Thursday, February 27, 2014

Excerpt from The Big Red Buckle by Matthew Alan Thyer

The Big Red Buckle
By Matthew Alan Thyer


For Marco Aguilar, just being at the race's starting line represents the culmination of two years of careful preparation and training. He feels a momentary pang of guilt knowing that his wife Emma has carried their family while his focus has been elsewhere. But he also knows that winning the Grand Martian Traverse is a shared decision, not just his goal. 

Petrus Mandel is a novice endurance sport athlete hoping to soar alongside Aguilar to greatness. He suspects Aguilar may have a solution to traversing the gaping expanse between the distant shield volcanoes and must face his fears and follow his curiosity.

Together, these two Martian-born endurance athletes run and soar in the solar system's greatest race.

Matthew Says

In this scene in “The Big Red Buckle” sports broadcasters Bill Vance and Toma Crysta describe a critical moment in the progress of the race. Their focus is unquestionably on what the protagonists must do to stay competitive, and out ahead of their nemesis. However, I wanted to express the joy that comes from soaring a foot launched aircraft like a paraglider. So, I tried to describe this joy, through the lens of a camera. Marco, standing on the edge of a cliff, plays with his wing, kiting it in the rising breeze that moves up the mountain. I really enjoyed writing this, because it reminded me of why I love to fly. And, perhaps even a little more, because it required that I change my point of view and express that joy by describing the motions associated.


“And Bill, today race is all about climbing.” Pronounces Toma Crysta, again in the focus of the camera.
“I’m wondering if Mandel and Aguilar have any other wild cards to pull from their sleeves today Toma. Yesterday’s record breaking flight from the side of Ascraeus was impressive and certainly upset the plans of many racers, but will it be enough to get them over the finish line ahead of the passion and drive Greg Neal demonstrated last night?”
Two figures stand motionless with their backs facing east towards the rising sun now. At the left hand side in the field of view another figure comes into frame. This one unpacks his wing while his support team stuffs supplies into his suit. He throws a pair of trekking poles away discarding them as dead weight. Other objects are presented to him and then tossed to the side. He looks rushed compared to the two stoic figures standing motionless nearby.
One of the still figures bends over and picks something up from near his feet.   
The newcomer is trying to fly his wing already as the first riffles of rising air begin to creep up the side of the great mountain. Immediately his wing comes up over his head and he turns and runs off the edge of the cliff. His wing sinks and he moves back and forth across the face of the cliff trying to stay airborne. Scratching for any lift in the light air.
The other two figures have not moved from their roost, waiting patiently for the right moment. Their moment. When a bubble of rising air will present itself and take them up and up. Periodically one of them reaches down and lifts up a handful of fine soil. Letting it slide between his fingers it falls straight down, once, then again, and yet again.
Now 200 meters below is the pilot who rushed to launch.   Still descending. As if in slow motion he slides gently down the cliff face.
Now Marco’s fully illuminated figure bends down once more. He lifts the dirt and lets it fall. It falls at an angle indicating the incoming breeze, the lifting air. Marco turns to Pet and nods once, then lifts his lines. His wing rises quickly overhead with a snap and a ruffle as the high tech fabric inflates and an aerodynamic shape comes to life.
Marco pauses with his hands on his break toggles, seeming almost to play with the wing and the wind, as the camera looks on. He dances beneath the canopy shifting back and forth to stay centered under the flying body.
Pet's wing comes up in a cloud of dust and his feet are dragged under the arcing parafoil. He struggles to slow the forward progress of the wing above by extending the break lines as far down as they will go. It is lift, a thermal grabs him and shoots him into the air. He twists around momentarily helpless under his flying wing, but then sits back in the harness and soars.
Below them Neal has found lift too. He cannot turn into it yet, being too close to the cliff face, but takes advantage of it just the same running back and forth in the rising air and climbing slowly back toward the summit far above.
Pet is climbing fast, at least 500 meters above the edge of the cliff now. Marco is still playing with his wing on the cliff, kiting it above him a little left and then a little right. Someone new runs out from the most recent rover arrival with a camera pointing it up at the orange and green canopy being danced across the talus.
Hover cameras and scouting drones are converging on the site, many of them break off from the scene at the cliff's edge to follow Pet ever higher into the atmosphere. A few are even below Neal's wing trying to get a shot of all three pilots at once.
And then, with all eyes focused on his joy in the rising sun, Marco stops playing. He turns, bends deeply at the waist and takes two big steps towards the edge turning into a human torpedo, elegant and swift, suspended under his wing.
Immediately, he's found lifting air, his gyre is tight and centered over the invisible column. A pendulum beneath his turning canopy his body rotates outside the center of the spiraling glider. The energy in this thermal is visible, Marco's rise up and away from the cliff side is quick and accelerating. Soon he is circling in tandem with Pet. Below Neal is climbing slowly.

