Thursday, July 20, 2017

Chatterbox House (Part 1 of 2 Parts)

 After last week’s bit of fluff, let’s go for something with a little more meat. I hope you enjoy learning about Chatterbox House.

*****
Courtesy of Geographic
CHATTERBOX HOUSE
Chatterbox House. The name intrigued me as much as the bargain basement price for the vacant property.
I bought the old Tudor with overgrown greenery at the end of Englesbury Lane six months ago without knowing its history or even the origin of the strange name. That was just what folks called the place. I knew that the previous owner died some years back from a fall down his staircase and that five daughters lived with him at the time. That was the sum total of my knowledge—other than the fact that the house had lain vacant for two years.
I settled in for a few days before starting to modernize the place, choosing the old-fashioned kitchen as my initial project. According to my budget, I could spend up to $25,000 in repair and refurbishing and still make a killing off the place. The one acre, semi-rural lot would easily accommodate another home if I chose to go that way.
The first time I took my crowbar to the cabinets over the sink, a scream reverberated through the house. The impression was so real that I paused before applying the tool again. This time, it appeared to be only the squeak of old boards as they came free. I quickly ripped them out and measured for new cabinets. I’d build them myself rather than buy pre-fabs.


As I washed up in preparation for bed that first night after starting work on the kitchen, I thought I heard a woman’s voice in the next room. I grabbed the antique, discolored porcelain knob and turned off the running water. Nothing.
Then a murmur. A second voice seemed to answer a bit more sharply.
“Who’s there?” I called.
Silence, but it was a restless silence—whatever that meant.
I grabbed a towel to dry my face and walked into the bedroom. Empty. I opened the heavy, brocaded drapes and peered into the darkness outside. The yard light exposed an expanse of green, clipped lawn. Nothing unusual. Certainly no strange women. Snorting in exasperation, I went through the house room by room without discovering intruders. After that, I completed my ablutions and turned in.
I was almost asleep when something brought me wide awake. Whispered voices. More than one. More than two. I wasn’t certain, but I thought they were all female. Damnation, had my womanizing youth caught up with me at age thirty?
I sat up in bed and caught a single word. “Hush!” Mature voice. Softly spoken rather than whispered. Then a smothered giggle. Enough moonlight poured through the open drapes to see no one was there. Shivers played up and down my back. The hair on my arms prickled. Impulsively, I hit the button on my bedside radio and soft swing music floated through the room.


Once the kitchen remodel reached completion, I turned to the dining room. The large, built-in hutch was quality work, so I decided to leave it in place and simply refinish it. I’d no sooner applied my sander to take off countless layers of paint than that anguished scream came again. I froze. My back puckered fiercely. I had the impression of multiple eyes staring at me. I whirled. Nothing there. After drawing a shaky breath, I returned to my work. Once the paint was removed from the beautiful natural maple of the hutch, I used alcohol to remove the original shellac. Then I moved the can of alcohol to an out of the way place in the hall near a table at the base of the stairs.
The dated, tufted velvet wallpaper was next to go. There were no more eerie incidents during that laborious process, but I felt the weight of something—disapproval?—as I worked.
This house didn’t like what I was doing. That thought gave me a jolt. A house was wood and brick and nails and paint. It had no likes or dislikes. It was just… there.
Once finished with the dining room, I inspected my work, pleased with the renovation thus far. This house was going to be one grand showcase when I finished. The logical place to proceed would be in the living room… or as the family called it, the parlor. That brought me to a halt again. How did I know they used an old-fashioned term like that?
Deciding to ignore logic, I tackled the bedrooms upstairs. There were five of them, and simply by tearing out a non-load-bearing wall, the two smaller ones would make a great large master bedroom suite, complete with its own bath and lounge area.
As I lugged a sledgehammer up the steep stairs, it seemed to grow heavier and heavier with each step. Shrugging it off as my imagination, I selected the spot where I wanted to begin the demolition and lifted the sledge over my shoulder. All of a sudden, I found myself on my butt. Reason said it wasn’t possible, but the weight of the head of that hammer had thrown me off balance. I’m an experienced builder to whom many weird things had happened, but for the life of me, this just didn’t seem possible.
Embarrassed—even though there was no one to witness my humiliation—I got up and drove a hole in the interior wall between the two rooms with one mighty whack. No screams this time, but I had the impression of gasps… and a distinct “Oh, no!”


