Tag Archives: satire

Author Showcase / Interview – Patricia Panahi (Veil of Walls)

Welcome, Patricia Panahi!

 

  1. For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business?

(Patricia) Originally from Massachusetts, I moved to Iran at the age of nine. I later returned to the States and completed my graduate work at San Diego State University. I have taught English in Iran, California, and Hawaii, owned and operated The Light Spot Bookstore and Coffee House in San Diego, and directed English language programs for international students for the University of Hawaii. Due to the many misconceptions about Iran and Iranians, and considering my direct experience and knowledge of the people and their culture, I decided to begin my writing career with a novel that portrayed them in a more realistic light.

 

 

  1. All writers fear the dreaded “block”. Please tell us how you handle it.

(Patricia) I began my writing career late in life and have not experienced writers block to date. If I don’t feel inspired, I just wait until inspiration comes.

 

 

 

  1. Will you please share with the visitors what genre(s) you write? Also, when you’re not writing, how to do you spend your time?

(Patricia)  I write literary fiction and non-fiction books. I am also retired and live in Hawaii, enjoying the beautiful nature, yoga classes, good friends and good books.

(Kam) I’ve been to Hawaii only once (so far). It’s absolutely gorgeous and the people are very friendly. 

 

 

  1. I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?

(Patricia) Everyone who knows me, also knows that I write and completely supports me. I have done local presentations and book signings that were well attended.

 

 

      5. Will you share with us your all time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us  your top ten. 

(Patricia) 

  • Deborah Harkness
  • Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • Katherine Howe
  • Arthur Golden
  • Anne Rice
  • Amy Tan
  • Alice Hoffman
  • Barbara Kingsolver
  • Richard Bach
  • Michael Cunningham

(Kam) Thank you for the list. You’ve gave me (us) some new authors to possibly fall in love with. 

 

 

 

  1. If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love see casted in the parts?

(Patricia) I would love Veil of Walls to go to the big screen. No preference on actors.

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  1. Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.

(Patricia) The Nature of Love, a novel tells the story of five Iranians whose lives intersect as they learn about love and life during the tumultuous 2009 Iranian election protests.

 

 

  1. Where can we find your stories and is there a particular reading order?

(Patricia) I have a novel and a nonfiction book on Amazon.

Veil of Walls, the struggles of an American girl who visits her father’s relatives in Iran and not permitted to return home.

God Outside the Box – a spiritual memoir.

If you liked Eat, Pray, Love, The Celestine Prophecy, or The Way of the 
Peaceful Warrior, you will likely enjoy this true story of a journey to spiritual awakening.
 
An ordinary woman finds extraordinary potential within herself in this narrative of spiritual awakening and exploration.

Born to a New Jersey Catholic mother and an Iranian Muslim father, author Patricia Panahi was never quite sure exactly who she was from the very beginning. This early confusion would lead her on a rollercoaster ride of a spiritual journey for years to come – an amazing journey chronicled in her inspirational new book, God Outside the Box: A Story of Breaking Free (published by AuthorHouse).

After exploring a variety of religions and traditions, Panahi discovers that none of them truly “speak to her soul.” She begins to question if there really is a God at all and, finding no answers to satisfy her, becomes an agnostic. But at 28 years old, Panahi’s world is rocked by a surprising diagnosis: cancer. Feeling lost, alone and afraid, groping through the dark with a weak-willed Persian husband and without a religion or solid tradition to turn to, she begins the search for a spirituality that would fill the large and heartbreaking void.

At 32, Panahi’s painful childhood memories – her mother’s abandonment and her forced relocation to her father’s country – resurface. She is able to heal and find inner peace, but discovers that her “journey of transformation” has only begun when she makes contact with her inner voice and begins to experience extrasensory perceptions. It is after a particularly vivid dream that Panahi opens The Light Spot Bookstore and Coffeehouse, where her spiritual search continues with the help of the many fascinating people who come through its door.

As her spirituality grows, so does the gap between Panahi and her husband. Her inner voice and visions call her to move to Hawaii, where two years later she meets and marries her “true soul mate” and begins a new life. Her happiness is challenged quickly, however, when she is suddenly afflicted with Bell’s Palsy – a paralysis of one side of the face – in 2002. As traumatic as this experience is, it finally leads her to face her doubts and fears while fully committing herself to her spiritual path and purpose in life. Firmly rooted and happy, her life is shaken up once again when she receives the call to let go of her secure career as a university faculty member and become a writer.

