Showing posts with label supernatural. Show all posts
Showing posts with label supernatural. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

"Murder of a Good Man" by Teresa Trent

GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY
Murder of a Good Man
(A Piney Woods Mystery Book 1)
by Teresa Trent

Murder of a Good Man (A Piney Woods Mystery Book 1) by Teresa Trent

Murder of a Good Man by Teresa Trent is currently on tour with Great Escapes Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.


For another book by this author, please check out my blog post on Color Me Dead.

Description
When Nora Alexander drives into Piney Woods, Texas, to fulfill her dying mother’s last wish, she has no idea what awaits her. First she is run off the road, then the sealed letter she delivers turns out to be a scathing rebuke to the town’s most beloved citizen and favored candidate for Piney Woods Pioneer: Adam Brockwell. Next thing you know, Adam has been murdered in a nasty knife attack. Suspicion instantly falls on Nora, one of the last people to see him alive. After all, everyone in Piney Woods loved him. Or did they? Nora learns that her mother had a complicated past she never shared with her daughter. Told not to leave town by Tuck the flirty sheriff, Nora finds a job with Tuck’s Aunt Marty trying to get the rundown Tunie Hotel back in the black. The old hotel was Piney Woods’ heart and soul in its heyday as an oil boomtown. Now the secrets it harbors may be the key to getting Nora off the hook. She’s going to need to solve the mystery quickly to avoid arrest, or worse: becoming the killer’s next victim.

Excerpt
Blinking to keep her tears at bay, Nora reached into her pocket for a tissue. Just as she brought it up to her damp cheek, a red pickup, apparently tired of her snail’s pace, swerved around to pass her. Without considering the passing driver, Nora hit the gas pedal to get back up to speed with traffic. When the red truck re-entered the lane, he nearly ran into her, causing Nora to veer off the country road. She slammed on the brakes, taking deep breaths as her heart thumped in her chest.
With shaking hands, she moved farther over to the side of the road as her heart rate returned to normal. The jolt had opened the cut on her hand from that morning’s moving of the boxes and furniture from her mother’s place to the storage unit. The bandage had dislodged itself, and she used her cotton shirt to stop the flow of blood until she could open the first-aid kit on the seat of the car. Thank goodness she was wearing a T-shirt underneath.
Just as she got everything fixed up, a man in a white pickup with a gun rack in the back slowed and rolled down his window. “You okay there, missy?”
Nora straightened up and smiled, not wanting to accept help from a strange man. “Fine, just fine.”
“Okay then. I got a little something for you.” Nora wasn’t sure she wanted to see what that was. He extended his arm out of the cab window and slapped a bumper sticker into her hand. The bright red letters spelled out, BUBBY FOR PINEY WOODS PIONEER.
“Uh, thank you.”
“Name’s Bubby Tidwell and I can see you are about to enter the fair city of Piney Woods, Texas. While you’re there, I’d appreciate it if you cast your vote for me, as the Piney Woods Pioneer. I have personally saved fourteen of our citizens, three cats, and a hamster in my days as a firefighter. They only choose people who have contributed to improving our little community, and even though you don’t know me, I’d sure appreciate your support. You drive safe now.” He waved and headed on down the road.
Nora put the bumper sticker in the passenger seat and stared in the rearview mirror. She had hopped into the car determined to fulfill her mother’s last wish. Now that she was getting close to her destination, she realized she must look pretty rough. She rearranged her hair to create a side braid à la Disney princess while arranging silky strands of auburn hair to frame her face. Pulling a tube of concealer out of her bag, she did her best to repair her makeup. After a few minutes of fussing, she hoped she looked presentable.
She had to do this thing. She had to know. Her mother left her instructions on delivering the letter.
As Nora neared Piney Woods, Texas, two giant eyes bored into her from a lighted billboard with the words VOTE FOR BUBBY in glitter letters at the bottom. PINEY WOODS’ FINEST CITIZEN was written under the face of the roundcheeked man with the Cheshire Cat smile. A hundred feet down the road was another billboard with BROCKWELL INDUSTRIES—PINEY WOODS’ TRUE PIONEER NEEDS YOUR VOTE. Brockwell was the name she was looking for, so she knew she was getting close.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
“Family secrets abound in this small town novel... Not an easy mystery to figure out.” ~ Laura’s Interests
“There is an amazing amount of secrets revealed that I never really saw coming making this a fascinating read, to say the least.” ~ Books a Plenty Book Reviews
“This story has a great vibe to it and fits the cozy mystery category perfectly. It starts off with a doozie of a murder to solve, but as Nora investigates, juicier small-town secrets come to light, making it much more than just that. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the twists in the story, some I did not even see coming. All of the characters were well-developed and each added their own touch to the story.” ~ Coffeetime Romance & More
“The first in Trent's series set in Piney Woods, and it bodes well for the series. As cozies go, this is not only a fun read, but it moves along quite well. She has a respectable number of characters - not so many as to confuse the reader but enough to have a growing number of possible perpetrators! This is a keeper.” ~ Judith Reveal for the New York Journal of Books
“Teresa Trent's recipe for an outstanding cozy mystery: A mother's dying wish. A mysterious letter. A dutiful daughter who shows up on the doorstep of the nicest man in town. A guy who suddenly turns up dead. Mixed well with small town Texas charm and a fabulous eye for detail.” ~ Joanna Campbell Slan, author of the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series


