Thursday, July 28, 2016

Smashwords Sale Ends Soon

The last day of the Smashwords July Summer/Winter Sale is July the 31st.

That's Sunday. That means you have (including today) just four days left to get my Smashwords catalog for free.

A catalog which now includes Holliday's Gold.

Click the blow link to get to my Smashwords profile then scroll down to see my books. They are all free for the next four days. All except The Church of Minos as it's only available for preorder.

Happy reading.

The Church of Minos #12

The following takes place after The Walrus of Death, which you can purchase HERE

Part One

-This is a first draft-

ABNER LEMONZEO, BUD TO his friends, began his day with a hundred push-ups and a hundred sit ups. It was a habit he’d gotten into while in jail. Actually, it was the one good thing he’d taken from the whole experience. Thanks to jail he was in the best shape of his life.

Following the exercise he hit the shower, and remained there until the water went cold. The freedom of being alone in the show was something he’d never take for granted. Not anymore. Back in jail a shower was something you did quickly. You got in and you got out. You also had to focus more one who was around you then getting clean. It was a nerve wracking affair.

Once well and fully soaked, Abner Lemonzeo would, weather permitting, air dry on the veranda. Living out in the country as he did, he didn’t need to worry about neighbors being offended by the lack of clothing.

As he sat and let the air do its thing, he sipped on hot coffee and smoked a thin cigar. Normally, under such circumstances, Abner would be feeling good. Pretty darn great, to tell the truth. But not this morning. This morning Abner was more than a little anxious.

He had made what he thought was a necessary, yet risky decision two days ago. He’d agreed to help to kill Norman Oklahoma for a group of vampires in return for a substantial cash donation toward his various enterprises. Which, he could admit to himself, were not all completely legal.

This deal was going to help him get back on top. To get back all that he’d lost when he’d gone to jail.

And really, it had all seemed so simple. Kill Norman Oklahoma. One man. What could be so hard about that?

He’d already planned on killing the man, so it wasn’t like he was being asked to do something he wasn’t willing to do. And it certainly wasn’t the first time he’d gone into partnership with a monster. So yeah, he agreed and they handed over a suitcase full of cash.

But then something went wrong. Norman Oklahoma had survived. Abner had hired one of the best, the Walrus, yet Oklahoma lived. Not only that, he came to visit with Abner just yesterday and got into it with the very vampires he’d gotten into bed with.

The two vampires, Thomas and Alexander, were anything but happy when they’d left the Pub yesterday morning. Not that he blamed them, but in reality, it wasn’t his fault.

Thankfully Thomas and Alexander didn’t make the decisions. They had a boss like anyone else. But he’d be meeting with the two vampires again this morning to finalize Abner’s part in whatever the vampires had going on in Eudora. He only hoped that they still needed him.

Sufficiently dry he adjourned to the bedroom to dress — shorts, t-shirt, no shoes. Soon he was in the kitchen scrambling eggs. A little salt, pepper, a few pats of butter. The key was to whisk it all with the eggs until they were all blended and smooth. Abner had always felt that his scrambled eggs were the best around.

As he was plating the eggs and toasting the bread, his assistant, a man he knew only as Jenner, entered the kitchen. Jenner carried with him one of those electronic tablets that Abner could never figure out the use of. What was wrong with a little black book and a pencil?

“Good morning, sir,” Jenner said, swiping and tapping at the screen.

Jenner was an unassuming man. Average in almost every way. It was like he’d been designed to blend into a crowd, to go through life unnoticed by others, to be anonymous in all respects. His hair was brown, short and conservative. His suit, gray, not too expensive, but not cheap. He wasn’t tall, wasn’t short, wasn’t skinny or fat or athletic. He just was.

His eyes, however. Sometimes when Jenner looked at him, Abner could see through them and into infinity. He’d always found it more than a little unsettling.

“Have a seat, Jenner and I’ll plate you up some eggs.”

“Thank you, sir,” Jenner said. “I would be happy to share your table with you, but I’m afraid I’ve already eaten.”

“Well then,” Abner said, sitting with his own plate. “That just means more for me.”

It had been the same every morning since Abner had been released from prison. Which, in fact, was where the two had met.

Two days into his five year stretch, three large men, all of them covered in tattoos, cornered Abner in the yard. It was the same old prison story. He was a new fish, fresh meat, and they wanted to take him for a test drive.

But then Jenner stepped in. That was it. He calmly stepped himself between Abner and the three burly men. Then, he turned to look at Abner’s would-be assailants. Just that, a look, and they apologized and walked away. Ran, actually.