Find Out More:
Matthew Alan Thyer (1972-present) was born on the Western Slope of Colorado and grew up loving the canyons and mountains. He is an Army veteran who served as a signals intelligence analyst. Prior to finding his voice as a writer he worked as an operations engineer, wild-land firefighter, backcountry ranger, kayak guide and river rat.
Matt's hobbies include trail running, backpacking, skiing, mountaineering, bicycling, and paragliding.

twitter: @feetforbrains

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Excerpt from NOT RAW ENOUGH by Randall Bowling

Not Raw Enough

By Randall Bowling


On the business trip of a lifetime to Tokyo for the launch of his dynamic aquatic invention, Hatteras  businessman Seth Tinsley is certain his new product will astonish and panic the wealthy power brokers in the international seafood industry.  Seth never thought about his success attracting the attention of an wealthy faction willing to go to any means to preserve  the integrity of their country's ancient cuisine.

Before his grand product display at the Tsukiji Market and the media blitz at the United States Embassy, Seth finds out he is wanted by the JNP for mass-murder and has become nothing more than an expendable pawn of the US Government. He finally comprehends that he is also the prey of a company unleashing a deadly gambit to control Japan's sixty-billion dollar seafood industry. Seth figures his only chance against the long odds of staying alive is to somehow escape Japan and lure his enemies back to Kill Devil Hills to sate their not raw enough obsession. 