Today, this move still terrifies Panahi, but she feels that she has made peace overall with her new calling. “A spiritual life is not about complacency and comfort and self-satisfaction,” she says, “but the ability to accept and flow with change.”

It is Panahi’s hope that her readers of God Outside the Box will “gain a new understanding of their own search for answers” as she unveils “universal truths and discovers a rich spiritual path that crosses the boundaries of culture, tradition and belief.”

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  1. Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?

(Patricia) Facebook / Twitter / Website 

 

 

  1. Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.

(Patricia) I hope my first novel, Veil of Walls, can provide readers with a new perspective of a country and a people.

 

Anahita Sadeghi, a typical, happy-go-lucky American ten-year-old, was not too keen on traveling to the other side of the world to meet her father’s family. But her month-long vacation turns into a nightmare when her Persian relatives refuse to let her return to the States.

She is forced to deal with the dizzying maze of social customs, resist her grandmother’s efforts to mold her into the proper Persian girl, dodge her aunt’s schemes of marriage, and fight to make her own life choices until she can find a way to return home. Longing for her friends and her freedom, only the enigma of her missing aunt, Scheherezade, gives Ana a glimmer of hope of one day escaping Iran for good.

Will Ana’s family marry her off and forever bind her to this country, or will she break free of Iran’s walls and find her way back to America?

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Chapter One

The blue Aerogram with its scribbles of Dad’s native language lay open on the breakfast table like an ancient spell. It was 1962, a nippy New England morning just like any other in the snow season; snug in our thick winter robes over a Sunday feast of johnnycakes, corned beef hash, fried eggs and the rich aromas of percolating coffee and hot cocoa, my parents dropped a bombshell – we were going to Iran. Just for a month, they said. In March – for the Persian holidays. A surgeon at St. John’s Hospital in Lowell, Dad rarely took more than a week off, but the Shah of Iran was abolishing the feudal landlord system – whatever that meant – and my father had been summoned home on family business.

I was ten and not too keen on traveling across the globe to meet a slew of strangers, so I whined and pouted and complained that I’d miss a whole month of school, that Grandma and Grandpa promised to take me to Beantown to watch the Saint Patrick’s Day parade, and we had to consider Angel, our cocker spaniel. Wouldn’t it be better if I stayed with Grandma Brigid? But Mom believed it was an opportunity for me to finally meet my Persian relatives and all my pleading landed on deaf ears. So they dragged me away from my shady New England neighborhood to the walled-in courtyards of Tehran.

***

March 1962 – Tehran, Iran

I stood before the dancing flames, unable to move. A row of bonfires crackled and popped. The earthy scent of burning brush teased my nostrils; the smoke burned my eyes. Branches of persimmon and pomegranate cast eerie shadows on the courtyard walls. I bit my lower lip so hard it bled.

My cousin nudged me forward. “Jump, Ana. It’s Chaharshambeh Suri – Red Wednesday. You have to purify yourself in the fire to let go of the old year and welcome the new one.”

I fixed my gaze on the flames, my heart skipping a beat.

Parvaneh pushed strands of dark hair away from her face and tilted her head. “It’s safe, Ana. Iranians all over the country are jumping over fire tonight.”

But I’m not Iranian. I grimaced at my cousin, trying to wrap my head around these weird Persian rituals. Her name means ‘butterfly’ in Farsi, but with her rose-bud lips and dark liquid eyes, she looked more like a princess out of One Thousand and One Nights. I thought her name suited the way she flitted about without a care in the world.

Roxanna and Kianoosh, my other cousins, their faces luminous in the firelight, called out and waved from the far end of the line. I liked Roxanna. The girl had spunk. Kianoosh, on the other hand, thought he was God’s gift to the world.

“Go on, Ana. You’ll be fine, sweetheart,” Mom called from the veranda, her ginger curls dancing in the breeze. A nurse of Irish descent, Mom loved Iran – the food, the hospitality, the multicolored Persian carpets. She waved in a big arc, her face lit up with a smile. A smile that always calmed and anchored me. She looked happy this evening, glowing even.

But tonight her smile didn’t work its magic on me. My leg muscles tightened further. The family didn’t understand just how much a burn hurt. How it ripped your skin. I pictured the flames licking at my feet, my dress catching fire and going up in flames. Why did Dad have to bring us here?

