Saturday, August 30, 2014

Sheila Lowe Goes for Win in Haunting Suspense Thriller!

The first thing she noticed was the sound. Metal wheels rolling on rails, thrumming in time with her heartbeat. Instinct whispered that if she could only screw up the courage to pry open her eyes , she would see the world hurtling past with the breathless rush of a roller coaster. But that kind of courage had deserted her. How long had she been sitting as straight as a board, hands clasped in her lap, knees and ankles pressed together as tightly as if they were bound? Hours? Days? She could feel the gradual unraveling, thread by delicate thread, of the heavy curtain that separated consciousness from the abyss, but the answer to her question was elusive...
“Hey!” she shouted, running alongside the train, heedless of the massive steel wheels turning mere inches from her feet. Her fist beat uselessly against the siding. “Hey, wait! Wait!” The last compartment lumbered past, forcing her to jump back as the train picked up speed. She watched in dismay as it disappeared from view. What now? Alone on the platform, she turned in a slow circle, taking in her surroundings . Across the street was a huge parking lot, mostly empty. A marquee on the street corner said that the lot served the Ventura County Fairgrounds. To her right, the road that ran alongside the railroad tracks dead-ended. Biting down hard on her lip to keep from breaking into tears, she turned left and started walking away from the station. And as she walked, the thing that had been clamoring at her hit her full bore: the truth that she had been warding off since the first inkling of consciousness. A truth from which she could not protect herself. A truth that refused to be silenced any longer. The overwhelming question to which she had no answer emerged with the force of a body blow: 
Who am I?

What She Saw

Although you may see or hear the character name, Claudia Rose, in this book, What She Saw, is not part of her series... This diversion, in my opinion, just may be the best novel Lowe has published and has a distinct freedom from handwriting that could be Lowe's hurrah as she takes a step away from her specialist series... I applaud this free-standing psychological mystery entry as one of the greats from this now seasoned writer. This novel is loooooong on suspense and terror without much in the way of  character expertise in forensics.  The story is creepy, scary...and without a clue for readers as to who the heck the main character is! Two different styles of writing, genre development, and a future opening in the psychological suspense genre which could only be slightly improved with a little romance...LOL

I think I might be one of the few who began reading Lowe with her very first book, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I'm hoping her series will continue but this diversion, preferably, will be just one of many, many more. This story was not only unusual and a big piece of weird good stuff, but we amateur bedside detectives just will not be able to get a break. Her clot is tight, extremely well written and she keeps beckoning us with her finger to keep following, turning those pages, until she finally says, it is! One wrapped up brilliant and delightful package that we get to unwrap one page at a time!

She didn't know where she was or who...but she saw her fellow passengers start pulling their things together and heard the conductor call out for Ventura station. She would try to get off and see if she recognized anything...But she just kept sitting there until a man approached her to see if she was alright and she hurriedly fot off, looking around and finally just set off.  Seeing the Crown Plaza and the beach, she thought about going in but what could she say--they'd think she was crazy... just as the voice in her head kept telling her...

She saw a sign for
Downtown and
kept on walking, even though she saw a couple of street hustlers who were already pointing and calling to her. One came to her and started the come on, but then they saw the cop car heading their direction... When she saw it, she was more scared of it than the thugs! What was that about?!

The sound of rhythm and blues spilling into the street drew her and she paused to watch the band performing on a tiny stage in the Bombay’s front window. The husky-voiced singer was named Joe Wilson and the song he was belting was called Bad Behavior. That piece of information earned a triumphant little fist pump just before despair overwhelmed her again. How could she know these trivial things, but nothing about herself? More pressing was the setting sun, whose dimming rays were rapidly bringing dusk. What the hell am I going to do? “Jen! Hey, Jennnnna!” She hesitated for a beat, then started walking again, he couldn’t be yelling at her.
He had been calling for her even though she didn't know him...but he did seem to know her and know enough to lead her
home, though when she got there, she didn't recognize it as the place where she lived. She started with a tour, getting to know the place, and then saw a computer--surely something on there would help her... She discovered that he was apparently Zach Smith, her upstairs neighbor and he seemed like a nice enough guy so she was glad to meet him, even though she wasn't sure that she really was the Jenna he thought she was! But at least she had a place to rest before she continued to figure out what was going on.

