouting out accomplishments was

An expression of the author's feelings through a doppelganger.
An expression of the author’s feelings through a doppelganger.

considered rude. But I’ll try. I’m a Pisces that celebrates the Year of the Snake, but unlike dear vain snake, work extremely hard not to be mendacious. (Laughs) I have a furtive imagination, love art in all its forms, and cannot live without music playing somewhere in the background. If forced to choose between comedy and drama, comedy wins…every time.

  1. What do you do when you are not writing?

That’s easy! I’m outside. Unlike you, dear friend, I live in the four seasons (hint of jealousy here) and have the coats, boots and sunscreen that goes with them. I have a large wild flower garden that I tend in summer, and a very long driveway I shovel in winter. And I love classic cars, particularly those from the muscle era. Summer and autumn are for road tripping to see the shows. I try to get to the Woodward Dream Cruise in Detroit, Michigan every other year.

For a car enthusiast, Woodward is the Holy Grail.
For a car enthusiast, Woodward is the Holy Grail.
  1. Do you have a day job as well?

Yes, although I am on hiatus and that has paid off, as you see (big grin). I’m a funeral director, licensed to practice in Ontario, Canada. For me, it ranks as one of the best jobs I’ve ever had next to seeing to my family.

  1. When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?

I began writing in 2010 in response to the loss of a dear friend. In funeral service, the families we serve ask how to cope with the pain. One way to manage is to seek out others—groups, counselors—those who have walked in their shoes and really know how it feels. Another approach is to write a grief journal. My friend and I went through school together, and during that time we became sympats where comedy was concerned. We laughed at the same things. It didn’t take long for my journal to take a comedic turn before straying off into outright fiction. I finished Heuer five years later.

  1. How did you choose the genre you write in?

The characters decided it for me. They are bossy, incorrigible and I completely adore them. They were impossible to ignore.

  1. Where do you get your ideas?

I put a foot out the door and live day to day. You wouldn’t believe the kind of trouble you can get into at the grocery store.

  1. Do you ever experience writer’s block?

Absolutely, but it’s more likely because another story or character is nagging at me. My first teacher called this popcorn writing, where you just push away from the current project and go on a tangent with a wild horse scene. It’s exciting and informs the other projects.

  1. Do you work with an outline, or just write?

I mull for about a year, and then churn out the first draft during NaNoWriMo in November. I don’t plot per

I do on occasion take walks through cemeteries.
I do on occasion take walks through cemeteries.

se, but I do know where I’m going before I begin. This is also where some of those popcorn scenes find a home. After the first draft is complete, I return to the previous project in line to revise and refine. It’s a whole system that works for me. You see why I had to go on hiatus?

  1. Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

Absolutely everything Kurt Vonnegut ever wrote. From him and Dr. Seuss, I learned the value of having outrageous character names. My current fiction includes a hysteric named Sigrid Bork. I love her.

  1. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

I worried a lot about having one book followed by writer’s block to shut me down for good. So I decided to

Exteme excitement resulting in blurred vision.
Exteme excitement resulting in blurred vision.

get some manuscripts down—four to be precise—so that I’d have a body of work to play with when pitching to agents and publishers. The last four years were dedicated to pure creation without pressure to produce to a contract. It was sensational. During that time, I plugged into Twitter pitch parties on the recommendation of a writer friend, and that’s when things really started to happen. I queried, synopsized, wrote dozens of tag lines and met hundreds of amazing people who got me to Solstice Publishing. Now I have to learn about and engage in—boots first—marketing, which is very challenging because of the way I was raised (see question one). I’m enjoying Twitter parties and blogging. Frankly, I didn’t know I had it in me. A great surprise.

  1. If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?

Nope. It was all organic. I tripped, I fell, I studied, and I applied. I got better.

