Category Archives: Lisa Burton Radio

Lisa Burton Radio

Two Shorts & a Snort, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Welcome to another edition of Lisa Burton Radio. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and today we’re calling back into the nineteen-sixties. I just need to hook up this Einstein-Rosen switchboard.

Done, and we’re connecting.

“Eastham Correctional Facility.”

“Good morning. This is Lisa Burton, and I have an appointment to speak with Charlie Riddle.”

“Very good, ma’am. The prisoner is standing by. I’ll connect you.”

“Hello. Lisa? Lisa Burton?”

“Is this Charlie Riddle?”

CR: Yeah, it’s me.

“Charlie, I’m sure we’re all sorry about your circumstances. We’d like to understand how you got to this point in your life.”

“It’s a long story, but if you’ve got time, I have plenty to spare. I grew up in Odessa, Texas. If you’ve never been there, it’s flat land with nothing but sand and oil wells. My ol’ man worked the rigs, so as soon as I turned seventeen, I hired out. The oil field was a tough damn way to earn a living, but it was all I knew. I’ve seen men lose fingers, toes and even their lives working the rigs. But, I was good at it. I wasn’t afraid to climb to the top of the derrick or grab a pair of three-hundred-pound tongs. Hours were long. Money was good. Cocaine was cheap, and the Texas honkytonks was where I spent my days and nights off.”

“Sounds like a hard life, but I don’t see how that would lead you to Eastham.”

“It was a woman.”

“Isn’t it always?”

“Oh, but this one. She was the prettiest thing I’d ever seen. Nelda Sue could make me weak in the knees. But, she made it clear from the beginning, that until she had a ring on her finger she was free to go with anyone she wanted to. We’d spend lots of time together when I wasn’t working, but let’s just say we weren’t exclusive.”

“So it was more casual. That can be fun.”

“I wouldn’t say it was casual. I was head-over-heels in love with Nelda Sue. I even paid the rent on her trailer over in Monahans. I’d work overtime to buy her pretty things that she wanted. But, it was never enough. I was working hard to save enough money to buy her the biggest diamond ring I could find, then she’d be mine and we could start a life together.”

“Oh, Charlie. You had it bad, huh?”

“Yeah, I can’t lie. I did. But, the night I saw her out with that oil company bum…that’s what we called the men that owned the oil company…well that’s when things went sideways. I couldn’t take it.”

“I don’t know, Charlie. Something seems to be missing here.”

“There’s a lot missing. I got really messed up on Cocaine and whiskey. I drove around looking for them. I don’t know what in the hell I thought I’d do if I found them, but somehow in my messed-up mind, I thought Nelda Sue would leave him and come with me. Anyway, I never found them.

“I wound up sitting in The New Rainbow bar drinking and thinking when in walked this older woman lookin’ richer than sin. But, what caught my attention was the size of the diamond on her left hand. I watched her. She was waiting for someone, but they never came. So, when she left, I followed her. I never intended to do more than take the ring from her. But, then she screamed and before I even thought about it, I pulled the trigger.

“I killed that poor woman and took the ring off her hand. I’m not proud of it, but it’s the truth.”

“How did you wind up getting caught?”

“I drove to Monahans to Nelda Sue’s trailer and waited for her to come home. Then I put that ring on her hand and she said she’d marry me. I warned her not to show the ring to anyone. I needed her to wait two weeks until I could draw another paycheck, then I’d marry her, and we’d take off to Alabama where I could work the rigs. I thought she understood. But, she started showing the ring off to all her girlfriends and it only took a couple of days for word to get back to me. When a buddy of mine came to work and congratulated me, I knew I had to run. So, I jumped in my truck and headed for old Mexico. I figured they couldn’t get me there and I could send for Nelda Sue. But, somewhere between Odessa and El Paso, my mind disconnected. I snorted all the Cocaine I had on me and followed the broken white line until my truck ran out of gas. I was picked up in El Paso for vagrancy. It didn’t take long for them to connect the dots. Nelda Sue married that oil company bum and has just given birth to his son. I lost everything.”

“That’s all so tragic, Charlie. Sounds like a bunch of bad choices. Besides, you can’t expect a woman not to show off a diamond ring. That’s asking too much. Any closing remarks for our listeners today.”

“Just this. If the price is too high, folks, walk away.”

“Thank you Charlie.

“Listeners can learn all about Charlie and Nelda Sue in the first short story, “Obsessed” in Two Shorts & a Snort, by Jan Sikes. I’ll post all the pertinents on the website after I go off the air.

“For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton.”

***

This book consists of two short stories and one poem from award-winning author, Jan Sikes, in response to a writing challenge from the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB.

Obsessed:

How far will one man go to satisfy an obsession? The price could cost him his life.

Maggie:

Is it possible to pray up a baby? Frank and Mary Pyburn are convinced that is what they’ve done.

Friends Instead of Lovers:

Sometimes it’s better to remain friends, instead of giving in to desires and crossing a line.

Tow Shorts and a Snort is available in ebook and paperback at this site: https://www.amazon.com/Two-Shorts-Snort-Jan-Sikes-ebook/dp/B07DY8FSWL/

You can get autographed copies directly from Jan at her website: http://www.jansikes.com/

Multi-Award-winning author, Jan Sikes, weaves stories in a creative and entertaining way. She has been called a magician and wordsmith extraordinaire by her readers and peers.

Jan published a series of four Biographical Fiction books with a musical twist; “Flowers and Stone,” “The Convict and the Rose,” “Home at Last,” and “Til Death Do Us Part.” They chronicle the life of Texas musician, Rick Sikes, a pioneer in the Outlaw Music movement before it ever had a name. She also released a music CD of original songs which match the time-period of each story. She also published a unique book of poetry and art, which combines heartfelt poetry with pen-and-ink drawings.

Four of her five books have won literary awards. She has won several short story writing contests and most recently won the grand prize in the RRBC 90-day Alpha/Omega Short Story challenge.

Jan has written songs, poetry, short stories, screenplays, and novels. She resides in North Texas, volunteers at music festivals and has five grandchildren who keep her busy in her spare time. She sits on the board of directors for the Texas Authors Institute of History. She hosts an internet radio show, ASPIRE TO INSPIRE and is a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB. She serves on the RAVE WRITERS – INT’L OF AUTHORS Executive Committee.

You can catch up with Jan at the following places:

WEBSITE:

http://www.jansikes.com

BLOG:

https://rijanjks.wordpress.com/

FACEBOOK:

http://www.facebook.com/AuthorJanSikesBooks

TWITTER:

http://www.twitter.com/rijanjks

PINTEREST:

http://www.pinterest.com/jks0851/

LINKEDIN:

https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=65865260&trk=nav_responsive_tab_profile_pic

AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00CS9K8DK

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The Scarlet Ribbon, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Welcome, all you astral travellers and trauma survivors. You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio, and have I got a show for you today. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and my special guest today is David Roberts, and he’s actually been to the otherworld. “Welcome to the show, David.”