All she had to do was walk over and switch on the CPU. The renewed dread the prospect raised was not in her imagination. You are so chickenshit. Not yet. Turn it on! It can wait. Maybe she was just making another excuse, but there was something else Jenna needed to do before exploring the computer. 
First, she needed to face herself. Drawing a long, calming breath through her nose, she held it for the count of four, releasing it gradually through her mouth. Where had she learned to do that? Closing her eyes, she reached up the way a blind person might, and touched the landmarks of her features with her fingertips. The skin was firm and young, the cheekbones prominent. Feeling as prepared as she was likely to, Jenna opened her eyes and crossed into the bathroom...
What was behind the anguish reflected in those cool blue windows to her soul? Her mind skittered away from the question as fast as a cockroach exposed to sudden light...

One of the first things she found was an employee photo: 
According to a laminated employee photo ID badge in the purse, Jenna Marcott was an employee of BioNeutronics Laboratory in Oxnard.
She also found a card for an appointment with a psychologist and a small ripped paper that said:
I’m warning you, Jen, back off. Now!!! You’ve got to give me more time.
All she could think was about what she was supposed to back off from... Of course, nothing came to mind!

Had that person already made a failed attempt,
leaving her with amnesia? Having no answers
made her want to shriek at the emptiness where
the memories should have been.
What happened to me?
I must admit that I was getting personally involved with this woman--she was starting to do some crazy things that required a lot of guts.. Me, I think I would have headed to the ER room to see if I had been physically hurt... Instead, using what she had learned so far, she decided to take on Jenna's life, go to meet with the psychologist and also go to where she supposedly worked! 

The visit to see the psychologist made things worse! Apparently she had been to see him for an initial meeting and had told him that she thought somebody was trying to kill her! Of course she panicked, but use the information to find out what else had been said. The doctor explained that she apparently was a danger to somebody very powerful.

Have to say what happened in this book caught me totally in shock--didn't have a clue where the story was going! Cool, right?! I think, for me, this became my favorite book, so far, for Sheila Lowe. I'm looking forward to watching her expand her wings into other genres. By how I enjoyed this book, I can't wait to see what happens in the future books Lowe publishes! Do check this book out--it's a perfect page-turning suspense novel that, even when the major twist occurs, it only keeps you turning the pages faster! Loved it!


Sheila Lowe
Like Claudia Rose, Sheila Lowe is a court-qualified handwriting expert who testifies in forensic cases. She has more than thirty years experience in the field of handwriting analysis and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. The author of Handwriting of the Famous & Infamous, and The Complete Idiot's Guide to Handwriting Analysis, her analyses of celebrity handwritings have appeared in Time, Teen People, and Mademoiselle. Her articles on Personality Profiling and Handwriting Analysis for the Attorney have been published in several bar association magazines.
Sheila's clientele includes a wide spectrum of corporate clients, mental health professionals, attorneys, private investigators and staffing agencies, among others. Her award-winning Handwriting Analyzer software is used around the world and her profiles help uncover important information in background checks and pre-employment screening. She enjoys analyzing handwriting for individuals, too, helping them understand themselves and others better.

For more information on Sheila please visit her personal website

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Pictures from Adolfo Turns Into Exploration of Patti Page and Cape Cod...Enjoy a brief vacation...

Need a Break!?! I Did and When Adolfo Caso sent me pictures from his vacation site in Cape Cod, I quickly started humming an old song by a beautiful singer that was the first to sing "Old Cape Cod" and which became a song that brought many to visit there...
If you're like me and can't pick up and go to the Cape, well, spend a little time visiting!