International travel is such a sensory overload experience that sometimes even the big things are not remembered. Seth had forgotten how truly nonplused he was with the vaunted Japanese efficiency at the Narita Airport arrival procedures and customs fiasco. Essentially, it sucked.
Like in the old days when he traveled on his gratis airline employee passes, too much of everything was just enough. He’d consumed mass quantities of mediocre champagnes and wines, not bad beers, and when they ran out of the good stuff - the little B&Bs, he did several more Drambuies, a couple of Jaegers and some Cognacs.
Andi had not been impressed by his inclination for the variety of Japanese delicacies and international treats which he packed away, or by his stamina in attempting to single-handedly deplete the liquor supply in the first-class cabin. She tried in vain to get him to keep it to a dull roar, but after hours of his excess, up and down the aisle chatting with every passenger, and a visible lack of conversation with her, Andi landed more than a little annoyed. All in all, the flight had been very pleasant for Seth, too whacked to contemplate his pending problems. He'd executed a complete and blissful escape.
Arrival however, quickly became a sobering exercise. Now on the front curb of the airport’s lower level to arrange transportation to their hotel, Seth suffered - badly hung-over and jet lagged. Not a festive combination. 
He had taken the taxis before, but could not justify paying an additional hundred bucks plus verses taking the big bus. You'd only sit in the same traffic jams in the too-small-for-real-Americans Japanese taxis. On a grueling trip like this, first-class or not, experience was no aid.
The heavy air pollution at the curb from the buses and traffic started it. A Japanese woman brushed by Seth as she claimed her bags from the carousel, her recent excessive spritz of a potent, cheap French perfume doing its best to sucker punch Seth. He contemplated what to do when it all demanded release. Saliva flowed freely from under his tongue in amazing quantity, one of his sure signs of eminent regurgitation.
Andi curiously gazed around the congested arrival-area, ignoring Seth and his green-gills. The atmosphere of a place she'd never been before revived her.  A short man, well dressed with chauffeurs cap proudly cocked, approached them and addressed Seth. "Mister Tinsley?"
Seth only nodded, afraid to open his mouth or try to talk.
"Welcome to Japan. I am Sakai from the Okura Hotel to pick you up. Your bags?" he asked, pointing to their collection of Seth's one and Andi's two. He hoisted all three in a practiced maneuver and said, "This way, please," and started up the curb with their bags.
They followed the man to where he sat the bags down behind a shiny, white Rolls Royce. He purposely aimed and popped the trunk with his remote-control key, gently loaded the bags and carefully closed it. He rushed around to the curb-side to open the back door for Andi and motioned them in with a “Please”.
A bus directly in front of the Rolls accelerated dumping a huge black cloud of sickening exhaust that floated and hung directly on them. Seth hesitated getting in the car knowing he had lost the battle with his stomach and tried to decide the most discreet way to do it. He knew he didn't have the time to get back inside the terminal building and find the toilets.
That option canceled as his stomach heaved and demanded relief from the first class abuse. With no time even to bend over, Seth uncontrollably vomited in one hard gush; covering the sidewalk, the shoes of the chauffeur and generously spattering the side of the gleaming white Rolls. The heavy sidewalk traffic of travelers backed out of the way shouting excited epithets while trying to avoid the dispersed mess.
Everything on his stomach had exited at once and he immediately felt better. Seth straightened his tie, dabbed at the corners of his mouth with a handkerchief and got in the car like nothing had happened. The driver watched in disbelief ignoring the chunks of sushi rice marring the shine on his black shoes. He gently closed the door behind Seth and hurried around the Rolls and jumped to his position behind the wheel drove away in silence as though things like this happened to him every day.
After a half-an-hour of deafening silence in the Rolls and stopped dead in the jammed traffic, without turning from her steady gaze out the window, in a condescending tone Andi asked "Feel better?"
"Finer than frog hair. Let's go for Sushi," Seth said too loud.
"Fine!" Andi yelled. "You're a real class act to travel with. Got drunk on the plane, ate and drank everything in sight, hit on every pretty flight attendant - right under my nose, and topped it off by puking on the car, the driver, and half of Japan."
"And you sound like a fucking wife." Seth shouted in a whisper. "I'm terribly sorry if my behavior doesn't merit the Government's stamp of approval. You invited yourself along on this little expedition; now cut me some goddamn slack."
He felt terrible. His head throbbed, although he wasn't sure if it was the pipe injury or the booze. His arm hurt.  He was wasted from the long flight and customs delay and now fuming mad with Andi. The rest of the long drive, ride, stop, wait, ride and then stop again in the heavy, early evening Tokyo traffic continued in roaring silence.


Randall's page on AMAZON

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Excerpt from BABYFACE FIRE by Nicholas Andrews


All Loebo wants in life is to lead the best team of adventurers in the kingdom, get filthy rich, and marry the prettiest lady he's ever met. Is that so much to ask? 

But when Loebo and the Chosen Squad set out to rescue his love from her overprotective father, he finds out a bounty has been placed on his head, courtesy of his own grandmother! 

While the Squad tries to unravel this mystery, Loebo comes across a wrestler-turned-adventurer named Bleg, who agrees to protect Loebo from the bounty hunters. But first, Bleg is hired to escort a young woman named Seren to her new job at OWW, Bolognia's premier wrestling league. As Bleg confronts a bitter past with the company's powers-that-be, Loebo finds himself the focal point of the biggest wrestling storyline of the year.