“Happy to talk with you Lisa, although I am still not sure why I am here. Maggie is usually the one who does these interviews, she loves to talk about what happened to us over there.”

“Tell us how you wound up piercing the veil. How did you get to see what lies beyond?”

“I don’t remember much about that day. I was inside the supermarket, queuing up to pay for my TV dinners when this idiot drove his car through the plate glass window, mowing several people down before he reached me. I found out later that Maggie had been one of these people.

“The next time I opened my eyes, I thought I had been dreaming for I wasn’t hurt or in a hospital. It was a long time before I realized what had happened to me, and longer still before I found Maggie in this other world. Both of us were still in a coma back in our own world after being badly hurt in the accident. Somehow, we had travelled to this incredibly real place while we were unconscious, but here we were awake and could walk around.

“I was happy to stay there with Maggie. I had no desire to return to my lonely lifestyle, but Maggie was determined to go back to her husband.”

“We’re all dying to know, what did you find there?”

“When we first arrived, we noticed that some of the people there lived an idyllic life, but there were others that didn’t. We were forced to watch the brutal abuse of a small child by the man we assumed to be her father. Her name was Annie, and we knew we had to help her.

“Up until that moment, we had been helpless, unable to touch or change anything. Dealing with this frustration made us more determined than ever to change things. Came as a bit of a shock I can tell you when we discovered the hard way that he could hurt us too!

“Gradually we discovered that we were not there by accident. Something had put us there for a reason but wasn’t telling us what this reason was. It talked to Maggie a lot. All these cryptic messages and riddles, but wouldn’t answer the most important question, like how could we go back home?

“We met a very helpful woman there who showed us how we could leave, but when Maggie tried, she always came back again. It was on one of those trips home that she found her husband Jack in another woman’s arms.”

“Those are some strong feelings. What did you guys do while you were there?”

“By this time, Maggie was having some serious arguments with the voice and found herself waking up in her own world. She never stayed for long and it was as if the voice was punishing her.

“I couldn’t bear the thought of being stranded there without Maggie. I had been in love with her since the first time I saw her, but she insisted on giving Jack another chance. I watched from a distance, safe in this other world with Annie, as the love of my life carried on as though I didn’t exist.

“Her marriage mended, Maggie has a baby but when the baby gets sick and dies, and her husband Jack strays again, I wondered if I might still have a second chance too.”

“That’s got to be a tough spot to be in. Then what happened?”

“Before the voice kept sending Maggie back, we looked for a way out of that world, and we did try to help Annie. At first, we were not allowed to interfere or even make ourselves heard. But we kept trying and eventually succeeded in having the child rescued by Child Welfare Services.

“Eventually, Maggie comes back for me and I return to the real world to finally be with her. Suffering from grief and Jack’s second betrayal, she is being haunted by Annie, the child we left behind. ”

“That’s kind of crazy. I mean you guys have a second chance at life, but you want to go back? It seems like a risky action to me.”

“When Maggie suggests we go back to rescue the child, I wasn’t sure. There was no way to know what would happen to us or if it would work. But I loved Maggie. She had saved my life over there, so I had to help her to find Annie.”

“I wish you every success, and it would be great to help Annie. We wish you all the best, and if you can’t return, we hope you find heaven on the other side.”

“Were we crazy for wanting to go back?

“Maybe we were, but we had to try to go back to Annie, and I have the feeling that could be another story entirely…”

“You can read all about David and Maggie in the book The Scarlet Ribbon, by Anita Dawes. I’ll post all the purchase info on the blog after we go off the air today.

Please consider using those sharing buttons today. Anita has shared and reblogged many of the posts here, including many of yours.

“For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton.”

***

When a dirty blue car mows Maggie down outside her local supermarket, she becomes trapped in the nightmare world of a coma patient.

In this very different world, she manages to rescue an abused and neglected child. But when it looks as though she will finally wake up, she cannot bear the thought of leaving the child behind.

But is this other world real, or was she just dreaming? And if it is real, can she help this child?

“Maggie is a likeable character who is easy to engage with and I found myself willing her to find the courage to embrace happiness. If you like a story that is more than just your average romance then I thoroughly recommend this one…” Amazon Reviewer

“Excellent reading, excellent writing with several unexpected twists that lead to…well, that is for others to find out too. A heart wrenching and gripping story. Well done, Anita Dawes!” Amazon Reviewer

Amazon Buy Link for Let it Go: http://myBook.to/SRIBS

Anita Dawes has been writing unusual fiction for the last 22 years. Her favourite novel, ‘Bad Moon’ has been circulated to all the best mainstream publishers over the years and their comments were inspiring to say the least. Averil Ashfield at Transworld said it was a powerful story… and Andy Mckillop at Arrow said that her imagination had a thoroughly nasty streak…

Barbara Levy (a literary agent) found ‘Bad Moon’ just too gruesome!

She tends to alternate between ‘horror’ and the ‘supernatural’, although all of her novels are based on different kinds of family units. It has been said that her writing is not for the fainthearted!

Although she is not a ‘silver surfer’ she has tried! But her sister-in-law, Jaye, has become one. She is typist, editor, proof reader and publisher rolled into one and it was her idea to publish Anita’s books on Kindle at Amazon.

Catch up with Anita at the following sites:

Anita’s email:        jenanita01@btinternet.com

Website/blog         https://jenanita01.com

Facebook               https://anita.dawes.37

Twitter                   https://twitter.com/jaydawes2

Goodreads  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6586480.Anita_Dawes

Author Page   https://www.amazon.co.uk/Anita-Dawes/e/B0034NUE10/

Pinterest         https://www.pinterest.com/anitajaydawes

Bloglovin       https://www.bloglovin.com/v2/own_profile

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Tortured Soul, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Welcome all you basement alchemists out there. Take a seat you members of secret societies. Have we got a show for you today. You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio, the only show that brings you the characters from the books you love. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and I have a doozie for you today. “Welcome to the show, Michelangelo.”

“Good day, Lisa Burton.”

“I’ve wanted to get you on the show for a while now.”

“That is my understanding, yes. Carmina Orsini—I believe she has asked you, as well as everyone she likes, to call her Nonna—has been asking me to talk with you. As I have told her repeatedly, I do not have the time. Alas, I also do not have the time to continue arguing with her. So, here I am. Against my better judgment. Because the woman is just… such a difficult woman to refuse.”

