11
Jul

Excerpt: Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey's Diary

This is a scene from my cozy cat mystery novel, Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary, where Kimberlee goes to Austria in search of a lost treasure in gold coins.  I visited Austria in 1987 and experienced some unusual occurrences. In this story, I was able to have Kimberlee experience these and other unusual events in this otherwise fictional story. The experiences described in this scene in Salzburg are from my own experience. The watercolor described is in my hallway still, a reminder of this wonderful day.

****

As Kimberlee passed through the countryside and the forests, the terrain varied and the road rose and fell. Around every corner, another picture post card vista appeared. With no particular agenda, she stopped frequently to take a photograph.

In some green meadows, the only sound was the tinkling of shiny brass bells, hanging from the collars of a flock of sheep or a small group of black and white cows. In other places, the gentle terrain rose up into a fine mist clinging to the hillside. Hidden in the distant mist, tinkling bells confirmed grazing animals, unaware that their bells could produce such a stirring in the heart of an unseen tourist passing on a nearby road.

The vineyards on the hills and meadows became fewer as Kimberlee approached Salzburg, an ancient city where Mozart first played his harpsicord and wrote melodies. Hundreds of years later, people still know his name and enjoy his music.

Near the center of town, she parked the car and began to walk. Ancient ivy-covered buildings with sagging tile roofs covered the courtyards along the sidewalk. Church spires peaked out above red tile rooftops of nearby houses. She passed a church with dates carved into the walls reading 1200-1400. How incredible! One church was said to be 1000 years old!

Violin music drew her toward the town square where a street musician stood on the steps of an ancient church, playing Ave Maria. Pigeons flew overhead from rooftop to rooftop, appearing to be as mesmerized by the music as the cluster of tourists gathered on the steps.

Kimberlee paused to listen as the haunting melody echoed around the square. It touched her heart as it carried her away from this world and back into another time. It was easy to imagine the cobbled streets filled with horse-drawn carts carrying a princess and her ladies in waiting, or a knight in shining armor, after a joust with a dragon.

The musician drew his bow across the strings and as he lowered his hand, the final note hung in the air. The tourists stood spellbound and silent. And then the spell was broken and the more generous visitors tossed money into the violin case at his feet.

Kimberlee opened her purse. “That was absolutely lovely! Thank you.” She put money into his case and wandered on.

She ran to catch a tram climbing to the top of the hill where a medieval castle overlooked the city, a cold and barren place with steps everywhere. The rooms were filled with armor, ancient guns, javelins, chains and torture devices. From the balconies, looking down on the valley was like peeking into the pages of a storybook. Rainy mists on the distant mountains beckoned hikers upward into the cold crisp air. Off to the left, rivers, towers, cathedrals, graveyards, and church spires. Off to the right, cobble-stone streets with horse-drawn carriages, sidewalk cafes, musicians, and archways, where street vendors hawked their wares on the street corners.

Returning to the city below, Kimberlee came upon a street artist sitting with his back against the wall, his easel and backpack by his side. The picture drying on his easel was a watercolor of the nearby ancient church steps where the musician had just played his stirring aria. Unable to resist the desire to memorialize the moment, she purchased the picture. She planned to have it framed and hang it near her bedroom, a constant reminder of the musician and his poignant melody.

What a magical city! After a good meal and a very strong cup of coffee, Kimberlee returned to her car. She must locate a pension where she might spend the night. Tomorrow, she would continue to follow the clues from the WWII soldier’s diary, in hopes that they might lead to the gold coins, still hidden so many years later.

****

Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey's Diary is available at Amazon (e-book) for $3.99.  Contact me directly for an autographed paperback version. ($15.00 - Free shipping within in USA)

 

4
Jul

A "Revolutionary" Concept - Independence- A Short Story

Alice pulled in her driveway and stepped out of her Prius. Her neighbor, Millie, hailed from across the street. “Yoo-hoo! Alice! Wait up. Happy Fourth of July!” as she scurried across the street.

Millie was the last person Alice wanted to talk to. They had nothing in common. Millie’s husband, George, collected Revolutionary War memorabilia. Their house looked like a war museum. Why did Millie put up with such nonsense?

Millie ran up, breathlessly, “Are you coming to the Independence Day celebration at the Vet’s Memorial Building? It starts in an hour. They’re having a military band, Viet Nam veteran speakers, and fireworks after the meeting. You’re welcome to ride over with us.”