Guest Post by the Author
If Walls Could Talk
One of the ways I chronicled the town of Piney Woods, Texas, in Murder of a Good Man was through the pictures on the wall at the hotel. If you have ever walked into a place with a rich history, you can feel it. You don't always know exactly what happened there, but you sense it. If walls could talk. That's what I set out to achieve in the first book of the Piney Woods Series when I filled a wall with hotel guests from decades gone by. The historic hotel had been around since the 1940's with bellboys, then hula hoopers, then flower children, then disco and more. They held dances and weddings there and nearly everyone in town had been there at least one time in their lives. Now Nora Alexander will find out that even though she's a stranger, she's connected to the Tunie Hotel.
One of the most enjoyable things about creating a series is getting to create a new town and new characters. I was inspired to write about a hotel because of my older brother. He's worked in hotels for twenty years and always had a story for me. He talked about con artists, hold-ups, stabbings, guests with secrets, guests who get drunk and tell everyone information they would normally keep to themselves. It was like finding a gold mine at my kitchen table and I loved hearing his tales of the hotel front desk. Still, though, I had to make an entire town, so I also included a bed and breakfast, a mansion, a Cajun restaurant, and Big Dudley's Coffee shop. When writing the scene in the coffee shop, I could hear a surfer dude in the back of my brain, and that was how Little Dudley was born. The invention of Mr. Birdsong was the same thing. I immediately saw a terribly sweet, dapper older gentleman with a bow tie and cultured way of speaking.
Nora, my heroine came to me slowly and developed from the inside out. I needed her to be brave, beautiful, and just a little impulsive. That impulsivity carried all the way to the end. I hope you enjoy this cozy Texas mystery and don't forget to enter my giveaway for a chance at a $20 Amazon Gift Card and an ebook copy of Murder of a Good Man.

About the Author
Teresa Trent
Teresa Trent lives in Houston, Texas, and is an award-winning mystery writer. She writes the Pecan Bayou Mystery Series, is a regular contributor to the Happy Homicides Anthologies. Teresa is happy to add her Henry Park Mystery Series to her publishing credits with Color Me Dead, the first book in the series. Teresa has also won awards for her work in short stories where she loves to dabble in tales that are closer to the Twilight Zone than small town cozies. When Teresa isn’t writing, she is a full-time caregiver for her son and teaches preschoolers music part-time. Her favorite things include spending time with family and friends, waiting for brownies to come out of the oven, and of course, a good mystery.

Giveaway
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win an ebook copy of Murder of a Good Man by Teresa Trent plus a $20 Amazon gift card.

Links

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

"The Footsteps of Cain" by Derek Kohlhagen

EXCERPT
The Footsteps of Cain
by Derek Kohlhagen


Author Derek Kohlhagen stops by to share an excerpt from his book, The Footsteps of Cain.