“I don’t believe ‘thank you’ would be sufficient based on the circumstances,” Abner remembers saying to Jenner.

“A ‘thank you’ is not necessary, Mr. Lemonzeo,” Jenner had replied.

“You know who I am?”

“I knew your father,” Jenner had said. “Your birth father.”

“Then you know more than me,” Abner had said.

Abner Lemonzeo had been orphaned at a very early age. He’d been adopted by a wealthy couple in Topeka and he’d lived a life of relative luxury. But it had never been enough for Abner. He’d always wanted more.

“You father had once done something for me that no other had ever done before. And for that, I am forever in his debt,” Jenner had told him that day. “And with his passing the debt I owe I will pay to you.”

He’d told Abner no more and left him with many questions. Questions that have yet to be answered. But these many years later, Jenner had proven time and again that he was true to his word.

Jenner had even been released two years before Abner and had moved to Eudora to look over things until Abner’s return.

“Tell me what’s going on in the world, Jenner?” Abner asked as the two men sat together at his kitchen table.

“The Walrus has been taken to a facility in Denver,” Jenner said, reading from the tablet.

“I regret using him,” Abner said. “But his references were impeccable.

“I have to admit that this Norman Oklahoma has me more than a bit curious,” Jenner said. “The Walrus is a formidable opponent. For Mr. Oklahoma to have walked away unscathed . . . Curious.”

“The man does have an annoying habit of surviving,” Abner said. “What else do you have for me?”

“Well,” Jenner swiped at the screen a few times. “Speaking of Norman Oklahoma. A girl, Maggie Keaton, was abducted last night. The Police, along with Mr. Oklahoma, are looking into it.”

“Do we know who took her?” Abner said. “I don’t like kidnappings. I especially don’t like it happening in my town without my knowledge.”

“I’ll make some inquiries,” Jenner swiped the screen again. “Your meeting with the vampires is in an hour.”

“Yes, yes,” Abner said. “Not a meeting I am looking forward to. They didn’t leave happy yesterday.”

“After the way Mr. Oklahoma treated the two, I don’t blame them.”

Abner smiled. “He sure took them down a peg or two, didn’t he?” Then he laughed.

“He did at that,” Jenner said. Not smiling. The man never seemed to smile.

“You’ll be there?” Abner asked. “At the Pub, during the meeting?”

“As always, sir.”

Abner didn’t like it when Jenner called him ‘sir’. He’d been trying to correct it for some time now, preferring that the man call him Abner, or even Bud. But nothing had changed, and he’d given up trying.

“Okay then,” Abner said. “I’ll get dressed.”

To be continued . . .

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

The Church of Minos #11

The following takes place after The Walrus of Death, which you can purchase HERE

Part Two

-This is a first draft-

I took advantage of Grut’s hesitation and began to reload the Peacemakers from rounds I kept in loops on the gun belt. I could load my guns blindfolded and hanging from the top of a flagpole by my feet, so I was able to keep an eye on Grut the entire time. Though I did steal a quick glance to see to the health of Diana.

She was no longer where she had fallen. In fact, I couldn’t immediately locate her at all. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. I could only hope that she’d run far. Maybe she’d come back with help, but I wouldn’t blame her if she just kept on running.

With both Peacemakers now fully loaded, I held one in each had and waited.

“Grut not stupid like other ogre,” the thing said.

“I can see that,” I replied. “It’s obvious to me that Grut is one of the great ogre thinkers. Maybe, in light of this new information, Grut may want to handle our little dispute by participating in a contest of wills wherein our two combatants, that would be you and I, battle using only our respective intellect rather than engaging in barbarous fisticuffs?”

Grut stopped circling as he processed what I’d said. Occupied as he was with this intellectual puzzle, he hadn’t noticed that the headlights from the patrol car that had been shinning into the yard had changed.

I, on the other hand, had noticed the change. The lights had grown brighter, closer ever. And so I dove to one side as the patrol car, driven by Diana, plowed into the beast from behind.

The ogre was thrown a few dozen feet, but rose as if he’d merely tripped while taking a leisurely stroll.

Diana gunned the engine but the tires only spun in the mud. Grut roared and moved slowly toward the patrol car. Diana, her foot pressed firmly on the gas, bounced up and down in the driver’s seat, hoping to rock the car into some traction. But the tires only continued to spin.

Grut reached the car, raised both fists over his head, and then brought them down together on the hood, roaring in frustration. The hood caved in, the sides flaring out. Diana’s foot remained on the gas.