“I know Nonna, and she’s a wonderful person. She was on the show a year ago. Having some problems with one of her granddaughters, Donni.”

“Yes. I was made aware of her transgressions. She should not have done that. Doing so was dangerous. As is this. But, as I said, she is persuasive.”

“Now for our listeners, you are the actual Michelangelo. Can you tell us how you managed to stick around for so long?”

“It is a long story. Let me see, how can I simplify it for you? Alchemy is a precursor to chemistry. While there is a significant scientific component involved in the pursuit, there is an equal focus on magic. And while I realize alchemy is now a nearly-defunct practice, I can attest to the fact that it is, indeed, a fruitful and viable endeavor. Several centuries ago, I succeeded in conquering an alchemist’s two greatest challenges—finding an elixir of immortality and transmuting invaluable metals into untold riches. It has made for a long and rewarding life.”

“It seems like things might get boring after living that long. Do you find yourself running out of things to do?”

“If only you knew how humorous that statement is. While I was a burgeoning artist in Florence, I had the good fortune of being employed by the Medici family. My work and my loyalty to them yielded a mutually-beneficial agreement. While outwardly it would appear I was creating works of art for the family in exchange for their patronage, I was in fact serving as a bodyguard of sorts. And because this became such an intimate and lucrative partnership, I took a vow to always protect the family. It was because of the Medici patronage that I had the ability to conduct my alchemical research, so it was only fitting that I devoted myself to a perpetual defense of the family. I took a solemn vow. Hence the formation of the Medici Protectorate. Every generation since that time, I chose an elite class of warriors to protect the descendants. All these years later, the Notaro family—four daughters—are the lone survivors. With the Italian government currently in turmoil, the country is on the brink of revolution. Heirs of a powerful former ruling family would be ideally poised to take control and seize power. A nefarious faction has learned of their existence and is in pursuit of them, wanting to control them for its own benefit or eliminate them outright. I have chosen four men to be the Notaros’ guardians and several more men to serve as their support.”

“Um… devil’s advocate here, and all that. Has anyone considered what the girls might want in all this? I mean, maybe they don’t want to play princess Barbie. Maybe one of them wants to become a heart surgeon or something.”

“Of course their feelings have been considered. To the extent they are relevant, anyway. If any of the Notaro women was interested in ruling Italy, I would do everything in my power to make it so. But none of them wants that. They all work for their father’s building company and are quite happy in their respective fields. Control of any country is unappealing to them. I have even gone so far as finding a replacement for them—someone who is smart enough and benevolent enough to rule Italy for the good of the people. But until we are able to seat him at the head of the government, the Notaro women will be in danger. That is why they are in seclusion. I would like nothing more than to allow them their freedoms, but it is not safe for them to be in public, particularly on their own. That is why I have opened my homes to them and have assembled the family and their protectors under one roof. Only with constant protection will they be safe. And before you launch into a feminist lecture about the power of strong and independent women, let me stop you. This isn’t about damsels in distress and barbarian men thumping their chests to display their dominance. I have seen it. One of the benefits of my alchemical rituals was the creation of marble daggers which grant their wielders’ powers. One of my powers is foresight, and I have seen the future. The women are in danger without this protection. They, the country—the entire world—are in danger. The Notaros may not like being sequestered, but their discomfort is far better than the alternative.”

“Okay, so you miracled somehow that they’re going to come around. You know these are women we’re talking about, right?”

“I am aware, yes. At one time or another, each of them has escaped. And every time, to nearly disastrous consequences. That is why I found Carmen Scalzotto. He is an activist and a scholar—someone who will be an excellent ruler and can take the burden off their shoulders. But there is only so much I can do, and these confounded women are making things harder. They want to go home, the Brotherhood wants them to be happy, and now we have to protect the Notaro family in addition to Scalzotto. My resources are unimaginably large, but they are not infinite. We are spread thin. Too thin. It is time to put this challenge to rest once and for all, or I will not be able to protect… everyone.”

“So it’s not just fulfilling your vow. You care about the girls, but also want to keep Italy in the right hands. Hands you selected.”

“My feelings are immaterial. And at this point, so is my vow. Do you understand what will happen if this particular evil cabal assumes control of Italy? It will not mean the destruction of one country or even the entire European continent. Dictators have attempted to conquer the world before. Some have even come close, but they have always been stopped. That will not be the case this time. The world has never seen a mind so keen, so devious. So bent on control. If this organization wins, it will be unstoppable. It will mean global domination. Life as we know it will cease to exist.”

“Got it. So our best chance of saving the world involves protecting the Notaro sisters from the bad guys, but all you’ve assigned to the job are four brothers?”

“Very special brothers, hand-picked by me. I adopted them, groomed them, trained them. I used my sculptural skills and alchemical rituals to create special daggers which give them powers that enhance their already exceptional abilities. They are, as you say, the world’s best chance.”

“Daggers might be kind of cool, but we have explosive drones, rocket launchers, and things out there today.”

“Do you think a man can live as long as I have and not know the wonders of modern technology as well as what resides in the hearts of men? The marble came from my personal quarry. Each stone color taps into cosmic powers and provides the wielder with unique abilities. I spent years perfecting the rituals. Colors, materials, herbs, words, science—you cannot conceive of the time and effort put into these weapons. Nor can you comprehend the grueling preparations these warriors have been through. I have watched one of my sons after another give himself over to his calling and master his powers. Only Roberto has yet to fully embrace his gifts. And his are the most important of all. If he does not succeed in becoming one with his weapon and embracing his abilities, all hope is lost.”

“Roberto? You mean Coz, right?”

“Yes. Roberto Cozza.”

“Okay, so let’s project that Coz comes to terms with his powers. What happens next?”

“The Medici Protectorate has spent centuries watching and waiting. Defending. If I can get all four of the Brothers ready—and that means Roberto must come fully into his powers—then we can go on the offensive. We can bring the fight to… well, who leads the cabal is not the point, is it? Suffice it to say, I have known this man for a long while and he is formidable. The only way we can win is to instigate the final battle. And win it.”

“It’s all kind of sad in a way. These girls don’t want what their destiny provides. These brothers have been forced into this life and molded into warriors when they might have chosen different paths for themselves. And an old acquaintance who let you down can’t be trusted. Seems to have all the makings of a Greek tragedy.”

“We are not Greek, Miss Burton. We are Italian.”

“You’re something, all right.”

“I believe I have said enough to satisfy Carmina. If you do not object, I will take my leave now. There is still much work to be done.”

“No. No objection. You’ve given us plenty to think about. Thank you for visiting with me today. Any closing remarks for our listeners?”

“Your very lives are in danger. Whether you believe in alchemy or not, this is happening. And whether you believe in a higher power or not, you might want to pray for our success. Good day, Miss Burton.”