Description
He made a mistake. His punishment? Kill the world.
A nameless immortal wanders a desert of his own making, on a planet mostly devoid of life. He is imprisoned to the will of a malevolent spirit ... limping toward atonement through a chain of uncountable bloody deeds, and across many millennia. The only thing that keeps him going is the promise of freedom ... not for himself, but for a love that he has destroyed.
His ages-long road has led him to the distant future, to the planet's very last settlement of humanity. There, with one final, tired massacre, he aims to end the world.
He will find the last remnant of civilization unwilling to enter the void so easily. He will also find that the world has one final, soul-stirring revelation yet left for him.

Excerpt
Prologue - ???
15 days, 7:11:36 hours to go
“I will wait for you.”
Shock. A brother became an enemy across an instant, wearing a horrible mask of triumph, ridiculing him. The world turned a red shade of rage, and his actions were suddenly no longer his own. A struggle; blood splashed his world, staining it with an immutable taint of violence and death. Blood lust gave in to horror as he was struck with the full weight of the thing he’d done. Then she was there before him, but he couldn’t see her, not for what she really was. He spurned her. Her desperate pleading invaded his ears like a rival tribe. She begged for his love, raking his skin with her nails as though she could tear it from him. Her closeness choked him, stole his breath from his body. He turned, hurling her away in an attempt to find air again. More blood, this time a bright hue of crimson that would scorch his vision, forever.
Panic. His sea of self-loathing closed over his head, and insanity gripped his body with clammy hands, threatening to pull his mind apart. He knelt down beside her to see the light fade from her eyes, locked onto him as the last thing they would ever see. He cradled her, called her name.
LENA!
Judgment. A sentence. A powerful grip on his arms, holding him fast. A burning pain shooting into his chest, the ripping of his flesh. That horrible sound of his heart’s desperate, discordant rhythm followed by its sudden, stifling silence.
He should have died, but he hadn’t been allowed to.
He knelt in the dirt, clutching at his chest and screaming her name.
Wait.
No, that wasn’t right.
He hadn’t been screaming. He hadn’t spoken a word...well...as long as he could remember.
There was a name, though. Somewhere inside his head. And a face. He could never bring the whole thing into focus, all at the same time, but he could see pieces of it. Dark curls. A crooked, spirited smile.
He’d done something to her. Something...bad.
He felt like it was important, but the mist in his mind was too thick to fully reveal the memory. It wasn’t a nightmare, for he hadn’t been sleeping (his body didn’t need sleep), but still he was haunted by the presence of whoever she was. Whenever he came to, he always had the idea that he’d known all the details clearly, just a brief moment before. Now, as always, it felt like something had been placed between him and lucidity, distorting it in the same way a warped piece of glass might.
He opened his black eyes and stared at the sky, disoriented, his mind still smoky. His hands, stained dark (how many years?) with blood, fell to his sides. He unconsciously scooped up a clump of dirt and rubbed it between them in a feeble and ultimately ineffectual attempt to remove the red impurity.
Then, his mind snapped back to the present.
It all came rushing back to him as it always did, and the fog of his walking dream receded and clarity rushed in, welcoming him back to the world with its frigid, empty embrace. He once again came to grips with the horror that surrounded him. He dropped his head low, and when he moaned it came out low and soft, like the last wheeze of the dying. He rubbed his eyes with his palms, roughly, as if he could wipe away what he had witnessed...what he’d done. Finally, he let those terrible hands fall into his lap, and raised his eyes.
The first thing they fell upon was the body. A dead man...no...thing...lay before him.
It had been the last one to fall, but only after many grueling hours of murderous work. In order to retain some small scrap of sanity, he’d been forced to think of these things not as human, but something man-made, tools only good for one hellish purpose before their eventual disposal. It was clothed sparsely in shredded rags, old clothing that had long ago faded in the eyes of an angry sun, clothing that he also wore. Sinewy muscles were visible where the clothing didn’t cover, and they contoured the arms, legs, and torso in powerful strips, just as his own did. Although the body was turned slightly away from him, the head was twisted at an unnatural angle; bending back so that he could look directly into the face of the dead thing. Empty eyes stared out from it, eyes without iris or sclera, eyes whose smoldering, charcoal shade matched his own perfectly. The face had been beaten severely; it was covered in ugly purple bruises that distorted the facial features, and blood still oozed out of multiple places where the skin had been ripped open. Despite its twisted and battered appearance, he knew that when he gazed into the face of the thing, he gazed into his own.
