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Monthly Archives: December 2013

Christmas at the Airport by Wendy Vorpahl

Below is the submission received for the open blog call for the Holidays.

The story  is titled “Christmas at the Airport” written by Wendy Vorpahl.  The last comment is that this is a True Story. Enjoy!

 

Empty shops.  Wide open walkways.  Once in a while a person lugging a suitcase.  All we could hear were the sounds of Christmas music as we slouched in a lonely looking group of chairs, wondering if Scott’s plane was ever going to arrive.  The last place a 13 year old girl wants to spend Christmas Day is in a nearly-empty airport in Milwaukee, yet there I was stuck with my Dad and 11 year old brother.   Could Christmas day be any more boring?

It was Christmas Day, 1986.  My brother Scott learned that it was cheaper to fly on Christmas Day, so he booked a flight home to Wisconsin for that day.   My mom was convinced that my younger brother and I were just going to sit in the living room all day and stare at the Christmas presents under the tree, so she forced Jon and I to go with Dad on the 2 ½ hour ride to the Milwaukee airport to pick Scott up.  Dad had it all planned out-we would get to the airport just before Scott’s plane was scheduled to land, pick him up, and immediately make the lengthy drive home.   I was mad at mom for making me go along on the ride, so as we got to the Milwaukee airport I was hoping things would go like Dad planned.  No…such…luck.

We arrived about 12:30 pm.  Dad drove our car to the short term parking area, and the three of us made our way inside the airport.  As we waited, we stood by the large windows and gazed at the other jets that were landing.   Scott’s 1 pm arrival time came and went with no sign of his plane in sight.  With our patience fading, Dad asked Jon to check the screens to see what the status was on his flight.  When Jon returned the look on his face told us that he was not about to give us good news.  “Dad, Scott’s plane had to make an emergency landing in Kansas City.  Now his plane isn’t gonna get here until four..twenty..three.”     Those three hours sounded like an eternity to my young mind, and when I found out that Dad brought as little money as possible with him, those hours seemed even longer yet. 

We hadn’t had lunch before reaching Milwaukee, and we were hungry.   The only place that was selling food in the whole airport was a remote ice-cream shop.  All that Dad afford to buy was one ice-cream cone, so that was what the three of shared for our ‘Christmas dinner’. 

Now four twenty three passed, and still no sign of Scott.  We learned from the airport staff that another passenger on Scott’s flight from Texas to Wisconsin had a heart attack on the plane, and that is why the plane made the emergency landing in Kansas City.  Scott finally arrived in Milwaukee about 6 pm Christmas evening.  After Scott gave us hello hugs, the next words out of his mouth were, “I am never travelling on Christmas Day again.” 

Because of how long the afternoon seemed, I forgot all about Dad parking in short-term until it was time to pay the parking fee.  “That will be $22.50,” the attendant told Dad.  (In today’s dollars, that same fee would be about $48.00.)  “WHAT?! TWENTY-TWO FIFTY?!” Dad bellowed to the attendant.  The attendant, obviously annoyed by Dad’s reaction, curtly replied, “This is short-term parking, sir!”  After Dad reluctantly plucked the dollar bills from his wallet, Scott gave the attendant a sarcastic “Merry Christmas!” as Dad sped away from the parking booth to make our way to the highway home.   

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Posted by on December 24, 2013 in Short Stories

 

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Corpses Say the Darndest Thing: A Nod Blake Mystery by Doug Lamoreux

DarndestPrivate detectives have seen many types of incarnations over the years in the fiction realm. It is an area filled with the known, Sherlock Holmes, Sam Spade, Nero Wolf, and the unknown.  There have been movies, television shows, radio shows and endless books written that deal with a private detective. So, you may wonder is there anything else that can be done with the genre. Let me ask you this… Who do you think you are Nostradamus, and can tell the future?

Doug Lamoreux brings the detective Nod Blake to live in his book, Corpses Say the Darndest Things.

The book opens with the Blake asking the reader to imagine what it would be like to watch a washed up detective chasing a uniformed cop through the streets of Chicago. This opens the reader into the life of Blake and the type of work he does. It will also introduce you to members of the police and a woman of the street. You will also get a feeling on how Blake feels about guns, but most importantly you get an intro on what is to come.

The story is told through the eyes, and mind, of Blake. A detective who nearly refuses to let people learn his first name. Nod is not exactly common and not a name that the man cares much for.  Blake makes sure to tell you in those first few pages his life is not easy. In those written words you read how luck is non-existent in his life, and good fortune is only a fantasy. His life is not an easy one and as that first chase continues a blow to the head may unlock more than his “marbles”.

Corpses Say the Dardnest Things, takes you into a case that will drive Blake to the extremes. The man will be beaten up, hit by a car and unconscious a few times. The entire time trying to solve a murder, no make that plural, murders, he could be charged for committing.