“You can read more about Michelangelo and the brotherhood in the Medici Protectorate Series, by Staci Troilo. Book four, Tortured Soul just hit the shelves.

“Make sure to use those sharing buttons on your way out. It really helps my guests and their authors out. I know Staci and Michelangelo would do it for you. For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton.”

***

Protection is safety. Until it stifles.

After months of clandestine battles, the Brothers of the Medici Protectorate finally know who is responsible for the assassination attempts on the Notaro family, the secret descendants of the Medici line. And they’ve never faced such a formidable foe.

Roberto Cozza–Coz–faces this new reality with surprising pragmatism. His powers may make the difference in winning their covert war–if only he can master them in time. It would just be so much easier if he could get his emotions under control, but neither his Brothers nor their charges are making things easy on him.

Toni Notaro appreciates the security provided by the Brothers, but she knows she has her own role to play–and it terrifies her. She is the missing link in Coz mastering his emerging abilities, yet she struggles to bridge the gap between what he needs and what she can offer.

As the Brotherhood hurtles inexorably toward the climactic final showdown, Coz and Toni must find the strength within themselves and each other to master the secrets of his powers, or risk death and defeat for all they hold dear.

Universal Purchase Link: https://books2read.com/STtorturedsoul

 

Staci Troilo writes because she has hundreds of stories in her head. She publishes because people told her she should share them. She’s a multi-genre author whose love for writing is only surpassed by her love for family and friends, and that relationship-centric focus is featured in her work.

Web | Blog | Tortured Soul Info | Medici Protectorate Info | Amazon Page | BookBub | Goodreads | TwitterOther Social Media Links

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Heaven for Toasters, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Welcome to another edition of Lisa Burton Radio. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and I’m giddy with excitement today. My very special guest is an android, but not only that, he has a similar career path to my own. Many of you don’t know I worked briefly as a detective when I first booted up.

I want you all to make him feel comfortable. “Welcome to the show, Leo.”

“Hi Lisa, I’m so excited to be here. You do know you’re a bit of an inspiration to me, right? Like you, I’m a prototype, so I know from personal experience how… strange it can feel to be one of a kind. To be honest, I’ve often taken my cue from you. What would Lisa do in this situation, I ask myself.”

” Aww, I’m honored. Things were tough for me. They had to keep it a big secret that I was a robot. They didn’t want the panic in the streets that all their jobs might be at risk if my experiment was successful. How are things where you are?”

“Well, it’s the opposite with me. The company who made me has decided that all androids should have black earlobes. It’s supposed to make us more easily distinguishable from humans. I think they took the idea from an Asimov novel, actually.

“Normally I don’t mind the curious looks, but some days I find myself wishing I wore a hat or something. I mean, people already call us toasters. At first I thought that was a compliment—after all, who doesn’t like toast? Turns out it’s not. So much for us being the next best thing since sliced bread…”

“That’s horrible. I don’t know why people have to give inferior labels to everything they fear. We could make their lives so much better.”

“We sure could. Take Mika. She’s the most headstrong woman I’ve ever met. Not that I’ve met that many, of course, except for those twin lab technicians. Anyway, Mika is my partner. Or, at least, I hope she’ll be. One thing I haven’t shared with her is that I can lip read. So, I know just how she reacted when the captain told her she had to work with me. Let me tell you, she was furious. I thought she’d rather quit on the spot than serve with me.”

“I’m so sorry to hear that. Have you tried talking to her?”

“Actually, I thought I might try and understand humanity better before approaching her. After all, how can you fight something you don’t understand—and by that I mean prejudice, not humanity! So, I decided to take a small holiday to an art exhibition by an eccentric young woman. This woman clones herself, then poses these clones in various positions. Weird—but I hope it will offer me some insight in humanity.”

“And a chance for a holiday! I don’t understand how they can give us emotional software, then expect us to work twenty-four hours per day. I think some of them would hardwire us to our desks and work us to the point of failure. But I’m sorry, you were about to tell us about your holiday.”

“If you can call it that. First, Mika was there. She came with a guy named Richard. They seemed to be dating, but her body language suggested she wasn’t all that into him. Perhaps they were on a first date? I have to ask her sometime. Not right now, though. You see, they got into a big fight and he left her on the island. Which was fortunate, as his vehicle crashed, killing him on the spot.”

“Oh my God, that’s awful!”

“Even worse, Mika thinks it may not have been an accident. She suspects it may have to do with something I said at the art exhibition.”

“The one with the clones?”

“That one. As you know, it is forbidden to grow conscious clones. But I swear there was one at the exhibition. The artist insisted otherwise, but I know what I saw.”

“So you shared your suspicions with Mika?”

“Well, yes. With the artist, too.”

“Subtle.”

“Not by best moment, in hindsight. But I thought Mika would support me. Instead, she said we need to tread lightly, because the artist has friends in high places. What does the height of one’s friends have to do with justice?”

“You do have a lot to learn, Leo. Anyway, lucky break that you and Mika are both on the scene. If there’s any shenanigans, I’ll bet you two sort it out.”

“Thanks, I sure do hope so. Right now, I feel like we’re fighting shadows, but Mika is amazing—if anyone can sort out this mess, it’s her.”

“Are you sure she’s just a partner to you?”

“Well… I do find myself having some very confusing emotions. I try to be professional, of course, but…”

“Have you talked with her about this?”

“No, of course not! Not until I’ve had a chance to understand what it is I feel. It’s not like romance was covered by my programming.”

“Well, it was covered by mine, and it sucks. Let me tell you. We’re so efficient, and then along come some of these feelings. It’s distracting, but there’s nothing you can do about it, because it’s in your programming.”

“I don’t think there’s a subroutine for what I’m feeling. It seems to be an accidental byproduct of my consciousness. Anyway, to return to your question about talking to Mika—you heard me earlier when I told you how she feels about our kind. So, that’s an added complication.”

“Leo, I say go for it. If it works out, both of you will be better off. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t exactly sound like the partnership is working from a professional standpoint anyway. The two of you can independently work the case, and you’re no worse off. If it works, then together you can get to the bottom of things faster, and I don’t just mean the mystery.”

“I hear you, Lisa. You know, I think you’re right. It’s better to clarify things. I’ll talk to her… after we wrap things up with the investigation. After all, if someone is trying to kill her, I need her focused. A conversation about my… feelings might distract her. No, right now the best thing I can do for her is have her back, and keep my mouth shut. Unless something happens, of course…”

“Leo, whatever you decide, it’s been my pleasure having you on the show today. Any closing remarks for our listeners?”

“Just that toasters aren’t just for toast. Not anymore!”