I pulled myself to my feet with more of the wincing and the groaning. The ribs were having a hard time healing, what with all of the fighting, jumping, and falling in the mud. I ran for the back of the car, slamming into it with all of my strength. I can admit now that I screamed in pain. Tears may have even fallen from my face. But it had worked, the tires hit a layer of dry earth and the car shot forward, ramming into the ogre who went for a little ride hanging off of the front of the hood, his muscly torso dangling in front of the radiator grill and the push bumper.

Diana didn’t stop this time, driving through the yard and then crashing through the privacy fence that separated the yard from the Happy Hamburger. The ride ended when the car slammed into the Happy Hamburger’s concrete exterior with the ogre trapped between.

By the time I’d arrived at the car, Diana was out and standing by the hood where Grut was, amazingly, still alive, though fading fast.

The ogre was pinned tight to the wall of the Happy Hamburger. Blood trickled from one corner of its mouth and its eyes had begun to cloud over as it coughed.

“Okoma,” it said in a voice weak with pain.

It took me a moment but I suddenly realized that the thing had jut said my name. Or at least it had tried to.

“You know me?” I asked.

“Yes,” it coughed. “Master said you would come. Master was right.”

“And who is Master?” I said. “I’d really like to drop in and say hi or something.”

“Master is,” it coughed blood onto the hood of the car. “Master is secret. Grut not tell.”

Grut laughed and then its eyes rolled into the back of its head and it died there between the car and the Happy Hamburger.

Here ends Chapter Five

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Church of Minos # 10

The following takes place after The Walrus of Death, which you can purchase HERE

Part One

-This is a first draft-

I AIN’T ONE TO give over to cussing. Talking blue just never appealed to me. I’d always considered swearing the product of a lazy mind, one lacking in creativity. But I have to admit that when that second and third ogre showed up, I let loose with a string of curses the likes of which would have made a sailor blush.

Diana, to her credit, never once blinked.

The ogres, for the time being, seemed content to just stand and roar challenges. I took the moment to reload each Peacemaker.

“How many of those door buster rounds you got left?” I asked.

“One,” Diana replied.


“I don’t think Officer Singer fully realized what we might encounter this morning when he stocked the car.”

I finished loading the second gun and pulled both, wincing again at the stabbing pain in my torso.

The two ogres continued to stand a few dozen yards away, roaring and posturing like a pair of testosterone-laden book ends.

“I don’t like this,” I said.

“Yeah,” Diana replied, jacking her only remaining door buster round into the shotgun’s chamber. “Tell me about it.”

“No,” I said. “Something seriously messed up is going on here. There is someone, or something, out there with enough influence to coerce both goblins and ogres into working for them, or it, or whatever. Who can do that? Who has that power? And what the Hell do they want with Maggie Keaton? I’m telling ya, I ain’t happy about any of this.”

“Here they come,” she said. And sure enough, the two ogres charged, bellowing war cries as they came right at us.

We opened fire. Me with the Peacemakers, Diana with the shotgun.

Her shot took the ogre to the left in the head. It dropped like a stone and slid for a few feet before coming to a stop.

I emptied both guns into the chest of the other. I fired methodically, like a machine. Right gun, left gun, right. Left, then right, then left, then right. It did nothing more than slow the thing down.

Once out, I holstered both guns and raised my fists.

The ogre, shocked that I would raise fists to it slid to a stop, blinking.

“You fight, little man?” It said, then laughed. “You fight me with fists?”

“I’ll do what I have to do,” I said.

Then it swung at me. One massive fist followed by an arm as big around as an elephant’s leg.

I ducked under the swing, spun, took hold of the thing’s wrist, then using its own momentum and weight, threw it over my shoulder and into the mud. It was back on its feet almost immediately, raging and spitting.

It charged, one fist out like a battering ram.

I stepped casually to the side, stuck out a foot, grabbed it once more by the wrist, and again using its weight and momentum, tripped it back into the mud where it slid to a halt.

It began to rise when suddenly Diana was there next to it. She slammed the stock of the shotgun into the side of the creature’s thick skull.

The ogre shrugged it off and brushed her aside like a stray lock of hair.

It pulled itself to its feet once more. But instead of charging headlong like an animal, it circled me. That wasn’t good. I was really banking on using its unbridled rage to take it down a peg or two. I had no illusions that I could get out of this encounter unscathed, but I hoped that I could at least buy some time for Diana to think of something more productive.

“You good fighter,” the creature said as it circled. “You make surprise for me.”

I didn’t respond. I rotated with the ogre as it circled, determined to keep at least one eye on it.

“You make Grut work for prize,” the ogre said. Apparently its name was Grut. “Working for prize means more to Grut. Makes Grut feel good about work. Grut earn prize.”