*****
What’s going on here? Has our nameless hero happened on a house with a soul, or is it something else? Perhaps something more sinister. Tune in next Thursday for the finale.  Let me know what you think of the story at dontravis21@gmail.com.

Remember, the March 21 release date of The City of Rocks is right around the corner. The following are my contact links:

Don Travis Email: dontravis21@gmail.com
Blog: dontravis.com
Facebook: Don Travis
Twitter: @dontravis3


As always, thank for being a reader.

Don


New blogs are posted at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Honey Bunny



Thanks to Mark Wildyr for his guest post last week. Just a reminder that DSP Publications is bringing out a revised edition of his novel, CUT HAND on October 31 of this year. Hope you will read it.

As for this week, let’s go for a little bit of fluff.

Courtesy of Max Pixel

Courtesy of Cliparting.com

*****
HONEY BUNNY
          Everyone said we belonged together. After all, her name was Honey (not a nickname), and mine was Bunny (really not a nickname—dammit). To be clear, she was Honey Bartholomew while I was saddled with Jonathan Throckmorton Bunny III. As if two of them weren’t enough, already. With a name like Jonathan, you’d think everyone would label me Jon, right?
          Not so. Too much could be done with my last name. Like: Here comes Bunny hopping down the sidelines. Touchdown! I’d heard that one for two years now. I held a dance at our house once, but when everyone labeled it the Bunny hop, that was it. No more dances. My junior yearbook held a picture of a toothy rabbit standing on his hind legs eating a carrot labeled Our Jonathan.
          To be fair, Honey didn’t have it much easier. She was always her daddy’s Honey Bee. The local librarian refused to issue her a card until she produced a birth certificate to prove Bunny was not a nickname. Of course, she was often Honey Bun, which morphed into Sticky Bun. She swore that if her Aunt Bertha said she was as sweet as her name one more time, she was going to stomp on the old gal’s ingrown toenail.
          Alas, the thing that pulled us together ultimately drove us apart. Our names. One too many times she heard that refrain Look, there’s Honey Bunny and announced we were through, finished. Kaput. After loudly proclaiming she wasn’t shallow enough to let that tear our relationship asunder, I finally became convinced she was.
          So Honey moved on to a guy who was named John Jaar. Couldn’t she see what was rolling down the pike at her?
           That was all right. I hooked up with a gal I’d had my eye on for a while, a perky brunette named Mildred Bugsliatta. Unfortunately, everyone in school, including the teachers, called her Bugs.
  

*****
Wow! Where did that come from? To be honest, I have no idea. I just woke up one day, and there it was rattling around in what’s left of my brain. Let me know what you think of this rant at dontravis21@gmail.com.

As the March 21 release date of The City of Rocks approaches, I’d like to give you my contact information and the DSP Publications links:

Don Travis Email: dontravis21@gmail.com
Blog: dontravis.com
Facebook: Don Travis
Twitter: @dontravis3


As always, thank for being a reader.

Don


New blogs are posted at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Dummy, a Guest Blog Post

This week, we have a guest blog post from a fellow Albuquerque (and native Okie) author Mark Wildyr. Hope you enjoy his short story.

