Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Another Teaser - Tears of Heaven

“I trust the rogue is banished?” Ahadiel asked, though it sounded more of a statement.

“Have I ever failed?” Del replied, her voice was tired again as she felt some of the heat in her blood ebb.

“Yes,” Ahadiel replied.  “You have, and on more than one occasion.”

“Rhetorical question.”

“Such questions do not make sense to me.  You have failed, otherwise why approach the subject?”

“Go to Hell.”

Ahadiel smiled, broadly, with perfect, brilliantly white teeth, the color they try to make them in toothpaste commercials.

“You asked,” his voice trailed off and his face seemed to light up with his smile.  “Where is young Marrin?”

Del almost laughed.  The idea that Marrin could be called young was ludicrous.  It was like calling Mt. Everest short, or the Grand Canyon shallow.  While he was younger than Del, it was only by a thousand years or so.  In a lifespan such as theirs, that meant that he was the college-age nephew to her recently graduated and now working in New York auntie.

But it was not the same for Ahadiel.

To him, who had seen the First Light of the Creation, all things that did not date within a millennium of the Beginning were “young”.  He counted his age in eons, epochs.


“I sent him out for milk,” Del replied, and let the sarcasm show plainly in her voice.

Friday, July 26, 2013

TV Party Tonight!

I’m working hard today, even though it’s Friday.  But I’m in quite a good mood.  Quite!  “Tears of Heaven” is moving apace (industry pace, that is), and I’ve started working on cover art (fingers crossed!).

In other news, the second book in my fantasy series, “Flesh of Legends” is actually starting to shape up.  I don’t get as much time to work on this since the book contract, but it is progressing however slow.

Finally, this just in: please click through this link to Amazon and buy this little dude’s book: Gage's New Friend.  He wrote it (I believe with his mother’s help) so that he can get a diabetic alert dog.  I think that’s a pretty worthwhile cause, and the book is a decent trade for your $5 or $10.


Be of good cheer!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

My World

A few days ago, I submitted my manuscript to my editor.  I feel so grown up saying that.

My editor.

I’ve found myself casually throwing around the reference to let others know just how grown up I am.

“My editor was talking to me the other day . . .”

“I have to let my editor know . . .”

“So my editor said . . .”

“DID YOU KNOW I HAVE AN EDITOR!?”

Sometimes this is accompanied by a little happy dance, usually on the nearest table followed immediately by an escort of security.  It’s fabulous.

Anyhow, I submitted my manuscript, eager to received comments like, “Perfect!” “A real page-turner!!” “Instant classic!!!”  “Five star writing!!!!!!!!!!!”

Warning: Multiple exclamation points are always a sign of the exponential emotions which my writing elicits.  Read with caution!!!!!!!!!!

The comment I did receive was, “Great!  You’re third in line.”

Third.

Thu.  Urd.


Oh yeah.  I’m not the only writer in the world.  I’m just the only writer in MY world.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

A Little Teaser - Tears of Heaven

Here’s a little taste of my upcoming release, “Tears of Heaven” due this fall:

The fight was not going well.  Del should have brought Marrin.  Ahadiel had told her to bring Marrin, but that had only made certain that she wouldn’t.

Del gasped as the rogue landed a solid punch into her stomach and ribs, the air whooshed from her lungs.  He followed with a stab of his clawed-fingers into her right arm.  Cold-filled pain suffused her shoulder and caused it to spasm.  She spun away, awkwardly.  Her right arm felt like it had been shattered, pulverized into a pudding, useless as gelatin.  The cold-forged iron spike she’d been holding, dropped from useless fingers and clattered to the floor.  The rogue looked at her with brutal menace in his eyes and flame licking around the lids.

It would have been a good trick.

If only it had been a trick.

The flames were all too real.

Fortunately, Del didn’t suffer from the same fears that mortals had to contend with.  A rogue divinity hissing heresy and spouting fire, literal fire, around his eyes would have left a mortal quivering in terror until the Last Judgment.

She’d seen it happen.

“Leave now, little half-breed,” the rogue said, and his voice had a sibilance that seemed to surround her, whispering in both of her ears intimately, “and I will not kill you.  Stay, and I will make your pain a torture.  I will see you last for days upon days, and I promise you abuses you could not dream.”

Del said nothing.