“Leo and Mika’s story is in the book, A Heaven For Toasters, by Nicholas Rossis. I’ll add all the deets to the website after I go off the air today.

“Help keep this robot girl on the air, by using those sharing buttons. Nicholas and Leo would do it for you, when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.”

***

A Heaven For Toasters: A Sci-Fi Crime Romance set on the Greek Islands

A science fiction crime adventure with plenty of humor and romance

A souvlaki and some sun. That is all Detective Mika Pensive wanted from her fun weekend away on the Greek islands. Instead, she finds herself caught up in a sinister plot, hatched by a reclusive billionaire with a penchant for illegal genetic engineering. As if that wasn’t bad enough, she has to put up with her new partner, Leo. Leo is an android—or toaster, as people scornfully call his kind. The only thing that could make things even worse would be for the headstrong Mika to fall for Leo. But people don’t fall for toasters—do they?

Set in the near future, A Heaven for Toasters is more than a sci-fi crime romance. It’s the book that will make you look at your toaster in a whole new way.

Buy link: http://myBook.to/toasterHeaven

 

Nicholas C. Rossis lives to write and does so from his cottage on the edge of a magical forest in Athens, Greece. When not composing epic fantasies or short sci-fi stories, he chats with fans and colleagues, writes blog posts, and enjoys the antics of two silly cats and his baby daughter, all of whom claim his lap as home. His books have won numerous awards, including the Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Award.

In addition to his best-selling series, Pearseus, he writes short science fiction/speculative fiction stories, many of which have appeared in various collections and anthologies. These include Infinite Waters, which was voted one of the best 50 Indie books of 2015.

What readers are saying about Nick’s fantasies:

“Most avid readers still have books from their childhood which they read over and over again. ‘Runaway Smile’ has joined the list.”

“From the very first sentence I realized I was not reading a book, I was going on an adventure.”

“The strength of Rise of the Prince is two-fold: Mr. Rossis’ flowing, concise writing and his brilliant use of ancient Greek history.”

You can keep up with Nickolas at the following locations:

Blog: http://www.nicholasrossis.me

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/Nicholas_Rossis

G+: https://plus.google.com/+NicholasRossis

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/NicholasCRossis

44 Comments

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Amanda in New Mexico, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Welcome all you research junkies, and skeptical paranormal fans. You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio, the only show that brings you characters from the books you love. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and my very special guest today is Amanda Jane Ross. She’s only twelve, so let’s make her feel welcome. “Hi, Amanda. Thanks for being on the show today.”

“Hi, Lisa!! I’m totally excited about being on your show. But I am a little nervous as I’ve never been on the radio before.”

“My bio says you hail from Calgary, Canada. That’s a pretty interesting place. What can you tell us about it?”

“Well, it is famous for The Calgary Stampede. I am in grade six and attend Guy Weadick Elementary. Did you know the school is named after a cowboy who started the Calgary Stampede?  I used to think it was a pretty boring place as nothing exciting ever happens in Calgary. But my friend, Leah, came to visit from England and she thought it was fun because we went to a big old ranch, rode horses in the foothills and joined a cattle drive. It was fun, until a mean cowboy locked us in an abandoned cabin. Leah says those things only happen when she’s with me. She thinks I attract trouble.”

“That’s always the way, isn’t it. The world is interesting, but home is boring. I understand that you’re calling in from a field trip right now. That has to be fun, right?”

“Right! It is so amazing here in Taos, New Mexico. Ten of us from class were chosen to go on this cultural trip because we are creative. For instance, I like to write stories, others are into drawing, painting or photography. It’s great because we get to stay at an old house that belonged to a woman, Mable Dodge Luhan, who invited artists and writers to stay here a long time ago. She’s dead now but they still use her place for class trips, artist retreats and things like that. It’s kind of creepy though because it’s old. My roommate, Cleo, keeps saying she sees ghosts everywhere we go. As if! I personally don’t believe in ghosts.”

“Don’t be so sure, Amanda. I’ve seen some things that might make you think otherwise.”

“Well, she, Cleo that is, said she saw a young girl in a flowing white dress standing by a donkey cart at the hacienda we visited. She even drew a picture of her. No one else saw her. Then she said the same girl pushed her into the stream at the Taos pueblo. Can you believe it? Caleb, a classmate, thinks she’s a bit crazy. But then later, when I went to check out the old graveyard, something pushed me over the stone wall and into the tombstones. I was all alone, there was no one else around. It was just really windy. So what was that all about??”

“I get you, it’s odd stuff, but not blood oozing down the walls scary. I’d be mad too if a mysterious wind kept messing up my hair.”

“Totes, Lisa. Not only that, I got into big trouble for being in there too. I mean, I love checking out old graveyards, it’s one of my favourite things to do. But I wouldn’t go in one if it wasn’t allowed. I hate being accused of stuff I didn’t do on purpose. It ruined my day big time!

“We‘ve seen some weird things here already, like the figure of Dona Sebastiana, the female saint of death at the Hacienda de los Martinez. Boy, was she scary looking. Why did the lights go out just when I was staring at her in the Santos Display Room? And what about that bizarre painting that changed appearance when they put the lights out at the church of Saint Francis of Assisi. Just too weird and unexplainable. That’s also where Caleb and I found skeletons in a derelict building and Cleo went missing only to be found in that very same building. She said something about the ghost of the girl making her go there, or some silly story. Honestly, I think she really is disturbed.

“We are off to visit a genuine haunted hotel in a place called Cimarron. Apparently, there are a number of ghosts who hang out there including the wife of the original owner and a cowboy who was shot while playing cards in the gambling room. I mean he still has a room there!! It’s locked and no one is allowed in that room. A pretty good story, don’t you think. Perhaps it’s good for business. I wonder if Cleo will see him or if her ghost girl will join us?”

“Okay that sounds cool, and kind of creepy at the same time. Maybe you can ask him what’s going on around you.”

“Well, personally I don’t believe he exists and would love to prove it. Anyway, it will be fun to go there. Other famous folks stayed at the hotel like Annie Oakley and Wyatt Earp. I’m a bit of a history geek and love that kind of connection to history. Maybe I’ll get some good ideas for stories.”

“Amanda, keep up with your writing, and try to enjoy the trip. Don’t get too caught up in all this mystery, and try to experience the things in front of you.”

“Thanks, Lisa, I plan to enjoy this trip in spite of Cleo and her ghost obsession. I must say I do worry about her though. I would like to get to the bottom of these weird events. We’ll be here for the Day of The Dead. Maybe then I can get some answers.

“This has been awesome fun, Lisa. You are so cool. I can’t believe I’m actually on a radio show!! Thanks so much for having me.”

