Hunter’s Journey

IMG_0386[3697]In a blink, my pain is gone. I have the energy of a pup again.

I hop to my feet like I would have years ago to look for a toy.

A light, as bright as the ball in the sky, catches my attention. I can’t look away from it.

A figure begins to take shape. As the being becomes more defined, it’s apparent it’s another dog. There’s something familiar about this canine. Is that… “Casey?”

The dog fully materializes. “It is you. I haven’t seen you since Becky and Dana took you in the car without me. You never came home after that. Where you’ve been?”

Casey looks the same as the last time I saw her years ago. Her face, which had been predominately white, hasn’t aged a bit.

She stares at Becky and Dana’s bed where Becky lays alone. “Thanks for looking out for them after I left.” She wears the smile I feel I portray when Becky and Dana come home. Then she looks to where I’m standing.

A motionless Golden Retriever lays on the floor near my bed.

Is that… me?

It can’t be. How could I be looking at myself? Then awareness comes to me. “Have I gone where you went?” I ask.

“Yes.”

Somehow, I knew that. “I’m going away too?”

Casey doesn’t answer. She doesn’t have to.

“I can’t go. I haven’t felt good for a while and I don’t have the energy I had, but they still need me. Charlie loves them, but he doesn’t follow them around the house like I do. How will they know they are loved? He’s sick and may not be with them much longer. Who will look out for them? Greet them when they come home? Show them they were missed? Who will keep them company when the other is away?”

“Those are all questions I asked myself too,” Casey says. “Yet, it worked out.”

The longing need to jump on the bed and get petted is dwindling. I’m coming to realize, I can no longer show them they are loved.

“Will I see them again?”

“Yes,” Casey says. “Time is meaningless where I’m guiding you to. Before you’ve realized they’re not with you, you’ll see them again.”

“How can that be? I already miss them.”

So many regrets flash through my head. “I wish I could thank them for rescuing me. For all the walks we took in the woods with all the interesting smells. That I didn’t mean to make them upset when I rolled in deer or goose poop, but couldn’t help it. For taking me with them in the camper instead of leaving me with strangers. For letting me sleep with them. And most importantly; for showing me my love for them was reflected back unconditionally.”

“They know,” Casey takes one more look, than walks into the light.

I take a last look at Becky. “Wait, Dana’s away. I need to see him before I go.”

“Follow me.”

The room changes to a bedroom I’ve never seen. Dana sleeps in one of the two beds. Is this where he goes when he leaves for several days?

While we stare at him, he opens his eyes, then closes them.

Casey sighs, then walks into the light.

“I turn to follow her, then stop, taking a last look over my shoulder seeing both of the beds they sleep in. “I don’t want to leave them?”

“It’s okay. They’ll be sad for a while. They’ll miss you. In time, they’ll find peace in knowing you aren’t suffering. They’ll never forget you. You’ll always hold a place in their heart.”

Casey wouldn’t lie to me.

“Come on” she says. “Ella’s got a ball I know you’ll love.”

“Ella? She’s here too?”

Haughnt, by David C. Cassidy

david-c-cassidy-haughntIf you’re a fan of horror novels, February 7 will be one of those wait-for-the-book-store-to-open days.

Then, 2015 National IPBA Award Winner in Horror, as well as 2015 Readers Favorite Award Winner in Horror, David C. Cassidy’s next stay-up-late-to-read-novel will be released.

Having sped through Velvet Rain, Fosgate’s Game, and The Dark, I preordered Haughnt to be delivered to my Kindle app that day. If you’re a fan of Stephen King or Dean Koontz with writing as vivid and engaging as these two esteemed authors, you’ll want to read this book too. Here’s the tagline:

We’re all damned. It’s just a question of when.

And the blurb:

As his estranged father lies on his deathbed, Paul Steele is stunned by his father’s admission: Many years ago, he committed a ghastly crime and was never caught. As if this isn’t disturbing enough, his freedom was the result of a black-magic spell. As his last breath falls from his lips, he warns Paul that he should expect a visit from a mysterious stranger.

“He’ll be coming, son. A dark man. He’ll come from the shadows.”

That man is Haughnt

Here’s a link to the trailer:

Read with this warning: set some time aside. Once you start a David C. Cassidy Novel, you’ll shove everything else aside to finish it.

A review will come soon.