*****
Courtesy of Pixel
DUMMY

By Mark Wildyr

Experienced at looking below the surface of things, Winston Barstow instantly picked up on the attractive youth lurking beneath an accumulated cover of grime. Cursing the rush hour traffic, Win fought his way around the block for a second look at the boy striding down the opposite side of the street.
          Yep, the kid would be prime when he cleaned up: pleasingly masculine gait, broad shoulders. Definitely worth a second look. Eighteen or nineteen, Win judged, as he circled the block for the third time. When the guy trotted across the wide intersection called Five Points, a traffic cop’s nightmare, Win eased the car to the curb, risking the wrath of drivers behind him.
          “Need a ride?” he called through the open window, hoping his appearance wouldn’t discourage the kid. Experience had taught him that his large size often put off strangers, but it also allayed suspicion that he was gay. He looked and acted all man, all very big man.
          The youth’s gray eyes narrowed suspiciously as they swept the sleek Cadillac Seville. He nodded once but appeared wary as he climbed into the passenger’s seat, spilling soot and grime onto the rich leather upholstery. Easing out into the traffic, Win ignored his rider for a moment before holding out his hand, eyes still on the road ahead.
          “Win Barstow,” he said. “Where you headed?”
          A grimy paw gripped his hand in a firm shake, but there was no reply. The man glanced over at the boy who laid a finger on his lower lip and shook his head.
          “You can’t speak?” he asked tentatively. The boy shook his head again. “But you can hear all right?” That brought a nod. “Then we oughta be able to communicate just fine.”
          The boy grinned, and a small tablet materialized in his hand. It was one of those plastic toys children inscribe with a stylus and then lift to erase the writing.
          Under Win’s persistent prodding, the youth scribbled a few sketchy details about himself. Dominic Starling was an orphan or a runaway, Win wasn’t sure which. He lived alone near—but a world away—from Win’s exclusive penthouse condo. He eked out an existence at odd jobs down at the railroad yards. Intrigued by this handicapped kid’s upbeat attitude, Win offered the boy some clothes left behind by Mario his last lover, an affair that ended so badly he had shied clear of further involvements.
          Although he eagerly accepted the offer, Dom stubbornly balked at getting out of the car when they halted at Win’s building. Too dirty, the boy wrote in frantic protest. Need to clean up! Understanding the youngster had to be handled gingerly, Win agreed to bring the clothes to a nearby park the next afternoon. The kid relaxed as soon as the Seville turned down a long street that grew more dilapidated with each passing block. Win enjoyed a final look at the youth’s trim form as he jogged out of sight around the corner.
          Win parked in the secure underground garage below his building in a pensive mood. Although only forty-eight, he was already semi-retired from an immensely successful career in turn-around management. He had personally acquired, salvaged, and resold half a dozen faltering companies over the past twenty years, becoming wealthy in the process.


          Precisely at six o’clock the next afternoon, Win pulled into the lot near the tennis courts at the park where Dominic waited. Win’s throat seized up as he watched the boy approach the Caddy. What was it about the kid that grabbed him so much? He mentally compared Dom to Mario. Hell, there was no comparison! Mario was sleek and beautiful and vain and practiced. This kid’s grace was awkward, his demeanor strangely innocent for one who lived on the streets. And he had a stronger maleness than the Marios of the world could ever attain.
          He was surprised that Dom’s hair was a windblown brown. Last evening he’d thought it was black… soot, probably. Dom looked halfway clean today. Most likely washed out of a basin somewhere. Win realized the boy was taller than he remembered. Probably a good six feet, although his he carried no more than 170 pounds.
          Dom waved hello and stooped at the driver’s window. “Get in,” Win said.
          Apparently, the boy had decided to trust him because he promptly walked around the front of the car and piled in. Win reached over the back of the seat and plopped a brown paper bag into Dom’s lap. The boy’s eyes grew into saucers as he hauled out the rich duds. His soul was in his eyes as he turned to Win. The need to refuse such an expensive gift was plain to see.
          “Forget it. They won’t fit me, and my friend’s not coming back. They’re yours. Same for the socks and underwear in the bag. Those are brand new, not even out of their packaging. Hope everything fits.”
          The words brought a dazzling smile. However dirty the rest of him got, the kid kept his teeth clean. Win took the next step.
          “Look, you need to clean up in a proper bathroom. Come on up to my place and take a good shower. Then you can try on the clothes, and we’ll see what alterations they need.”
          Something akin to panic clouded the boy’s eyes.
          “It’ll be okay. I park right near the elevators, and we’ll be in the penthouse in a minute flat. I insist!”
          Dom didn’t agree, but neither did he bolt as Win negotiated the few blocks to his building and navigated down into the underground parking area. Dom was slow to exit the car, but once inside the apartment, the kid lost his reticence. He scurried from window to window, gawking at the city spread out below them. He found Win’s telescope set up in the study and pointed out small boats in the narrow river meandering in a wide, sandy channel and scanned the dense cottonwood bosque lining either bank. Dom scurried out on the rooftop terrace and leaned over the railing so far Win feared for his safety.
          It turned into a pleasant evening. Dom emerged from a long shower clothed in his new duds. The kid preened unconsciously as he examined himself in the full-length mirror on the back of the closet door. Win was stunned. Although he had been convinced an attractive youth lurked beneath the grime, he hadn’t truly appreciated what a jewel the boy was. Gleaming, soft, brown hair. Handsome, engaging features. He was solidly handsome without being too perfect, too regular, too fragile.
          In that moment, Winston Barstow realized his life had changed. He did not know if Dominic Starling would ever respond to him physically. But it didn’t matter. He had responded to friendship, and Win recognized that was sufficient. He wanted this boy… this young man in his life on whatever terms Dominic wanted.


