Monday, May 25, 2015

Lovelace Superstar

By Charles Rayner Kelly
Futuristic/Sci-fi/Fantasy, 449 pages
Cover art by Trisha FitzGerald
Purchase from Barnes and Noble, Smashwords or Amazon 
It is fifty years into the future and a young charismatic leader has changed the direction the world was heading in the 21st century. He combines the renown of a superstar musician with words that touch the minds and hearts of countless people. Living in the violent unstable era that prevailed at the time, he is assassinated but his spirit lives on.
This is a story of the Awakening, which happened among people worldwide and led to the healing of the earth. Ecological and social crises were getting worse without hope of being resolved. It seemed as if humanity was in a death spiral.
Not only did I start Lovelace's first fan club, but I also had an inside track on all the other fan clubs that sprouted up afterwards. I knew Lovelace's mother. I didn't really know her, but I knew she was the woman I always saw in church on Sundays, putting flowers on the altar and changing the linen. I decided to approach her when everyone else had gone.
Psst. Can I speak with you a moment?” I asked over the sanctuary rail.
“Yes, child, what can I do for you?” she asked with a warm, inviting smile.
“Aren't you Lovelace's mother?” I inquired nervously.
“Yes, I am.”
“My name's Joan and I live two streets down from your house.”
“How nice, we're almost neighbors,” she said sweetly. “Perhaps you know my husband. He's the mail carrier.”
“No, ma'am, but I hear he's very nice.”
“Thank you, I'll tell him that.”
“I heard Lovelace singing on the radio yesterday.”
“You did? He told me he made a recording recently. He's being kept so busy, I hardly see him. Sometimes he comes home after I'm asleep and he leaves before I'm awake. It's only because of his unmade bed that I know he's been there.”
I would have made his bed every day if she wanted me to. But I didn't say that.
“Did you know his song is now in the top ten?” I asked her instead.
“It is? How wonderful! I wonder why he didn't tell me.”
“Maybe he doesn't know. It only reached it this morning. It was number forty-seven of the top one hundred last week and the week before it was ninety-six."
“I'll be sure to tell him. No doubt he'll be happy.”
“I've started a fan club for Lovelace too, ma'am. I was hoping you might tell him that also.”
She looked incredulous at first, but then I showed her a binder with the names and addresses and phone numbers of all the people I had enrolled.
“We're calling it the 'We Love Lovelace' fan club,” I said, probably sounding excited.
“How nice! How many people are in the fan club?”
“Five hundred and twenty-seven, ma'am, but that's only with three high schools. There are five more on my list.”
I saw that Lovelace's mother could hardly believe it, so I opened up the binder and showed her fifty-three pages of ten names apiece. At the top of every page was written 'We Love Lovelace' Fan Club in silver and purple lettering.
“Here's the logo I've made, a heart made of lace with a capital 'L' in the center.” I showed her. “I still need a photo of him. I could blow it up so people could see our tables from a distance, and know where to come to join his fan club.”
“My goodness, wait till his father hears of this. Can I have these pages?”
“No ma'am, they're all I've got. But I'd be happy to bring them over to your house this afternoon, if that's all right. Then you can show them to your husband.”
She looked at me and then smiled. “All right, you know where we live? Come around three o'clock today and we'll have tea and cookies.”

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Never Say Goodbye

By Mary Jean Kelso
Historical Romance, 191 pages
Cover art by Richard Stroud

 “Now, there’s a problem here,” Cassie continued with her voice in a higher pitch. “Artifacts have begun missing. I feel terrible because it started happening right after I arrived. It has gotten serious. Lynne, I’ve been arrested!”

“Arrested?” Lynne gasped.

“I didn’t do it!” Cassie protested.

“I believe you, Cassie,” Lynne assured her.

“Well, the museum officials don’t! They think they caught me with the goods in my hands. I found some of the pieces, some arrowheads, on the floor. I was replacing them in their case when Security jumped out of the darkness at the museum. I know it looked bad—and no one would believe I wasn’t stealing them.”

“Are you in jail?” Lynne asked with shock.

“No. Not now. My attorney convinced the judge they didn’t have enough evidence to put me on trial—yet. So, he was able to get me home on my own recognizance. At least, until they see if they think they can make a case. I can’t leave town. I’m basically confined to the house what with my breathing problem and now this!”

“How can I help?”

“You’re so good at these sorts of things. You found Frank last summer,” Cassie stated. “I thought, well, I thought, maybe you could come down and help find out who the real thief is. Maybe you’ll have some idea how to get me out of this mess! Maybe you can do it before they decide to take me to court?”

Lynne thought for a moment before answering. She knew, if there was any way at all for her to help, she would have to. It was not in Lynne’s nature to let a friend, or someone close to a friend, down. And, although she wasn’t that connected to Cassie, she was Vicki’s friend.

“School’s basically out and I’ve been looking for a summer job,” Lynne answered, breaking her sentence off as she tried to calculate a way to rescue Cassie. “But, I’ve also thought about checking out the campus in Reno as well.”

Deep in concentration, Lynne rubbed the back of her neck. She pulled her fingers through her long blond hair from behind to relieve the tightness she felt where the strands stuck against her skin. How could she manage to go to Carson City and help Cassie when she knew she needed a job to supplement her school fund for the coming year?