 

Naming a Character

BLAMED Small-promoWith my feet propped up on my desk, and a legal pad in my lap, I study the list I’ve written on it. The creak of crutches behind me expels a sigh from me. “Do you have to do that?”

“Hey, you said I’d be on crutches all through the story, so I thought I’d practice,” the character in my upcoming airline thriller, Blamed, said.

I go back to contemplating the list.

“You know, it’d be easier to pace on these if that dog wasn’t lying in the middle of the floor.”

My faithful friend, Hunter, lays nearby as he always does when I’m at my desk. “Get used to it. You’ll have a golden retriever in the story.”

“Really? Cool. I like dogs. Have you named it? Or is it nameless like me?”

“Casey.”

He tests speaking the name. “Casey. All right. That works. So what are you thinking for me? Since I’m a pilot, it should be something distinguishing. Like… Buck Teager.”

I shake my head. “That’s too close to Chuck Yeager. Besides, your first name will be Bill. It’s the last name I’m having trouble with.”

Bill stops his pacing. “Bill. Okay. That works. But why Bill? Seems pretty common.”

“I’m using my late brother in-law’s name. He too was a pilot.”

“Bill it is. Let’s test out what you’ve thought of. Run them by me.”

Luckily, no one is home to hear me having this conversation, or I’d probably be locked up in a mental ward. But I’m sure every novelist would understand letting a character assist with choosing their name.

“Here’s what I’ve thought.” I hold the pad up. “Kopp.”

Bill scrunches up his nose. “Kopp? Bill Kopp? Think about it. In the story I’m in an airliner accident. Won’t people think I should have kopped to it?”

“Yeah, you’re right.” I run a line through the name. “How about Wilde?”

An eyebrow is lifted. “Isn’t an airline pilot supposed to be a buttoned-down rational person? Not a wild Bill?”

“Good point.” Another name gets crossed off. “Wilbur. No, forget that one. One of the Wright brothers was named that. Butler.”

“Bill Butler. Who probably would have the nickname, BB. Seriously?”

“Hadn’t thought of that. Then I can scratch off Bower too. Hunter.”

“Your dog’s name? Wow, your imagination is amazing.” Bill rolls his eyes.

“How about Egan?”

“Egan? Bill Egan.” Bill looks like he’s tasted something bad. “I suppose, if you’re really set on it.”

“Fine. You come up with one.”

“Let’s see.” He resumes pacing with the crutches. “Mid-fifties. Pilot. Do I have a sense of humor?”

“Yeah.”

He stops and smiles. “Kurt.”

“Like James T. Kirk?” I shake my head.

“No, Kurt. K-U-R-T. But the similarity could be a joke. Since I’m an airline captain, my rank and name probably will be spoken a bunch of times throughout the book. Captain Kurt. It could be a little joke.” Bill lights up. “Hey, I could even say in the story at some point that my mission is to boldly go where no airline has gone before.”

I chuckle. “If that thought was interjected during a serious moment, it might give some levity to the scene.”

He’d nodding. “See. It’s a good choice.”

“Yeah, but… Kurt is too close to Kirk. How about Kurz?”

With his hands held in front of him like he’s making a frame, he says, “Bill Kurz.” He gives a nod. “Not bad. Close to Kirk so the line will work, but still unusual. Works for me.”

“Bill Kurz it is.”

“Am I married?”

I type Kurz on my list of character’s names. “Yeah.”

“What’s my wife’s name?”

“That’ll be a possible topic for another blog.”

If you want to read what Bill’s experienced in Blamed, it will be published in December 2016.

Writers, do you have these same conversations with your characters?

Blamed, Cover Reveal

BLAMED Small-promoThe incredible David C. Cassidy created this amazing cover-art for my upcoming airline thriller, Blamed.

For those of you looking for a cover artist, you should consider David. His eye for detail and amazing creativity is beyond compare.

After a brief mention of what I was looking for, a day later David emailed me an earlier version of this image. I was so stunted that on the first try he’d come up with what I had visualized. After requesting a few minor tweaks, he sent me the final image.

His attention to detail is one of the reasons I love working with him. He does not rest until he’s provided exactly want the author wants.

If you’re interested in hiring David to create your eBook or print book cover-art, you can see his work and contact him here. David also formats manuscripts for the two eBook formats, and Createspace paperbacks.

Blamed will be published late this fall. I’ll post the blurb and first chapter soon.