Death had not only touched this thing ahead of him. It was everywhere. Without even needing to look, he knew that he was surrounded by the silent dead, strewn all around where they had fallen to the slaughter. There were many. Hundreds. Some were outside, but most still lay below in the bowels of the towering metal structure, now entombed in the place they used to call home. He could feel their presence. Men, women, and children lay all around him, many of their accusing eyes cast in his direction. Now freed from life, those eyes were only mirrors that reflected his emptiness.
It was all he was, now. A reflection in the eyes of the dead.
He shifted to get his legs under him, and screamed once more, this time in physical agony. All at once his entire body was burning. Excruciating bolts of liquid fire shot up and down his arms and legs and through his gut, pounding at his head with spikes and hammers. His body had seen no rest, and he could feel the damage it had taken from the battle, damage that would need to be repaired before he could move on. The pain was only a small part of his punishment. It would inevitably pass, and soon he would continue; even now, it was fading at a rapid pace as his body made itself whole again.
He rose and stood on two unsteady legs, swaying precariously. He concentrated on maintaining his footing while his weakness created the sensation of the earth tilting, seemingly determined to throw him once again into the dirt. But no, he remained standing, unsteady, waiting for strength.
Come then, devil...restore me so that I might finish the hunt, and be rid of this mockery of a life.
Without warning, a raspy voice thundered into his head. It came from everywhere yet nowhere, exploding across his mind and soaked with contempt.
DEVIL? TSK, TSK, TSK. YOU HURT ME. YOU KNOW I CAN FEEL YOUR THOUGHTS, VERMIN. YOU REALLY SHOULD BE MORE POLITE. AFTER ALL THE TIME WE’VE SPENT TOGETHER, AFTER ALL WE’VE DONE FOR ONE ANOTHER, WE SHOULD BE BETTER FRIENDS!
He heard the rustling of wings, then in his peripheral vision he caught it, over to his left. Perched on a pile of bodies was a single crow. It stood watching him intently, with an evil intelligence.
The spirit was usually just that; ethereal and bodiless...a never ending stream of words in his head. Yet, occasionally it seemed to derive a particular thrill from inhabiting a physical vessel, as it chose to do now. It perched, waiting for him, a silent sentry looking on while he returned to the waking world.
He met the crow’s soulless stare with a hateful one of his own. As disgusted as he was by the presence of the thing, he was resigned to the fact that there was now a connection between them, one that had proven over many thousands of lifetimes to be unbreakable, despite all his attempts. His only choice was to see his task through, and be done with it forever.
The crow took flight on pitch black wings, veering toward him. At the last second it changed trajectory to land on the dead body of the man (thing) in front of him. The voice in his head boomed once more.
I HOPE YOU DON’T MIND ME EATING IN FRONT OF YOU, VERMIN. I’M FAMISHED. ONE FOR THE ROAD, AS THEY USED TO SAY!
The crow broke its gaze with him and plunged its razor-like beak into the neck of the dead thing, tearing off a large piece and snapping its head back to force the gore down its gullet. It gorged itself with another piece and then another, until sections of bone became visible on the body. He looked once again into the dead thing’s eyes while the bird feasted on it, and
was once more reminded of what waited for him. As he watched the crow devour more of the thing, he beheld his future, a finality that was now very, very close. His clock was winding down, and at the final stroke his oblivion would open and consume him just as this bird consumed the body before him. His task was almost finished, and soon the great numbness that he’d so longed for would, at long last, take him.
Finally the crow finished its ravenous feast, and once again locked eyes with him. He felt the condescending sneer ripple across his consciousness.
DELICIOUS, AS ALWAYS! I THINK THE NUMBER ONE REASON I LIKE TO INHABIT A BODY IS FOR THE TASTE BUDS...A TRULY WONDERFUL INVENTION!
It sighed in satisfaction, and then got back to business.