This passage is part of a chapter that gets into what the daily life is like on the road working for a pro wrestling organization. One of the challenges of writing Babyface Fire was working out the logistics of how a wrestling promotion would operate in a world with no television, planes, or cars. I came up with the idea that they would travel and live together in a caravan, sort of like a traveling circus. 


Being in the OWW camp was like staying in some kind of wrestling shantytown. In addition to the workers and security, other personnel traveled the road as well. Some referees stood in the line of the catering wagon behind him, waiting to get their meal from the on-road chefs. In front of a wagon to his right, a blacksmith worked on hammering out a new ring post as several workers did lift training with the smith's weights. To his left, the band was rehearsing entrance songs.
     In addition to Mucus and Ivy, there were other couples as well, some of whom had children that would intermittently run through the camp in innocent play. A seamstress walked arm in arm with one of the horse wranglers, and he also saw Selky stop over to plant a kiss on the cheek of Roach Hanson, the lead singer of the Eclectic Eight. It made him yearn for Alyssa's company, remembering the many times they had strolled hand in hand through the well-kept gardens of the Royal Ward in Foeny.
     Chairs had been set up around a bonfire, and a number of workers congregated there to eat their meal. Loebo recognized 'Mo Tuff, Fawdry Pike and a tag team called the Twilight Feeders, consisting of Marcus Kavian and Ben Torea. Their gimmick was that of a couple of pretty boys who made the ladies swoon. With their long, flowing locks and chiseled faces, it was easy to see why. They had also apparently played vampires at one time.
     “Hey, guys.” Loebo sat down with some effort. His legs still didn't seem to want to work right. All conversation stopped when he touched his seat, and they merely stared at him as he began to eat. Pike gestured toward another bonfire and all four men rose and walked away, taking their food with them.
Loebo saluted them with his spoon. “Nice talking to you.”
      “Rough morning?” Seren sat down next to him, holding a salad bowl.
      “What's their problem?”
     “Well, most of us have dreamed our whole lives of being here, and it took us years of hard work to land a contract,” she said. “You kind of walked in and went right to the top of the card without paying any dues. Some people are going to resent that.”
      Loebo hummed in understanding. “I'm not exactly running through the meadows, you know. I miss my fiancĂ©e, every time my wagon hits a rock it jars my bones, my whole body hurts... I'm all sorts of out of sorts. And what the hell is this stuff anyway?” He lifted a spoonful of the goop the cook had given him and let it dangle until it oozed back into his bowl.
     “I think it's designed to keep us on a strict road diet so we can stay in shape,” Seren said. “You know, making sure we get the right nutrients and all that.”


Follow on Twitter:  @nykkochet

Monday, February 24, 2014

Excerpt from Of Dreams and Shadow by Deborah McKnight


We live. We die. Is there anything more? Jenna Barton is about to find out. After moving to the coastal North Carolina town of Parson's Cove, Jenna has unwittingly stepped into the middle of a mystery involving a missing child. Unfortunately, the predator is still on the loose and Jenna has become his new obsession. With a little luck and a bit of paranormal help, Jenna might survive.


Of Dreams and Shadow: Forget Me Not opens with a scene where Sarah, a four year old girl is taken by a specter.  The only witness is Chase, her five year old neighbor — and no one believes his story.  Twelve years pass and Silas (the specter) has awakened and chosen his newest victim. 

This is one of my favorite scenes.  I have a lot of compassion for Sarah.  She lost so much.  I imagined how it might feel to die and not “move on.”  I think Sarah would have watched as her parents suffered and would have longed to have made contact. But knowing Silas, she would have been afraid of the consequences.   She might have felt abandoned as her parents separated and moved from the only home she had known.  Through all the changes, Chase had been constant.  He had stayed.  She watched as he grew up and she fell in love with the young man he had become.

In this scene, Sarah finally feels as though it is safe to have a one-time visit with Chase.  She enters his room as he sleeps — wanting nothing more than a few stolen moments.  He awakens and a conversation ensues.  (This passage picks up midway through the conversation.)