It all starts when a woman comes into his office looking to hire Blake for her employer. A rich televangelist that is going out of town and needs someone to ensure his wife is safe while gone. The man, Reverend Conrad Delp, is a powerful man and appears has an enemy as he has received death threats. So he wants his wife watched and his assistant, Gina Bridges, comes to hire him. The problem he refuses the job but Blake’s secretary (Lisa) takes the job for him. This starts the case that will lead to more trouble and adventures that could end up with one dead Private Detective.

Lamoreux uses a great mix of comedy, self-deprecating humor, and characterization to draw the reader into this book. The characters in the book are well thought out and as you read the story, written in Blake’s view point, you get a great sense of the trouble he is facing.  The story will have Blake traveling around Chicago and outside of the area, and to make things worse this is not our modern era. The book takes place in the 1970’s when Betamax and VHS were still trying to decide who is better.

Another thing in the book I enjoyed was how Blake seemed to be compared to many movie stars of the era. The reader will find the simple question of, “Who do you think you are”, asked numerous times within the book. A few younger readers may not get the references but some of those he is accused of being are as follows: Edward G. Robinson, Chuck Norris and Audie Murphy.

The additional thing that lends a bit of a “supernatural” twist to the book is how Blake suddenly has visions as he struggles to solve the murders. The murders all start with the woman he is hired to watch, the good reverend’s wife.  The visions could be a result of several blows to the head, but either way when they happen they are vivid and very real.

Corpses Say the Darndest Things is a well written book that is not easy to put down. There is plenty of detective work being done throughout the book and at times you wonder if you can solve the crime before Blake.  There are of course hints that are littered through the book but you may miss them and catch yourself realizing that at the reveal.  It is a will written book that takes you back to those classic detective stories but at the same time adds some fresh elements many should enjoy.

 
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Posted by on December 20, 2013 in Reviews

 

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Ten +1 Questions with Author Angelika Rust

Angelika RustAngelika Rust is the author behind the book Ratpaths. If you want to get an idea on the mind behind the book all you need to do is check out the about the author piece in the book. After all, how many authors will admit to this when it comes to where the book idea was found.

“I had a story in my head. It started taking up too much brain space (And to those of you who’ll feel compelled to argue that there hadn’t been too much brain space to begin with: I know who you are. And I know where you live.), so I wrote it down, only to find that writing one story down will inevitably lead to others popping up and demanding the same right.”

 

So after you read that about Angelika, in her own words, let us get on to her responses to those Ten, plus one, questions. Oh and at the bottom find the video trailer for the book, Ratpaths.

Question 1: What inspired you to write Ratpaths?

From the moment I discovered fantasy for me, I all but stopped reading anything else. For years, I read all that was available in the fantasy genre, right up to the moment I got heartily sick of almighty wizards and divine intervention. You know, deus-ex-machina solutions. I wanted to read a book with no magic at all, one in which the characters would need to rely on their own wits, luck, friends, whatever, to help them out of whatever they’ve gotten themselves into. That’s when I started writing the story which had occupied parts of my brain for quite some time already. It probably sounds hopelessly arrogant, but I wrote the book I wanted to read.

 Question 2: Is there any significance to the name/names of your main characters?

Sorry, but no. No friends I wanted to honor, no long lost love. I made all the names up as I went along, trying to find the name most appropriate for the individual person.

Question 3: During the writing process did you find yourself thinking about any of your own memories?

Of course. Sometimes a character will do or say something reminiscent of some person from your own past or present. Luckily, though, I’ve never had to experience anything even remotely close to what I put my characters through.

Question 4: What were some of your favorite books growing up?

I’ve spent quite a lot of time with Michael Ende’s Neverending Story. I’m reading it to my own kids now. It’s a unique book, and every child should read it, and then read it again as an adult.

Question 5: Do you hear from fans of the book, and if you do what do they say?

I’ve received a lot of very helpful feedback already. People tell me what they liked and disliked, which characters they’ve grown fond of and want to learn more about. They make suggestions on how the story might continue. Most of all, though, people tell me that they love the way I bring the city’s culture to life with allusions to beliefs and superstitions in the characters’ everyday language. In other words, they like how I swear and curse.

Question 6: What was the feeling like when you saw the very first printed version of your book? 

Unreal. Absolutely, wonderfully, horrifyingly unreal.

Question 7: Do you continue to write?

Yes. I’m currently working on the sequel, and whenever I need a break I’m writing a novella about the more or less amusing side effects of depression.  

Question 8: What is the message you want people to take away from the book?

None at all. I want people to take my book, lean back and relax. I didn’t choose to write fantasy to teach a lesson, but to provide a means of escape, a few hours of entertainment.

Question 9: If you could envision a future for your main character, what would it be?

At some point, in a very distant future, I want him to grow old in peace and play with the grandchildren. He’s in his early twenties now. I have plans for him, which don’t include an early retirement.

Question 10: Who are those in the dedication of the book, and their importance to you?  

This book is dedicated to everyone who reads/has read/will read it. Books should be dedicated to readers, that’s why.