Alice lifted her grocery bags from the back seat. “Sorry, can’t make it. Gotta’ get these things inside. Frozen stuff, you know. Talk to you later.” She hurried into the house. She felt a twinge of guilt. Snubbing Millie wasn’t very nice, but Millie was so gol-darned boring. Every conversation somehow turned to her husband’s latest E-Bay purchase. A Minute Man rifle. A battered sword. A faded British shirt. Alice sighed. Who cared about all that stuff anymore? What difference did it make, anyway, two hundred years later?

The 4th of July was such a nuisance. The fireworks always made the neighborhood dogs bark and the next morning, the streets were a cluttered mess.

Alice went to bed early. She pulled the pillow over her head and closed her eyes…It helped block out the sound of fireworks down the street.

Alice jerked and twisted. What? What was that? She opened her eyes to find herself standing in the middle of a battlefield! The boom-boom of nearby firecrackers became the sound of a beating drum. The sun blazed down on men wearing brilliant red jackets. Sweat poured from their faces as they marched in a straight row toward an outline of shadowy figures in buckskin, hiding behind rocks and trees.

Redcoats? English soldiers? A battlefield? She didn’t belong here! She couldn’t be here. That’s it!  She must be dreaming. Wake up! Wake up! The field would soon be littered with dead and dying men. She turned to run.

Someone grabbed her arm, and yanked her down behind a rock. Her heart pounded. She could smell the sweat on the man crouched beside her.

Grimaces lined the faces of the older soldiers, knowing what was to come. “Hold the line, men. Steady now.”

Younger soldiers, terrified of the unknown, sniffled as each beat of their drum brought the redcoats closer. Though the ragtag soldiers were outnumbered by the advancing troops, they had the advantage with the cover of trees and rocks. The men primed their guns with powder and ball and squatted in the dirt, waiting, waiting as the formidable enemy advanced, step by step.

Alice had to get away. This couldn’t be real! She knew she was dreaming! Why couldn’t she wake up?

The drumbeat stopped. Silence! What happened? She peeked around the rock. There stood the redcoats, frozen in time, guns at the ready, feet in mid-step. The flag drooped, unmoving. The drummer’s drumstick hung above his drum, suspended in mid-air.

Alice lifted her head toward the brilliant sky where scattered patches of clouds gathered as though suspended from wires. Overhead, a bird hung motionless...

She opened her eyes and blinked against the darkness in her room. “I was dreaming!” Dreams were, after all, just snatches of thoughts and memories, sounds and sights stored willy-nilly in one’s mind, and pulled into a fractured scenario to haunt our restless minds. She shuddered, thinking of the day when her dream had been the reality for young men and old who would not live to see another sunrise.

She turned toward the window. Rivulets of rain streaked the glass, curving and twisting as they traversed the pane. Outside, the tree in the backyard wavered in the breeze of an unseasonable summer shower. The Fourth of July celebrations and fireworks must have ended by now. Alice put her hand to her pounding heart. It was just a dream. Everything was fine. Just a dream.

Alice rose from her bed and found a book about the Revolutionary War in her library. She sat in a rocker and began to read:

For the sake of independence, farmers, storekeepers, bankers, men from all walks of life, rebelled at the tyranny England imposed on their fledgling nation. Ill equipped, with antiquated guns and untrained, the Continental soldiers chose to fight a highly trained army made up of Englishmen, German mercenaries, and Hessians.

The Revolutionary war lasted over eight years.
The estimated population in America in 1776 was three million.
80,000 militia and Continental Army soldiers served at the height of the war
25,000 American Revolutionary soldiers died during the war
8,000 more Revolutionary soldiers died later from wounds inflicted during battle
17,000 Revolutionary soldiers died from disease
25,000 Revolutionary soldiers were wounded or maimed
1 in 20 men

All for the sake of following generations, so we could have the freedom to make laws and live by our own rules as established by the Declaration of Independence.

Alice called and left a message on Millie’s answering machine. “This is Alice. Sorry I couldn’t make it tonight. I hope you had fun. I promise I’ll come with you next year. Our freedom is important, isn’t it? We need to remember what the holiday cost our forefathers. It really matters.”

Alice returned to her bedroom. Boom! Another firecracker cracked in the night. Alice stared at her reflection in the dresser mirror. “Does that child have any idea what he’s celebrating or why? We all take so much for granted.”