“Things changed.” Sarah turned away from the window and
moved back to the bed. “Jenna came and drew Silas’ attention...”
She cocked her head to the side, “and yours.”
Feeling oddly uncomfortable, Chase briefly looked away before
replying. “I guess she did.”
“Not unlike you, Silas has become quite taken with Jenna. In
fact, it is his attraction to her that has made him vulnerable.”
“And you decided to take advantage of the situation.”
Sarah lifted her hand and slowly moved it to Chase’s. She
traced her finger over the back of his hand, a sad smile touching
her lips. “The sense of touch—you take it for granted while I can
only wish.”
Chase didn’t say anything. He didn’t know what to say.
She dropped her hand. “One does not live with Silas, and I use
that term loosely, and not learn to take advantage of opportunities
when they present themselves.”
“So what’s your plan?”
“My plan is to stop Silas.”
An impatient look crossed Chase’s face. “You know what I’m
Sarah acted as though she had not heard him, instead she
repositioned herself on his bed. “You know that he is visiting her
“I thought as much.” Chase rubbed his eyes. “I just hoped I was
“We are going to use that to our advantage.”
“Jenna told me about a journal. Did you read it?”
Chase shook his head. “Yeah, I did.”
She leaned forward, her eyes watchful. “What exactly did it say
about the necklace?”
“Something like, the necklace was to Silas what uncut hair was
to Samson.”
Sarah smiled. “Just as I thought.”
            “We’ve got to get the necklace from him, right?”
“Oh, we’ve got to do more than get the necklace from him.
We’ve got to destroy it.” Sarah pointed her finger at Chase. “Or
rather, you’ve got to destroy it.”
“Me?” Chase leaned forward. “I don’t know anything about
getting rid of some piece of hocus pocus jewelry.”
“You’ve got a sledge hammer, don’t you?”
“Uh, yeah,” Chase looked confused.
Sarah smiled. “I bet a couple good swings and our problem
should be smashed.”
“Really?” Chase looked relieved. “I thought it would be a lot harder than that.”
“Oh, I’m sure it will be…”
“But you just said—”
“I said destroying it wouldn’t be so hard. But getting the
necklace isn’t going to be easy. It’s not like its going to be there
waiting for you to pick it up. Silas is very protective of his treasure.
Don’t underestimate him or his connection to Jenna.”
“What connection? The one where he enters her dreams and
scares the hell out of her?”
Sarah glared. “The one where he enters her dreams and seduces
her – because that is what he is doing.” She paused, allowing her
comment to sink in before continuing. “You don’t know him. You
haven’t seen him – not as he was before.”
“What do you mean?”
“Silas is beautiful and dangerous, all the more dangerous
because he is beautiful.”
Chase chuckled. “Men typically don’t describe themselves as
“I wouldn’t call a tiger good looking. It is beautiful – dangerous
but beautiful and Silas is just like a tiger. He sets his sights on his
prey then hunts and kills it.”
“Then why go to the trouble of seducing her if he just wants to
kill her?” Chase asked.
“This has gone beyond his normal hunt,” Sarah explained. “He
wants her to choose to stay with him.”
“Like that would happen.”
Sarah’s eyes narrowed. “You may be surprised.” Standing up,
she continued, “I’ve been gone too long. I must go. This visit stays
between the two of us. No telling Jenna about Silas visiting her
A muscle in Chase’s jaw twitched. “She has a right to
“You’re absolutely right. Tell her. Maybe she’ll move. But
Silas will still be here and then what? I can’t keep watch over him
forever.” Sarah’s appearance altered and she was once again the
image of her four year old self. “I am tired, Chase – tired of living
a partial life, tired of being tied to a past that is long gone and a
future that will never be.”
“Sarah?” Concern laced Chase’s voice.
“Good night, Chase.” Her voice faded away as did her image
until nothing was left but a tiny spot of light that flickered and
then disappeared.  


