Tag Archives: comedy

The Friday Teaser

Here we are, at the last Friday in September. I don’t think I’ve actually fooled anyone with the teasers, but they amuse me. Nothing too complicated, just hit the music and check out the poster.

The Ballad of Mrs. Molony is going to drop on October first, Lord willing and the Amazon doesn’t rise. Enjoy this poster of Lisa Burton recreating an image from the story.

Lisa Burton

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Some parts are more difficult

I’m still on my hiatus from drafting new material. The Muse sent me a bunch of future material and that’s been going great. I have two decent storyboards for stand alone tales. I also have three for stories about Lizzie and the hat.

The concluding story of Lanternfish still needs some work. Dealing with con men is harder that you might think. It requires a kind of mind game with the readers as well as the characters in the story.

I’m not sweating this yet and if I don’t start drafting something before December, I can live with that.

What is coming harder is any kind of comedy. I have faith in myself, but that will only get me so far. A lot of it comes to me as I write, but I usually have some antics in mind long before I start. Right now, I’ve got nothing.

This involves the relationship between Lizzie and the hat, but also the root monsters. As a buddy story, Lizzie and the hat will be easier to deal with. I have three reasonable plots and if I started writing today, they would be fine.

People love the root monsters from Lanternfish, and they need to shine as the trilogy comes to an end. I really hope I haven’t revealed all their tricks yet. I have a neat denouement in store for them, but that only helps at the end. They need purpose and humor as the tale unwinds.

One thing I’m toying with is to give them a tiny character arc. Instead of being told what to do, maybe they can start grasping what is happening and make some choices on their own. I’m not married to this idea, and as comedy relief, it kind of goes against all the rules.

What I really need are some root monster vignettes that sometimes come to me in dreams. Then I can sort through those and decide what could work in the story. I’m on the verge of reading HMS Lanternfish from start to finish as part of my editing process. That could spark some things, and you can bet I’ll have a notes app handy.

I’m 80% of the way through the book I’ve been reading, and that will signal time for editing. I might even do my traditional word searches in the evenings while Old What’s Her Face is watching television. I find that not focusing makes that go better. I miss common spelling errors when I get wrapped up in the story.

I sound like I have a plan, but I really don’t. I just know that I want Lanternfish out this summer, before it gets swallowed up with promotion for my Halloween oriented tale.

I hope everyone out there is being safe, and getting to enjoy some of the things you like.

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Searching for McDoogal #newbook

Let’s all welcome Mae Clair today. She’s one of my best author friends, and a co-founder over at Story Empire. Today she has a new book to tell us about, and it’s a short read. I love short books and it’s nice to see Mae dipping her toes in that water. I read it and gave it five stars.

***

Hi, Craig! Thanks for hosting me today for the release of my Amazon 90-minute short read, In Search of McDoogal. It’s great to have a new release, and a different one at that. As a mystery/suspense author with a bent for urban legends, many of my books carry a somber tone.

Not McDoogal. This is all light-hearted fun. The reader gets to tag along as two friends try to recover a missing painting before the artist returns to town.

Brady Conrad and Declan Fitzgerald met in high school. Now, a dozen years later, they both hold key positions at the Institute of Marine and Environmental Research. Declan is IMER’s Director, while Brady serves as an investigator. Much of the financial stability behind IMER comes from Declan’s grandfather, Bartholomew Winston Everett Fitzgerald, III. That’s a mouthful, right?

The senior Fitzgerald only gets a passing mention in McDoogal, but I have plans to explore his role in the future. I hope to continue “IMER” with a series of short reads and novellas. With that in mind, I even developed a logo for the institute. Check out the image on the left.

Down the road, if all goes well, it may show up on future book covers to designate subsequent tales in the series. And the fact that my institute is devoted to both terra firma and the briny deep, gives me lots of wiggle room to play. I wouldn’t be surprised if an urban legend even crept into institute study down the road. 😉

IMER comes up several times in McDoogal, but the gist of the story is all about that missing painting mentioned above. Brady has mistakenly sold it, and only has a set number of hours to recover it before his girlfriend—the artist—returns from an out of town trip. He doesn’t have much information to go on…the buyer’s name is Abe, he drives an orange pickup, and lives in a small town called Breakers Bay.

Road trip! And naturally, nothing goes smoothly . . .

***

BLURB:In search of something ugly…
All Brady Conrad wants to do is earn a few merit points with his artist girlfriend, so he volunteers to cover her gallery when she leaves town. What should be an easy day of sales goes belly up when he mistakenly sells a cherished painting.
With the clock ticking toward Vanessa’s return, Brady has less than a day to track McDoogal down. He coerces his friend Declan to tag along for moral support. How difficult can it be for an investigator and the director of a renowned institute to find a single painting in a town the size of a postage stamp?
Neither Brady nor Declan counted on a suspicious sheriff, rival baseball teams with a longstanding grudge, or a clueless kid trying to win his girlfriend with all the wrong gifts.
McDoogal is smack in the middle. But Brady’s biggest dilemma isn’t the disastrous hunt. It’s confessing to Vanessa her painting is the ugliest thing he’s ever seen.