Adolfo and Margaret, Thanks So Much For Sharing Your Trip!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Lazar's Latest Gus LeGarde Mystery Keeps This Series Moving Up! Picked for a 2014 Personal Favorite!

His eyes opened and he stared at the sky. I pressed the cloth against the cut again. The bleeding had almost stopped. “Sir? Are you okay? Can you hear me?”
His dark eyes flitted toward the plane. When he spoke, his voice resonated in a clipped British accent. “Of course I can bloody well hear you, Gus. You needn’t shout.” 
Startled, I studied him closer. The man was blessed with a Michelangelo face reminiscent of the statue of David, but with more rounded features, including a strong nose and full lips. His black skin shone with vigorous health. A small silver earring pierced his right ear. On his left hand he wore an onyx and silver band. The ring sparked some distant memory, but I still couldn’t summon his identity. He turned his eyes to mine, forced a weak smile, and took my hand. In that instant, recognition flooded through me. Byron. Byron Cunningham. “Byron.” I smiled. “You’ve changed a bit over the years. I didn’t recognize you without your granny glasses and bellbottoms.” He squeezed my hand and pushed himself onto his elbows. “I have changed a mite, I guess...
I called to tell you I accepted  a post at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester... I'm chair of the voice department. Just began last month..."
"Eastman, huh? What a Plum job."
"Quite. Many consider Eastman to be the best music school in the world, you know." Pride flitted across his face.
I couldn't resist. I gave him a bear hug.'ve damned lucky you didn't die in the crash."
"Lucky? I'd say it was some sort of divine providence. If you hadn't been riding in this area...if you hadn't dragged me out...I'd be charcoal, singing with the angels."
{Noah Stewart chosen to play Byron based upon the chill factor--he gave me chills as I listened!}

The Liar's Gallery:
A Gus LeGarde Mystery
By Aaron Paul Lazar

If I were a man, I'd want to be like Gus LeGarde... What? You've never thought about being somebody of the opposite sex... Or maybe somebody of the same sex who you admire? Gus is a man that garners respect, love, and demonstrates those qualities and more in return. Somehow I always think that he must be much like the author, don't you think? When a character is drawn so beautifully, I tend to think that the character represents either the author or somebody who was greatly admired by the author... One of the first suggestions through my search was Kelsey Grammer. You know, I think Google knows how to work for me! LOL

A good portion of each book will be set at the LeGarde family farm where LeGarde will be either gardening or fixing a meal...or picking up one of the little ones carefully and loving...
Gus' daughter lives with them now with her three children and Gus has recently remarried Camille, after losing his first wife a number of years ago through cancer. Gus also gained an adopted daughter, Shelby, with his second marriage and she is not exactly happy with her father when she falls in love with an "older man." She's still in high school and he's in college...
A new character introduced to readers is actually Gus' best friend, but they've not seen each other for years--a little fault on both while the busy world is really the culprit! Gus had played for Byron when he was either in concert or preparing for class work. Now Byron was just appointed as head of the music department at Eastman in Rochester... The new boyfriend just happens to be attending Eastman!
Byron had been flying his own plane when it went down. Fortunately, it was near where Gus had been out riding. He had just gotten Byron out when the gas blew and the plane was destroyed. Once they were back at the farm and had a night's rest, they went to the site of the plane and found a long tube that had a painting inside! Byron knew nothing about it but later at home an accidental spill caused them to realize that the original painting had been painted over!
Another image emerged beneath the garish New York City painting. The newly revealed section was beautifully textured with short violet brush strokes. I exchanged a wide-eyed glance with Byron and dabbed more juice onto the paper towel. The over-painting dissolved quickly. “Waterloo Bridge,” I whispered. I knew the painting well, having visited it frequently on the second floor of the Rochester Memorial Art Gallery. It was my favorite canvas from the museum’s Impressionist collection. Painted in 1903 by Claude Monet, it was entitled “The Waterloo Bridge, Veiled Sun.” 
Byron’s jaw dropped. “I think it’s time to call someone, Gus.” 
Johnny had stopped crying and was sniffling now. “That picture’s prettier, Opa.” He wiped his cheeks and turned to Byron. “Is that your cup-a-coffee, Mr. Cubbingham?” 
He smiled at Johnny. “You bet it is, lad. Cup of tea, cup of coffee. Any way you say it, this one I like.”