*****
Leaves us wanting more, doesn’t it? Thanks to Mark for helping out this week. Let me know what you think of his story at dontravis21@gmail.com.

As the March 21 release date of The City of Rocks approaches, I’d like to give you my contact information and the DSP Publications links:

Don Travis Email: dontravis21@gmail.com
Blog: dontravis.com
Facebook: Don Travis
Twitter: @dontravis3


As always, thank for being a reader.

Don


New blogs are posted at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

I’m Not a Tums Kind of Guy

Courtesy of Pixabay
A poet, I am not! Yet I write a poem or two on occasion. At least I call it poetry because the lines are short, they are centered on the page, and I can totally ignore the rules of punctuation. My poetry is free-form and don’t bother to search for rhyme or meter. Not sure I know what either of those are. At any rate, today I am inflicting a poem on my readers. Normally, at this point, I say “enjoy.” Today, I’ll merely say “persevere.”


*****
I’M NOT A TUMS KIND OF GUY

I’m not a Tums kind of guy.
The belly may be round
And oft overstuffed,
But I’ve never been a Tums kind of guy.

Yet as the years go by
And the hair turns gray
(please, no snickers now),
Maybe I’m not the same kind of guy.

The knees start to go
And the first thing you know,
The joints say click and clack.
Definitely not the same kind of guy.

As things begin to sag,
My clothes become a bag
And worse … I don’t even care.
More changes to my kind of guy.

A shock sets me back
As the mirror reveals
How profound the changes have been.
What kind of a guy am I now?

Wind has gone chasing after stamina,
Which took off in search of energy.
Ambition has vanished, but I cannot say where.
Am I even a guy at all?

With gurgles and groans, my stomach
Confirms what I crave no longer craves me.
What was tripe to my tongue is now daily fare.
Maybe I am a Tums kind of guy.

*****
If you are reading this sentence, then you persevered! Congratulations.  Let me know what you think of my poetic efforts at the Email address provided below.

The following are some links to me and my writing. With the upcoming release of the City of Rocks, I’d like to give you the DSP Publications links:

Don Travis Email: dontravis21@gmail.com
Blog: dontravis.com
Facebook: Don Travis
Twitter: @dontravis3


As always, thank for being a reader.

Don


New blogs are posted at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Weldon and Maudie

After last week’s Danny and Sophie, I’d like to take a look at a twosome of another generation. Let’s watch as Weldon’s and Maudie’s lives take a profound turn.