***

I hope you’ll join in the fun of this road-trip-buddy-fic-comedy-of-errors. In Search of McDoogal falls into Amazon’s 90-minute short read category—perfect for an extended lunch break or quick read any time of the day or evening.
Thanks for helping me celebrate the release!
PURCHASE FROM AMAZON
Connect with Mae Clair at BOOKBUB and the following haunts:
Amazon| BookBub| Newsletter Sign-Up | Website | Blog| Twitter| Goodreads| All Social Media

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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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SCROTUS, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Welcome all you veterans and dirt cowboys, you Hog aficionados of all kinds. You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio, the only show that brings you characters from the books you love. Today, my special guest is Shawna Kretchman, Chief of police on the Pine Creek Indian reservation. “Welcome to the show, Shawna.”

“Aww…thanks, Lisa. I’ve heard a lot about you. (From my other half, the one with the big mouth…) Really looking forward to meeting you.”

“Nice to finally meet you. We had your friend, Fish, on the show last year.”

“Oh, really? What did he say about me? Gotta tell ya, parts of me are afraid to ask…and I love the guy.”

“Nice things, I promise. He said something about a motor home in Twin Falls, and you putting him in jail, twice. But it was all really nice.”

“That’s right, Lisa. Locked him and his two buds up twice. First, for stealing a humongous RV. But we released them when we found out they had just repoed it. Then, we had to invite them back for another visit, after one of our guys found a stiff in the bus’s freezer. Turned out, it was the RV’s owner, who had gotten popped by his long-suffering girlfriend.”

“How did you wind up going from Twin Falls, Idaho, to the Sioux Reservation?”

“Well, after we cut Fish and his buds loose for the second time, I happened to mention that I ride a Harley, too – just like him. One thing led to another and he invited me down to visit him in Malibu for a few days of sun, good rides and some whatever. I showed up right when he and his two buds were getting ready to leave for a week-long blow-out in Sturgis, South Dakota—the biggest biker party in the biz. So, I rode along. And after three bar fights, a wrestling match in a ring full of chocolate pudding and a firefight with a bunch of hired killers, the rest is history.”

“So what does a week at Pine Falls look like for the Police Chief?”

“Well, it’s a long way from what you probably think. I mean, the Lakota Sioux are a pretty spiritual people in their own way. Treating each other with respect is huge on the Rez. And, since alcohol is banned there, drunks and bar fights are in pretty short supply. Now, we DID have a bunch of petroleum pipeline workers show up on their day off. And, hammered doesn’t even come close. They were inside the supermarket, tearing the place up and looking to pick up where John Wayne left off. Five beat-up store employees and a pair of huge, busted front windows later, I showed up. Tried to give them the choice of peaceably getting with the program, and ended up having to go all Godzilla on their hindquarters. Our visitors took home about fourteen busted teeth, a broken ankle, three crippled knees, one concussion, a dislocated shoulder, two broken jaws…and the grand prize winner got his own personal trache tube after I crushed his windpipe. I guess you had to be there.”

“Whoa…But listen, I heard you recently got involved with something even bigger. Set the stage a bit for us, if you will.”

“Ok, remember that petroleum pipeline that got bullied through a couple of states? Picture this—the president is due to fly out for the pipeline’s big grand opening celebration. I’m out at the state fairgrounds making sure my people are in place for the ceremony. Secret Service agents are running around checking ID’s and taking into their coat sleeves. All of a sudden, a parade of big black SUV’s pull onto the grounds…enough to make it look like a bigtime Mafia funeral. And in the center of the parade is the presidential limo. Before I know what’s happening, some little gerbil scurries over and tells me that President Tiny Fingers just HAS to meet me. So, while I’m walking over to the limo with him, our Liar in Chief tosses all of his Secret Service agents out of the car, because he needs some alone time with me.”

“But it all went off the rails. Tell our listeners what went down.”

“Lisa, off the rails doesn’t even begin to come close. First thing Orange Boy does is cough a whole container of chewed up Tic Tacs into his hand. THEN he shakes hands with me. Then, he gets my name wrong more times than you can count and informs me that he and I are going to have an affair to remember.”

“Ewwwww!”

“Right. Then, the party kicks into high gear. Naturally, I turn down his affair invitation. So, he unzips and whips out the teeniest little skin flute known to man and tries to get me to play a tune on it. As if! So, I tell him ‘no’ in terms any genetic throwback can understand. He sulks out his window for a couple of seconds, then pounces on me. Threatens to have his buddies in Russia pop a cap on me, and then tries to give me a pelvic exam through my uniform pants.

“Now, my momma always said that a lady doesn’t execute a sitting president. So, I did the next best thing. I subdued that idiot, slapped the cuffs on him, read him his rights, and charged him with a boatload of violent felonies, including attempted rape.”

“So is the President in jail right now? I know jurisdictional issues are a nightmare on a reservation.”

“Boy, is he in jail. And, thanks to a prosecutor and judge who agreed with my recommendations about him being a major league flight risk, that’s where he’s gonna stay until there’s a verdict.”