 

14
Jun

Mrs. Odboddy's Desperate Doings - Excerpt - Chpt. One

Agnes climbed out of bed and tiptoed down the hall, careful not to wake Katherine and Maddie. She stepped into the kitchen and glanced out the kitchen window. The sun was just rising, casting a glow over the garden and turning the blossoms on the apple tree a pale shade of pink. She sighed, once again assured that God was in his Heaven and all was right with the world. At least in her part of the world... The war still raged across Europe, affecting the lives of neighbors and friends with tragic news of loved ones, but today promised to be another safe and sunny day in Newbury, without immediate threat of danger in their hometown.

Agnes lit a match, held it under the stove burner, and slowly turned on the gas knob. A circle of blue flames circled the burners. Agnes filled the tea kettle and set it on the stove. She carefully measured exactly six tablespoons of coffee into the top of her coffee pot. Coffee was still a precious commodity, not only still in short supply but needing a ration coupon to buy. One shouldn’t waste a speck of coffee, even as restrictions were lifted and a bit more product available these days. When only one pound every six weeks per adult was rationed, she was ready to storm the War Department offices.

A sound outside in the front yard drew her to the front room. She pulled back the curtain and peered out the window. “What the Sam Hill?” Her heart seized at the sight of two men leaning over the lawn signs in her front lawn. One held a can of paint and the other used a brush to deface her campaign poster, touting her candidacy for Newburg City Council.

Determined to make short work of them, Agnes grabbed a broom, rushed to the front door, threw it open, and stomped onto the porch. “Get the heck off my lawn, you rapscallions, before I have the law on you. What do you think you’re doing?”

The men grabbed their paint supplies and headed for a Hudson, idling at the curb. Agnes took the front steps two at a time and raced across the lawn. She smacked the broom on the Hudson’s trunk as it pulled away from the curb. “And stay gone!” She turned toward the campaign sign. Red paint dripped off the cardboard onto the grass. She gasped as she viewed a bright red mustache marring her upper lip, and across the silver chopsticks sticking akimbo from her grey bun. The glare in her eyes defined her determination to fill the empty seat left by the recent arrest of the previous city council chairman.

The front door opened and Katherine peeked out. “What’s wrong, Grandma? We heard you yelling. What are you doing out here in your nightgown?” Katherine stepped onto the porch. “Get inside this minute. You’ll catch your death of cold.”

“Some son of a biscuit-eater just painted a mustache on my campaign sign.” Agnes waved her broom in the direction of the car screeching around the corner.

“Well, they’re gone now. You can’t be out here in your ‘altogether.’ What will the neighbors think?” Indeed, the curtains were drawn back in the house next door, and Agnes’s friend, Mavis, peeked out, her grey head covered in pink curlers. Agnes waved, lifted her broom to salute her, and marched back into the house.

*****To read the remainder of the novel, go to Amazon to buy...

https://tinyurl.com/5xah4cnt

(Amazon e-book  $3.99) Contact me for an autographed paperback $15.00 - free shipping

26
May

Mrs. Odboddy's Desperate Doings

The fourth Mrs. Odboddy adventure is finally available in e-book at Amazon ($3.99) and in paperback from me ($15.00 free shipping). As Mrs.  O continues to fight WWII from the home front, she continues to be search for a home for the displaced carnival tiger. She decides to take her burden to the Lord. From Chapter Six…

“Lord, it’s me, Agnes Agatha Odboddy. Yes, I know you must be pretty disappointed with me most days, but I do my best, Lord, really, I do. You won’t be surprised to hear that I’m in another jam. It’s not about me this time, it’s for Shere Khan. Surely, You approve of my efforts to save him, because it’s a worthwhile mission. I know you’re busy with the war and all, so I’ll get straight to the point. I need a caregiver for the tiger right away, and I need a permanent home for–”

Bing… Bong… The doorbell? Agnes’s head came up as she turned toward the bedroom door. She bowed her head again. “Someone’s at the door, Lord, so I need to go, but I’ll be back as soon as I can. I’d appreciate it, Lord, if You could ponder on a solution while I’m gone. Uh…Amen!”

Agnes hurried to the front door and flung it open. She put her fist to her mouth. “Oh, my stars. You! I can’t believe it. What are you doing here?” She grabbed the visitor’s arm, pulled him into the living room and thrust him onto the sofa. “Did you come on your own or did God send you?”