Parvaneh poked my arm. “Trust me, Anahita. You’ll be all right.”

I felt trapped, still not sure why my cousin insisted I jump into the flames. Trying to buy time to calm my jitters, I cleared my throat and spread my hands. “Why do they call it Red Wednesday when it’s Tuesday night?”

Parvaneh rolled her eyes. “The night before Wednesday is Wednesday night. Everybody knows that.”

Like many other things that everybody knew in Iran, this made no sense. After two weeks, I still found myself scrambling to digest this exotic land of my father’s.

With a sigh of exasperation, Parvaneh shook her head and nudged ahead of me. Bunching her skirt, she leapt over the bonfires, chanting the ritual words.

I sucked in air and faced the fire. Sparks escaped, floated for a time like fireflies then winked out. My cousins hollered and whistled. They had jumped across all seven bonfires. No one had burned. No one’s clothes had burst into flames.

A stream of relatives flowed down the steps and lined up behind me. I recalled the ritual words Dad had taught me. The words all Iranians chanted while jumping over fire. Not wanting to look like a sissy in front of my Persian relatives, I pushed back the fear, gathered my skirt, and jumped.

“Zardi-eh man as toe – I give my yellow, my sickness and pallor, to you,” I chanted, the Farsi words feeling strange in my mouth. The flames licked my feet, teasing me, daring me. I sailed over the first fire and landed safely on the other side. Elated, I braved the next one.

“Sorkhi-eh toe as man – I take from you your red, your ruddiness and vitality,” I sang to the flames, imagining the energy of the fire soaking into my skin, my bones, filling me with strength and courage. Then I skipped over the remaining bonfires, chanting the words again and again. I turned to my cousins, arms raised in triumph.

Parvaneh and Roxanna hooked their arms in mine and pulled me to the back of the line “Again,” they said in unison.

I imagined telling my friends all about the fire festival when I got back home to Lexington. Becky, her pudgy cheeks dotted with freckles, would stand there with arms folded and refuse to believe I jumped through flames. But Julie, my other best friend, would probably stare at me with those big brown eyes and say ‘Wow!

**For a longer FREE PREVIEW of Veil of Walls, please visit Patricia Panahi’s WEBSITE.**

 

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(Kam) Thank you Patricia Panahi for allowing me the chance to interview you. I wish you much success in life and look forward to what you create next. 

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Author Showcase / Interview with Philip Kleaver & Erin Lee (Deadman’s Tome Trumpocalypse)

Welcome, Philip W. Kleaver

AND 

 

 

  1.  For those who might not be familiar with you, would you be a dear and tell the readers a little about yourself? How did you get your start in the writing business?

(PWK) Thanks for the interview! I’m never sure how to describe myself. Uh, I’m a typical twentysomething in that I’m constantly questioning what the hell I’m doing with my life, even when things are going well. I graduated from a liberal arts college, so I believe (naively, I suppose) in the value of human equality and open-mindedness. I try to use that underlying belief to guide my decisions and interactions with people. I like punk shows, so-bad-they’re-good movies, breakfast foods, bourbon, and wandering around in nature every once in awhile. Shit, this is starting to read like an OkCupid profile…

I’ve been writing all my life. When I was a kid, I used to collaborate on illustrated short stories with a good friend of mine. Part of my pen name is a tribute to him. As a college student, I made Xeroxed zines chock full of angsty poetry. I first started writing horror and thinking I could get published after reading a lackluster entry in an anthology called Dark Masques. The story was about a guy who started running and couldn’t stop. I rolled my eyes and said, “Man, I could write a better story than this…” The voice in the back of my head replied, “Then DO IT already.” I churned out a few pieces before getting my fourth effort (“Working Stiff”) published in the Shotgun! Strange Stories e-zine.

(EL) I started writing when I was in the first grade. My first book was called Nire, the Purple Aardvark. Nire is my first name spelt backwards and purple is my favorite color. From that story, on, I was hooked.

 

 

  1. All writers fear the dreaded “block”. Please tell us how you handle it.

(PWK) Poorly. Haha. I know there are a lot of dedicated writers out there who will power through a couple hundred words every day, no matter what. I’m not the type. If I start drawing a blank, I’ll take a week off. Sometimes I’ll work on another idea, but mostly I’ll mull over story beats in my head until something clicks. I can usually get over the hump when I realize a new truth about one of my characters… that can steer the plot in a needed direction.