People think they want to meet an angel, but they really don’t.  The awful truth is that meeting an angel is the scariest, most life altering moment of any mortal’s short existence.  Angels have always had their voices raised in songs of praise and their wings dipped in rivers of blood.  When the Throne needs a mortal slain or an army felled, an angel is sent.  When a city or nation needs to be leveled and the ground sown with salt for a thousand years, an angel is the destroyer.

Flood, fire, famine, disease, pestilence and death are conjured through an angel.

Angels should be a human’s worst nightmare embodied.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Blog Blitz with Author SRHowen


Christmas in July, unwrap a summer ebook blog blitz
welcomes S.R.Howen

"The old one will come. When he comes, his one true wife must carry within her a child of the old one who would be king. Only then can the heart be found and the evil of the world kept in its bounds." –The Prophecy of the Land

Sorann is the queen's daughter and training to be an empathic healer. Javert is a member of the wandering tribe called the Zingari and their future king. When Sorann's failed healer's magic test brings them together, they discover the prophecy governing the land is false. In order to prevent magic, and the Zingari, from being wiped from the land, Sorann must become Javert's wife and leave everything behind that she once held dear.

Tricked by demons, and followed by the queen's soldiers, they must find the fabled Wizard's Heart in the frozen Winter Valley.

What sacrifices will they have to make along the way, and will Javert ever discover the true meaning of the Wizard's Heart before his people and the love of his life are lost?

This is the first book in the fantasy series Tales of the Zingari.

Some thoughts on being an editor, from S. R. Howen

Some thoughts on editing.  What is an editor’s job?  Sometimes I think, and I have been at this a long time, that new writers don’t have a clue what an editor does, or should do.  You send your baby into the world, and fantastic, do cartwheels, you have a contract.  Now what? Okay, you read the contract, you understand most of it, so you sign it. 

Then you get the introduction letter from your editor.  You look forward to the edits and the suggestions that will make your book better . . .

Unfortunately, many times this is the dream of every editor, that we wish every author understood.  How did that writer make it to that place where they get the contract—is often the cry of writers?  A lot of it has to do with the perception that writers have of an editor.

With the idea that an editor will fix typos, misspelling, word Usage, and grammar as well as punctuation, they send out their manuscript looking like a group of crows stepped in ink.  Often when asked, why didn’t you at least run spell check?  The answer is: That’s not my job, that’s what an editor is for!

This is what I would like writers to understand, you need to put the best possible effort into your manuscript, it may be a great idea, but if it’s buried under basic errors, you won’t get a contract.  You wouldn’t go to a job interview dressed in the clothes you took out of the hamper that you did house cleaning in the day before, so why would you send out a manuscript that wasn’t clean and pressed and dressed neatly?

Writing is a business.  You can call it art.  But it is a business; it’s not your baby.  You may feel you gave birth to the story and you need to love the story to tell it well, but you also need to have some distance from the love affair.  To be able to stand back and see the ugly spots in order to fix them.

An editor is there to help you get your vision down on that page, to make it shine, to polish the story until it does. They are not there to take the place of spell check, and basic knowledge of grammar.  Yes, we all make mistakes that an editor will find, but don’t think that fixing all of them is the editor’s job.

That’s your job as a writer, a craftsman has all the tools in his tool box to build the house, he doesn’t expect someone else to bring them.

I’m happy to share my tool box on many things, if you have done your work as a writer.

So what do I tell my authors?

 No question is a dumb question. ASK!

Everything your editor asks you to do is open to discussion, if you don’t agree with me, present your case.  We will talk about it.

Writing is a business.  You can call it art.  But it is a business, it’s not your baby.  So when I say fix this or this doesn’t work, I am not insulting you, I am helping you make a product that will sell.

I will hound you to the seven circles of hell to promote. 

I will hold your hand, if need be, and offer a shoulder of understanding if needed, and I will help you promote as much as I can.  And I will stand behind you and your book, we will get it in the best possible shape to present to the world—then the real work begins.

Author Bio

S.R. Howen grew up on a farm for the most part, spending part of her childhood as a military brat. The one constant in her life is story telling. She's always been a story teller--not a popular thing to be when you are five.

She's been with Wild Child since 2000 as an author and an editor. Currently, she lives in Texas with her family and assorted citers, 14 cats, 2 dogs, 2 squirrels, and a racoon.

She follows a Native American lifestyle--believing that each thing does indeed have its own spirit, and avoiding processed foods. If she couldn't kill it, catch it, or pick it in the wild, she doesn't eat it. Other than that, she loves fast cars, good writing, and good editors. They are a writer's best friend.