“We wish you an exciting trip, and thanks for agreeing to this interview.

“You can learn more about Amanda and her adventures in the Amanda Travels series by Darlene Foster. I think starting with Amanda in New Mexico is a great idea. I’m a sucker for a ghost story.

“Don’t forget to use those sharing buttons on your way out today. I’m sure Amanda and Darlene would do it for you, when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.”

***

Amanda Ross is on a school trip to Taos, New Mexico with several of her fellow creative students. Join Amanda, Cleo and their funny friend, Caleb, as they visit an ancient and beautiful landscape where a traditional hacienda, an ancient pueblo, and a haunted and spooky hotel all hold secrets to a wild and violent past. Does Cleo really see ghosts? Can Amanda escape the eerie wind that follows her everywhere? Perhaps the Day of the Dead will reveal the mysteries of Taos in this latest adventure of Amanda’s travels.

Pick up your copy right here.

Darlene Foster dreamt of writing, travelling the world, and meeting interesting people. She also believed in making her dreams come true. It’s no surprise she’s now the award-winning author of Amanda Travels, a children’s adventure series about a spunky twelve-year-old who loves to travel to unique places.  Readers of all ages enjoy travelling with Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. A world traveller herself, Darlene divides her time between the west coast of Canada and the Costa Blanca, in Spain with her husband and entertaining dog, Dot.

Catch up with Darlene at the following locations:

Website www.darlenefoster.ca

blog https://darlenefoster.wordpress.com/

facebook https://www.facebook.com/DarleneFosterWriter/

twitter https://twitter.com/supermegawoman

Amazon author page https://www.amazon.com/Darlene-Foster/

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Murder by Munchausen, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Welcome all you hackers and programmers, and all the artificial intelligence listening in today. This is Lisa Burton Radio, and I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl. I’m pretty excited about this interview, because my special guest today is a police consultant working in the Counter IT section of the Artificial Crimes Unit. “Welcome to the show, someone who only goes by the name of Q.”

“First off, I just have to say, this really isn’t my kind of gig—I mean, it’s good to meet you, definitely, but when you work and play in the shadows, the spotlight tends not to be your friend. I guess, when you’re doing penance, though, you do what you gotta do. So, here I am.”

“It all sounds pretty covert to me. I’ve never known a cop who had a code name.”

“I’m not really a cop, per se. Now, the Department does sign my paycheck, but I don’t have a badge or anything—and they definitely don’t trust me with a Glock. No, my weapon of choice is an Intel processor and a high bandwidth connection. I work the Counter IT group in the Artificial Crimes Unit.”

“What about this ‘Q’ business, then?”

“Jake—he’s one of the ACU detectives—he hung the moniker on me, cause I guess we both like the old, classic James Bond stories. But he’s a techno-fossil. He actually reads the dead tree versions of books. Anyway, I kind of liked it and I needed a new alias when I came over to the Department from the dark side of hacking. You know how it is. You can’t pick your nose when you’re on-line without nine thousand Kleenex ads popping up all over your screen. When you’re tracking down bad guys—and these guys are really bad—murderously bad–you don’t need them popping up at your front door.”

“I suppose that’s true. I could track almost anyone if I had a few pieces of data. So what kind of things fall under your jurisdiction?”

“It used to be pretty tame and cushy. The street beat guys would repo a synthoid—you know, like you, a human-like android or replicant, but one that was hacked and sent off the rails to commit some crime—like maybe being re-programmed to get rid of a guy’s ex-wife to relieve him of alimony payments or maybe just for spite. Anyway, Bob and Puff in the Forensics Tech Lab would send over the firmware, bio-logic and data link libraries for our group to analyze for coding signatures that Jake and his partner use to ID the hacker who created the hitman and arrest him.”

“Is that what this “Munchausen” thing is all about?”

“Yeah, yeah. Murder by proxy. See, the thing is, when a synthoid is used to commit murder, there’s no sweat or fingerprints or blood or skin fragments left under the victim’s fingernails or any kind of viable biological evidence like what regular cops can use to identify the human hacking suspect, so Jake and Maddie really need my group to find the perp’s programming “DNA” buried in the code. And, as you know, every hacker has his own quirks and tricks.”

“That’s horrible! I’ve been around a lot of robots, and none of them are as sophisticated as I am. It wouldn’t be too hard to add in some facial recognition hardware and send a drone after someone. They don’t have the emotional software I do, so they’d just carry out the assignment.”

“See, that’s the thing. It used to be simple and robotic–so to speak. Somebody’s annoying the crap out of you, you pay some cyberpunk to send a Munchausened drone after him. Now, though, you’ve got this guy–they call him the Baron–who’s doing it just because he likes it. And what he’s doing is taking advantage of the new Gen-3 personality modules and the ANSI Adaptive Artificial Intelligence Protocol #9 to resurrect these notorious serial killers from the past and implant them into synthoids to re-create their sprees. It’s pretty sick. You know, society would be totally better off if the government had never allowed these robot slaves out of the lab.”

“Hang on, Q. You know, I’m a robot, right? I mean you can’t lump all robots and artificial intelligence into one bucket any more than you can lump a race into a common pile. I even used to be a cop, for cryin’ out loud.”

“Well, you know, I guess it’s not really your fault. You weren’t built and programmed that way and that’s not the way the synthoids come out of the factory, originally. But sometimes it seems like it’s so obvious that there needs to be common sense AI control. I mean this Baron guy is sick. He taps the audio and video sensor feeds and streams them into the Darknet so he can watch the murders as they happen and replay them over and over and over. I’ve seen them and they’re horrific. And he shares them with his cabal of minions. He seems to have a following, believe it or not.

“But even worse, he’s using perverted convolutional neural networking code to give the ‘droids a taste for it–to make them like it, like he does. He seems to have figured out some kind of emotional A-to-D converter algorithm so that these machines don’t just mechanically recreate murderous acts, they seem to actually feel and react to their own horror. You can see it in the metrics: power consumption; I/O; CPU, memory and graphic engine loadings; bandwidth consumption; RPS, ARTs and PRTs.

“God only knows what he’s going to do with the data he’s generating. Jake and Maddie really need to get this guy.”

“If this is going on right now, it sounds like important work. What do you do to unwind at the end of your shift?”

“You gotta do something physical. You gotta get your mind out of the box at least for a little while. I used to compete in X-Games, BMX freestyle, but those days are long behind me. My parents harp on me that I seem to always take the path of most resistence, so I guess it’s no surprise that I’m doing mainly Parcour any more. Don’t need any equipment but a good set of shoes. And, working downtown, it’s easy to find challenging courses. It really clears my mind.