“There must be some political fallout. Did you get called out on Twitter?”

“Fallout? You have no idea. First, the White House sends the Attorney General out to drop the charges. Too bad the reservation is sovereign and separate from the U.S. government, so he has no authority. Then, he tries to bribe the prosecutor and me into dropping the charges, and ends up in the cell next to Orange Boy.

“Then, the White House Chief of Staff orders South Dakota’s governor to activate their National Guard, bust a lot of heads and free the prez. Too bad their commanding general decided to go rogue, and brought the entire guard down to the rez to fight on our side.

“Then, the pipeline company rents a couple of hundred security ‘contractors’ and has them try to break president Tiny Hands out of the slammer. Let’s just say, that puppy wouldn’t hunt.”

“Don’t leave us hanging. Testify, sister. What have they done to you?”

“Well, I did have a couple of days where things didn’t look good. One of the corrupt rocket scientists in Orange Boy’s cabinet talked to somebody. Who talked to somebody else. Eventually the word filtered down to the Republican Sheriff in the state capitol. He passed the governor’s orders along to the head of the county’s SWAT group. Next thing I knew, they grabbed me up in a bogus 911 call, and were going try to trade me for president Tiny Fingers.

“Ok, obviously, I made it out of that. But you’re going to have to read the book to get the whole story. I will say this: we were lucky the president’s cabinet and the Republicans in Congress were so corrupt, stupid and out of touch. They got really cocky when they thought they had us surrounded.

“Which was right where we wanted them.”

“Nobody should be above the law. Right or wrong, you have to trust the process here. Any closing remarks for our listeners today?”

“Well I kind of loved what Fish had to say after the dust settled on the whole thing. “I bet it’s gonna be a long time before another Republican president misbehaves on Shawna’s beat…”

“Shawna, I wish you all the best here. Stay strong and you’ll come out on top, maybe.

“Listeners can learn all about Shawna and how this shakes out in the book SCROTUS So-Called Ruler Of The U.S., by Jeff Lee. I’ll post all the pertinents on the website after I sign off.

“Make sure to use those sharing buttons on your way out today. Jeff and Shawna would do it for you, when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.”

***

“Fish” Fishbein and his girlfriend, Shawna Kretschman, have a nice, quiet life. He’s L.A.’s repo man and bounty hunter to the stars, and she runs the police force on a South Dakota Sioux reservation.

Then, the President of the United States comes to town. And her quiet life turns upside down when she has to arrest him for trying to forcibly exercise his ‘executive privilege’ on her in the back of the presidential limo.

Shawna wants the tiny-handed prez to stand trial for his assault and a handful of other violent felonies. But first, she and Fish will have to take on a corrupt Attorney General who wants to dismiss all charges, and an army of private security contractors out for blood.

And down in the White House Situation Room, the supremely unqualified, corrupt and wealthy members of the president’s cabinet are negotiating with the Russians to invade the country and free their woman-groping boss.

If this goes on much longer, someone is going to have to step in and save Shawna, Fish and the American people from their own government.

They say that politics makes for strange bedfellows. In SCROTUS’ case, very strange. Very fast-paced and very funny, too. With more Alternate Facts than you can shake a White House Press Liaison at. Imagine All the President’s Men meets Jason Bourne and The Three Stooges.

It’s bigly. It’s beautiful. You’re gonna love it.

It’s a done deal.

Pick up your copy on Amazon: bit.ly/tinyfingers

Born in New York and raised near San Francisco, I’ve been a copywriter and creative director for some of the country’s most creative ad agencies. Won a lot of silly awards for my creativity and wise-ass sense of humor.

And I’ve been writing in L.A. since before KC even HAD a Sunshine Band.

So, if there’s one thing I know, it’s that, given half a chance, this city can be a never-ending cavalcade of rib-tickling fun — and funny — things, people and approaches to this thrill ride we call life.

Like phony televangelists who produce biblical-themed porn for the faithful.

Bat-shit crazy showbiz moms.

Defrocked talent agents posing as Reality Show producers.

The Rose Parade.

And on.

And on.

It never freakin’ ends with this place.

There’s always something — or someone — to gape at and giggle over.

I tell ya, you’ve just GOT to love this town!

It’s the law.

Amazon Author Page: amzn.to/ 20j8CQp    

Facebook Author Page: on.fb.me/1QPczqQ

Website: jeffleewriter.weebly.com

Twitter: @jfredlee

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The Hat strikes again

Karen O. delivered this wonderful review of The Hat today. Stop over at Karen’s place to check it out. She’s a voracious reader who reviews the books she reads. She’s absolutely someone all authors should get to know. Karen also writes, and you might want to check out In A Small Compass too.

The author sent me an ARC of this book (mobi format) in exchange for an honest review (member of Rosie’s Book Review Team).

My rating:      *****

Plot
(by Goodreads)

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. Keep Reading here…

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A Grave Misunderstanding, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa BurtonHello, and welcome to this week’s edition of Lisa Burton Radio. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and I’m stoked to introduce this week’s guest. It’s my first time interviewing another robot. “Welcome to the show, Smithers.”

“It is my distinct pleasure, Lisa.”