While discussions began with the police art experts, another famous piece was discovered when Byron was given the tour of the house...
[Note from BRH: The painting in the book is supposed to be undiscovered...this selection is an example of his work]
He took out his glasses, cleaned them with a shirttail, and put them on, scrutinizing the signature at the bottom. Hishands were shaking. “Gus,” he said in a hoarse whisper. “This is a Knight. A Daniel Ridgway Knight.” “It sure is,” I said calmly. “Are you familiar with his work?”
 “Don’t be daft! I adore him. I have several of his French countryside paintings in my apartment. I paid a fortune for them, and have them securely guarded. I’m on the website daily, looking for new offerings. But this—” he said, stepping back to admire the piece. “I’ve never seen anything like this. My God, Gus, do you know how much this is worth?” 
I looked up at the old man playing fiddle beneath an ancient tree whose branches spread like a protective canopy. His bushy white beard and rustic clothing reminded me of a French country peasant. A red knapsack lay at his feet, and a little white dog danced on his hind feet to the fiddler’s music. In the background, a distant village sprawled across the horizon. “Never really thought about it. I imagine it could be in the thousands?”
 Byron rolled his eyes. “Good God, man. You have a lot to learn. A piece of this quality could easily be worth half a million. Maybe more.” He ran his fingers nervously through his hair. “You need to get it appraised and insured...

Without going any further into the artistic world, let's just say that Gus and Byron got involved with the seamy side when they discover there is a ring of thieves working in Rochester and millions of dollars of art had already been taken and... now comes into the LeGarde's home and lives... While Byron is under suspicion since the Monet had been found in his plane...

So let's get back to Shelby. Here, too, Byron's visit brought her into the primary story. When Shelby learned that Byron was a singing teacher, she took his being there to tell Gus that she wanted to sing. Byron spent time with her, and as the family listened, they were all surprised at Shelby's beautiful voice. Needless to say that Byron immediately suggested lessons, Gus agreed, and Gus was soon driving Shelby to Rochester, but not until after the family had enjoyed many solos and duets including this piece from the Mikado... [I found this interpretation fun, don't you?And the first time she was there, she met the "University man" of her dreams... Without going into their story too much, let's say that it just may be the typical teenage romance? Maybe not!

[I loved the video background on this, plus it was shorter version!]
Maddy stood up, rummaged in her oversized bag, and drew out a CD. “I just bought this, Gus. I wanted you to take a listen. It’s André Rieu. You know how they’ve been featuring his orchestra on the public station lately? I just adored it, and couldn’t resist ordering the CD and the video.”
 I glanced at the collection of Strauss waltzes performed by the violinist/conductor and his orchestra, sliding it into the CD player. The three-four beat music swelled across the room. Camille’s eyes sparkled. She swayed to the music. When her feet started tapping, Byron turned to her. “Camille? Do you waltz?” 
“I do, but my husband is a bit reticent to try anything more than a two-step shuffle.” She looked at me apologetically.
 I shrugged. “I can’t deny it.” Byron stood and offered his arm to her. “In that case, would you do me the honor?” 

Ok, I admit it...I played up the parts that were "extras" or "fill-ins" around the major thrusts of the book. I did it and I'm glad I did it...My review is for readers, who have never read Lazar before, one of the reasons many place his books as must-reads! I know Gus better than I know any of my neighbors and I adore his love of family, music, and all things meaningful. LeGarde has to be my favorite series, but I also enjoy reading all the rest. Gus also has a very special brother-in-law who does not have too big a part in this book...but a very important part...he knows that Shelby is in trouble and starts the hunt for her! 