*****
Courtesy of Pixabay
WELDON AND MAUDIE

          On a calm spring day, we sat side by side on a white-painted iron bench in a little park across from the institute. I could smell the lilac of her favorite toilette water even though fragrances from a nearby bed of flowers vied for our attention. The raucous caw of a hidden crow occasionally broke the silence.
          A pleasing pattern of wrinkles decorated the soft cheeks of the woman who had graced me with her love and attention for the past fifty years. Age accentuated the curve of her nose and drove the chestnut hues from her hair, but it hadn’t dimmed the blue of her eyes.
          “What are you looking at, Weldon Grey?” she asked.
          I put a lilt in my voice. “At the sexy gal I married.”
          She poked my arm. “Don’t be ridiculous. If I was ever what you’d call sexy, that was a long time ago.”
          “Not to me.”
          “Hush up, and don’t you dare talk that way in front of our daughter. Where is Mary Jane, anyway?” A frown rearranged her wrinkles.
          “She’ll be here soon.”
          “Not with that Lonnie Wilson boy, I hope. He seems nice enough, but they’re too young to get serious.” She laid a hand on my arm. “You’ve told her that, haven’t you? She listens to you.”
          I avoided her question by grasping her fingers and bringing them to my lips. That brought a nice smile before the frown came back.
          “Why are we here?”
          “Enjoying a beautiful day in the sun. How long has it been since we took time to do that?” I asked.
          “Awhile, I guess.” She turned to view the green lawn and multi-hued bushes shimmering in the light breeze and pointed to the nearby flower bed. “That’s nice. Someone went to a lot of trouble with it.”
          “Worth it, I’d say.”
          “I ought to be home doing laundry.”
          “You did the laundry yesterday. We made sure the day was clear for… for us.”
          “I did? But Wednesday is laundry day. Isn’t today Wednesday?”
          “It’s Thursday, Maudie.”
          “Oh, I can’t keep up with the days anymore.”
          I patted her hand and we sat quietly for a few moments.
          “Why are we here, Weldon?” Her voice was soft and querulous; the question plaintive.
          “Enjoying a pleasant day. Look, there's a robin. Pretty, isn’t it?”
          “Robin who?” She adjusted her glasses and glanced around.
          “A robin red-breast. You know, the harbinger of spring.”
          “Oh. A bird.”
          She blessed the bird hopping on the lawn with a beatific smile and sighed. “Is this Saturday?”
          “No, it’s Thursday.”
          “Then why aren’t you at work? Did you take a day off?”
          It was my turn to sigh. I had retired three years ago. “Yes. A day off to be with you.”
          “Nice of them to give you the day off.”
          We watched a blue Ford Fusion park at the curb and disgorge four people. Maudie glanced at me uncertainly. “Let’s give them this bench and go home?”
          “No need. We know them.”
          “We do?”
          I stood as a tall woman of early middle years brushed brown hair from her eyes before giving me a hug. “Hi, Dad. Are you ready?”
          “I’m not sure, Mary Jane.”
          “It has to be done, you know that.”
          “I suppose.” I turned to my son-in-law. “Hello Lonnie. Thanks for coming.”
          “Glad to help, Dad.”
          Maudie let out a cry and bounced off the bench, snagging a girl and drawing her into a hug. “Mary Jane! You look so pretty today.”
          “I’m Gretta, Gran’ma.”
          “And there’s that Lonnie Wilson boy. Weldon, you have a talk with him right now. Just like we discussed.”
          Fifteen-year-old Kenneth rolled his eyes. “I’m Ken, Gran’ma. Lonnie’s my dad.”
          Mary Jane brushed Maudie’s powdered cheek with her lips. “You look pretty today, Mom.”
          “Who are you?” The three words held uncertainty.
          My daughter smiled through her pain. “Someone who loves you very much. Are we ready to go now?”
          “Go? Go where?”
          “Just across the street.”
          “Are we going to eat?” Maudie asked. “I’m getting hungry.”
          “I’m sure they’ll have something for you.”
          I took Maudie’s hand and led the way down a slight hill and across the street. Mary Jane and Lonnie followed, trailed by our two grandchildren.
          My steps faltered as I approached the entrance to the building, but Mary Jane’s muttered “Dad!” prodded me along. The sign etched into smooth stone over the doorway seemed hateful rather than welcoming. “Woolridge Institute for Alzheimer’s Care.
          When I passed through the door, I had little concept of the radical changes my life was about to endure. That came later. I wasn’t prepared for how profoundly I missed the comfort of my dear Maudie. Of how lonely and frightening the nights became. How my flesh crawled each time I forgot and called aloud for my absent wife. Of how inadequate the presence of loved ones and old friends was in filling the void.
          I honestly believe our separation was easier on Maudie than it was on me. I’m certain that she missed me, but she was accustomed to living in a world of strangers. I was the only one who remained in her memory banks, and there were even moments when I wasn’t there.
          I visited her, of course, until the joy she evidenced upon the sight of me dulled into mild interest, and then merely acceptance. After that, there was no more Weldon and Maudie. There was only the Weldon living in the present and the Maudie living in my memory.
          And then came the day I answered the doorbell and found a woman of middle years standing on my porch.
          “Can I help you?” I asked.
          “Dad! It’s me, Mary Jane.”