Find more of S.R. Howen here:













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Monday, July 22, 2013

What It's All About

Quick update today.  I’m taking a short break from editing “Tears of Heaven” (ERMAHGAWD, I have an editor!) to post this update.

Thirty years ago, my mother asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and I told her I wanted to be a writer.  She warned me it wouldn’t be easy, that they would take the best work I had written, and throw it back in my face.  She wasn’t wrong.  I have enough rejections (and lack of responses) to wallpaper a house (which ever writer knows is the goal).

Last week, in a flurry of heart-attack-level excitement I was notified that I would be offered a contract.  Offered the contract.  Signed the contract.  And, finally, assigned an editor.

I’ve wanted to work with a real, live, red-pen-in-hand editor, and iron-for-blood editor more than you can imagine.  (Sure, sure, you can imagine quite a bit, but it’s still not enough.)

So I’m moving like mad, getting the manuscript going, but every now and then I get caught up reading my own work and I think, “Yeah, that’s not bad.”


Here’s hoping you all enjoy it too.  I’ll be posting most updates on the status, the process, also some excerpts to whet the appetite.  Please like, share and mention me to anyone who likes books!
Blog Blitz with Author Audrey Cuff

Christmas in July, unwrap a summer ebook blog blitz, 


welcomes Author Audrey Cuff, Ed.D


When Ashley Brown was five years old, her parents left her in the care of her grandma, though her mother promised to return for her. At fourteen, Ashley is still living with her grandmother in Highland, a city on the outskirts of Maryville, a place known as the "ghetto."

Ashley has shadowy memories of her mother taking her to her favorite place, the library. Reading a good book allows Ashley to escape her poverty and crime infested community. One afternoon after listening to the Mayor's press conference, Ashley discovers that the Mayor is taking away the community library. In spite of being put on punishment for a week by her grandma for defending herself from the school bullies, Ashley feels it is worth the risk to sneak out of her apartment to mail a letter she has written to the Mayor about keeping the library open.

Every day homeless people approach her and beg for something to eat or for money. The most frequent requests come from two disheveled individuals Ashley has nicknamed "Orphan Annie" and the "businessman bum." As if escaping the homeless people isn't enough, there are a bunch of bullies who harass Ashley. One day, the bullies chase her into an alley. They force her to the ground and Ashley is afraid of what could have happened next. This is one time Ashley wished she listen to her grandma.

In print and ebook formats, the book, City of Thieves will be an audio book by September 2013.

Read an excerpt

Grandma, Grandma, what is so wrong?” I said. I jumped out of my chair and run toward the TV.

“That stupid mayor. I don’t believe it! She’s shutting down the library. The only library we have in this community and replacing it with some, some business store,” Grandma yelled. She scowled at the TV. “I don’t believe the stupid mayor. You see what I mean about people in power making decisions that ruin your life, and you have no say about anything.”

“Oh, oh, Grandma, that’s so terrible. The library is the only place I have left that’s positive in the community.”

“Ashley, don’t you get it? They don’t give a hoot about people from our neighborhood. All they care about is making money off of the poor,” she said.

Then a quick flash the mayor came on the television. Suddenly, my knees felt weak and heavy. I felt like I was ready to collapse.

“Grandma, what is, is the mayor’s name?” I asked. I struggled not to stumble.
“I’m not for sure. Some person name Baldwin, a Mrs. Baldwin I guess. Oh watch they are showing that evil witch on television right now,” Grandma said. She glared at the television. Grandma was going nuts.

I desperately tried not to break down, Grandma didn’t have a clue that I’d met Mrs. Baldwin, and I wasn’t about to tell her. Luckily, Grandma was going crazy about the mayor; she didn’t notice that I’m emotionally falling apart.

Author Bio

Dr. Audrey Cuff was inspired by her special needs students to write her debut novel, City Of Thieves. She wanted her students reach their goals and aspirations regardless of obstacles and shortcomings in life.  She also wanted her students to understand that they could fight to better their communities.


Dr. Cuff is a special education teacher at a high school in South Jersey. She taught psychology for the past 13 years to freshman students.  She is a vegetarian.   She enjoys evenings at home with her family and friends.   She completed two marathons in 2005 and 2006 in Hawaii for charity research to cure HIV /AIDS.  Also, her other hobbies consist of reading, going to the movies and of course writing. She has two children, and three grandchildren.  Dr. Cuff received her doctoral degree from Fielding Graduate University in Santa Barbara California. She has the following certifications: Teacher of Psychology, Teacher of Special Education, and Supervisor of Education.  She was nominated and received the Outstanding Teacher award in April of 2006her grandmother in 
 
City of Thieves is part of a three book series.