(EL) I don’t experience writer’s block. There are times when I am not in the mood to write, so I don’t. During those times, I read or enjoy other hobbies. But I never have trouble coming up with stories. In fact, I have too many of them in my head to ever be able to get them all down on paper.

 

 

  1. Contrary to what some people envision about a romance writer’s life, it’s not all glitz and glam. Well not for the majority of us. With that bubble sadly busted, when you’re not writing, how to do you spend your time?

(PWK) Like a lot of writers, I pay the bills doing something else. My “9 to 5” (or more accurately, my “7:30 to 3:30”) is teaching social studies and language arts to middle schoolers. I like to travel, too. I live in Baltimore, so it’s easy to take a day trip to New York, Philly, D.C., etc. I probably spend too much time on the internet… recently I’ve been reading political news and frothing at the mouth.

Kam: Yeah, I’ve been hooked on every news program. I can relate to time flying by once you start reading articles. Plus, I tend to interact on the articles or social media posts and that’s always interesting. 

(EL) I work as a home-based therapist. This means that I go into people’s homes and do therapy there. This is how I get characters, settings, and plot lines. Of course, my primary mission is to help families in crisis, but it’s also why I don’t get writer’s block. Every day, in my work, I’m faced with real stories and real conflicts that generally make their way into my books eventually.

Kam: Oh, I bet you have a notebook (or file folder) full of wonderful experiences/mini stories. Lucky duck! 

 

 

  1. I know many writers, such as myself, keep their pastime/career a secret. Do those close to you know you write? If so, what are their thoughts?

(PWK) Family and friends, yes. Everyone has been supportive, even though many of them can’t stand horror fiction. I tend to take their comments with a grain of salt. I’d rather have some random dude online tell me he likes my work than my girlfriend, because she’s too sweet to tell me if I’m writing garbage.

(EL) My clients don’t know I write. My friends and family do. Lee is a middle name. I do this intentionally to keep my work away from my clients. I’m not sure too many clients would want to know their therapist writes about serial killers in her spare time.

 

 

  1. Will you share with us your all time favorite authors? If you’re like me, it’s a long list so give us your top ten.

(PWK) Whew, that’s difficult. It’s a mix of genre and literary authors (and subject to change at any time). In an intentionally-mixed-up order, here are the authors who most I enjoy reading: Harlan Ellison, William Faulkner, Joyce Carol Oates, James Baldwin, Thomas Ligotti, Ursula K. LeGuin, Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, Raymond Chandler, and Haruki Murakami. I think these ten have also had the greatest impact on my own authorial voice.

(EL) My favorites really depend on my moods. Like with my own writing, my taste in genre for reading is all over the place. My all-time favorite writer is Sylvia Plath.

 

 

  1. If you could choose one book to go to the big screen, yours or otherwise, which book would you choose and whom would you love see casted in the parts?

(PWK) I think I’d have to go with the most recent novel I’ve read: F by Daniel Kehlmann.

It’s incredible. I know there are a lot of novels about dysfunctional families out there, but Kehlmann strikes the perfect balance between pathos and comedy. He’s got some pretty interesting ideas about art that resonated with me, as well. I’d cast Jonah Hill as Martin, the eldest brother. He’s a priest who doesn’t believe in God and has a penchant for snacking or playing with a Rubik’s cube in the confession booth. Adam Driver could play the younger twins, Eric and Ivan. Eric’s a banker, and his section of the book (my favorite) is a madcap sequence in which he tries to manage his family, business concerns, and an affair while tripping out on a cocktail of prescription meds. I’m dying to see that on screen. Get Paul Thomas Anderson to direct.

(EL) Frankly, I never like seeing books go to the big screen. I’m a person who never thinks the movie matches up to the book. I wish books would stay in print and screen plays would stay in the theaters and on stages.

 

 

  1. Would you care to tell us what you’re working on now? That is if it’s not top-secret information. If so, just whisper it in my ear. I swear it’ll go no further.