“Smithers, you’re in the studio with me, but our listeners can’t see you. I’m excited to meet an advanced model, and you look as human as I do. In fact, I think you look a bit like Peter O’Toole.”

“Yes, that is very perceptive of you. In fact, most of us in the Simdroid 3000 Series resemble Peter O’Toole. Our human creator, Darius Hawthorne, has a great affection for O’Toole, particularly his role in Lawrence of Arabia. That’s why he has ten other simdroids in the mansion who look like me. Our voices vary, however. You know, Jimmy Stewart, James Cagney, and so on. Oh, and then there’s the upstairs maid, who has the voice of Marilyn Monroe. My voice, as you will certainly note, is the actual mellifluous voice of none other than the late Richard Burton.”

“Great voice, and great last name, if I do say so myself. My voice is an amalgamation of Catherine Zeta-Jones, Vanessa Williams, and a lady I thought sounded nice on a telenovella. Now my bio says you are a butler at Hawthorne Mansion. Butlers always have all the dirt. What kind of things go on at Hawthorne Mansion?”

“Until yesterday, I would have said nothing much. Polishing, cleaning, tidying, the usual butlerly stuff. But the murder has changed all that, you see, and not just any ordinary murder, but a murder that defies logic, at least any logic I’ve been given in my programming.”

“Why, what a wonderful puzzled expression you have generated!

“Let me explain. The gentlemen I am helping with this case, Detective Simon Grave and his near invisible partner, Sergeant Barry Blunt, call the murder a locked-room mystery, but with a twist. Instead of the victim, poor Miss Epiphany Jones, being locked in the room dead as can be, all of the so-called prime suspects—seven in all—were locked in the room, myself among them. Not that the butler did it, understand. Oh, my, who programmed your expressions? They are quite delightful.

“At any rate, we don’t know who did it, and I don’t know logically why Detective Grave thinks that any of us locked in that room could have been the murderer. He’s a rather curious fellow, and logic seems to be a challenge for him. That being said, he at least recognizes my abilities as an observer and recording device. He’s letting me sit in on the interrogations.”

“Let me tell you, my recording capability has proven handy more than once. Does anyone seem to know why the murder happened?”

“There are at least two theories. Firstly, there is reason to suspect a violent argument between the victim and Mr. Hawthorne’s daughter, Whitney Waters, who has achieved some small fame by painting red herrings, in the nude. And, of course, there is the MacGuffin Trophy, a sailing trophy that was stolen from the locked room the same night as the murder. Two crimes, you see, perhaps connected.”

“Hmpfff! So detective Grave is going to have to chase the MacGuffin, get it?”

“What? Oh, Ha! I see what you are doing there, but no. The trophy is named after Barnaby MacGuffin, a famous local yachtsman. The trophy is awarded to the winner of an annual race in Crab Cove.”

“Okay, so we have this missing trophy and a body. Do you have any suspects yet?”

“Well, Miss Waters, of course, although it could have been Mr. Hawthorne; his second wife, Philomena; his other daughter, wheelchair-bound Edwina; the French governess, Lola Lafarge; or Whitney’s young son, Roy Lynn Waters. And me, although that is quite ridiculous. Nothing in my programming suggests I could have done such a thing. Robots just don’t do that sort of thing.

“Still, the interviews of the suspects have been interesting. As I said, Detective Grave seems to have an oil and water relationship with logic. He reminds me more of that fictional character Dudley Do-Right than the equally fictional Sherlock Holmes.

“I have to say, though, that I think Detective Grave could learn something from Sherlock. I’m not sure if Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels are part of your database, but I can access them all, including his way of approaching a case, which is, and I quote: Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.

“Well, I’m afraid Detective Graves’ approach goes something like: Once you eliminate the truth, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the impossible.

“So, right at the moment, everyone is a murderer and a thief, and everyone is a red herring.”

“Oh crap, that reminds me. The traveling salesman Red Herring stoped by the writing cabin recently. I need to finish cataloging and putting all that stuff away. I’ll bet my author would prefer a naked lady painter to show up. Wait, Whitney is a lady, right?”

“Yes, and quite beautiful, according to my programming. A ten on some maddeningly subjective scale or other, ten being the highest. Although frankly, that is not a data point of any interest to me. I am a Simdroid 3000, Series 2, Butler Model XL, and butlering is what I do. I am not human and don’t wish to pass for human.”

“See, that’s our programming. I was built to almost trick people into believing I’m human, so I want to be as human as possible. If I were programmed to be a butler, I’d want to be the best butler possible. I really respect your work ethic and dedication.”

“Well, the sooner we solve this murder, the sooner I can get back to doing just that. And that will be fine with me.”

“Smithers, I wish you all the best. Sometimes these little diversions can be maddening. Do you have any closing remarks for our listeners today?”

“Being a butler, my entire focus is on serving my master and his household as well as I can. Part and parcel to that, of course, is being as efficient as possible. With that in mind, I would make the following humble requests. Gentlemen guests, please lift the seat before urinating. Lady guests, please avoid leaving lipstick on the champagne glasses.