Find more about Audrey here






Find her books here






Sunday, July 21, 2013

Blog Blitz with Author Richard Uhlig



Blog Blitz with Author Richard Uhlig


Christmas in July, unwrap a summer ebook blog blitz, 

welcomes Richard Uhlig




Richard treats us to the first chapter of his novel 

MYSTERY AT SNAKE RIVER BRIDGE



Chapter One

My name is Ron Riley, Jr., but no one except geezers call me that. I'm known at school as Kodak because I always have a camera hanging from my neck. Why? I’m a reporter/photographer at my old man’s weekly newspaper, The Harker City Bugle.

Is this a job I asked for? Guess again. I mean, it makes me totally un-cool. Tell me, what chick drools over a doofus who stands on the sidelines snapping pictures of jocks scoring touch downs and baskets? I might as well be gay.

You’re thinking, hey, your old man owns a newspaper, and that’s choice, right? We’re not talking the New York Times here. Heck, we’re not even talking The Wichita Eagle Beacon.

Fact, The Bugle’s circulation is a whopping fifteen hundred and seventeen, the exact same number of souls who went down on the Titanic.

Another fact, slaving at The Bugle is a lot like being on a sinking ship. Over the last few years Dad has lost serious advertising money because half the stores in town have gone belly up since the railroad folded.

After Mom died -- she penned the “Family Living” section of the paper -- Dad couldn’t afford to hire someone new, so guess what? Yours truly had to go to work for less than minimum wage.

But there is one cool thing I’ve discovered with this gig. I like words.

I groove on hooking them up like box cars on a train and seeing where they take me.

My main man, Fart Bomb, calls me Word Nerd because I’m always looking up new words in Webster’s.

Here’s the hitch. When you live in Snoozeville like me, where pretty much everyone goes to church on Sunday, and most adults are grey gray hairs living on the Security, juicy scoops are about as common as Beluga caviar. How am I suppose to strut my writing stuff when I’m forced to cover “stories” like the bingo wins down at the VFW hall on Saturday night? The killer adjective or action verb only goes so far at sexing up an article titled “Highlights From the Lutheran Church Talent Night”.

So, when it comes over Dad’s police scanner that a car was found under Snake River Bridge, my ears whip around like Rhubarb's, my cat, when she hears a mouse scratching under the fridge. Dad pushes his chair back from the breakfast table. He, my big sister Melissa, my only sib, and I have been chowing down on that lumpy oatmeal she makes every morning.

“Ron, fetch my boots and load up the camera,” Dad croaks in his bullfrog-deep voice. “Melissa, put my coffee in the Thermos.”

I snatch up Dad’s scuffed Red Wing field boots from the back door mat and haul them over to him. “If a car went through the Snake River Bridge railing, that’s at least a fifty foot drop.”

Dad nods. “Would be a miracle if anyone survived that fall.” He struggles, reaching over his girth to tug his left boot on, so I bend down and pull with both hands on the boot tops. That’s right, Dad’s a porker. At almost three hundred and fifty pounds, he’s been a black hole of food consumption since Mom died. He snarfs more calories in a day than Melissa, Rhubarb, our garbage disposal, and me combined. And that's saying something because my sister is no twig, and I used to be fat myself. More on that later.

I clear my throat as I lace Dad’s boots. “How about if I shoot this one for you?”

He shakes his triple-chinned head when he heaves himself up.

“But you promised me I could help out on the next big story, remember?” I’m told I have a doe-eyed look that would make Jesus himself feel guilty, I use it on him.

“Haven’t you heard of post-traumatic stress disorder?” my sister says in her helium-sucker's voice. “After a person witnesses a horrific event, like a car accident, they can suffer from depression, nightmares, even phobias for years.”

“Too late, I’m already living with you.”

“That’s enough,” Dad barks. “Apologize to your sister, right now.”

“Sorry, Sis.”

She turns away, folding her arms over her chest.

After Mom died, Melissa dropped out of K-State, where she was an honors psychology major. She moved home and became the self-appointed family caretaker, making the meals, clipping grocery coupons and nagging us about every little thing, like not taking off our shoes when coming into the house, leaving my bed unmade and my dirty clothes on the bathroom floor. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. On July 4th Sis is to tie the knot with Brandon Miller, Dickerson County Sheriff's Deputy extraordinaire.