Her visitor raised his eyebrows and shrugged. “Well, I…I guess it was my idea.”

Now, in the past, due to her inability to keep her mouth shut and her nose out of things that were none of her business, Agnes often found herself in a pickle. As a result, she would get on her knees and bargain with the Lord for deliverance. More often than not, thanks to the benevolence of the Almighty, her conundrum would reach a satisfactory solution. But, never in her history of misadventures had He answered her prayer before she even got to the ‘Amen,’ proving that He’d seen the problem coming and was already several steps ahead in solving it.

There on her sofa sat Charles, the young man from Albuquerque she met last summer, who risked his life and freedom to help her. Thanks to Charles, when she was unexpectedly waylaid, he provided an unconventional method of travel to Little Rock, where she was able to reconnect with Katherine and complete her journey to Washington, D.C., to visit the president. (Mrs. Odboddy And Then There Was a Tiger)

Now, some months later, imagine her surprise to find Charles at her door. Surely, God sent him to Newbury to help save the tiger.

One problem solved, but many more ahead. Hope you’ll all enjoy this new exciting and humorous adventure.

Contact me at   Elaine.Faber@mindcandymysteries.com  to order an autographed paperback novel. 

https://tinyurl.com/5xah4cnt    for an Amazon e-book ($3.99)

 

 

28
Apr

Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer - An Excerpt

Re-read my 2015 novel again this week and was surprised what a wonderful story it was. Here is a short (edited) excerpt from Brett and Kimberlee's ride across the Texas prairie. Hope you purchase the book.

Heavy clouds formed overhead as Kimberlee’s mare plodded behind Juan with Brett as they rode single file through the underbrush into the valley. Kimberlee caught her breath as she reached the grassy meadow and the wild horses came into view. A streak of lightning crackled across the sky and distant thunder rumbled.

Quantum reared, and took off at a gallop, his black mane whipping as he led his mares away.

Brett gave his mount a kick and sprinted past Kimberlee and Juan. Kimberlee’s horse lunged after him. Kimberlee gripped the body of the horse with her knees. The wind beat at her face. Her heart thumped in time with the thundering hooves. Brett raced beside her, creating a cloud of dust and wind and noise. Adrenaline mingled with terror as she reveled in the exhilaration.

Her body throbbed with each stride of the beast’s surging muscles, driving through her legs. The breath in her throat burned as her mare rode neck to neck with Brett. His horse’s mane whipped against her hands, stinging like fire. Never had she felt so close to death and yet… so alive.

She turned and stared into the horse’s giant brown eye, the dark and the light of it looking like land and water on a distant planet floating through the universe. Her heart soared as she became one with the wind and the grass and the dirt and the noise, overcome with abounding joy. She swallowed a sob, as the ecstasy of the moment washed over her and she wished it would never end. Quantum’s herd pulled away and seemed to disappear in a cloud of dust. Kimberlee’s mare skidded to a halt beside Brett.

Juan pounded up behind them and pulled his horse to a halt. “What’s the big idea?” His face was as dark as the clouds overhead. “You both could have been killed!” Lightning streaked and thunder rumbled.

Wow! That was great. I’ve never had such a thrill.” Brett beat his hat against his leather chaps. Still panting from the exertion, Kimberlee could only nod. Her body tingled, unable to express what she felt.

“We need to get moving. These summer storms can be vicious. We don’t want to be caught out here on the prairie.” Juan turned his horse back toward the ranch. As great drops of rain pelted down, Kimberlee sniffed and tasted the scent of it. Little puffs of dust bounced in the dry earth. The smell of damp earth would forever remind her of this wonderful afternoon.

An unexplained lump rose up in her throat. The exhilaration of following Quantum’s herd filled her heart to overflowing. She couldn’t gulp down her sobs. Rain mingled with tears streaming down her face.

Brett slid off his horse and handed the reins to Juan. “What is it, honey?” He pulled her from the saddle and wrapped her in his arms.

“It was all so wonderful. The wind, the lightning... I… I’ve never felt anything like that before. I needed to be a part of it, to become one with all this. I needed to remember that God is in control and we are powerless to change what happens around us. I don’t know how to explain it.” Tears trickled down her face.

Brett dabbed her cheeks with his handkerchief. “I understand. I−”

Kimberlee pulled her head back. “No. You don’t. I don’t understand it myself. We were riding and the thunder and lightning… It was like, all at once I understood.”