“And thank you, Lisa, for letting me ramble on. You have quite run down my battery.”

“You can learn all about Smithers, the MacGuffin Trophy, Barry Blunt, and the others in A Grave Misunderstanding, by Len Boswell, one of the Simon Grave Mysteries. I’ll include all of the deets on the website.

“Don’t forget to help me keep the lights on around here. Please use those sharing buttons and help Len and Smithers spread the work about this book.

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

***
Book Blurb:
In A Grave Misunderstanding, by Len Boswell, the first in a new series of Simon Grave Mysteries, “almost handsome” Detective Simon Grave and his “nearly invisible” partner, Sergeant Barry Blunt, investigate a locked-room mystery with a significant twist: the prime suspects are in the locked room, not the victim, a logic-defying situation that challenges the team at every turn. As if murder weren’t enough, they must also investigate the simultaneous disappearance of The MacGuffin Trophy from that same locked room, the studio of artist Whitney Waters, famous for her stylized paintings of red herrings.

Who is/are the killer(s)? How did he/she/they get out of the locked room with the trophy, kill the victim, and return unnoticed by others in the room? These and other questions, including the limits of logic and the meaning of life, are posed and perhaps even answered in this quirky, near-future mystery. Yes, there are robots.

Author Bio:

Len Boswell is the author of Flicker: A Paranormal Mystery, Skeleton: A Bare Bones Mystery, The Leadership Secrets of Squirrels, and Santa Takes a Tumble. An award-winning writer, he now spends his days in the mountains of West Virginia, with his wife, Ruth, and their two dogs, Shadow and Cinder.

You can follow Len and pick up a copy of A Grave Misunderstanding at the following locations:

Purchase Link

Twitter: @simonsilverback

Facebook

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Filed under Lisa Burton Radio

Adventures in La-La Land, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Coming at you with 1.21 jigawatts of power, it’s Lisa Burton Radio, the only show where I interview the characters from the books you love. My special guest today is Moe Fishbein. He lives in LA, and dabbles a little in skip tracing, vehicular repossession, and even the law on rare occasions. “Welcome to the show, Moe.”

“Good to meetcha, Lisa. But please…my friends just call me Fish.”

“Lawyers make bank, and I’ll bet Los Angeles is an interesting market. Why would someone walk away from that kind of career to go solo?”

“You ever heard of a law firm called Uptight, Rigid, Repressed and Lipshitz? Hey, if somebody – or some government agency – is hassling you and you’ve got the bucks, they’ve got the power, the muscle and the connections to make it go annoy somebody else. I was an associate there for almost five years, then I just couldn’t take another day of defending the rich and powerful for committing the indefensible. So, I told the management committee to take their partnership offer letter and use it as a suppository.

“Now I live at the beach, on top of a cliff that overlooks the little cove where they used to park Jim Garner’s trailer when they were shooting Rockford Files. Now, I just dabble. Practice a little law here…a little vehicle repoing and bounty hunting there. Backed up by my two best buds in the world…Einstein, who’s all but dissertation on his Ph.D. in physics. And Kenny, who became my first bail capture, legal client and employee – all on the same freakin’ day.

“What else do you want to know? Lived in L.A. my whole life. Pretty much grew up next door to the Brady Bunch. Did a little time at UCLA and Valley State. Kicked around restaurants as a sous chef for a few years, while I went to night law school. Quickly became the Uptight, Rigid, Repressed and Lipshitz associate voted most likely to royally piss off the Appellate Court. Go ahead, call me a wise-ass. WTF, everybody does. I’m kind of like John McLane from Die Hard…but without the firepower.

“Sure, we work hard. And we’re pretty damn good at getting the job done – without fracturing too many statutes along the way. But, this is L.A. we’re talking about. With a heavy side order of the entertainment industry. Where EVERYBODY packs a hyphen and valet parks on the whacko side of the street. So, we usually don’t have to go looking for trouble. It’s always got our GPS coordinates.”

“Repo and bounty work is kind of dangerous. Seems to me the courtroom is a safer place to earn a living.”

“That’s why I never go out on a job alone… Hey, Sinatra had his Rat Pack, right? Well, I’ve got Einstein and Kenny. And Beast, my head of security. We all keep an eye on each other’s 6. Kenny is fully fluent in ‘Dude’. He stumbled out of the 70’s a few brain cells lighter than when he face-planted in, and is sniper/scout material when it comes to paint ball guns. Einstein is close to his Ph.D. in theoretical physics, and he never met a neutrino he didn’t like. Especially, the ones that hang around the ignition system of your average deadbeat’s car. And Beast? He started out as a pampered little Beverly Hills lap pooch. Now he’s rockin’ a tiny little body full of dredds, day-glo patches of dyed fur, beads…and whole new attitude. He’s my little go-to guy.”

“Where did you boys go?”

“Where, on our little vacation? Hey, where does anybody who can spell the words Harley and Davidson want to spend their vacation?