AHH. ALRIGHTY, THEN. LET’S GET THE LEAD OUT, MY BOY. WE’RE BEHIND SCHEDULE. COME ON, OFF YOU GO. ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR! HIPPITY HOP, VERMIN, HIPPITY HOP!
He scowled with weak indignation.
I’m not doing this for you. I never have.
WHATEVER YOU WANT TO TELL YOURSELF. NOW, LET’S GO KILL SOME MORE PEOPLE! CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? YOU’RE ALMOST DONE!
The crow threw itself upward, beating its wings against the arid breeze. It climbed off into the steel gray sky, until it was only a black speck.
He took a tentative step, and then another, and when his body told him that he was ready, he fell into steady strides across the dirt, past the body and after the crow, toward the distant horizon. Dirt and ash swirled around his feet as he passed, coating his legs, coating his spirit.
He stared at the ground ahead of him, his head weighed down by eons of toil. The only sounds that met his ears were his own footfalls, eerily reverberating off of the twisted, ruined structure around him. The eyes of the dead watched him leave, their open mouths shrieking silent outrage.
He passed through the gate, where the great doors only partially hung on broken hinges. Over the doors, words were carefully, neatly painted. Not long ago they’d faced out into the Wastes with hope...invitation. Now, the words wore streaks of black from the fires, baring the tatters of their shredded promise to a world that no longer had eyes to read them:
NEW HAVEN
He left the smoking wreck behind, step after weary step, one foot and then the other as it had always been. He left one ruin to go craft another. After all this time, it would be his last.
The last people of the world would feel his slow approach, and the insanity and fear would rise in them like bile. They would turn on one another, and the weak ones would strike out at the rest, their panic carrying out his will, even before his arrival. At the peak of their desperation, they would break down and give in to their most basic instincts to self-preserve. With every cycle of violence and blood, it was the same...he knew only too well the disdainfully predictable nature of humanity.
The machine of the world had all but ground to a halt; he was finally within reach of silencing it forever. He could feel them, across the expanse of miles that lay in between; they scurried about like insects building a nest, scavenging what they could, while they could...ignorant of the inevitable. Ignorant of him. They would come to understand that he was coming, for as with all his past exterminations, he wouldn’t bother to make his presence a secret.
Let them scurry. Let them squeal. It mattered not to him, for he knew better than any other that there was no place left to go.
He didn’t even raise his head when he heard the beating of wings on the air. First a few, then more and more until the roar would have been almost deafening to mortal ears. He didn’t even raise his head when the dark cloud above chased the light from the sky.
His messengers flew ahead of him to herald his arrival. Humanity’s remnant would soon know the approach of its executioner.
Doom was his every step, and death stained his hands. He headed eastward, toward his release.
He headed eastward, toward the blessed end of the world.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
"From compelling beginning to the very satisfying end of this book, this new author takes you on an adventure of hate, love, fear, humor, intrigue and redemption. Very cleverly woven story keeps the reader guessing until the very rewarding and heartwarming ending! The nemesis has a wicked sense of humor, which I thoroughly enjoyed. It's hard to believe that this is Kohlhagen's first novel!! I'll be eagerly looking forward to his next one!!" ~ Amazon Customer
"Great story, keeps you interested all the way to the end. In this day and age it seems hard to imagine that there is a new story line out there that hasn't already been written, (for me at least). You really have no idea how this story will end, but when it does - it is in a way you never saw coming. It contains intertwined stories, all with characters that draw you in and keep you entertained. I never wanted to 'skip through the boring sideline story' to get back to the main one. Very well written. I look forward to reading more books from this new author!" ~ Lisa Wink
"I really enjoyed this book. The characters were well thought out and seemed like real people. I totally got caught up in their situations. I did not see the ending coming, which is unusual for me. A dark but strangely uplifting book." ~ Alison
"Intriguing story that kept me right through to the end, which I was not expecting at all. Great read and I look forward to the next offering by this author." ~ Becky
"Enjoyed the story immensely and had a hard time putting it down." ~ Brandon Lamkey