*****
Quite a difference between the two stories: One is a tale of a young man teasing his girl and the other is a story of life teasing a couple. Let me know how you enjoyed the story at the Email address provided below.

The following are some links to me and my writing. With the upcoming release of the City of Rocks, I’d like to change the DSP Publications links:

Don Travis Email: dontravis21@gmail.com
Blog: dontravis.com
Facebook: Don Travis
Twitter: @dontravis3


As always, thank for being a reader.

Don


New blogs are posted at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Danny and Sophie

After a look at The Lovely Pines last week, I’d like to return to puffery, please. Appropriate, since the little story that follows involves clouds.

*****
Courtesy of Pixabay
DANNY AND SOPHIE
 “Danny?”
“Yes, Sophie.”
“Do you love me?”
She in her backless pink and white sun dress and he in his khaki walking shorts lay on their backs in the grass at a city park allowing the early spring sun to warm them. For the last half-hour, they’d studied the clouds and remarked on funny shapes and patterns.
Danny paused to consider her question as the aroma of lilacs wafted in from somewhere to tickle his nose.
“You’re taking way too long to answer,” she said.
He propped his long torso up on one elbow and looked down at her. “It was a serious question, wasn’t it?”
“Of course.”
“Then it deserves a serious answer, so I was giving it serious consideration.”
The lines around her soft mouth tightened. “It ought to be automatic.”
“Love is automatic?”
“Your answer, dodo.”
“I should give an automatic answer to a serious question? Okay. Then yes, I do.”
She sat up and reached around to brush debris from her back. Danny automatically did it for her, noticing the weird pattern of red marks the grass left on her skin. Oh well, they’d disappear soon… automatically.
Sophie slapped his bare leg so hard it stung. “That wasn’t a sincere answer. That was a smart aleck answer.”
“How can you tell?”
She huffed a little. “Way you said it.”
“Do you even know what a smart aleck is? It’s an obnoxious conceited individual who pretends to be clever.”
“Appropriate.”
Danny gave her a sharp look. “What do you mean?”
“Whatever you think I mean.”
“So you think I’m a smart-ass because I tried to give your perfectly serious question a perfectly serious answer?”
“No, I think you’re a smart-ass because you gave my perfectly serious question a smart aleck answer.”
“That’s redundant.”
“What’s redundant?
“Smart-ass and smart aleck are the same things. In the dictionary, I mean.”
“Oh, you and your precious dictionary. Go make love to it. I’m going home.”
“Oh come on! I said it, didn’t I? I love you. Danny loves Sophie. Sophie loves Danny. All’s right with the world.”
Sophie stood and slipped her feet into pink sandals. “Sophie thought she loved Danny. Now she’s not so sure.” With that pronouncement, she flounced away.
“Wait!” he cried, but she ignored him. Danny flopped onto his back and sighed. The truth was that he did love her. Or thought he did, anyway. No, he knew he did, just like any eighteen-year-old stud would know. But she was just so easy to tease that he couldn’t resist it. She’d get over her snit eventually.
As he stared up into a blue sky studied with gray-bellied white clouds, a little puff separated itself from a bigger mass of vapor and floated free in the high altitude wind. As if kneaded by a deliberate hand, the little cloud morphed, a neck and head appearing here and four stubby legs there.
He laughed aloud. “A donkey,” he exclaimed in delight. “Hey, Sophie!” he called to the retreating figure. “Look at the cloud. A donkey!”
Without pausing, she yelled back. “No… an ass!”