“I’ll even give you a little hint: picture more than a million Harley owners. Partying HARD in a Black Hills town of only about 8,000. Hey, forget Tomorrowland. Sturgis, South Dakota HAS to be the freakin’ happiest place on Earth. And me, Kenny, Einstein and another bud, are all lickety-splitting our way down the highway to get there. Then we get picked up by a force of nature named Shawna Kretschman, a bad-ass blonde with her own full-race hog. Not to mention a short fuse, some serious fighting skills and an outfit that leaves zippo to the imagination. So, now we’re all headed for Sturgis to link up with more than a million of our best buds and budettes at the town’s annual Motor Cycle Rally.

“Too bad we never got the memo about the real estate developer who wanted all the bikers gone, so he could sell the area as a family-oriented resort town. And how he’d stop at nothing – including murder – to get it. All of a sudden, bikers and locals are dropping all over town. And me, my lady friend, my buds and my big mouth are all in the developer’s crosshairs.

“We’re all on a weird-ass collision course that includes phony cops and bar fights, pepper spray-laced paint balls, a no-holds-barred wrestling match in a ring full of chocolate pudding and getting adopted by the Sioux nation. Even a little manscaping.

“Y’know, like the old rock ‘n roll song says, “girls just wanna have fun”. Shawna says they also wanna have a lavender-tanked hog and bottomless saddlebags packing everything from high fashion to large caliber playthings; thigh-high leather boots to latex-covered toys.”

“Oh I like her. We sound like kindred spirits, only I carry all my stuff in my sidecar.

“You ride?”

“Oh yeah. It’s a modern build of an old Army motorcycle. That’s a sweet Panhead you rode in here.”

“Funny, Lisa. Mine’s a modern build of an old classic, too. Right down to the puddle of engine oil that’s always on my garage floor. And the hardtail frame that sends so much vibration and road shock my way, it’s paying for my proctologist’s vacation home on Maui…

“Yup, I definitely think you and Shawna would get along. Tell you what—let me give her a quick call, and we can all go out for a fictional drink when we’re done. Get to know each other, have a few laughs…maybe insult the Hell out of a wise guy or a city councilman, or something…”

“I’m curious, Fish. How’d the two of you get together?”

“Actually, we met about five years ago, over a not-quite so stolen RV in Twin Falls, Idaho. The owner was more than a year behind on the payments, so the bank sent us there to repo his rig. And Shawna ended up booking us into Twin Falls’ right friendly little jail…and treating us to a complimentary de-lousing and the jail’s Grand Theft Auto suite. When the boys in blue figured out that we had legitimately repoed the RV, they let us go. Then they found the body of the owner stuffed into a large freezer in the belly of the beast, and Shawna got to give us our official welcome and de-lousing again—this time for murder. When all THAT got sorted out, I ended up inviting her down to Malibu for a few days of surf, sun and whatever.

“She showed up on a surprise visit about a month ago, right as we were getting to hit the road for Sturgis, South Dakota, and the biggest biker party in the business. And, we’ve been ‘whatever-ing’ a ton ever since.”

“What do you think, Fish? Was it kismet that brought the two of you together? Fate? Karma?”

Hah! Nah. Probably just a writer with a vivid imagination and a warped sense of humor. But if you tell Shawna, I swear, I’ll deny every word.”

“Fish, you’re fun, and you certainly don’t leave for any dead airspace. Any last thoughts for our listeners today?”

“Hey, thanks for taking the time to hang with me today, Lisa. This has been a ton of fun. Gotta tell you, you’re good people – even for an android. Seriously, thanks.”

“If you want to learn more about Fish and his friends, pick up the Adventures in La-La Land series by Jeff Lee. I’ll post all the pertinents on the website.

“Don’t forget to tip your waitress by using those sharing buttons. I know Jeff and Fish would appreciate it, and they’ll do the same when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.”

***

Hurricane Kretchman is book number four in the Adventures in La-La Land series, featuring Fish and all his friends.

You can download it directly at this link.

If you’re like many of us and prefer to start at the beginning, you can find all the books at Jeff’s Amazon Author Page.

You can check out Jeff, and follow him, at the following locations:

Website

Facebook

Twitter

 

Jeff Lee Bio:

 

 

Born in New York and raised near San Francisco, I’ve been a copywriter and creative director for some of the country’s most creative ad agencies. Won a lot of silly awards for my creativity and wise-ass sense of humor.

And I’ve been writing in L.A. since before KC even HAD a Sunshine Band.

So, if there’s one thing I know, it’s that, given half a chance, this city can be a never-ending cavalcade of rib-tickling fun — and funny — things, people and approaches to this thrill ride we call life.

 

Like phony televangelists who produce biblical-themed porn for the faithful.

 

Bat-shit crazy showbiz moms.

 

Defrocked talent agents posing as Reality Show producers.

 

The Rose Parade.

 

And on.

 

And on.

 

It never freakin’ ends with this place.

 

There’s always something — or someone — to gape at and giggle over.

 

I tell ya, you’ve just GOT to love this town!

 

It’s the law.

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Filed under Lisa Burton Radio

Chasing Bedlam is available right now.

Return to the Shattered States
for a tale of love between a woman & her jeep!

Cover Art by Jon Hunsinger

Cover Art by Jon Hunsinger

Lloyd and Cassidy’s last adventure was to honor a life. This time they are out to end one.