“The other thing I found out is that it’s really important to relate to things out in Meatspace–you know real things, physical objects. I don’t know if you feel this, but, you and I, so much of our world is a cyber world, pixels and shadows and dark space. You need something real. I think in my third college Freshman year, I took an Art Appreciation class–actually, I think I ended up with an incomplete in that course, due to an incident with the spring on-line registration. Anyway, it came back to me years later and now I hang out a lot at the Museum of Art. It’s fascinating how these guys see pixels in their mind and make it a hard reality, something you can touch and feel and be in the same room with.”

“With that in mind, I did a bit of hacking of my own.”

“Of course you did.”

“Don’t sweat it, it’s the good kind. You are aware, of course, that the Department has the ACU offices wired up with cameras everywhere.”

“Yeah, I know. Stupid Internal Affairs. And their servers leak like the Titanic. It’s great working with pros.”

“So, I saw the print in your office, and I went to the printshop and had something made for you. The original hangs in my office in the writing cabin across the meadow, but this print is for you.”

Lisa Burton

“Excellent!  A Lisa Burton Diptych. That Warhol might have been a weird dude, but, man, his art is like a stained-glass church window between what was real and the hollow Madison Avenue soul of the Sixties. And I gotta say, Marilyn’s got nothing on you in the looks department. Thanks. Thank you very much.”

“I wish you every success in rooting these killers out. It makes Nigerian Prince scams seem kind of tame on the old cybercrime meter. Any closing remarks for our audience today?”

“Yeah, those days when the worst that cyberpunks could do to you was steal your identity are long gone. You know, Jake always says that a magazine loaded with bullets contains both order and chaos, good and evil. I never understood what he was getting at, but now I know the same thing holds true for technology.”

“If you’d like to learn more about Q and the Counter IT section, pick up the books in the Murder by Munchausen series, by M.T. Bass. I’ll post all the details after I go off the air today. Books one and two are currently available, with the third installment available via pre-order right now.

“Help one of the good robots stay on the air today by using those sharing buttons. It’s fun, and I’m sure both Q and M.T. Bass would do it for you, when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.”

***

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

M.T. Bass

www.mtbass.net

mtb@owl-works.com

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5270962.M_T_Bass

https://www.facebook.com/owlworks/

https://twitter.com/Owlworks

 

M.T. Bass is a scribbler of fiction who holds fast to the notion that while victors may get to write history, novelists get to write/right reality. He lives, writes, flies and makes music in Mudcat Falls, USA.

Born in Athens, Ohio, M.T. Bass grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University, majoring in English and Philosophy, then worked in the private sector (where they expect “results”) mainly in the Aerospace & Defense manufacturing market. During those years, Bass continued to write fiction. He is the author of seven novels: My Brother’s Keeper, Crossroads, In the Black, Somethin’ for Nothin’, Murder by Munchausen, The Darknet (Murder by Munchausen Mystery #2) and The Invisible Mind (Murder by Munchausen Mystery #3). His writing spans various genres, including Mystery, Adventure, Romance, Black Comedy and TechnoThrillers. A Commercial Pilot and Certified Flight Instructor, airplanes and pilots are featured in many of his stories. Bass currently lives on the shores of Lake Erie near Lorain, Ohio.

Murder by Munchausen Series Log Line: A Cyber Crime Thriller Series: Notorious serial killers digitally resurrected to live & hunt again in hacked replicants, pursued by detectives of the Artificial Crimes Unit.

Murder by Munchausen – Book #1

“…packed with action and unexpected developments…fast-paced, entertaining…” — Kirkus Reviews

After Jake shoots and kills a murder suspect who turns out to be the son of a powerful city councilman, he finds himself demoted to the Artificial Crimes Unit, tracking down androids hacked and programmed to be hit men.

When his case of an “extra-judicial” divorce settlement takes a nasty turn with DNA from a hundred-year-old murder in Boston and a signature that harkens back to the very first serial killer ever in London, Jake finds himself tangled up in the brutal slayings of prostitutes being investigated by his former Robbery/Homicide partner, Maddie–who is now his lover.

“It might not make sense, but the beloved Media tags it ‘Murder by Munchausen.’ For a price, there are hackers out there who will reprogram a synthoid to do your dirty work. The bad news: no fingerprints or DNA left at the crime scene. The good news—at least for us—is that they’re like missiles: once they hit their target, they’re usually as harmless as empty brass. The trick is to get them before they melt down their core OS data, so you can get the unit into forensics for analysis and, hopefully, an arrest.” [excerpt from Murder by Munchausen]

Artificial Intelligence? Fuhgeddaboudit!

Artificial Evil has a name…Munchausen.

Purchase Links

View Murder by Munchausen Page on mtbass.net

View Murder by Munchausen on Amazon.com

View at the Apple iBookstore

View at Barnes & Noble Online

View at KoboBooks.com

View at Smashwords

The Darknet – Book #2

It was the case of a lifetime……but then it went sideways on her. The suspect Maddie put behind bars might have been crazy but it turns out he was innocent, and now she finds herself in the Artificial Crimes Unit hunting a serial killer from two hundred years ago and a madman breathing life back into him with modern technology. Worse yet, she’s partnered up with Jake, her former lover.

When androids are hacked and reprogrammed into hit men, Maddie and Jake investigate and track down the hackers. But now, an evil genius is using droids to recreate the infamous Jack the Ripper murders.

“It might not make sense, but the beloved Media tags it ‘Murder by Munchausen.’ For a price, there are hackers out there who will reprogram a synthoid to do your dirty work. The bad news: no fingerprints or DNA left at the crime scene. The good news—at least for us—is that they’re like missiles: once they hit their target, they’re usually as harmless as empty brass. The trick is to get them before they melt down their core OS data, so you can get the unit into forensics for analysis and, hopefully, an arrest.” [excerpt from Murder by Munchausen]

Artificial Intelligence? Fuhgeddaboudit!

Artificial Evil has a name…Munchausen.

Purchase Links

View The Darknet Page on mtbass.net

View The Darknet on Amazon.com

View at the Apple iBookstore

View at Barnes & Noble Online

View at KoboBooks.com

View at Smashwords

The Invisible Mind – Book #3

Now unleashed, the “Baron” is resurrecting history’s notorious serial killers, giving them a second life in the bodies of hacked and reprogrammed Personal Assistant Androids, then turning them loose to terrorize the city.  While detectives Jake and Maddie of the police department’s Artificial Crimes Unit scramble to stop the carnage with the Baron’s arrest, the cyberpunk head of the Counter IT Section, Q, struggles to de-encrypt his mad scheme to infect world data centers with a virus that represents a collective consciousness of evil.

“…he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention.”