Book trailer on YOUTUBE.
Twitter @DSMcKnight67

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Excerpt from THE CHOSEN by Annette Gimsby


The neighbouring kingdoms of Oscia and Arcathia have been at a tentative peace for three years after centuries of warfare. Prince Severin of Arcathia has been brought up to put duty before all else and as the only son of the King and Queen, it is his duty to marry and produce an heir.

His parents want him to marry an Oscian princess to cement that tentative peace. Unfortunately Severin isn't interested in princesses. Now, if he had his pick of princes that would be another matter.

Havyn has been a slave all his life. When his aptitude for wizardry is discovered, he finds himself purchased and freed by Prince Severin and apprenticed to the royal wizard, Ildar. His duty is to stay chaste to keep
his powers strong, but his feelings for Severin sorely test his resolve.

With kingdoms at war, the throne hanging in the balance, magic in the air,
and outside forces trying to keep them apart, can the two men find
happiness together, or is duty more important than love?


This is Prince Severin's 'coming out' scene to his father and it's one of the turning points of the book, because
Severin is a prince he needs to get an heir. But what is a gay prince to do?

“No? You turn down the best offer of marriage you’ll ever have and you say you have nothing to be sorry for?”

“I don’t want to get married!” protested Severin. “I already told you that.”

“You’re twenty-one years old, and the only heir to the Arcathian throne! What happens when I’m gone and you’re left a bachelor? There’ll be bloodshed if you don’t sire a son and soon. Do you want to bring us back to the brink of civil war? That’s what it will come down to. Leave us,” Faran commanded the falconer. 

The man bowed and hastily made his retreat, the birds squawked when he did so.

“Chayal told me what happened at your initiation,” said Faran in a much gentler tone. “That you were not pleased by any of the eligible women.  There is no shame in it for them or for you, Severin. The prince’s first chosen is an honour and one not lightly bestowed. But why didn’t you go through with it?”

Severin blushed, and mentally made a note never to speak to Chayal again. The man was supposed to be his friend. Then he realised that being the head of the Raven Brotherhood, Chayal’s first loyalties were to his king. They were his father’s bodyguards, not his.

“Have you lain with anyone at all? Perhaps you preferred to keep it private between the two of you?”

“No, Father. No one.” Heat crept into his cheeks as he spoke.

“But don’t you see? This is even better. Anyone offering for you will have to offer a much higher dowry since you’re a virgin, which is unusual for Arcathian males. You could have your pick of princesses,” said Faran, trying to coax him.

Why couldn’t his father understand? Severin didn’t want his pick of princesses. The idea of lying with a woman didn’t interest him. He didn’t dislike women, in fact, Kelandra was one of his best friends, but the
thought of being intimate like that with any of them wasn’t something he had ever wanted.

“Father, I am not interested in princesses, or any other women,” said Severin wondering how to tell his father what he really wanted. Severin took a deep breath and just decided to come right out with it. He was
already a disappointment to his father, what was one more? “I don’t want to get married, Father. I am not interested in women like that. I’m interested in men.”


Annette's books on AMAZON and on GOODREADS.  
Follow her on Twitter @havyn

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Excerpt from Red Serge by Lorne Oliver

Red Serge 

By Lorne Oliver


The body of a young girl is found.  She was raped and tortured before being strangled.  Sgt. Reid of the RCMP has had too much violent death in his career.  He knows he shouldn’t get involved in this one.  His marriage is falling apart, his daughter is getting involved in the wrong things, but something draws him in.  The discovery of other young girls’ bodies - his daughter’s age, some long dead, - begs the question: How long has the Devil been coming to Prince Edward Island?

It was almost his end game.  He had one last target in mind, one last conquest.  His whole life had been under the thumb of someone else.  This was his.  It wasn’t going to be a secret any more.  The daughter of a cop known for catching serial killers…how did she taste?

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police were known for their Red Serge uniform.  It was what they wore in ceremony, to honour others, and in death.


