Friday, April 22, 2011

Debtor's Chip Frederick Excerpt

After several hours of playing the five dollar slot machines, he was down five thousand dollars.  He wasn’t dismayed; he thought his beginner’s luck just hasn’t kicked in yet.  He decided to eat dinner and go to bed, start fresh in the morning.
He awoke at just past eight o’clock.  He took the elevator down and headed for the casino.  He walked intently towards the slot machines.  He learned to tune out the excited squeals when someone hit a jackpot and the annoyed curses when someone lost.  He got used to the sticky puddles of liquor that was spilled here and there, and the ever present clouds of cigarette smoke that filled the air.
He inserted the card that carried his credit for the casino and pulled the lever, diamonds filled his screen and a siren loosed from the speaker proclaiming him a jackpot winner.  He excitedly watched the balance transfer to the card and continued to play.
Who knows how long later, he had lost the other five grand.  He had thought he was gonna make it big; turn the ten thousand into twenty.  He should have known better, he silently admonished himself.  He was done with gambling, he still had fifty-five thousand usable dollars in the bank account.  He would go to the bank tomorrow and withdraw the money to pay off his debt.
Tonight, though, he would take in a show.  He wasn’t sure if he wanted to see a musical act or a magic act.  Both thoughts filled him with the sort of giddiness he had experienced as a child when he had found and unusual rock to add to his collection.  He had long since left such childishness behind, but was amazed he could still feel like this.
As he was pondering his decision he walked between two parked cars and began to cross the intersection.  He was distracted by his own thoughts.  He was still thinking about his excitement filled adventure, when everything went dark.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Author BR Stateham guest posts for me

People We Think We Know

I have a book out called Death of a Young Lieutenant. About an art thief who, in the opening days of World War One, is asked by his commanding officer to prove the innocence of junior officer accused of murder. Two problems instantly arise. One, there's a war going on. You may not know this, but in the first two and a half weeks of World War One it looked as if the armies of the Kaiser was going to consume all of France in one mighty gulp of military appetite. How the war eventually evolved into stalemate through trench warfare wasn't very apparent in the opening days of the conflict.

The second problem is Jake Reynolds, the officer asked to become a sleuth, is an art thief. Perhaps the wrong person to ask to prove someone's innocence since he is, by definition, a felon himself.

And this is the blog's main theme today; the people we think we know. This novel--the entire series I want to write--came into being because of someone I thought I knew. Knew all my life. Saw him on a daily basis. Liked the guy, enjoyed being in his company. And never thought for one minute the man was anything else other than what he appeared to be.

But the old boy was hiding secrets from those that knew him. Big secrets.

He'd been in World War II. Had combat citation ribbons that would run down his chest if he put his old uniform on. Medals, for heroism, from two different countries. And lots of medals at that. Did absolutely fantastic things in the war--things writers like Robert Ludlum or Ian Fleming would have made fortunes writing about. In short; the man was an honest-to-god, GEN-U-INE . . . HERO.

And nobody knew. Nobody knew.

So I have to wonder; how many more of those like my old friend are out there? When . . or if . . . are we going to hear their stories? And they don't have to be heroes. They could be monsters. Geunine, horrible, nightmarish monsters who--for some reason or another--have straightened up and are honest abiding citizens. For now.

The Jake Reynolds series is dedicated to these people. The heores and monsters of the world who keep their secrets well hidden. All the way to their deaths.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Review of Debtor's Chip Devin

Giovanni Gelati, writer of the book blog Gelati's Scoop and host of the blogtalk radio show The G-Zone, reviews the first installment of my digital short story series. Check it out!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Debtor's Chip: Devin Excerpt

The fire crackles and smolders in the rusty metal barrel.  Smoke drifts towards the night sky.  He slides his hand into his pocket and grasps the only thing he has left besides the clothes on his back.  Its smooth surface and rounded edges reminds him.  It reminds him of how he came to be here, huddled among the four other homeless people trying to get warm on this bitter winter night.

The bitter cold matches how he feels inside.  A lump of disgust rises in his throat.  This only possession he managed to keep seems to freeze him to the bone.  No longer able to stand the weight of this small disc, he brings it out of his pocket intent on thrusting it into the fire.

“Well, what have you got there?” The husky voice slipped like honey out of the woman’s mouth.  He looked furtively at her from the corner of his eye, briefly thinking she may have been beautiful once.

“Mind your own,” he grumbled.  “It’s none of your concern.”

She glimpsed the white disc he was about to toss into the flame, and brought out its twin from her own pocket. “It looks a lot like mine, wouldn’t you say?”

He turned a paler shade than white and slumped to his knees.  “My God,” he croaked, “how many of us has he ruined?”

“Looks like five that we know of, including you, that is,” came the reply from a smallish man that to Devin largely resembled a weasel.

Five… five… five… the number echoed through his mind.  Should he feel relieved, knowing that this has happened to others?  Or saddened, knowing his was not the only life ruined.  At this moment, he could only feel a sort of numbness sweep through his body.  Maybe I’ve been in the cold too long.

He stood once again, shaking.  Shaking from the cold, shaking from this knowledge gained.  His head bowed, he spoke, “So, every one of us here tonight has one?  We all have the Debtor’s Chip?”

A man that looked to be in his sixties spoke up.  “Share your story, then we will tell you our tales of misery.”

Devin looked at the four others who shared this space around the fire barrel. “I guess it starts with this,” he held the chip up for the others to see.  They all nodded their heads knowingly and waited for the tale to unfold.