About the Author
Derek Kohlhagen lives with his wife and daughter in central Illinois, and is lucky enough to be a stay-at-home dad (which presents him with adventures that he hopes to one day chronicle in their own epic compendium). He graduated from Illinois State University in 2000 with a B.S. in Computer Science, and worked in the IT industry for almost a decade before being given the opportunity to move on to professional domestic fatherhood, full time. As his daughter is now old enough to go to school all day, he’s been given the chance to pursue something that he’s always wanted to do: write books.
Derek’s short story, "Chalk Lines", was selected in 2011 for Downstate Story, a collection of work that showcases the talents of previously unpublished authors in central Illinois. The Footsteps of Cain is his first, self-published novel. He intends for there to be many more to follow.

Links

Saturday, December 24, 2016

"Descriptions of Heaven" by Randal Eldon Greene

INTERVIEW and EXCERPT
Descriptions of Heaven
by Randal Eldon Greene


Author Randal Eldon Greene stops by today for an interview and to share an excerpt from Descriptions of Heaven. Keep an eye out for my review coming in 2017.

Description
A linguist, a lake monster, and the looming shadow of death - news of an unknown creature in the New Bedford Lake coincides with news that Natalia's cancer has returned.
On the shores of the lake in a strange house with many secret doors, Robert and his family must face the fact that Natalia is dying, and there is no hope this time. But they continue on; their son plays by the lakeside, Natalia paints, Robert writes, and all the while the air is thick with dust from a worldwide drought that threatens to come down and coat their little corner of green.
A lament for what is already lost and what is yet to be lost, Descriptions of Heaven leaves only one question to be asked: What's next?

Excerpt
As a child, I shinnied the coarse trunks of trees, carrying a book in a backpack or clamped resolutely between my chin and chest. I’d sit in the boughs of shady retreat and dappled light up there where the wind blew through leaves, and the leaves were an instrument, accompanied by birdsong, and I’d read of dichotomous fairyland entities who struggled against one another. The hero’s armor always shone, and he’d raise his double-edged sword above his windblown hair in righteous victory. The villain was always diabolical, sometimes of misshapen form and other times human, but beastly in nature; always the villain was intent on domination, always intent on fulfilling evil desires through evil deeds.
I’d look up only after finishing a chapter and notice the tree being joggled by an evening wind, and I’d turn my face to the west and observe the reddened sky and would mark the time by this beauteous sight. I’d lean back on my branch and imagine a hero come into existence. There should be heroes, I would think, heroes to rejuvenate the world gone brown and smoggy under the iron-mawed machines of crooked dictators. I had the idea that degradation of any kind—be it Third World poverty or the ripping away of nature’s llanos and wildwoods—were setbacks. I had the notion that meliorism was the true nature of being. All it would take to return the world to its right and hale state was a hero who had risen from the trash-littered grasses along the highwayland or who had crawled from the labyrinthian world up through the sewers into ours.
I would listen to cricket song, frog song, the rattling of cicadas, and chew a last piece of bubble gum as the planet spun me, and everything I knew, toward evening.
I guessed that there were heroes out there yet unnamed—martyrs stretched saltirewise, tortured, unable to fight and, nevertheless, unwilling to renounce their noble causes. I fantasized about being a hero, about dying with joy in the glory of agony. I wished it upon no one else, I swear.
I grew up and realized there were no heroes as I had imagined, only varlets bumbling through life, trying to serve the vacant suits of armor that were bought at too high of a price and were made of inferior things—the hinges rusting after the first run through the dishwasher. I abandoned the books of my childhood, and I read the classics where the heroes do die, where sometimes there are no heroes. My palate grew to lose all taste for saccharine magic; I relished it only if it was real. The world got worse, and then the body, like an extension of this abuse, turned on itself. I dreaded the thought that Natalia would have to suffer, that the cancer would ravage her body in the end. A wasting disease it was called. A slow death sentence is what it was. Carrying her up a ladder and hanging her from a cross would be better than what she was to be given. If there were heroes, I would think they were the ones I love, but how is it possible for an antagonist to reside in the body of a beloved hero?
Life is villainy. Not the living of it, not the growing and the dying, the eating of life for sustenance, or how each step is a second closer to reaching final dysfunction. It is the experience of it. It is being conscious of it all. Life is life. And life must do what it must do. But why the knowledge of the act?
I looked up at a tree. I no longer climbed them. Traffic hummed by on the city street. There were children nearby, laughing and throwing a Frisbee. They had a dog with them. The dog would wait to see where the disc would land and then would take off and, by the time it got there, the Frisbee would be ready to throw again. It kept trying, the dog. It attempted, but it was not successful, and the children did not think to let the dog have the Frisbee just once. The dog did not pick up on the rhythm, did not adjust its pace and timing to the act of retrieval.
How many times must one try something before giving up on it?
The doctor had said it was too progressed. There was nothing to do. I kicked a rock. A car honked its horn in the empty street. I acquiesced in giving my consent of joinder to the audience simply awaiting her death. How did I view myself in light of this? How could I not question my character? So I shuffled along the sidewalk between the park and the street. Small, evenly spaced trees ran along the park side of the sidewalk. A few feet of empty grass bordered the street side. There was a soccer field in the park. I knew this because there were two blue-painted soccer goals facing each other with an expanse of brown grass in between. I stopped and stared at the soccer goals, though my mind was elsewhere.
Who was I? A man who had given up on companionship so easily so early. A man whose life was spent in study of dead words and whole dead languages, as if I was focused on abandonments larger than mine in an unconscious attempt to demonstrate that my own was nothing compared to this demitting of entire tongues. Yet I could not be so hard on myself, could I?
I turned around and retraced my steps. The trees there seemed identical and were spaced exactly apart. I imagined they were softwood trees. I could not envision my child-self in any of them. They were not the trees of my youth. They were saplings and, if not saplings, then cheap decoration for the park. I could not see them surviving another local drought or a real rush of wind.
No, it was not only I who had had enough—Natalia, too, understood the prognosis. She chose to cease any kind of treatment, to live her last days in advance rather than in retreat. She lived with the disease. She would die of the disease. All this was certain. And if there were a cure around the corner, to be found somewhere deep in the cabalistic archives, what of it? She would have to wrestle with mortality sometime. No more dirty tricks, chemicals or radiation. She would face the knowledge of her temporary existence clean and clear-headed, totally afraid.
I leaned against our car, willing the tears to recede. Then I opened the door, I got in, and I drove home.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]