The +1 Question: If you had any one place in the world you could travel to for a book tour, where would that place be, and why?

Can I have more than one place? During the past half year, I’ve met a great many wonderful, supportive people, but only on the internet and never in person. They are all over the US, the UK, some in Africa, Australia, Canada,…I would dearly love to meet and hug them all, hence I’d schedule a book tour to take me to the places where they live.

 

The trailer:

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2013 in Interview

 

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Ratpaths by Angelika Rust

RatpathsSeattle, Washington, is an old city in the United States Pacific Northwest, which has an underground tunnel system. The tunnels were at one time used by business owners for storage and away from people to travel from place to place. As sidewalks were constructed the tunnels nearly became forgotten. Instead they became used for nefarious activities. One could find opium dens, speakeasies, brothels, and men even disappeared from the tunnels only to find themselves on some sailing ship. 

You could almost say that the only thing to call those tunnels home were the criminals, and the rats that looked for dark places. These creatures both looked for a place to hide and conduct their own form of living, and away to escape those who hunted them.

The book, Ratpaths, by author Angelika Rust takes the reader into one such of tunnel system. A tunnel system that lies underneath Istonnia, and they are controlled by one man, Vicco Cambrosi. The man used the paths under the city to run his illicit activities and controlled who could use the paths. This included the young man Nivvo who will find that those paths are both a help and a hindrance to his life.

Nivvo is a thief, and a quite good one. He has worked and taken jobs for people such as Cambrosi since he was a wee little boy. There is only one person in the city he really cares for outside of himself and that would be his sister Reka and her charges.

Reka took over what some would call an orphanage after its leader, Babbo Andori, had passed away. She is able to help put enough food out for anyone hungry and provide beds for all who need them. This has not been easy for Reka and after Andori’s death it fell upon her to keep the place running. She survives by donations from those who can afford the extra coin, but it is never enough.

It is when Contia Zadora I Amaffi announces to Reka that she may no longer be of assistance at Andori’s that things really begin for Nivvo. He is listening when the Contia tells Reka of a locket that a man has taken and is using against the Contia. He promises his sister he will help and this will involve breaking into the man’s home to retrieve the locket. 

Nivvo finds that this job may be going too easy when he is forced to hide under some furniture and hears something that will change the life of many. The son of the city’s past ruler is alive and will be killed that evening.  Nivvo makes the choice to save the young man and get him out of the city. There is only one way to go, and that’s under the main city.

Ratpaths is a book that will take the reader into an older world setting. People live and die by the blade, there are no modern weapons. The city of Istonnia is ruled by a tyrant who went as far as to KILL his own brother to become the ruler. The actions of his men led to much brutality that is explained in the book, and tells how Reka came to Andori’s as an infant.

The reader will also learn about the main character Nivvo and those he can call friend. The move that Nivvo makes to rescue the young boy will have far reaching consequences to all those he cares about. He will find himself running through the wilderness with the boy knowing someday he will have to return home.

The book is well written and author, Angelika Rust, does a great job in getting the reader interested in her characters. The reader will find a great story that does involve some “cat and mouse” activity by Nivvo and others. The book is self-published and fans of mystery, action, and other genres will find this book a great read. The key to the book is the way the story is set and flows in a manner it is hard to put down.

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2013 in Reviews

 

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An Apology and What’s Coming

Coming BackWell this is an Apology to not just those who follow my blog but to the authors that I have books from that are waiting for a review.  I had hoped to get a new post up this week but after a vacation during Thanksgiving I fell behind on my reading.  It’s not that the reading is work but when you don’t go near the computer/tablet that holds the eBook it’s hard to read.

So this is my apology for falling a bit behind on the blog. Instead I’m going to share with you what I have upcoming in the way of books, and remind you all of the Holiday Event for the end of year.

Up first:

A reminder on the Holiday Event

All writers, authors, readers, heck ANYONE can submit for this event.  All you need to do is put your thoughts into words, form sentences, paragraphs and create a story.

The genre does not matter, what does is it must have a connection to Christmas of New Years. The length no more than 5000 words, although if it’s really good I will let a few words over go. It is the Holidays after all. Oh Submissions due by 12/20 and please put Submission in the Subject, Your Name, the Title should be in the email. Include any images you want shared and how you want your name to appear in the story. Email Address: Knightmist72(at)Gmail(Dot)com.

 

Now on to what I’m currently reading.

Ratpaths by Angelika Rust  

Upcoming Reads: 

  • Corpses Say the Darndest Things by Doug Lamoreux
  • In the Beginning: Three Stories from the World of The Green Woman by Jane Dougherty
  • The Carving Collection by Drake Vaughn
  • Boudicca: Her Story by T. Jerome Baker
  • Into The Killer Sphere (Chase Williams Crime Series) by Stefania Mattana
  • The Dead of Night by LC Mortimer
 
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Posted by on December 4, 2013 in Reviews

 

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