“Look, Dad,” I barter, “I’ll cover next week’s city commission meeting if you’ll let me go with you this morning.” This stops him in his tracks like I knew it would. Dad gets bored at the city meetings and often falls asleep. Afterwards, he has to trail around after the commissioners to find out what happened.

“Oh, all right. Get your camera. I’ll be out in the truck.”

My sister’s tarantula-leg-like eyelashes flutter at me in disgust. “Why do you want to photograph a gruesome sight so badly?”

“Because I’m a psycho pervert.”

“I think you have serious unresolved issues about Mom’s death.”

“Whatever.”

My photography knapsack swings from my neck as I book it out the back door. It isn’t even eight o’clock on this June morning and it has to be eighty degrees out. Wispy white clouds streak the blue sky like talcum powder on our bathroom floor. I throw open the passenger door of Dad's Chevy pickup. Behind the wheel, he’s nibbling on a dark chocolate Hersey bar. I sink into the seat with its busted springs as he starts the engine. The C.B. radio squelches and scratches.

“I want you to be nice to your sister,” he scolds between bites. “She’s under a lot of pressure with the wedding coming up. Do you understand me?”

“Yes, sir.”

Dad believes she’s spazzing out lately because she has to organize the whole nuptial shindig herself. I believe diet pills have a lot to do with it. She is desperate to drop 15 pounds for the Big Day, so she’ll fit into Mom’s old wedding dress.

We cruise through the empty streets of Harker City, the burg where I’ve lived all of my seventeen years, with its limestone courthouse, two banks, two gas stations, two grocery stores, three bars and eight churches. You’ve probably never heard of Harker City, and for good reason.

Nothing.

Exciting.

Ever.

Happens.

Here.

Period.

Except for one Mexican family, The Lopezes, who own The Taco Caboose, and the one black family, the Washingtons, who own Colonel Chet’s Bar B Q, and Casey Coyote, the sheriff's Native American foster daughter, the good citizens of Harker City are as white as Marshmallow Fluff.

Speaking of Casey Coyotewhen Dad swings us onto Trapp Street, I’m surprised to see her blue Chevette parked in front of the Lutheran Church parsonage. Casey babysits for Reverend Mike and his wife a lot, but at eight o’clock on a Sunday morning?

We zoom past the Dairy Queen and drive east onto Highway 76, heading out across the pancake-flat prairie.

Dad lowers his visor to block the morning sun and says, “Covering car accidents is the one part of my job I dread.”

“Then give ‘em to me.” I reach into my knapsack and take out my Kodak camera. “If I cover another quilting bee or 4H livestock competition, I’ll go bonkers.”

“Son, by focusing on local events The Bugle serves an important function in the community. It gives people’s lives meaning. If it’s in print, it’s important.”

So you know, Dad repeats this mantra about once a week. It kinda freaks me out he doesn't remember saying it. Alzheimer’s Disease? Self-Reassurance Disease? Either way, he's become quite philosophical since Mom died.

After a few minutes, Dad turns north on the roller coaster, deeply-rutted Snake River Road. Rocks crunch under our tires and ping against the undercarriage as we bounce along.

So, here it is 1990. Major stories are breaking all over the globe. Nelson Mandela freed from a South African prison, the Berlin Wall has come down, American troops are invading Panama. But you wouldn't know any of this reading the The Bugle. Me, I want to be a legit word nerd. I want to cover the stuff that matters. Maybe win a Pulitzer some day. And, I know what you're thinking, Yeah right, kid, the Pulitzer. Dream On.

Well, get this. Hemingway began his career as a newspaper reporter right here in the Midwest, less than a 150 miles from Harker City. Okay, he worked for the Kansas City Star and not The Bugle. Still, it’s a start.

Dad double-clutches into low gear as we struggle up a hill. We dip into the valley, and I see the red flashing lights of emergency vehicles. My pulse kicks up a notch. Ahead, the rusted trestles of the Snake River Bridge remind me of my old erector set.

Dad slows to a stop behind the sheriff's cruiser at the east end of the bridge. “Just stay out of the way and let me do the talking.” He reaches into the glove compartment, crammed with Hershey bar wrappers and yellowed gasoline receipts, and takes out his black reporter’s notebook.

Camera in hand, I trail Dad along the side of the road. Police radios crackle in the humid air. For once I feel like a real journalist covering a real story.