Speaking Engagement at Sisters in Crime

Twitter Header Blue 4-2015If you’re in Louisville, KY on April 9th, I’ll be speaking at the local chapter meeting of the Sisters in Crime at Barnes and Noble on 801 S. Hurstbourne Pkwy, Louisville at 1:00 pm.

I’ll be discussing how I came to write airline thrillers, the premise behind my books, errors I see other authors make when writing aviation scenes, and resources writers use for getting information on aviation.

Stop by, I’d enjoy meeting you.

More information about the Louisville chapter of the Sisters in Crime can be found here.

The Fourth Descendant, Allison Maruska

Allison Maruska The Fourth DescendantI enjoyed reading this book even though it took me a while to keep the four main characters straight through the initial couple of chapters. But Ms. Maruska does a good job of easing that difficulty as the four are very different than each other and each with flaws that keeps them real.

 Each receives a call from a historian who has discovered they are descendants of four men who buried a safe in Richmond, Virginia at the beginning of the twentieth century. Each has a key that’ll unlock the safe and reveal the secrets hidden inside.

 The story moves along after just a brief introduction to the characters until mayhem ensues and the chase is on. One of the four has an agenda of their own which becomes compounded by an interested party.

 For me the middle of the story dragged as the four characters went about their regular lives after opening the safe without much thought to why a secret had been buried and why they were selected to reveal it. Then they are off together to discover that secret. And what a secret it is.

The ending, though sad in one regard, was satisfying and left wide open for a sequel. I look forward to reading more from this author.

You can find this book here, or read about the author here.

 

Under the Nazi Heel by Scott Bury

Scott Bury Under the Nazi's HeelI’m honored to be hosting the book launch of Under the Nazi Heel by Scott Bury. The sequel to Army of Worn Soles a World War Two novel based on Scott’s father in-law’s experience as a Canadian drafted into the Soviet Red Army.

I enjoyed Army of Worn Soles and am looking forward to reading Under the Nazi Heel.  Here’s an excerpt:

As Zazulak had predicted, a German patrol stopped them on the outskirts of Ternopyl, where the road crossed a small bridge. A single soldier stood in the middle of the snow-covered road, pointing a rifle at them. Two others stood on the side of the road. One smoked a cigarette.

Zazulak reined in just short of the soldier in the road, who maintained his aim on the sleigh. The smoking soldier came up to them. His rifle remained slung over his shoulder. “Where are you going?” he asked in German. He sounded bored.

“I don’t speak German,” Zazulak said to Maurice. “Translate for me.” Maurice did, knowing Zazulak was lying. “Tell him we’re going to the market in Ternopyl.”

“Good morning, sir. We are just going to the market in Ternopyl,” said Maurice, smiling at the soldier.

The soldier frowned. “What are you going to buy?”

“Some things for our mother’s birthday,” Maurice replied. He smiled again. “We’re brothers, you see.”

The soldier looked at his fellows and frowned again. “You don’t look like brothers. Let me see your papers.”

“Give him your ID,” Maurice told Zazulak in Ukrainian, but Zazulak was already reaching into his pocket, giving Maurice a look that said “Look what you’ve gotten us into.”

Maurice handed both their German-issued ID papers to the soldier. “You’re not brothers. You don’t even have the same name!”

“We have the same mother, but different fathers,” Maurice said, smirking. He leaned closer to the soldier and pointed his thumb over his shoulder. “He’s the bastard.”

The third soldier burst into laughter. The smoker turned to him to frown, and then back to Maurice and Zazulak. “Get the hell out of here, smart aleck.” He thrust the ID papers back to Maurice and waved the solider out of the road.

Zazulak snapped the reins. As the horse passed the checkpoint, he growled “What the hell was that for?” His eyebrows were twin clouds, threatening storm.

“Just a little fun,” Maurice answered, chuckling. “In times like these, we need to have some fun once in a while.”

“Well, don’t do it when we’re on a mission again. That kind of fun could get us both arrested and killed.”

Scott Bury Author PhotoOn the contrary, Zazulak. It distracted the guards. They were thinking about our promiscuous mother and whether they might sleep with her. They weren’t wondering why two farm boys would drive to a city market in the middle of winter without anything to sell.”

“Then why did I have to be the bastard?”

“What would you have done in my place?”

Zazulak did not say anything after that, but glared at the road ahead. Maurice settled back and tried to keep from laughing aloud.

Here’s the link to Scott’s Amazon page if your interested in reading more.