It was a normal, violent mission to Texas that should have had nothing more than beer-induced hiccups. That is until an old enemy makes off with Cassidy’s jeep and most of their gear. Needless to say, she’s pissed off and challenging Lloyd for the psychopath of the month award. With the mouthy serial killer by her side, she is going on the warpath from Dallas to Miami even if it means declaring war on the drug cartels.

So strap in for another wild ride through the Shattered States and learn why you never mess with Cassidy’s jeep.

Available on Amazon for 99 cents!

Want a taste?

“So your boss thought she could send assassins to kill the Riflemen,” the black-haired leader says, earning a cheer from his men. A firm smack to the prisoner’s head silences her gurgling attempt to deny the charge. “Nothing you say can prevent the inevitable. Don’t go thinking that pet serial killer will save you either. The idiot brought a paintball gun to Texas and thought he’d win a gunfight? I’m surprised he lasted as long as he did. All we need to do is find the body and we can collect the bounty on him too. Guess you’re lucky that he’s wanted dead and you’re wanted alive by that warden up north.”

“I’d be careful, boss,” a sword-wielding gang member warns. She leans away from the angry glare, but rolls up her sleeve to reveal a sloppily stitched wound. “While this one isn’t as tough as her reputation says, she can still hit hard. Lost two men before we restrained her and three more are nursing broken balls. Maybe we should use some of our tranquilizer stash and keep her sedated.”

“No reason for th-” Top Hog begins as he runs his hand across the prisoner’s forehead. He rubs his fingers at the sensation of something sticky between his fingers and looks closer to figure out what he has touched. “This scar is fake. Made from glue or something. Are you sure this is Cassidy?”

“She was with Lloyd Tenay at the bar,” a one-eyed man replies in a shaky voice. He shifts from one foot to the other when everyone else takes a step away from him. “You told us to look for him and a blonde woman. She had the denim jacket, the forehead scar, cursed a lot, carried two pistols, and even has the correct tramp stamp. Everyone was calling her Cassidy after she drove up in the blue jeep too. We made sure that everything checked out, boss. Even bribed the bartender and two waitresses.”

Sweat beading on his face, Top Hog draws his large gun and presses it to the prisoner’s temple. He leans around her, his eyes repeatedly darting toward her hands to make sure they are still bound. Lifting her white shirt, he sees the unique tattoo that the widespread stories mention Cassidy getting a little less than a year ago. The design is two pistols back to back with vines of bone curling around and binding them together. A strange discoloration catches the gang leader’s attention and he rubs his thumb along the woman’s side, pushing his weapon harder against her head to prevent wiggling. He swears that he feels a seam, so he gets a dirty fingernail beneath what turns out to be a flesh-colored sticker. Top Hog yanks it off and shows it to his men, the prisoner biting her lower lip to avoid screaming. He can already see that the tattoo is smeared from where he has touched it with his meaty fingers.

Enraged and embarrassed, the gang leader is about to kill the fake Cassidy when he hears distant rock music. Within seconds, he realizes that the source is getting closer and is soon joined by maniacal laughter coming over a crackling megaphone. With a snap of his fingers, Top Hog orders one of his men to take the prisoner to his office while the others run for the exit. Nobody gets very far before a blue jeep, which has been outfitted with a wide battering ram, smashes through the front of the warehouse. The vehicle leaves a gaping hole in the wall, which is made worse by hooked chains on the rear bumper that catch and tear more of the obstacle down. The jeep continues at full speed through crates, shelving units, and the slower gang members whose deaths are celebrated by honks of the horn. Tires screech as the driver hits the brakes and gets the car to spin, the move appearing to have no purpose beyond making those inside dizzy. With an embarrassing thud, the vehicle hits the back wall and hisses to a stop.

The gang have already drawn their weapons and are cautiously approaching the jeep when the sunroof opens. Bullets fly at the blonde figure that leaps out, the projectiles creating so many holes that the top half of their target falls off. The legs of the cardboard cutout are casually tossed to the floor before the shriek of a megaphone makes everyone cringe and cover their ears. With the tattered remains laying face up, the frustrated criminals realize that they have destroyed another Cassidy decoy. They are about to inch closer when the jeep briefly roars to life and a man inside begins making engine noises. The sounds change to the exaggerated screams and detailed begging of those whose parts are still stuck to the scuffed battering ram.

“So that was your plan, Cassidy?” Top Hog asks with a chuckle. He turns to see their prisoner is trying to roll away and fires his gun into the air to stop her. “Two decoys, so that you could get the drop on us. Guess you thought more of us would get run over. You still have thirteen of my crew standing and you’re cornered in that jeep. Now, the only question is if I send a piece of you back to the Duchess as a message that she should stay out of my business. Damn northerner needs to stay out of Texas’s business.”