Praise for the Book
"Descriptions of Heaven is an admirable sort of quietly suspenseful literary novel; its prose flows without awkwardness, and heartrending gothic secrets are revealed in due course as the philosophical narrative unfolds." ~ Kevin Polman, author of The Extra Key
"From the very first pages, I saw the lives of these characters like a shattering mirror. All those details which make everyday life normal will be torn apart in front of the characters, leaving them unable to do anything but wait for that final dreaded moment and afterwards try to move on." ~ eLitere
"Randal Greene masterfully created a character who fights in silence, who faces life with her heart and her feelings out in the open. I loved meeting her, and her last journey seen through her husband’s eyes was beautiful to witness." ~ Chocolatenwaffles
"In My Opinion if you like to read books there is no reason you shouldn’t pick up this one ... It’s short and easy to read, it packs a punch for something so small, and it will touch each and every one of your emotional strings by the time you read the ending." ~ Victor G. Espinoza, author of Greyhart
"I loved the author’s prose and his style in general. Greene makes poetry of his prose and commands the page. For that reason alone, it was a joy to read." ~ The Underground
"Let yourself get involved, and you may be pulled in by the linguist’s efforts to use the tools of his craft - words - as aids in his search for answers to his son’s (and his own) questions about why Natalia is dying and where she is going." ~ IndieReader
"What’s surprised me is how such a short novella has left lasting thoughts. Greene’s use of words has evoked such vivid images and thoughts that I find I’m contemplating life and death myself. An interesting and thought-provoking read." ~ happymeerkatreviews
"This work of art is incredibly poetic from beginning to end. Randal Eldon Greene paints his words with every array of colors imaginable." ~ Paperback Darling
"With so many hauntingly beautiful lines, and characters that I cared about and became attached to, I felt as if I, too, took this journey, and I’ve been changed along with them. And for me, that’s the ultimate gift that a story could give." ~ Unbroken Journal