“Oh, you’ll earn this prize,” I said. “I’ll make you pay for every inch, you can be sure of that.”

To be continued . . .

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Church of Minos is Available for Preorder

I'm excited to announce that The Church of Minos is available for preorder for just 99 cents.

Regular regular price once the book goes live on 8/31/16 will be $2.99, so preorder it now if you want to pay less.
Norman Oklahoma is a private investigator from Eudora, Kansas who specializes in the supernatural, the unexplained, and the just plain weird.

When a man is found naked by local police who claims his fiancé, Maggie Keaton, was abducted by aliens, Norman is brought in on the case.

But Norman knows that there is no such thing as aliens. So who, or what, took Maggie? And can Norman find her in time to save her life?

Find out in The Church of Minos, the exciting sequel to The Walrus of Death.

Monday, July 18, 2016

The Church of Minos #9

The following takes place after The Walrus of Death, which you can purchase HERE

Part Two

-This is a first draft-

Lightning flashed again and the creature was in full sprint, bearing straight for me. Officer King had run left, arching around where the ogre had been standing previously.

Myself, I fought every instinct I had and ran toward the beast rather than away.

The next flash of lightning and the ogre was just ten yards away and closing fast. I popped off two quick shots on the fly, one from each gun.

The light fled before I could see if the shots had hit their mark, but I didn’t need to see to know that they had. I always hit what I aim for.

The thing roared. I wasn’t lying when I said that shooting it would only make it angry, but I didn’t really have a choice.

An ogre has thick skin, like armor. Bullets will pierce it, eventually, but the few times I’ve ever come up against one I’ve found that it’s best to just run.

I don’t like to run.

Another flash of light and I was able to throw myself aside the instant before the thing could barrel into me.

I fired off two more shots as I fell, hitting it in the back of one of its knees. By the next flash I could see it take a header into the mud. That made me smile.

There was another burst of light, but this time it wasn’t the lightning. Office King had pulled the patrol car around and now had it pointed into the yard, its headlights falling over me and the creature in the mud.

The ogre pulled itself to its feet.

“I kill you,” it said in a voice like a thunder. “You die now.”

“You first,” I said, and shot it in the face.

The ogre roared in pain. It was one of the most terrifying sounds I’d ever heard. Then it was on top of me.

The thing hit me like an entire offensive line. I slammed into the ground, my breath pulled from my lungs like a rabbit from a hat. I felt a few ribs break and then I was face down in the mud.

A fist the size of a Buick Roadmaster hammered into my side and more ribs snapped like they were made of glass. I screamed and it pushed my face down into the mud, holding it there as I choked.

The creature toyed with me. Letting go of the back of my head long enough to allow me to catch my breath. Then it was back in the mud.

The third time it let me up for air I laughed when I realized that it had stopped raining.

Then there came the sudden roaring blast of a shotgun and the pressure on the back of my head relented as the ogre dropped heavily into the mud next to me, its head nothing more than a ruined mess.

Officer King stood over me, shotgun in hand and a grim look on her face. She caught me looking at her.

“Door busters,” she said.

“Say no more,” I said. “Help me up. I’m afraid the beast broke a few of my ribs.

“I’ll call and ambulance,” she turned.

“Don’t bother with all that,” I said. “I’ll heal up in good time. Just help me up.”

It was true, I could already feel the familiar itch that meant my accelerated healing had begun.

Officer King — I suppose I could refer to her now as Diana considering that she probably saved my life.

So, Diana held out a hand, I took it, and she pulled me to my feet. I groaned and winced as I rose. I heal fast, but that don’t mean that crap don’t hurt.

“Door busters, huh?” I said, wiping mud from, well, everywhere. “That was a little bit of genius.”

“Thanks,” she said. “You gonna be okay?”

“Eventually,” I said.

Door buster, or breaching rounds, are specially designed shotgun shells made for blowing the hinges or lock mechanism off of doors. They are frangible rounds, meaning that they can destroy a hinge and then disperse into harmless powder, thus reducing the risk of ricochet. Fired point black at an ogre head leaves next to nothing behind other than a corpse with no place to hang his hat.

“So that’s an ogre,” she said, looking down at the headless body.

“That’s an ogre,” I said.

She waved her hand under her nose, a disgusted look on her face.

“Yeah,” I said. “Fragrant, ain’t they?”

“They are at that.”

I limped over to the frame house and took a seat on the back concrete steps.

“They’re the cause of the stink, pun intended, behind the skunk ape legend,” I said.

“Skunk ape?”