(PWK) It should be published by the time this interview runs, but I’m currently working on a collection of short stories about sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll with my friend (and fellow Baltimorean) Wallace Boothill. It’s called Psychodelic. We were inspired by and hardcore/punk bands who put out a split EPs. Why can’t writers do the same? The collection has a handful of stories from each of us, and one co-written piece. So far, my half is leaning a bit more towards the humorous side while Boothill’s is just plain freaky. Our shared aim is to gross you out!

(EL) I just finished a novel about a serial killer, Jimmie Putnam. The novel is called “Just Things” and will release sometime this year. I intend to follow it up with a sequel called “Jimmie’s Ice Cream.”

 

 

  1. Where can we find your stories and is there a particular reading order?

(PWK) I’ve had a number of tales published in Shotgun! Strange Stories, which can be found at…

 

deadlightsmagazine.com

 

A print anthology of the first six issues is forthcoming. I’ve also got a satirical story called “The Appointment” in Deadman’s Tome Trumpocalypse, available on Amazon. (Fuck that self-centered orange clown, by the way. Get active–I’ve donated money to the ACLU and NRDC.) You can read some short works on my website,

(Contributing authors: Mr. Deadman, Michael Epstein, Kelly Evans, Patrick Winters, Eric Nirschel, Erin Lee, Mark Slade, Joey Whiston, and Philip Kleaver.)

 

“People love me. And you know what, I have been very successful. Everybody loves me.” – Donald Trump

People love you, alright. But not in the way you think, Mr. Get-Rich-Off-Of-Daddy’s-Tit. People love to mock you. People love to shower you with disrespect. If it was an option, people would drop a steaming pile of sloppy feces on your name. When you pass away, people would line up just to piss on your grave. But that wouldn’t matter to you, would it? The golden showers would come at a price, and boy would people fork over the cash. Regardless, you are the president of the United States of America, and I will raise a glass to you and give you that much. I’’ call you President, but with it comes a whole nasty serving of unadulterated ridicule. This issue of Deadman’s Tome is all about you, Mr. Trump. Dark, twisted, satirical tales at your expense, plus with a interview you had with me that you may not recall. I hope you enjoy.

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(EL) All of my books, twelve novels, a handful of novellas, and too many anthologies to count, are on my website: www.authorerinlee.com

My facebook page is www.facebook.com/gonecrazytalksoon

On Twitter I’m at @Crazylikeme2015

To stay up to date on my works, join my author street team-The Outsiders Street Team-at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/596733930532264/

 

  1. Would you please share how your present and future fans can contact you?

(PWK) Follow me on Twitter @pwkleaver or email me at pwkleaver@outlook.com.

(EL) The best way to reach me is through my facebook page at www.facebook.com/gonecrazytalksoon

 

  1. Before we conclude this enlightening interview, do you have anything else you’d like to share? The stage is all yours.

(PWK) Sure! If you’re an aspiring writer (or musician, or artist, or whatever), put your nose to the grindstone and start producing! The internet has made DIY much easier. I doubted myself for the longest time and was afraid that if I wrote short stories, they’d suck. Some of them do… but when I became serious about honing my craft, I started seeing improvement in what I was doing. If someone tries to discourage you, fuck ‘em. Everyone knows almost all of the good artists weren’t appreciated in their time.

 

Closing remarks and a bit of a rant…. 

I want to thank Philip Kleaver & Erin Lee for allowing me the opportunity to interview you. It was a true pleasure “meeting” you and I’m sure your responses have sparked the interest of many followers/readers.  🙂 

 

And now for my rant…….

Every voice matters. We have the right, the duty, to stand up for our rights and the rights of those around us. No race, no religion, no gender, NO ONE is better than the other. NO ONE should be persecuted, targeted by the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, their faith, or where they were born. To single out a group of individuals based off the actions of the few is thoughtless, inhumane, barbaric, and morally wrong. People should treat others with respect. Our leaders should LEAD BY EXAMPLE. That means, those who hold political power shouldn’t be bigoted or racist. In every race, religion, gender, nationality, and so forth, you will find bad apples. However, you will also find good, hard working, loving people with kindness in their hearts and only good intentions. Don’t persecute the whole for the actions of the few. It goes against everything this country stands for. Everything I stand for. I’ve said this once and I’ll probably say it several more times in the near future. Our leaders should DO BETTER, BE BETTER! And Trump, I do believe you above all else should think before you speak (and tweet). You have the tendency to run off at the mouth, consequences be damned. Remember as the leader of the USA, your actions have consequences that affect not just your inner circle but the whole damn world! 