Up ahead, Ed Sanders, owner of Ed’s Tow Service and Auto Repair, leans his wiry body against the front fender of his wrecker. He looks totally zoned out while dragging on that cigarette.

“What do we have, Ed?” Dad calls out

Ed’s green eyes check us out from under the blue bandana wrapped pirate-style around his forehead. “One known fatality. Appears the driver missed the bridge at the curve and shot down the embankment right into the river.”

“Who’s the victim?” Dad asks.

Ed shrugs. “I just got here. Say, Ronny,” Ed drops his cigarette to the dirt and grinds it under his boot heel, “I’m almost done with your Ford.”

“Great. When can I pick it up?”

“Swing by the garage Tuesday.”

Y’got it.”

Dad and I walk past my soon-to-be-brother-in-law, Brandon, on his hands and knees in the thick grass, so absorbed in whatever he’s doing there he doesn’t notice us.

We hurry by the idling ambulance, lights flashing, the back door open and the gurney missing. In the center of the narrow, one-lane bridge, Sheriff Gerald Bottoms stands squinting through binoculars like a general at D-Day. The old wood planks creak and groan under foot, and between them the river below rushes by. Usually a trickle this time of year, the water is moving fast due to the recent heavy rains. My gaze follows the river upstream to the big Harker City Lake Dam, water gushes from the overflow outlet in the shape of a rooster’s tail.

I lean over to the bridge railing. A car is upside down and half-submerged in the murky water below. To the left, two paramedics struggle to pull an object from the water. The object is a woman, floating face down, her red dress fanned over the water like a flag. The way her head bobs up and down in the current, it looks like she’s nodding. The shock of discovery hits me full force, and I’m too freaked out to do anything more than stare. I haven’t seen a dead person since Mom was laid out in her casket two years ago.

“I see we have a fatality, Gerald,” Dad says, snapping me out of my trance.

The sheriff lowers his binoculars and turns to us. A caterpillar-like eyebrow arches and he smirks at me. “Your dad letting you cover the big stuff these days?”

“Said he wanted to come.” Still gasping from the walk to the bridge, Dad dabs his sweaty forehead with a white handkerchief.

“Well, I’m glad he did. Brandon dropped our new Minolta into the river a little while ago.”The sheriff sighs and shakes his head. “Ronny, I’d like for you to get some shots of the car for my report, if you don’t mind.”

“No problem, sir.” I walk to the railing and snap pics of the death scene below. I adjust my focus. One of the men in waders is Allen Flood, the local mortician who is also an EMT.

Body thrown at impact,” the sheriff says. “She didn’t stand a chance.”

“Who’s the victim?” Dad asks.

“Janice Crawley.”

I spin to the sheriff. “Reverend Mike’s wife?”

Sheriff Bottom nods grimly.

Dad shakes his head.

Unbelievable. How can Mrs. Crawley, a mother, a preacher’s wife, a special ed teacher at the high school, be floating dead in Snake River on a Sunday morning? It makes no sense. I saw her a couple days ago at the parsonage when I went for a run with her husband. Everyone liked Mrs. C.

“Is Reverend Mike in that car?” I ask.

The sheriff shakes his head and tucks a toothpick into the corner of his mouth. “No. Appears she was alone. Reverend called my office just shy of midnight reporting her missing. What a shame, huh?”

Dad’s voice cracks, “On the Sabbath, no less.”

The sheriff eyeballs the east entrance of the bridge. “Drivers never slow down at that curve. I’ve asked the county to put up one of those ‘dangerous curve’ signs, but the commissioners don’t move unless it’s an election year.”

“Have you told Reverend Mike?” Dad asks.

“Yeah. He should be here any minute to identify the body.”

The EMTs lift a stiff Mrs. C. onto the stretcher. I zoom my lens on her, opening the aperture two stops. Her color-drained face is swollen like a melon. Her pale, unblinking eyes seem to stare right through me. With her blue lips and matted wet hair, she looks like the mannequin we used to practice CPR on in health class.

“Is this blood?”

I lower the Kodak. Dad points at some brownish red-spots on the railing.

“Looks fairly fresh,” Dad observes.

A trail of red dots run along the floor of the bridge toward the west end.

The sheriff nudges his hat back. “I had Brandon collect some samples of it for the lab.”

Dad also leans on the railing. “What do you make of it?”

“Not much.” The sheriff returns to looking through his binoculars. “People fish off this bridge all the time.”