One other mention that deserves a spotlight is the relationship between Gus and Byron... After being close friends for a major part of their lives, it was only when Gus saves Byron's life in this book, that Byron emotionally came "out" to Gus. It is a truly touching scene as one close friend tells his best friend that he never quite trusted him...enough... Needless to say, Gus was both angry and hurt... What a world we created in the past,  and which still needs work... This became very important in the story because Byron's lover had just died and... Well, you're going to have to find that out for yourself! Read this book! 

I loved it! You will too!


Aaron Paul Lazar wasn't always a mystery writer. It wasn't until eight members of his family and friends died within five years that the urge to write became overwhelming. "When my father died, I lost it. I needed an outlet, and writing provided the kind of solace I couldn't find elsewhere."

Lazar created the Gus LeGarde mystery series, with the founding novel, DOUBLE FORTÉ (2004), a chilling winter mystery set in the Genesee Valley of upstate New York. Like Lazar's father, protagonist Gus LeGarde is a classical music professor. Gus, a grandfather, gardener, chef, and nature lover, plays Chopin etudes to feed his soul and thinks of himself as a "Renaissance man caught in the 21st century." This book has since be rereleased in 2012 as an "author's preferred edition," via Twilight Times Books.

The creation of the series lent Lazar the comfort he sought, yet in the process, a new passion was unleashed. Obsessed with his parallel universe, he now lives, breathes, and dreams about his characters, and has written ten LeGarde mysteries in eight years. (UPSTAGED - 2005; TREMOLO: CRY OF THE LOON - 2007 Twilight Times Books; MAZURKA - 2009 Twilight Times Books, FIRESONG - 2011, DON'T LET THE WIND CATCH YOU - 2013, VIRTUOSO - 2014, with more to come.) The author has just completed his twenty-first novel.

One day while rototilling his gardens, Lazar unearthed a green cat's eye marble, which prompted the new paranormal mystery series featuring Sam Moore, retired country doctor and passionate gardener. The green marble, a powerful talisman, connects all three of the books in the series, whisking Sam back in time to uncover his brother's dreadful fate fifty years earlier. (HEALEY'S CAVE, 2010; TERROR COMES KNOCKING, 2011; FOR KEEPS, 2012) Lazar intends to continue both series.

Lazar's books feature breathless chase scenes, nasty villains, and taut suspense, but are also intensely human stories, replete with kids, dogs, horses, food, romance, and humor. The author calls them, "country mysteries," although reviewers have dubbed them "literary mysteries."

"It seems as though every image ever impressed upon my brain finds its way into my work. Whether it's the light dancing through stained-glass windows in a Parisian chapel, curly slate-green lichen covering a boulder at the edge of a pond in Maine, or hoarfrost dangling from a cherry tree branch in mid-winter, these images burrow into my memory cells. In time they bubble back, persistently itching, until they are poured out on the page."

In 2009, Kodak gave him up for grabs, and during the year off before he landed in his coveted new job with KB America, he had time to explore and reconnect with his environment. Little did he know that several trips to the Adirondack Mountains would reawaken his passion for that part of the country. Two new books were written in that time frame, starting yet another mystery series, Tall Pines Mysteries. The first two combooks in the series, FOR THE BIRDS - 2011 and ESSENTIALLY YOURS - 2012 have been winning literary awards. Keep an eye out for SANCTUARY (2014), and MURDER ON THE SACANDAGA (2015), coming via Twilight Times Books.

In between all the novels, Lazar found time to issue three writing guides based on his many years of writing advice blogs, entitled WRITE LIKE THE WIND, volumes 1-3. These are available in eBook and audio book.

In his twenty-first book, Lazar has jumped genre. THE SEACREST - OCT 2013 -, a love story, is poised to capture hearts across the globe.
The author lives on a ridge overlooking the Genesee Valley in upstate New York with his wife, mother-in-law, two dogs, and cat. He finds grandfathering one of the most precious and important times of life, and spends as much time as possible with Julian, Gordon, and Isabella.