“Tell me, honey. Understood what?”

“With all that’s happened here on the ranch, I didn’t think I could go on. I was losing control, losing… me. I didn’t think I could bear it.”

Kimberlee looked out across the meadow where the rain poured onto the dry earth, and then back at Brett. “Now I understand. It’s not important, none of it. What’s important is you and me, our family.” She waved her hand. “The land… and this. Quantum and his herd. They’re important and the lightning and the thunder. She smiled. “I’m ready now. Let’s go home.”

A streak of lightning slashed across the sky and distant thunder crashed as the storm moved further across the plains. As suddenly as it started, the rain stopped and the sun came out.

The bushes sparkled with clustered rain droplets, catching the sun and glistening like diamonds. The hills jutted up from the prairie floor like mounds of cookie dough. A brilliant rainbow of red, yellow, green and blue circled the top of the canyon. And, there again was the contrariness of the prairie, intense and challenging one minute, and God’s beautiful garden the next.

I can send you an autographed paperback for $15.00 (free shipping).  Email: Elaine.Faber @mindcandymysteries.com or Amazon e-book is just $3.99

3
Apr

Interview with Mildred Haggenbottom, Mrs. Odboddy's Best Friend

Elaine’s novel, Mrs. Odboddy-Hometown Patriot a hysterical WWII fiction novel of suspicion and spies.  Agnes fights WWII from the home front, while seeing conspiracies and Nazi spies around every corner. When Mrs. Roosevelt unexpectedly comes to town to attend a funeral, Agnes is called upon to prove she is, indeed, a hometown patriot.

Interview begins:

I’m Mildred Haggenbottom, Agnes’s best friend, and share the adventures with Agnes in Elaine Faber’s first WWII novel, Mrs.  Odboddy–Hometown Patriot.

Agnes and I have been friends for over twenty-five years. She’s the cat’s meow…as the young people say. How we met…? Let me see.

It was in 1918, during WWI. Agnes and I were United States’ undercover agents, assigned a top secret operation in Paris. We spent three days hiding in a bombed-out building with our handler, Godfrey Baumgarten. Believe me, after 72 hours in a life or death situation, you end up either hating someone’s guts or friends for life. Godfrey and Agnes got quite close…too close, if you ask me… Missing from our lives for 25 years, he showed up in Newbury last week, looking for a million dollars in missing Hawaiian money and wanting to reignite his ‘friendship’ with Agnes. I don’t think she’s trying very hard to keep him at arm’s length, if you know what I mean.

After Paris, Agnes changed. She’s been paranoid, eccentric, and fanatically patriotic ever since. She’s determined to root out injustice, regardless of the consequences. I could hardly believe what she plans to do about the black market ration book scam she thinks she discovered, and when the watch tower burned down at the ocean, she says she can’t explain it because it’s Top Secret. Talk is that she burned it down, herself.

Let’s just say, Agnes tends to see conspiracies and spies under every rock. She believes Nazi spies have infiltrated Newbury. She drives Police Chief Waddlemucker crazy with her notions. She’s usually wrong, but her heart is in the right place.

Agnes lives with her granddaughter, Katherine, who works at the Curls to Dye For Beauty Salon. She does the hair and make-up for the Whistlemeyer mortuary. That certainly turned into quite an adventure, but you’ll have to read the book for the details. Spoiler alert, you know.

Fair warning to the Nazi spies out there. If you really are skulking around Newbury, planning nefarious deeds, I suggest you peddle your papers elsewhere, because if Agnes stumbles onto you, between her and Chief Waddlemucker, your name is toast!

Elaine’s novels include Black Cat’s Legacy; Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer,  Black Cat and the Accidental Angel, Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary, and Mrs. Odboddy–Hometown Patriot, Mrs. Odboddy Undercover Courier, Mrs. Odboddy And Then There was A Tiger,-and lastly, The Spirit Woman of Lockleer Mountain, all available at Amazon - $3.99 for e-book. Or, you can write to Elaine and for $15, she'll send you an autographed paperback copy, (free shipping).

28
Feb

How Characters can Highjack A Story

 

I’m never surprised what my characters highjack the story. I follow their lead until the scene plays out. When this happens, sometimes it takes the story in surprising directions. It is most unnerving and sometimes I have to ask, “How do I get him out of this predicament?” Of course, that’s often when the mischievous character decides to take a vacation and leaves me trying to resolve how to get the character out of the muddle they just created.