*****
Stir up any memories for those Dannys and Sophies out there? I hope it kicked off memories—preferably those that ended up being pleasant ones.

Let me know if you enjoyed this little story.

The following are some links to me and my writing and to DSP Publications (my publisher):

Blog: dontravis.com
Facebook: dontravis
Twitter: @dontravis3

As always, thank for being a reader.

Don


New blogs are posted at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

A Peek at The Lovely Pines


Artist: Maria Fanning
I’m pretty sure I told my readers that The City of Rocks, the third in the BJ Vinson Mystery Series, is scheduled for release by DSP Publications on July 18. Hard to believe that is just a little over a month from now. I’ve shared some of the scenes from that book a few times on this blog, but now let’s give well-deserved kudos to the cover artist for Pines—in fact all my DSPP books—Maria Fanning. Thanks for working with me, Maria.

In addition, let me say a word or two about Dreamspinner Press and its imprint DSPP. I have never worked with a publishing staff (and this is my third publisher) more professional and competent than Dreamspinner's. When an author is accepted by this outfit, he or she is totally supported by any number of individuals and departments: administrative, art, editing, promotion, formatting, and some I'm certain I omitted. Forgive me for that, Dreamspinner. 

*****

But now, I’d like to turn to the fourth book in my series, The Lovely Pines. DSPP has given me a target date for publication of March 2018. Maria hasn’t come up with a cover for this one yet, so I’ll have to settle for giving you a short scene that comes in Chapter 17. BJ and his lawyer friend Del Dahlman are at the Lovely Pines Winery to oversee the surrender of a fugitive to BJ’s old Albuquerque Police Department partner, Lt. Gene Enriquez. They are aware that the fugitive is being pursued by someone with deadly intent, so security is tight. Read on.

THE LOVELY PINES

          Two couples, as well as some singles, joined Del and me at the six o’clock wine tasting at the Lovely Pines. Two of the singles were my old APD partner, Gene Enriquez, and his last riding partner before he made lieutenant, a tall blond detective named Don Carson. They drove up to be on hand in case of trouble. Del argued that made our presence superfluous, but I knew the deadly accuracy of a military sniper better than he did and shut him down.
           Gene, however, voiced his own ideas when time came to depart the winery and insisted we make a change in plans. Carson would ride with us in Del’s Volvo while Diego, wearing Carson’s hat sat beside Gene in his departmental Ford as we pulled out the front gates of the winery. I made the detective lie on the floorboard of the back seat so an observer wouldn’t see more people leaving than arrived. I was pretty sure he knew who I was and would be keeping a close eye on me. The fact that two of the couples who’d been at the wine tasting left the property at the same time we did made me feel a bit easier.
          Ninety seconds after turning out onto the main road, Carson popped up and slid onto the seat. “I’m too damned tall to crouch down on the floorboard. This is better.”
          “Get back down,” I warned. “We’re too close to the—”
          Just as Del touched the brakes to avoid hitting a squirrel running across the road, both rear passenger windows shattered. Del almost lost control of the Volvo, slowing even more.
          “Don’t stop!” I yelled. “Get us the hell out of here!”
          Del stomped on the accelerator and the powerful automobile shot forward. Then the rear window exploded.
*****
Total disaster, or does the intrepid BJ figure the way out of an ambush by a trained sniper? We’ll see.

That’s it for this week. Let me know if you enjoyed this snipped from the novel. By the way, the fifth in the series, Abaddon’s Locusts, is taking shape beneath my pen (well, my keypad, anyway).

The following are some links to me and my writing and to DSP Publications (my publisher):

Blog: dontravis.com
Facebook: dontravis
Twitter: @dontravis3

As always, thank for being a reader.

Don


New blogs are posted at 6:00 a.m. each Thursday.