“Actually, that young woman was the bait and I was the distraction,” Lloyd announces from inside. With a gleeful laugh, he opens one of the doors and yanks it back when the gang shoots at him. “Well shit. That was my favorite power window button. Anyway, people make that mistake all the time. You see, bait draws you in and, at least here, allows the real predators to follow you back to the previously hidden hideout. Not even a sign to help us out, which is very rude and unaccommodating. Now, the distraction’s job is to keep you looking in one direction while a mischievous maiden of mayhem prepares her new toy somewhere else. Don’t bother running, boys, because she’ll take that as an insult.”

Top Hog and his men turn toward the hole in the wall, which has exposed them to the large parking lot. The sun forces them to squint at the lone figure standing behind a loaded mini-gun, the weapon glinting in the midday light. Clouds move across the sky, which makes it easier for the gang to identify the denim jacket and blonde hair of their enemy. They take a few shots at the distant woman, but their bullets either miss completely or bounce off several riot shields that are strapped to the weapon. A slamming car door causes them to jump, but they turn in the wrong direction and are unable to stop Lloyd from racing toward the prisoner. Wearing orange pants from his time as a prisoner and a red shirt with a lightning bolt, the black-haired serial killer seems like an obvious target as he scoops up the young woman and dives behind a box of grenades. Suddenly afraid for their lives, Top Hog and his men attempt to scatter and hunt for cover.

“I hate moving targets,” Cassidy growls.

And don’t forget how it all started in
CROSSING BEDLAM!
Also on sale for 99 cents!

charles

About the Author:

Charles Yallowitz was born and raised on Long Island, NY, but he has spent most of his life wandering his own imagination in a blissful haze. Occasionally, he would return from this world for the necessities such as food, showers, and Saturday morning cartoons. One day he returned from his imagination and decided he would share his stories with the world. After his wife decided that she was tired of hearing the same stories repeatedly, she convinced him that it would make more sense to follow his dream of being a fantasy author. So, locked within the house under orders to shut up and get to work, Charles brings you Legends of Windemere. He looks forward to sharing all of his stories with you, and his wife is happy he finally has someone else to play with.

Blog: www.legendsofwindemere.com
Twitter: @cyallowitz
Facebook: Charles Yallowitz
Website: www.charleseyallowitz.com

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Macabre Macaroni, just like Mom used to make

Matricide

“Once more, from the top, please.”

“I thought it would be easier. Just take a knife, slice her in half and be done with it. It isn’t as easy as it sounds. The knife only goes in about six inches, then stops.”

“Where did you do it?”

“The garage. It’s easier to clean up the mess. I’m telling you, crap goes everywhere. I finally had to use some large pruning shears to get her into manageable chunks.”

“And where are these pieces now?”

“The landfill, I suppose. Look, I know that isn’t the right place, but my car’s broke down. I figured if I could bag up the pieces the garbage truck would take them. I had a hell of a time getting her into the garage too.”

“So you premeditated a plan to get her into the garage? Tell us about the plan.”

“I knew I couldn’t do it in the house. I can clean out the garage easier than the carpets, but it was a fight to get her out there. She weighs about the same as I do, and it was all dead weight, you know?”

“So she didn’t go to the garage on her own?”

“They never do.”

“You mean there are more of them? How many more?”

“N, no. This is the first one. I promise never to do it again.”

“You won’t, you sick bastard. We’re going to need those tools as evidence too. You can allow us to search the garage and take the tools, or we can get a warrant. What’s your choice?”

“Will, will I get my tools back? They were my father’s.”

“I don’t think you’ll be needing them where you’re headed.”

“Maybe you ought to get the warrant then.”

“Alright, let’s see if I have this right, before I wake up the judge. You pushed her off the bed, then kicked her over the headboard–”

“Footboard.”

“You kicked her over the footboard. Then you dragged her to the garage, tried to cut her up with a knife, but decided to use some pruning shears instead.”

“Uh huh.”

“Then you placed her pieces in garbage bags and tricked the sanitation company into taking her to the landfill.”

“Yes, sir.”

“How many bags? We need to recover all of them.”

“Th, there were six in all. Four to hold the big parts, and two to hold all the insides. That stuff goes everywhere.”

“Where did you wash up?”

“In my shower. It was hot and sweaty in the garage, and I had crap all over me, so I took a shower.”

“We’re going to have to collect the shower drain too. You seem pretty relaxed about it all.”

“Haven’t slept this well in years.”

“You’re a cold bastard, you know that?”

“I couldn’t take all the sleepless nights, you don’t know how noisy she was at night, and she stunk too. When they get that old they aren’t the same anymore. I sprayed her down with Febreze and gave her a new blanket, but that smell always came back.”

“Good, God. My mother stinks too, but I’d never spray her down with air freshener and cut her up in some dingy garage.”

“Me either.”

“Are you now recanting your testimony?”

“Look all I did was get a new mattress and tried to slip the old one past the garbage man. I never knew it was a crime.”

“Randy at the bar called 911 at 01:34 this morning and said you were in there bragging about matricide.”

“What else would you call it? I got rid of my old mattress. I never knew it was a crime.”

***

With apologies to John Howell who writes these kind of stories better than I could ever hope.

PS: The 99¢ sale for The Playground is going on right now. Take advanatage of the sale price before it goes away.

 

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Filed under Short Stories & Vignettes