“Yeah, you know,” I said. “Bigfoot. Sasquatch. Some claim that when they’ve seen Bigfoot that the creature was accompanied by an almost unbearable stench. Those folks didn’t see Bigfoot, though. They saw an ogre.”

“So Bigfoot doesn’t exist, then,” she said.

“Oh no, Bigfoot exists. And they smell just fine. They groom themselves regularly.”

She looked at me as if trying to decide if I was having fun with her. I wasn’t.

“Why do they stink so much?” She asked.

“Well, that’s up to debate. Scholars who know of such things will tell you a bunch of nonsense regarding how an ogre releases the scent to ward of enemies. Frankly I think they just have a serious aversion to bathing. But what do I know.”

I waved my own hand in front of my nose.

“I have to admit though that this thing is a mite ripe,” I said.

Then I noticed the wind. It was still blowing heavily from the west. The ogre carcass lay east of us. I rose, a jolt of paint shooting through my midsection.

Then I heard the roar.

I turned as Diana gasped. There, standing between us and the car, the shapes quite distinct against the backdrop of the headlights, stood not one, but two more ogres.

Here ends Chapter Four

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Friday, July 15, 2016

The Church of Minos #8

The following takes place after The Walrus of Death, which you can purchase HERE

Part One

-This is a first draft-

THE RAIN, AT FIRST, fell like an angel’s wings brushing softly along my arm, but soon turned into a downpour so thick that the beam of the flashlight was being reflected back into my face. The only blessing I dared to count under such circumstances was the fact that the rain masked the stench of the ogre. It was still there, it just wasn’t as bad.

“Ogre?” Officer King said. “What’s an ogre?”

“Not something we want to be messing with, even in the light of day.”

I looked from the beam of my light to hers and struggled between my desire to see the ogre coming, or my desire not to stand out like a shaft of yellow in a field of black and draw the ogre right to me. In the end I went with discretion and switched my light off, dropping it into the pocket of my coat. I drew the other Peacemaker.

“Douse the light,” I whispered.

She didn’t argue and we were both swallowed by the darkness.

“Now what?” She whispered.

“We need to be anywhere but here. Ogres have poor eyesight to begin with, as long as we keep quiet, we should be able to slip past it.”

“I can’t see anything,” she said.

“Here,” I said. I holstered one of the pistols then grabbed up a corner of my coat. I held it out to her, inching it closer and closer until my hand came in contact with her. “That’s my coat, take it.”

“Okay, got it.”

“If we move a dozen or so steps to the right and then move forward a ways we should eventually run into the frame of the house on this lot. It shouldn’t be too hard to find, even if we can’t see it. From there we can regroup, and we’ll be out of the rain”

“Okay,” she said. “Let’s do it.”

We moved together slowly, the sound of the pounding rain masking the noise of our shoes that surely squelched in the mud.

Lightning flashed and in that instant I could see where we were in relation to the house. It was directly ahead. Maybe ten yards. My hope was renewed.

“Almost there,” I said.

Lightning flashed again and that was when I saw it.

It was standing ankle deep in the mud to the left and in front of the house. It was enormous. So big that I could understand why the average fella’s brain might just automatically dismiss it as a figment of their imagination. I mean, it was just too big to believe.

The ogre reminded me a bit of the Incredible Hulk, yet instead of green it was a dull gray and hairless.

It had been facing the house when the lightning had flashed, so it hadn’t seen us at all. Back in the dark we moved forward slowly, making our way carefully toward the shelter of the house.

The lightning flashed again, and once again I saw the thing. Officer King had seen it too based on the way her hand suddenly dug into my shoulder.

The ogre had stepped closer to the house, but hadn’t noticed us yet. It had tiny black pig eyes buried back under a protruding brow and a pair of yellowed tusks jutting up from its lower jaw. It wore the furs and skins of dead animals which didn’t actually cover much, like a barbarian berserker from a role playing game.

I bent and whispered into Officer King’s ear. “It hasn’t seen us yet, but it’s only a matter of time. When it does, we scatter. I’ll go directly at it. You head for the car.”

“I’m not running,” she said.

“I don’t expect you to,” I said. “I want you to fetch that shotgun out from under the dash and come back for me.”

“Why don’t you just shoot the thing?” she asked.

“I could do that, sure,” I said. “But that’s just going to piss the thing off. The shotgun, on the other hand, has a better change of doing some damage if you shoot in the right place, like it’s face.”

Another flash of lightning and the thing was looking right at us.

“Run!” I yelled, pushing her from me. Then I pulled both Peacemakers, thumbing back the hammers as they cleared leather.

To be continued . . .

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