 

 

 

RANT OVER…….. (for now) 

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Author Showcase – Jan Romes (Wine and Sweat Pants Series)

~~ BOOK ONE ~~

Suddenly single, in her forties, and eager to do what it takes to start over, Elaina Samuels meets three women with similar circumstances at a cash-for-gold event. They quickly become friends and form the No Sweat Pants Allowed – Wine Club. This newly found alliance brings about some humorous escapades, a few tears, and a bond so strong no man can break as they try to cling to the past and finally step out of their comfort zones to find a happiness they thought they’d never feel again. Discover Elaina Samuels, Tawny Westerfield, Stephanie Mathews, and Grace Cordray.

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~~ BOOK TWO~~

Recently single, Elaina Samuels could’ve never imagined such an amazing six months. She’d met Tawny Westerfield, Stephanie Mathews, and Grace Cordray, at a cash-for-gold event. Individually they were there to trade in their wedding rings to get a fresh start. Little did they know that fate would step in and put them together – first in the jewelry store and then to share their stories over wine in the bar across the street. They clicked from the get-go and a few weeks later, Elaina made an offer for them to move in to share expenses. Best. Decision. Ever. Join Elaina, Tawny, Steph, and Grace as they continue their journeys to get life right-side-up and embrace the next six months with energy, mischief, chaos, fun, and a few tears.

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~~ OUT NOW –> BOOK THREE ~~

Sometimes the only way to truly start over is to move. That’s exactly what Elaina Samuels and her unruly band of cohorts decided to do. Elaina, Tawny, Grace, and Steph bought a bed and breakfast in Maine. The trip from Cherry Ridge, Ohio to Portland is a wild and crazy ride, filled with things they never could have foreseen. In this adventure there’s laughter, tears, doubt, and a little danger thrown in to keep them on their toes. Will this relocation to the northeast be the key to real happiness? Or will it test their friendship to the breaking point?  

 

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Could the day get any stranger? First, the guy in the Mercedes; now Frank and Bax.

The unspoken question answered itself.

An old gal with powder-white hair and glasses came up to Elaina. “Four Sassy Chicks. That describes us to a tee. Isn’t that right, Flora, Hazel, and Josie?”

Accompanying the short, tiny-framed woman were three carbon copies. The four women were dressed in the same fake fur coats and floral bandanas.

The carbon copies nodded.

“We’re in our eighties but we can be a bit cheeky.” The leader of the pack smiled so big her eyes went closed. “I’m Adelaide. We’ve come from Tennessee to stay at your bed and breakfast. Sorry it took so long for us to get to baggage claim. We’re not as spry as we used to be. The airline offered to cart us with one of those fancy four-wheelers.”

One of the carbon copies spoke up. “They’re not four-wheelers, Addie. I believe they call them shuttles.”

Another of the four women winced. “A lot you know. They’re called courtesy transports.”

“That’s our know-it-all sister, Hazel. What she doesn’t know isn’t worth knowing.” Adelaide broke into a cackle that turned into a loose cough.

“I never claimed to know everything; although I do have more upstairs than the other three put together.”

“You wish. I’m Flora, dear.”

Elaina nodded. “Nice to meet you, Flora.”

“I’m, Josephine, the prettiest of the Turlington sisters.” She put her dentures together in a silly grin. “Boom.”

Did she really say boom? Elaina kept her expression even. Inside she was jiggling with a laugh. She had a feeling it would be a fun few days. “I’m Elaina. Welcome to Maine.”

Adelaide leaned into Elaina. “Several years ago we decided to vacation in every state before we kick the bucket. We’re proud to say this is the fiftieth. Right, girls?”

Their heads wobbled when they nodded.  

“How exciting! I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of great things in your travels.”

Flora shook her head. “Not really. We don’t get around so good, so we usually don’t venture out.”

“You don’t leave the hotel or bed and breakfast?”  

Hazel didn’t hedge on the truth. “Nope. We play cards and drink wine.” She made a weird noise that could’ve been a laugh. It was hard to tell. “When we get home we brag to our card club that we visited another state.”

“That’s remarkable.”

“Oh it is.” Flora winked. “I want you to know ahead of time that we collect those little bars of soap and bottles of shampoo. Some people collect trinkets. We collect toiletries.”

“Collect?” Josephine scoffed. “We steal them.”