In my books I like to name characters after people I respect, friends, family, etc.  Sometimes people volunteer to be a character or ask to have their names put in.  The character of Cassie Michaels in Red Serge (my second novel in the Sgt. Reid Series now available on Amazon in both ebook and paperback) was named by the winner of a contest. 

In the case of the Bonaventure Campgrounds and Cottages I needed a name that I would be happy with, so I chose the name of Canada's last aircraft carrier the HMCS Bonaventure.  I didn't just pick it out of a hat though.  My father served onboard this ship.  It took him all over the Atlantic Ocean and too many countries – Brazil, Germany, Sweden, Ireland, Trinidad - but the most important moment was when it took him to Portsmouth England.  There he met my mother.

In comparison to modern aircraft carriers the "Bonnie" was tiny.  Whenever my father told me stories he described the size as a cigarette package next to his foot stool.  The landing deck would have been too short for today’s jets to land on.  According to my dad (who insists that he and his friends once caught a fish so big they had to bash its head with an ore because it was going to sink their small boat) they tried landing an American jet on her and the breaks burned the rubber of the wheels.  He never did say how they got it off the ship.  The Bonaventure was commissioned into the Canadian Navy in 1957 and though it was never involved in any wartime action it was part of NATO during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  She had a short life of peace time duties though being decommissioned in 1969.  It served its purpose though.  Without this ship me and my wonderful children wouldn’t be here.

I know back in the day I complained about having to sit and listen to his stories, but I enjoyed it then and would love to hear them again.  My dad and I don't talk much these days, but I'm really proud to say he served in the Canadian Navy.

In Red Serge I take the opportunity, okay I might have gone overboard, to educate the reader about the ship since Canadian’s don’t even know about it by having the campsite owners take the reins.


“What’s with the name?  Why call this place Bonaventure?”

“The man who started the campground years ago was a crew member on the HMCS Bonaventure, the Canadian Navy’s last aircraft carrier.  It was the greatest time in his life and when we bought it we agreed to keep the name.  We’ve actually adopted the theme throughout the grounds naming roads after decks or levels on the ship.  Some after other Canadian naval ships.  We had a local artist paint that large mural on the side of the restaurant and inside are paintings and pictures of the ship or planes that were on it.  It’s different anyway.  Aren’t you tired of things named after Anne of Green Gables anyway?  I did a lot of research on the Bonnie and Canada’s navy.  For instance, did you know that the crew on the Bonnie was twelve hundred people?  During the peak season we can have twice as many people here as they had on her.”  

He smiled at me with pearly whites.  

The campsite is the last known place of a young girl whose body is found.  Did someone from the campsite take her?  Did she wander off?  Is there a monster lingering around the site? 


Twitter:  @LorneOliver

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Excerpt from Murderous Decisions by Anna Drake

Murderous Decisions
By Anna Drake


Victoria Cross believes her greatest challenge in life is keeping up with family duties. But a tempting stranger, an unexpected responsibility, and a ruthless killer combine to complicate her life. And in the end, this young wife and mother's biggest challenge may turn out to be ... surviving.


This scene was fun for me to write because it centers around such a compelling dream. I mean, who wouldn't love to receive such a generous bequest?

But at one point Harry Price has told a friend that money can bring with it as many problems as solutions. And this is what Victoria learns as she struggles to overcome Harry's death and dispose of the remains of the gentleman's life. Because remember, there is a killer out there. He's killed at least once. Who is to say he will not kill again?