I clear my throat. “Isn’t that a lot of blood for a fish?”

Dad glares at me as if to say, Didn’t I tell you to let me do the talking?

“Junior,” the sheriff says into the binoculars, “I’ve caught channel cat in this creek that bled like a slaughtered heifer.”

He straightens his spine, spins the focus wheel on his scopes, and says in a serious whisper, “Well, I’ll be damned.”

Adrenaline courses through my body.

“What is it, Gerald?” Dad asks.

The sheriff hands Dad the binoculars and points. “There are two quartering pheasants over by that fence. What I wouldn’t give to have my twelve gauge right now.”

I follow those bloody dots to the entrance of the bridge, snapping photos as I go. They form a kind of trail down the rocky bank to the water’s edge.

“Ronny, make way,” Mr. Flood shouts as he and the other guy struggle to carry Mrs. Crawley’s bagged body up the embankment.

I hike back over to where Dad and the sheriff, and now Brandon, stand together on the bridge.

“I didn’t find any skid marks at the curve,” my sister’s fiancĂ©e reports. “Which leads me to believe she didn’t attempt to stop before she went over. Another thing, her headlights were off.”

The sheriff stares at him, chewing his toothpick. “I’m sure the paramedics cut the battery cable first thing. That’s standard operating procedure.”

Brandon shakes his head. “The headlight knob inside the car was switched off. The medics told me they hadn’t touched it… Maybe we should seal off the area.”

“What the heck for?” the sheriff asks.

“On the off-chance this wasn’t an accident.”

The sheriff shakes his head. “You’re thinkin’ this was a suicide?”

My future brother-in-law shrugs. “That could explain what she was doing out here alone after dark.”

Sheriff Bottoms stops chewing and stares at his underling like he is a zit on the end of his nose. “Mrs. Crawley was one of the happiest people I’ve known.”

A familiar, beige Buick LaSabre drives up. The driver’s door flies open, and out steps Reverend Mike, my triathlon coach and our family’s minister. He looks totally spent, unshaven, with dark bags under his light-blue eyes. Sheriff Bottoms leads the Rev to the back door of the ambulance. Mr. Flood, ever the solemn mortician, unzips the top of the body bag. It seems so wrong to see someone as tall and strong as Reverend Mike break down like a scared little boy.

I’m not one who cries at the drop of a hat, like my sister does, but let me tell you, I have to bite my bottom lip to control the sobs.

“I-I don’t understand.” Reverend Mike wipes tears with the back of his hand.

“This is one of the most dangerous roads in the county,” the sheriff says.

“She dropped me off at church last night,” Reverend Mike says, “but she never came home.”

Dad pulls a white hanky from his pants pocket and hands it to Reverend Mike. “I can’t tell you how sorry I am, Reverend.”

Brandon ambles over. “Reverend, I hate to do this now, but I need to ask you a few questions for my report.”

“That can wait,” the sheriff snaps.

“It’s all right,” Reverend Mike says, “I’d rather get it over with.”

Brandon whips out a tiny notebook from his shirt pocket and clicks his pen like he is some kind of FBI bad ass. “Did your wife’s car have mechanical problems?”

Reverend Mike shakes his head while blowing his nose in the hanky.

“Do you, uh, know if she’d been drinking,” Brandon asks.

Sheriff Bottom glares at Sis’s squeeze. “For crying out loud.”

“She had one beer with dinner,” Revend Mike says, “but that was around seven o'clock.”

Brandon clears his throat. “I’m sorry to ask this, Reverend, but was your wife depressed?”

Sheriff Bottom stares daggers at Brandon. “Thank you for your time, Reverend Mike. You best go on home to your daughter. We’ll take care of things from here.”

Reverend Mike slumps toward his car, and I hot foot it over to him. “Uh, Reverend?”

He stops and looks at me, all red-eyed and sniffling.

“How about I drive you home?”

“That would be nice, Kodak.”

Reverend Mike is one of the few adults in my life who calls me Kodak. And I like him for that reason alone.


Author Bio:


Richard Uhlig needed time, and distance, to find the perspective on his small-town childhood that would allow him to create the funny, aching, quirky characters and scenarios featured in his novels and films. A professional screenwriter, Rick now lives in New York City and counts film noir, Russian novels and "deliciously dark comedy" among his literary influences. Married to his high school sweetheart, Rick is an international traveler and a devoted father of two.