Interview with the Author
Randal Eldon Greene joins me today to discuss his new book, Descriptions of Heaven.
For what age group do you recommend your book?
This is an adult book. One reviewer said Descriptions of Heaven "would be an excellent choice for a literary-minded book club or a college literature class tasked with analyzing the works of emerging novelists." This reviewer is spot on, though fans of contemporary and women’s fiction are also giving great reviews.
What sparked the idea for this book?
It was actually television show. This was one of those pseudoscience shows where they chase ghosts and monsters. In one particular episode, the investigators talked about how there are hundreds and hundreds of lakes around the globe that harbor supposed lake monsters. That’s what sparked the whole idea.
Which comes first? The character's story or the idea for the novel?
The idea for the novel. Or, really, a particular scene. Usually, I have an image of the final scene or just the final sentence, and I write toward that. Descriptions of Heaven was the same. The first thing I wrote was the final paragraph of the novel.
What was the hardest part to write in this book?
There’s a little conversational bit between Robert - the main character - and his father-in-law. That part took a few edits to get right. Emotionally, the pumpkin-patch scene is pretty moving.
How do you hope this book affects its readers?
I hope it moves them to tears and sweeps them away with its poetic lyricism.
How long did it take you to write this book?
It’s a short book, so not that long. I wrote the first draft between 2012 and 2013. It took probably 4 to 6 months to complete. I write by hand, so I don’t have the certainty about dates that a time-stamped computer file gives.
What is your writing routine?
After breakfast and seeing my fiancé off to teach her middles schoolers, I’ll take a cup of coffee upstairs and do one of two things; I either pick up a pen or stare at a blank piece of paper. I write (or stare) for 4 to 6 hours.
How did you get your book published?
I found it was far too long for any literary journal to accept and a little too short for an agent to take on, so I opted for an independent press. I received three acceptance letters and decided to go with the Harvard Alumni publishing house Harvard Square Editions.
What advice do you have for someone who would like to become a published writer?
Slow it down and write by hand. And, when it’s time to type, get a really nice computer, but take out the wireless card. You need a fast word processor with lots of memory, not a timesuck.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I enjoy cooking, reading, and long walks.
What does your family think of your writing?
My mother thinks my writing is great. My fiancé couldn’t be more proud. My future mother-in-law gave it an honest 4 stars.
Please tell us a bit about your childhood.
I grew up in Dakota City, Nebraska near a meat-packing plant and with a nice view of farm fields.
Did you like reading when you were a child?
Oh yes. Staples of reading included the Goosebumps series, Wayside School series, and later the Sword of Truth series, plus loads of other common kid’s books: The Chocolate Touch, How to Eat Fried Worms, Fudge-a-Mania, The Westing Game.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
In first grade, after I won an award for a short story about a mailman penguin.
Did your childhood experiences influence your writing?
Certainly. As a child I managed to see a bit of magic in a lot of the mundane. Or maybe I saw the mundane through the lens of magic. This way of seeing and feeling through images laced with magic have found their way into my writing.
Which writers have influenced you the most?
Don DeLillo, László Krasznahorkai, and Virginia Woolf have all had a profound impact on my writing.
Have you heard from any readers yet? If so, what kinds of things have they said?
Well, though the book has been out just over a month, I haven’t heard from any but advance readers so far. I did have one fan email me a while back, saying he enjoyed the short stories of mine he could find published online. I’d love to hear from more readers. Especially readers who have bought my book.
What can we look forward to from you in the future?
I have another novel in the works (this time it’s a much longer book), plus more short stories. Also, look for a readers theater play I’ll be releasing on my own for use by educators and people who work with kids. It’s been performed twice with great success.
Thank you for taking the time to stop by today. Best of luck with your future projects.
Thank you, Lynda. It was a pleasure.

About the Author
Randal Eldon Greene is a novelist and short story writer residing in Sioux City, Iowa. Greene holds a degree in English and Anthropology from the University of South Dakota. He reads fiction for Heart & Mind Zine and works full time as a seeing eye human for his blind dog, Missy.







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