Sunday, November 24, 2013

Excerpt from the next novel!!!

I promised you an excerpt, and I'm determined to deliver. This is from The Celtic Fan, which I expect to release within the next two months (gotta get the cover art done). This excerpt will give you a taste for what the guys are up to. Enjoy!


“Okay, okay,” Russ retreated, stroking his hand both slowly and vainly across his shiny head. “So I’m a client of ‘Hair Club,’” he chuckled. “Let’s get down to business. I've got a great idea for this year’s trip.”

“Fantastic!” Jim fairly stuttered, his cheeks rosy with excitement. “What is it, where are we going?”

“Well, that’s part of the problem,” he smirked. “I’m not really sure just yet. I've got some of my people working on it.” His people, right. He’s an artist in a graphics shop, for heaven’s sake. What people? “I know a guy who knows a guy, and he’s . . .”

“Oh, cut the crap, Russ,” Michael interrupted, the effects of the mixed drink kicking in. “What the hell is it? Where are we going?” He seemed a bit irritated, like a kid opening a gift on which Mom had used way too much really sticky tape.

“That’s just it,” he replied. “Did you read the book, Steve? Like I asked you to? Did you guys read it too? What did you think of it?”

By now I was getting a little testy myself. “Yes, Russ. I read the book.”

“And what did you think of it?” he repeated, looking out at me from under his brows with a goofy smile pulling up one corner of his mouth. Confusion clouded Michael and Jim’s faces.

“Well, honestly,” I hesitated, “I liked it. I didn’t think I would, but I did. I was, well, maybe, enthralled? I just couldn’t put it down. I don’t know how to describe it,” I admitted, stumbling and stammering for words to explain, to express how I’d felt. It was a little embarrassing, sounding like a 36-year-old housewife describing one of those paperback romance novels.

“What about you guys? Jim, what did you think?” he asked innocently.

“I loved it,” Jim gushed, wringing his hands. “I’d love that Claire, just like that Bill guy did. But I’d never leave her,” he added, looking as if he were about to cry, remembering the story.

“What about you, Michael?” Russ turned his attention to Michael, who was becoming visibly frustrated.

“What the hell difference does it make, Russ?” he exploded. “Let’s talk about the damn trip, okay? That’s what we came here for, isn't it?”

Russ laughed out loud, teasing the three of us with his eyes. “How would you like to be the first people to meet Nick Roberts, the author of the book?”

“Nobody knows who he is,” Jim offered loudly. “Nobody. No one’s ever met him. They don’t know anything about him.”

“What if I told you that we could find him?” Russ asked softly, leaning over the table like an international spy planning an act of espionage.

“Oh, hell, Russ, what have you got up your sleeve?” I blurted out, tired of the cloak-and-dagger bull. “What’s this all about?”

“Well, it seems my brother is working for the publishing house that produced The Celtic Fan,” he answered quietly. He cast a few anxious glances around to see if anyone at one of the other tables was listening. “He can find out where Nick Roberts lives. Then we could go out and find him. Think about it, Steve. What a great feature for your paper. A great piece, don’t you think? And you guys,” he said, pointing at Michael and Jim, “could say you’d met him, get his autograph and stuff. Have your picture made with him. Wouldn't that be something?”

Tempting. Very tempting. There had to be a catch.

“So, what’s the catch?” I quizzed, afraid I was about to be sold a chunk of the Berlin wall again. Probably had something to do with paying the brother off somehow or, worse yet, taking him along.

"No catch,” he insisted, trying to maintain a look of dignity and honesty. That was hard work for Russ. “My brother’s working on finding the information on the location, and the rest is up to us. Are you guys in?”

“Well, I guess so,” Jim responded, halting between words. “Maybe he can introduce us to the woman he modeled Claire’s character after.” Good old Jim, thinking about his annual conquest. Or at least an attempt.

“What about you, Michael?” he asked as he turned and stared into Michael’s tipsy face. “Are you in?”

“Sure, sure,” Michael sputtered, his speech somewhat slurred by the liquor. “Sounds good to me.”

“Steve? You with us?” It was hard for me to answer, my tongue sticking to the roof of my mouth, my head buzzing. Meet Nick Roberts, the guy who’d written with such passion and imagination, the one who’d described the relationship between Bill and Claire with such power, such intensity, that I found myself longing to be with them, to be part of the love and energy they’d experienced. A writer whose work had affected me like no one else’s before, at least not in a long, long time.

“Um, you bet. You bet,” was all I could manage. I couldn’t wait to pack my suitcase, hop in a cab, and roll right up to his front door. This would be great. “Count me in,” I almost whispered.

“Okay! Good! I’ll tell Dave to proceed, and maybe we’ll have enough information by the end of next week to move forward with our plans.” He seemed pleased with himself. Unlike most times, he also looked sure, as though he knew this would be a do-able thing. “I’ll let you know as soon as I get something concrete.”

“I propose a toast,” Jim nearly shouted. In total synchronization, the three of us threw our fingers up to our lips, shushing him. “I propose a toast,” he began again, quieter, lifting his soft drink glass above the center of the table. “To Nick Roberts. May he be as surprised as we will be when we find him.”

Well, I hope to shout, I thought to myself as our glasses and bottles clinked together. I took a deep drag on the longneck. If we could pull this off, we’d be famous. And I’d have a great feature.

We were going to find Nick Roberts. We would succeed. We would meet him, and I would understand his talent. Maybe some of it would rub off on me. No matter what happened, I’d never be the same, of that I was sure.

I couldn’t possibly have known how correct that assumption would prove to be.

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