“I don’t have much money, but I could pay your expenses and a small wage,” Cassie offered eagerly. “I can’t afford to hire a high-priced detective and the police are convinced I did it. I don’t think they’re even looking for anyone else. My attorney got me out of jail and no court date is set, yet. But, I fear we’ve only got a short time before they do come up with enough circumstantial evidence to at least try me. My attorney said they may even form a Grand Jury! Lynne, you know I’m not a felon.”

“I don’t believe that you would do it at all, Cassie! Vicki is my friend and so are you! You know I really wouldn’t want to take your money, Cassie. But, why didn’t you call me sooner, before it went this far?”

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

The Hunt for Avon’s Ghost

By DB Dakota
Cozy Mystery, 239 pages
Cover art by Pat Evans

From down the hall, Jorge hurried forward. “What took you so long?”

“It was that El Ecbat what’s-his-name guy that Jake rescued.”

“Do tell. Name? Can’t help you. I don’t keep lists.”

Thornburgh said, “I can tell you who it was not, and that name, I’ll swear, is Jester Yorick. Not him, not Yorick. The guy I’m bettin’ on who did the thieving—Gwen Bonnard told me his name is Vuelta Attar Hakim.”

“Pleased to hear that, except I don’t remember the character, haven’t heard of him. Now, how about me running along? I’ve got another case that—”

“Wait a minute. You know what? I take it back about Yorick. He still could be— Think clockwork.”

“I will, I will.” Prima frowned. “I did. Now what?”

“One half of the heist team. Yorick waited outside in the bushes while Hakim waited in the closet.”

“Everybody’s waiting. Waiting for what?”

“For the guard in the lobby, Brad Hardy, to leave,” she replied. “His shift ends sometime around midnight.”

“What happened after that?”

“How’s this? There’s only one way Hakim could have done it. He sneaks out of his hiding closet inside, this one right here that I was just in, and walks back through the empty building, the totally vacant conservatory…sneaks back to the lobby, grabs up the lighthouse, trots back to the little back-end service door and with the lighthouse in the bag, squeezes out onto the grass in the bushes, fastens the latch and, wow, outta here.”

“What about the clockwork Yorick person?”

“That’s my question too. What about Yorick? We don’t need Yorick. Hakim didn’t use him. Did it all by himself. So, okay, he fastens the latch, Hakim does, and—”

“He’s gone from here.” Prima chuckled. “By himself, alone, solo. Gotcha.”

“Makes a run for it, yep.”

“Where to?”

“El Ecbat, don’t you imagine? Think you anyplace else?” Thornburgh asked.

“Fine. But if you have plans to go there, you can’t, we can’t, so we won’t.”

“I know, I know, it’s a colony, whatever, foreign territory, a country, a nation inside a state of the United States, man, is that cockeyed or what? And we have to show a pass or something to get in, I assume.”

“I’d rather have a ticket to Disneyland. Who wants to visit a towel-headed miniature I-ran?” Prima noted. “You just want to catch Little Sire Hakim and make him cough up the lighthouse.”

“Is it getting sticky in here?”

“Awkward and hairy somewhat, yes it is sticky, and smelly. What say we send for the Marines to march across that pasteboard colony border, just storm in there and drag that kleptocrat outta there?”

“What we’ve got to figure out is what Hakim’s black market is.” She stared at the floor. “He can’t peddle it. There’s no market for a lighthouse, I wouldn’t think.”

“That means he already has a customer for it, for that particular lighthouse. Meaning, yes, he can peddle it. Gwen Bonnard knows of people who bid for it.”

“If she doesn’t have a list of would-be buyers,” Prima observed, “we’ve got to get a list together, haven’t we? But do with it, what? Start dogging each customer on the list, each one that lost out on the bidding? Impossible…wouldn’t be reliable. People lie, hide their swag. How about we wait till we hear of a mysterious explosion?”

“A lighthouse blowing up? Then we’d know. We sure will know who stole that lighthouse. Jorge, I keep thinking about the Joe Crystal call to Gwen, warning about the bombshell in the model. On some level, the two people, Crystal and phone caller, had to be acquainted. That person had to have put in a bid for the lighthouse. It was gone, already sold. So why did the caller call?”

“Sour grapes?”

“Said the fox. Thank you, Dr. Aesop. We’ve talked about that. But why the call? To frighten buyers away from the lighthouse, drive it onto the flea market table so it can be picked up for a song. Anyhow, the burglar turned out to be Hakim, an El Ecbatski, according to the candy bar wrapper, a student who was into Shakespeare lore off and on. His education is Western, Hakim’s is. There are bound to be others like him, Americanized. I can’t believe he stole the lighthouse for his personal pleasure.”

“Can you believe he stole for someone else?” Prima asked. “Or that he’s got a partner? A fence, maybe?”

“Had to have! That’s right, an accomplice. Not talking about Yorick, though. I will lay dollars to Danish there’s not a solitary soul in El Ecbat who cares one whit or even knows about Shakespeare and that lighthouse, except—”

“A fence. I already said that.”

“That’s a question, isn’t it, Jorge?”

“I’m thinking like you’re thinking, yeah, sure, no penalty in me being stupid, is there?”