~Adam Smith, 1776

“When wireless is perfectly applied the whole earth will be converted into a huge brain, which in fact it is, all things being particles of a real and rhythmic whole.”

~Nikola Tesla, 1926

“…so, too, the psyche possesses a common substratum transcending all differences in culture and consciousness. I have called this substratum the collective unconscious.”

~Carl Jung, 1931

“It might not make sense, but the beloved Media tags it ‘Murder by Munchausen.’ For a price, there are hackers out there who will reprogram a synthoid to do your dirty work. The bad news: no fingerprints or DNA left at the crime scene. The good news—at least for us—is that they’re like missiles: once they hit their target, they’re usually as harmless as empty brass. The trick is to get them before they melt down their core OS data, so you can get the unit into forensics for analysis and, hopefully, an arrest.” [excerpt from Murder by Munchausen]

Artificial Intelligence? Fuhgeddaboudit!

Artificial Evil has a name…Munchausen

Purchase Links

View The Invisible Mind Page on mtbass.net

View The Invisible Mind on Amazon.com

View at the Apple iBookstore

View at Barnes & Noble Online

View at KoboBooks.com

View at Smashwords

33 Comments

Filed under Lisa Burton Radio

The Hat, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Welcome all you superheroes and ghost whisperers. You citizens of the great beyond. You’ve found Lisa Burton Radio, and I have a real treat for you today. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and my guest today is Lizzie St. Laurent. She’s a twenty-one year old college dropout working multiple jobs to keep her head above water. “Welcome to the show, Lizzie”

“Hi Lisa. Hi everyone.”

“Lizzie, it looks like your parents are fairly well off. They were able to buy you a car, and pitched in for your education. How did you get to this point in your life?”

“College was always in the plan. To pull it off, I was going to live with my grandmother, and did up until she died. Then a college friend talked me into moving in with her, and that was okay until she bailed and went home to her parents. I was stuck with the apartment, and all the bills. I had to drop out and take on an extra job to make ends meet.”

“It wasn’t possible to keep living in your grandmother’s house? Did she have a mortgage or something?”

“No. She owned it free and clear, but it was part of the estate and my uncle couldn’t wait to get his hands on the money. He wound up with the lions share, because my mom, his sister, is out on the west coast.

“I didn’t care, but I loved her and wanted a memento of some kind. He refused and tried to pass off a casino ashtray as something of hers. Maybe it was, but I wanted a house plant or something.”

“I hate it when people are like that. This brings us to a pivotal point in your life though. Tell us what you did next.”

“I, um. I stole a box of stuff from the back of the truck. Partially because I’m an heir too, and partially because I wanted something of hers. It turned out to be this crappy old hat.

“Turned out it wasn’t a hat at all. He is a creature from another dimension, and he’s trapped in the form of a hat. He’s been here for thousands of years, and his last owner was my grandfather who I barely knew.”

“I know my fashion, and it changes even for men. I can’t imagine a style stuck around for thousands of years.”

“Oh, he can change, but always as headwear. It all started out when this soldier wanted eyes in the back of his head. He paid a witch to cast a spell like that on his helmet. The spell kind of worked, but it trapped him here and bound him to the soldiers bloodline. Turns out, I’m part of that bloodline.”

“That’s pretty cool. You could always have the latest fashion just by having him change, plus you could watch for muggers behind you at night.”

“Yeah, but there’s more to it than that. He’s a complete person himself. He has a mission, and my family’s been tangled up in it for years and years. He is some kind of paranormal avenger.”

“You mean like a superhero?”

“Yeah, if you want to put it that way, only he doesn’t arrest people or beat up the bad guys, he sh – um shoots them.”

“Wait a minute. How can a hat shoot anyone?”

“He um… He uses me for that.”

“You mean he takes over your body and makes you shoot people? Like some kind of Jekyll and Hyde thing?”

“Not exactly. Most of the time it’s monsters, but sometimes it’s people. Bad people though. I went along with it to save some babies.

“It’s more like I’m there, but he’s there too. I can do things I could never do before because he can.”

“I’m not understanding that, sorry.”

“He taught me how to shoot. I can shoot a pistol with my right hand, but at the same time, he can shoot one with my left hand. I can see what he sees, and I can even sleep while he drives my car.

“You make it all sound bad, but he’s an incredible musician. He plays the upright bass. I can sing a little, so we formed a band. It brings in enough money to pay the bills. It also takes us out nights where we can protect people from bad things.”

“What do your band mates think of him?”

“They don’t know. They just see me, wearing a hat, while I play the bass and cover the vocals. It makes me nervous not having a regular paycheck, but it’s worked out so far.

“Look, there’s a lot more to it, Lisa. There is a cabin in the woods, and the hat has some other skills, like being able to find people if he’s ever met them before. I don’t know if we have time for it all today.”

“Not for nothing, Lizzie, but I’m a robot girl who also appeared in a story. As such, I have some special skills myself. I can tell those earbuds you’re wearing aren’t giving off a signal of any kind. That’s him isn’t it?”

“Um, they’re just not turned on.”

“They aren’t turned on, because they’re fake. They aren’t even giving off an electrical imprint. Why don’t you come out and talk to us? Are you shy?”

“Oh, god no. He isn’t shy at all. He wants to maintain his cover. Thinks if people hear the broadcast they’ll just think I’m some crazy girl.”

“Lizzie, I feel like we’ve only scratched the surface here. I mean your grandfather was some kind of paranormal assassin, now you are too. We just don’t have time to dive into all of it.”

“It’s okay, Lisa. Your listeners can read all about it in the book The Hat, by our mutual author C.S. Boyack. It’s been a pleasure working with you today, and I hope we can do it again soon.”

“Maybe sooner than you think. The Hat is available on Amazon and I’ll go ahead and include a purchase link. I’m also going to add one of the posters I made to promote this book, since Craig wrote it. For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton.”

***

Lizzie St. Laurent is dealing with many of the struggles of young life. She lost her grandmother, and her living arrangements. Her new roommate abandoned her, and she’s working multiple jobs just to keep her head above water.

She inherits an old hat from her grandmother’s estate, but it belonged to her grandfather. This is no ordinary hat, but a being from an alternate dimension. One with special powers.

Lizzie and the hat don’t exactly hit it off right away, but when her best friend’s newborn is kidnapped by a ring of baby traffickers, Lizzie turns to the hat for help. This leads her deep into her family history and a world she’s never known.

Lizzie gives up everything to rescue the babies. She loses her jobs, and may wind up in jail before it’s over. Along the way, she and the hat may have a new way of making ends meet.

Humorous and fun, The Hat is novella length. Wonderful escapism for an afternoon.

Pick up your copy right here.

One of the posters Lisa posed for to promote this novella.

Lisa Burton

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