Find Richard here:

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Blog Blitz with  Author Patrick Royal



 Christmas in July, unwrap a summer ebook blog blitz, welcomes Patrick Royal
:

A group of people are experiencing nightmares. They are a bit more than just bad dreams. After numerous reports of an outbreak of nightmares, unexplainable deaths begin to occur. Three decades later, it happens again. There is speculation that the deaths are at the hands of a demon. Is it a Demon or something more sinister? If it is a demon, can it be stopped? 

Sleep Stalker will appeal to the YA13+ crowd as well as adult readers. It takes you on a wild and terrifying ride from the 1960's to modern time and to Hades and back. Do you have your coins for the ferryman...


Some thoughts from Patrick:

My 10’s

What are 10 items on your bucket list?
  1. To become famous.
  2. To become wealthy.
  3. To become a number #1 seller.
  4. To meet Stephen King.
  5. Have 50 published novels.
  6. To go to Hawaii.
  7. To make a difference in someone’s life.
  8. To be able to stay home to write and make a living doing it.
  9. Have one or more of my novels made into a movie.
  10. Get back in shape.


Who are your 10 favorite authors?
  1. Stephen King
  2. V.C. Andrews
  3. Clive Barker
  4. James Patterson
  5. Mark Twain
  6. John Grisham
  7. J.K Rowling
  8. S.R Howen
  9. Dean Koontz
  10. Robert Ludlum

What are your 10 favorite books?
  1. Sleep Stalker
  2. IT
  3. Salem’s Lot
  4. Flowers In the Attic
  5. Stand By Me
  6. Watchers
  7. Weaveworld
  8. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  9. Green Mile
  10. Shining


What are 10 weird things about you?
1.     I pick up extremely quick on things that I’m passionate about.
2.     When I get tired, I rub the top of my head.
3.     When I get tired of chewing a piece of gum, I’ll drop it into my cola to chew it later.
4.     I prefer cold spaghetti.
5.     I smother my pancakes with country gravy.
6.     I can’t wear shorts in tall grass.
7.     I have to check my email every hour on the hour.
8.     I must crack my neck and knuckles when I first wake up.
9.     I’m very impatient.
10.  I have to lay on the floor at least 5 minutes with my German Shepard after work.


If you were stranded on an island what 10 things would you most want with you?
  1. Laptop or computer.
  2. books
  3. Food
  4. Cell Phone
  5. Eyeglasses
  6. 9mm pistol
  7. Knife
  8. Radio
  9. Lighter
  10. Flashlight


What are your 10 favorite songs?
  1. Hungry
  2. It’s A Long Way To The Top
  3. Porn Star Dancing
  4. Make you feel my love
  5. Sweet Child of Mine
  6. Home Sweet Home
  7. Regulators
  8. More Than A Feeling
  9. Hotel California
  10. Shoot To Thrill

What are your 10 least favorite foods?
  1. Brussels Sprouts
  2. Hot Dogs
  3. Cabbage
  4. Cheesy Macaroni
  5. Collard Greens
  6. Spam
  7. Anchovies
  8. Clams
  9. Oysters
  10. Corn Dogs

What 10 things absolutely drive you insane?
  1. Getting behind an old person: walking or driving.
  2. Someone that doesn’t turn out the light when they leave a room.
  3. A loud TV
  4. A messy house
  5. A person using stacks of coupons in checkout lane.
  6. Driving in bad weather.
  7. Someone to talk to me while I’m writing.
  8. Talking on the phone.
  9. Satellite going out when it rains.
  10. Vehicle breaking down.

Name 10 dead people you wish you had known.
  1. John Candy
  2. John Belushi
  3. Michael Dunkan
  4. Michael Landon
  5. Bruce Lee
  6. Alfred Hitchcock
  7. Rod Serling
  8. Chris Farley
  9. H.P Lovecraft
  10. Robert Ludlum

What 10 things do you most enjoy?

  1. Sex
  2. Writing
  3. Reading
  4. Woodworking
  5. Painting
  6. Working out
  7. Sleeping
  8. Browsing the web
  9. Listening to music
  10. Watching movies


Author Bio:
Patrick Royal is a family man. Born in Virginia, raised in Northwest Indiana, he and his wife Lynette have resided in Western Kentucky for seven years. An avid watcher of Horror movies and reader of Stephen King. He's inspired to use the gift God gave him to chill his readers. He is also the author of Novels "Jacobs Closet", and "Sleep Stalker".




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