Then, one day the phone rang. It was a Tuesday again. As usual, I was home catching up with my chores.
"Mrs. Cross?" a voice asked.
"I'm Matthew Ashworth, Harry Price's attorney. First, let me tell you how sorry I am for your loss. Harry was a wonderful man. It was my pleasure to know him."
"Thank you." Considering Ashworth's comment, I had felt compelled to provide a suitable reply. Although, I couldn't understand why Ashworth was offering his condolences to me? I'd never even met Price.
"I'm sorry for coming at you unexpectedly like this," Ashworth said. "But it is the way these things sometimes go. Anyway, I'm calling to tell you that you're named as Harry's heir."
"I'm listed as an heir?" I pulled a chair out from the kitchen table and sat.
"Actually," Ashworth said, "you're the sole heir."
"But why would Harry leave anything to me?"
"I don't know, but you've also been designated the administrator of the estate."
"What does that mean?"
"Basically, it makes you responsible for inventorying all of Harry's possessions. Then, you'll need to file a statement with the court, swearing everything has been settled according to Harry's wishes."
It sounded like a lot of work. "Where would I be doing this?"
"I'm sorry. I thought you knew."
I sighed. "No. I've heard Harry was from someplace in northeastern Pennsylvania, but I don't know the exact spot."
"Harry lived in a house located about twenty miles northwest of Wiltonburg. It sits just outside a small town called Placidville."
"And I am to settle his estate? How would I do that?"
"Well, you'll need to come out here. You can stay in the house while you work. Incidentally, the funeral is set for Thursday. I thought you'd want to attend."
I sagged back in my chair. This was a lot to absorb. A funeral two short days from now. An estate to settle. A demand that I spend time in a place I'd never visited, to work on behalf of a man I'd never met.
"I can understand your surprise," Ashworth said. "This has all been a bit rushed. Murder tends to mess up the normal progression of things. Anyway, as you know, we had to wait for the police to release Harry's body. And now, well, we'd like to get on with things as quickly as possible."
"And you're encouraging me to attend the funeral?"
"Yes, I hope you will. Harry was a bit of a recluse. I don't expect a large turn out. Plus, as his executor you'll need to come sometime soon. So, now seems as good a time as any."
"And you say I'm the heir?"
"I assume you wrote the will?"
"I did."
"Did Harry tell you why he named me in it?"
"No, we never discussed you. Harry laid everything out. I just drafted the document according to his wishes."
I pulled a deep breath and released it slowly. None of this made any sense to me. "How long do you think it would take me to settle everything up?"
"I suppose it depends on how you want to do it. Harry had a great many possessions, both real and personal. I can't imagine you'd want to let them all go without giving them serious thought. Then, there's the house to be sold. Cars to be disposed of."
"So what? We're talking a week, maybe two, to wrap all of this up?"
"Oh, I'd think at least that, and possibly longer. It's an extremely large house, and Harry had a great many assets."
I sat there trying to make sense of it all. My entire life would be turned topsy-turvy. And for what? I'd need to take time off from work. I'd have to line up someone to watch David. I knew Aunt Ella would be delighted to cover for me, but I hated to impose on her. And then I wondered what Jake would think of all this?
I cleared my throat. "I'm sorry I can't give you an answer just now. I have to discuss this with my husband. But if I come, I don't want to stay in Harry's house. I didn't know the man that well. I'd feel like an intruder."
"That's okay. There's a lovely old inn nearby, or you could bunk down at a motel in Wiltonburg. I'd be happy to make the arrangements for you, if you'd like."
"I'll have to get back to you on that."
"Either way, let me know. If you're coming for the funeral, I won't bother mailing you a copy of the will. You'd get here before the document reached you."
While he chattered on, I listened as the refrigerator beside me hummed to life and the washing machine let forth a beep, telling me my latest load was done.
They were familiar, homey sounds, I would miss hearing in the coming days if I followed this man's suggestions.
"By the way," Ashworth now said, "are you curious about the estimated value of the estate?"
Recalling Harry's winded voice over the phone, I didn't expect much. "Sure."
"All told your inheritance comes to just under fifteen million."
My eyelids flew open. "Dollars?" I asked, placing my free hand palm down on the kitchen table and drawing several deep breaths.
"Yes, of course, dollars," Ashworth answered. "What else would it be?"


Anna Drake, writing mystery novels with a touch of romance and a bit of suspense.  Facebook; Website.

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