  1. How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?

It’s early in, so stats aren’t there, but I will direct a lot of applause to the writing groups I belong to—The Booklin 7, Writers Community of Durham Region, and amazing teachers at Writescape—for plugging me in with others dedicated to the same goals. Marketing is a learning curve and a steep one, so look to others engaged in the same activity; ask questions and try things on. Tweet, Tweet, Tweet. Blog, blog, blog, and follow your publisher and agent advice. Support other writers by reading their work, reviewing and attending their promotional events. If you want society to know about you, you must socialize.

  1. Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?

I love them all, but can only dedicate my energies to one at a time. The others? Their day will come.

  1. Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

Heuer Lost and Found is adult, unapologetic and cognizant with a hint of dark humor. At 237 pages, it is a

Everything is sentient; everything is a potential character--at least where I'm coming from.
Everything is sentient; everything is a potential character–at least where I’m coming from.

compact study that rocks ’n’ rolls with the help of an erudite Latin speaking rat and a wise-cracking floor lamp with ulterior motives. They’re off beat and badly needed to help my protagonists: a dead, unrepentant cooze hound lawyer, and his very much alive boozy lady undertaker who he used to know back in the Eighties.

  1. Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?

I think all fiction is informed by real life experiences, but I have yet to meet sentient rats or floor lamps. (laughs) The funeral home in Heuer is actually a composite of four different establishments, none of which survives today. As to the characters, some guy buddies insist that they are Heuer, but they’re not. There’s actually a little of me in him, but I guess it’s to be expected if I’m the one behind the keyboard.

  1. What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?

SPOILER: The very end, because it’s where the Kleenex box comes out. When that happened, I knew I’d got it right.

  1. How did you come up with the title?

From the short story. Heuer actually made it into three separate shorts before becoming a full-fledged novel character.

  1. What project are you working on now?

    POOR UNDERTAKER is the fourth in the series "Unapologetic Lives"
    POOR UNDERTAKER is the fourth in the series “Unapologetic Lives”

Poor Undertaker is next in the series, which tracks the ups and downs of the Weibigand Brothers funeral establishment. Its every bit as much a joy as the first, second and so on, because I see this remarkable building go through all its incantations. At one point, it’s actually bought up and is not a funeral parlor any more.

  1. Will you have a new book coming out soon?

We’re at least a year away, I think. Scooter Nation is next, but I’d like to give it another go over before setting it free.

  1. Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

Absolutely. My series is non sequential, so the character that dies in one is born again in the next. They’re

SCOOTER NATION is the second in the series and is definitely more Gonzo in nature.
SCOOTER NATION is the second in the series and is definitely more Gonzo in nature.

never far away. There are a number of themes I return to, but some of my favorites include: the negative impacts of nostalgia; the problem with prying; insular people coming out into the light; finding kindness in peculiar places; and letting go of that thing you need so that you can keep it forever.

  1. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author? What has been the best compliment?

I’m an upbeat person, so if I’m criticized, I turn it into a plus by learning something from it. The best compliment I ever had came from a teacher who said my voice was “strong and unusual”. That really made my day.

  1. Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?

Get it all down before trying to make sense of it. It’s a journey and often a very long one. Enjoy every leg of it knowing that there’s more just ahead.

  1. Is there anything that you would like to say to your readers and fans?

Observe, listen, and do not ignore the excellence to be found on HBO, Netflix, Showcase, etc. This is your university.

Fin.

Advance Review of Heuer Lost and Found

No stranger to this blog, author Bernard Foong (A Harem Boy’s Saga I, II, and III) had a look, and in advance of Heuer’s debut April 23rd, here’s what he had to say:

5 star review:

Author A. B. Funkhauser strikes a macabre cord with her book Heuer Lost and Found”.

Written from

Bernard Foong is an international best selling author.
Bernard Foong is an international best selling author.

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.

Hooray! And thank you, Bernard Foong.

Drop by #1lineWed for more Heuer and some excellent one liners from incredible authors. 🙂