Hazel set the record straight. “They think they’re getting away with something.”

Adelaide rebuffed her sister. “It’s thievery all right. If you don’t use it, you’re not supposed to take it.”

Elaina looked from woman to woman. “Are you ready to discover the Four Sassy Chicks Bed and Breakfast?”

“Can we make a stop?” Flora inquired.

“I’ll bet she forgot to bring her Depends,” Hazel said under her breath.

Flora leveled a scowl at her sister. She couldn’t maintain it. An evil grin splashed across her weathered face. “You’re just jealous that you have to use the bathroom when you have to pee. I never have to leave the card game.”

Adelaide rushed to deny Flora’s boasting. “She’s teasing. Flora, tell this sweet lady you’re teasing.”

“Nope. I pee wherever and whenever I want. I’m peeing right now.”

Hazel lifted her eyes in embarrassment. “Sorry about that, miss. I could blame it on her age, but age doesn’t excuse everything.”

“Booyah.” Flora blew on her fingernails like she’d one-upped her sisters.

Elaina smiled at each Turlington sibling. “You remind me of my friends. Wait until you meet them. You’ll see what I mean.” Her cell phone chimed with an incoming text message. She ignored it to remain professional.

Her cell phone rang shortly after the text. Again, she ignored it.

Elaina addressed Flora. “Where would you like me to make a stop?”

“Wherever they sell wine.”

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Jan Romes is a hopeless romantic who grew up in northwest Ohio with eight zany siblings. Married to her high school sweetheart for more years than seems possible, she is also a proud mom, mother-in-law, and grandmother. She likes to read all genres, writes witty contemporary romance and women’s fiction, enjoys finding new ways to stay fit and gardens even though she doesn’t claim to have a green thumb.

 

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Author Showcase – Michael Hughes (The Crimson Shamrock)

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A scotch-swilling DUI attorney, a cynical congressional staffer, and a retired bomb- sniffing German Shepherd are just some of the characters Chuck Wesson meets after he takes a travel assignment from his new boss, mysterious Silicon Valley entrepreneur Axel DeWilde. Chuck has been sent on a flight from San Francisco to Boston in order to demonstrate the Crimson Shamrock, a breakthrough portable communication device code-named the RedClove.

However, Chuck begins to suspect that all is not as it seems after a robber tries to steal the device at the airport, and his flight later has to be diverted to the Twin Cities after a threat is made. After his meeting is relocated to the D.C. suburbs and does not go according to plan, Chuck flies back to California to discover who and what are behind his travails.

 

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After dropping Blake off at the VC headquarters, Axel drove me back to the office.  As we got inside, Axel began to go on one of his euphoric monologues.

“You see, Chuck, all of the opportunities that we are presented with!”  I was afraid he was going to shatter the glass front door given how enthusiastically he had shut it.  “Just look how eager Blake was for our product!”

“Is he OK with our timeline, do you think?” I asked.  I turned on my computer and took a seat as Axel continued to pace around the floor.  I was half afraid he was going to start dancing.

“Why, of course!  All things take time, and Blake and his people understand that very fact.  We are, in a way, building up the anticipation even more, yes?”

That didn’t seem like the soundest logic to me, but who was I to tell Axel this?

“That’s one way of looking at it, I hadn’t thought of it that way.”

“Oh, yes,” he said as he almost tripped over himself on his way back to his desk.  “The anticipation of the new product is key. Absolutely, essentially, key.  Key, key, key.”

I twiddled my fingers as I waited for my computer screen to turn on.  Luckily, I didn’t have to wait too long.

“I think you’ve done enough work for the day,” said Axel.  He looked at my computer, walked over, and turned it off.  “You should head home and get some rest.  Next week is going to be a learning experience for all of us.  We are going to have to have the boys finish engineering the prototype, and then we will have to have it transported to the East Coast for its demonstration.”

“How are we going to get it over there?”

Axel grinned.  “The method of its transport is in this room.  He, I should clarify, is in this room.  I generally try to avoid flying.  You are free to draw your own conclusions.  Shall I see you tomorrow, ten o’clock, no?”

 

 

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I’m 25 and currently work for a bank in compliance in Los Angeles.  Pumpkin Farmer and The Crimson Shamrock are my two published paperback novels; I also self-published a novel titled Loafing by La Brea. 
 
 

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