Lazar maintains several websites and blogs, was the Gather Saturday Writing Essential host for three years, writes his monthly "Seedlings" columns for the Voice in the Dark literary journal and the Future Mystery Anthology Magazine. He has been published in Absolute Write as well as The Great Mystery and Suspense Magazine. See excerpts and reviews here:

Contact him at
Twilight Times Books by multi-award winning author, Aaron Lazar:

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Delusional by Scott Spotson Fun Magical Mystery With Romance to Keep Things Going...

The Hope Diamond, a perfect cut, 45.52 carats of glittering violet-blue, shone in the floodlights, perfectly ensconced inside its display case in the Annenberg Hooker Hall of Geology in the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. 

The priceless gem rotated counter-clockwise every ten seconds, one-quarter turn at a time, showing the awestruck viewers every angle of its stunning beauty. Every forty seconds, the diamond returned to its original position. 

A throng of people surrounded the marble display case, gawking at the famous diamond through exceptionally thick, yet clear glass. The carefully placed lighting sparkled through every one of the blue diamond’s 74 facets.
The extraordinary Hope Diamond had been stolen.

By Scott Spotson 
with Sue Publicover

This story certainly got my attention! The Hope Diamond Stolen! As soon as I read what
happened, I immediately thought of Parker--you know, the thief, or one of the thieves from Leverage... I enjoy the whole team on this TV program. Like Parker, the thief who stole the Hope was caught on camera--a few seconds! They couldn't figure out how she got in, how she made the switch and where, after she slid behind a building column, they never were able to find her actually leaving the building! 

But in fact, this thief routinely had been performing such heists, but had never even gotten close to being caught!

Her husband certainly didn't know! But then, he was a senior Manager at his company, Clearwell, and was having an affair with one of his employees... At least that's what his wife assumed... His wife was very rich and did not want her husband to work, rather to stay home and travel and do other interesting things rather than dull work...

Patricia also worked at Clearwell--hard-working, dedicated. She had noticed Paul but considered him off-limits since he was married and also a boss, even though not her immediate supervisor...
Patricia didn't feel secure in relationships. She had been in two, both of which had left bad memories and a desire not to fall in a similar trap.

Nevertheless, when Paul suggested he run with Patricia during her routine lunch-hour exercise, she agreed...

To her relief, Paul was inside his office, reading his email. He beamed at her. “Okay, ready to go?” They walked over to the fitness center, chatting about work and the latest projects they were involved with. Before they parted ways for their respective locker rooms, Patricia asked, “Paul, what did you have in mind for jogging? Would you prefer to run by yourself or…?” Paul stopped in his tracks. He turned and faced Patricia with a surprised look on his face. “Well, I definitely don’t want to hold you back. I mean, I know you’re in much better shape than I am. Maybe you could show me a good jogging path and I’ll try not to pass out,” Paul answered. 
Patricia stared at him briefly, as she had never seem him hesitant before. “Sure, Paul, I can show you one, but you wouldn’t be holding me back. I mean, I just run for fun.” 
Grinning, Paul pointed at her just as he held the door of the men’s locker room. “Make it really easy. I’m getting old.” Waving at her, Paul disappeared into the men’s locker room. Patricia walked into the women’s locker room, feeling a rush of adrenaline that made her heart race. She definitely felt the flicker of flirtation coming from Paul. Yes, he was always easygoing. She’d often observed his interactions in the office—friendly, sincere, likable. His body posture seemed eager, yet relaxed... And Paul was a dynamic manager who was respected in the marketing department; he clearly showed he welcomed responsibility and could rise to a challenge...

The room went quiet. All eyes turned to Special Agent Swift. Swift clasped his hands. “We’ve all seen the footage of the woman we think was involved with the theft of the Hope Diamond from the Smithsonian and we’ve been perplexed as to how she got in and out of the gallery without any apparent entry or exit. Then there was what seemed to be the same woman with the same motive at the theft of the Van Gogh painting from the Art Institute in Chicago.”

The book switches back and forth between the robberies and the beginning relationship between Paul and Patricia. The latter, however, is the predominant portion of the book, so think about it more as a romantic suspense  as opposed to a police procedural. In fact, the police, FBI and everybody else interested in the thefts were stuck in the mud, you might say... Until...
Fortunately, Patricia had hired a private investigator because things were beginning to happen... Ray had been following here and saw the amazing first attempt on Patricia's life! She had been waiting for the train and, while Ray was watching from a hidden location, he saw a woman who was staring at Patricia. He saw her raise her arm and and bring it down quickly, as if throwing an invisible ball toward Patricia... She then walked behind a post and Ray was waiting for her to leave...but he never saw her again...
The next thing he knew Patricia was surrounded and being pushed toward the end of the platform!

Ray peered out from behind the post. His eyes soon focused on a slim woman, dressed in a black leather knee-length jacket, black slacks, and crimson red stiletto heels. Her long red hair flowed in waves over her shoulders. Ray walked to the side to get a better view of this woman without drawing attention to himself. He wandered over to a bench by the wall and sat down, pretending he was texting on his phone. He glanced over and noticed an intense expression on the woman’s face. She appeared to be staring in Patricia’s direction and soon walked toward where Ray had last spotted Patricia.
...On her way, despite her lack of attention to her surroundings, Patricia became vaguely aware of a few people closing in on her path. Startled, she looked up at her fellow passersby. There were three women and a man, all standing by her intended walking trajectory, but otherwise not seemingly associated together... Despite the coordinated glares from the four strangers, Patricia brushed aside her initial anxiety, remembering what Dr. Zohar had said about taking control. She told herself that the eye contact in a place like a train station was normal; that after seeing her walk by, they would avert their gazes and go back to their business. Instead, her skin prickled with a sense of dread. All four strangers were now flashing expressions of disgust and hatred at Patricia, gazing intensely at her. In tandem, they pointed at her. They closed in, their steps in controlled harmony, like soldiers following a drill...

The obvious question is, since Ray was following the disappearing woman, did he reach Patricia in time? But an even better question would be, how did Ray live when he was knocked off the Tower Bridge!

Even when Ray and Patricia had gathered enough, they felt, to take it to the police and FBI, they had continued to maintain a hands-off attitude...

So, as Ray and Patricia continue to do their own investigation, more and more weird appearances, crazy interactions with people around them and much more keep readers entertained. This one isn't too big of a mystery but solving it is not the issue... Seeing what happens is! Fascinating, unbelievable, confusing, frustrating...anything can happen as long as you keep reading... Enjoy!


Monday, August 25, 2014

Unpublished Stories by Octavia Butler, one of Science Fictions all-time masters, Available for the First Time!

Troy Johnson, AALBC, sent me a notice of this new book and I thought it would be interesting to read and comment on stories that were being published posthumously. From Octavia Butler's extensive biography and rewards, I knew that they would prove to be ones I'd want to share on BRH... Thank you Troy, for bringing it to my attention...

Unexpected Stories

I always enjoy Walter Mosley's stories, so happily sawthat he was providing the Foreword... He opens with:
In a poem I once heard, a lonely young man walking past a desolate alley sees someone, a street denizen, a woman moving in the shadows. She looks familiar and he realizes that this is his mother— dead now for many years.
Reading posthumously published work of an author you loved is like this— shocking, strange, and very sad. And if that work was early on in the author’s career, it’s like seeing your mother as a woman younger and more hopeful than you, than I. 

 "A Necessary Being" takes us into the territory of Rohkohn Hao. Tahneh's father has died and Tahneh has ruled in his place for 20 years. She has been the only Hao and has certainly led a lonely life, but her followers love her and she has been a good leader to them...

Blue skin is considered the highest order of individual and when a group does not have a Hao in their midst, they will steal one and even maim the individual so he or she will not be able to escape.

The fascinating part for me was that, even though Blue represented power, all individuals would use various colors to express emotions... e.g., a flash of white was a response to immediately act as told. I wondered what it would be like if we could see the colors of people change based upon their being hurt or afraid. Would that calm anger or would it excite the one hurting another and prolong the abuse? In our world today, I think we all know that answer, don't we?

Tahneh was meeting with her Chief Judge when they got word that three strangers--a huntress, a judge, and a young Hao were soon meeting with her. Immediately her Chief Judge began planning how to capture the small group and take the Hao captive.

“You must come with us!” Her blue returned at that—returned harshly metallic , a cold threatening color. She said  nothing to Ehreh. She only looked at him. He understood that he had gone too far. He rose silently and left her.
Tahneh watched him silently, knowing that his elation would soon be shared by the rest of her people. Another Hao at last. A young one to be the successor that her body had been unable to produce, a child who could probably be captured without the danger and loss of life that would be involved in capturing an experienced adult...                                                           ~~~

There were a few things that were wrong from what she had first been told. The Hao was young... but not that young. Duit was humiliated when he realized that a small group had captured them. Tahneh had warned that they should be brought in with no harm to them but not everybody was in agreement. Two of them were kept bound while Duit went forward to meet Tahneh... He was from a mountain group...

She immediately greeted him as family, though they had never met. It had been a long time for both of them since they'd even seen another of Blue...  It was she who initiated the welcome they shared with each other.''

Rohkohn was a desert group, but, although it was not totally gone yet, the river was going dry. It was naturally believed that it was because they did not have a Hao. I thought it was interesting that they had let Tahneh more or less rule for years, but they continued to seek their own Hao for deliverance...

Fortunately Tahneh had her own ideas...

The second, much shorter story is Childfinder. Barbara had been gone from "The Organization" and had already started a small area where either the children came or she would bring those that she found. She would teach and try to help them understand how to make it in this world...

But then she had a visitor sent to invite Barbara to attend a meeting. She protested--she had her children... Ah yes, the children would be welcomed too! {Octavia's sitting in for Barbara...Can't you just see her saying...}

“So the others are right. You’re forming an opposing organization.”
 “We won’t oppose you unless we have to.”
 “A segregated black-only group … Don’t you see, you’re setting yourself up for the same troubles that plague the normals.” 
“No. Until you get another childfinder, I don’t think they’ll be quite the same. More like reversed.”
 I almost said, “How does it feel to be on the downside for a change.” Almost. 
And to one of the new people— the next step for mankind.
 Honest to God, that’s the way they talked when I was with them...

You know, I always find it interesting when "an organization" feels that they are on the right, good, and only track to benefit the world. Barbara easily saw right through them. She had been their Childfinder and then she was not... Barbara cared and loved the children. That was the difference... She wasn't in this to "get the gift" that most of the children had... Loved this one!

I did favor the second story just because it was short and put the issue right out there to the readers! But the first is more subtle in its message. Tahneh knew that she had been leading the people the same way her father had and also taught her. The issue was not the leader, not the Hao, not the Blue. It is not color that makes an effective leader. And she proved it, by teaching her new cousin as well! Wonderful moral to this story!

Do add this to your permanent library. Also included is an Afterword by Merrilee Heifetz, Writers House, who helped with publishing this book and a biography of Octavia Butler...

Here's a fun quote: "She began writing at twelve, when a B movie called Devil Girl from Mars inspired her to try writing a better science-fiction story." Guess that it was a great inspiration~ LOL! She succeeded in writing many great stories!


Octavia E. Butler (1947– 2006) was a bestselling and award-winning author, considered one of the best science fiction writers of her generation. She received both the Hugo and Nebula awards, and in 1995 became the first author of science fiction to receive a MacArthur Fellowship. She was also awarded the prestigious PEN Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000.