My parents used to tell me that as a toddler, I buried my toys in the sand and my dad had to dig around and try to find them. Aha! The proverbial lightbulb flashed over my head! What if years ago, a toddler buried something that wasn’t found until now it it becomes the clue to solving a murder today?

With that concept in mind, I started writing my first novel. I thought it would be a story about a divorcee who wants to solve her father’s cold-case murder, and something she buried as a baby would reappear and be relevant to solving the murder. Quite without intending it to happen, a tuxedo cat (Thumper) jumped into the tale, took over, and became the main character as he used his ancestor’s memories to help her solve the case. Black Cat’s Legacy was born. This led to Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer, Black Cat and the Accidental Angel, and Black Cat and the Secret in Dewey’s Diary. (Available at Amazon in paperback and e-book)

Some people ask, “What do you do when you have writer’s block?” When this happens to me, I ask myself, “What’s the worst thing that can happen?” I conjure up several alternatives, pick one and run with it.

Here’s an example: Let’s imagine I want to write a mystery. The main character is a private detective who I eventually plan to get involved in a murder case. The story starts with my main character innocently frying bacon one Saturday morning. What happens next? What’s the worst thing that can happen? The skillet catches fire.

She pulls the fire extinguisher off the wall. What’s the worst thing that can happen? The extinguisher is empty!

She grabs her cell phone to call the fire department. What happens next? What’s the worst thing that can happen? Dead battery!

She runs, screaming, to the front door. “Help! Fire, fire! Help!” She flings open the door.

A handsome neighbor appears and puts out the fire; 275 pages later they have fallen in love, the killer never appears, and eventually our characters ride off into the sunset… A love story…Well, you get the picture.

The characters in this illustration just ran away from me. I had planned this scene to be about a mystery, with a kitchen fire, and intended to have the killer sneak up behind the lady at the stove, but the characters had another idea and a handsome neighbor appears, instead. My 30-second characters took control and turned my illustration upside down into a love story.

When I write, I’m never totally in control. I’m sort of along for the ride.

8
Feb

The Valentine's Day Chocolate Kiss

This is a repeat post, but always a good one when Valentine's Day is near.

We quarreled this morning. I threw his favorite blue cup across the room. It shattered when it hit the hearth. I screamed “I hate you!” and ran out the door. I kicked the tires on my car.

I was angry all morning. Every time the phone rang, I was sure he was calling to apologize. Why didn’t he call? I wouldn’t call him. He was wrong, right?

The afternoon dragged by. It’s 5:00 P.M., and I’m leaving the office. … The traffic is terrible and I’m anxious to get home. It’s not that I’m going to apologize. It was his fault that we quarreled, but it’s too tiring to stay mad. I want everything to be okay between us again.

The cars creep along the freeway and I check my watch.

He should be home by now, waiting for me, listening to music, probably drinking a glass of red wine. I’m sure he bought me flowers for Valentine's Day. I can’t wait to see what kind he chose.

It started to rain and the leaves swirl across the highway, gathering on the edge of my front window. The windshield wipers swish. They seem to say, “hate-shoo, hate-shoo, hate-shoo.”  I remember how I said those words and tears sting my eyes. I didn’t mean it. I reach for the cell phone in my purse and touch instead, a melted chocolate candy kiss. I lick the chocolate off my fingers and smile, remembering the night, not so long ago and his words, “This kiss signifies my love.”

Now I'm ready to tell him 'I’m sorry', even if he was wrong. I want his arms around me. I want his lips to caress my throat. I want us to be together.

I don’t see his car.  It must be in the garage. I know he heard me pull in the driveway, and even now, I can almost see him rushing to the door with a glass of wine and the flowers. In a minute, he will kiss me and whisper, “I’m sorry…”

I turn the handle on the front door. Why is it locked? I turn my key in the door and call his name. The room is empty. There are no Valentine flowers. Where can he be?

A gust of wind rushes in, slamming the door behind me. My eyes are drawn to a chocolate candy kiss as it rolls off the table. A single sheet of paper flutters for a moment, then settles to the floor...

****

Hope your Valentine's Day has a better ending. Don't let the day begin or end without saying, "I love you."   Elaine Faber

 

25
Jan

Cont. Chapter One - Mrs. Odboddy's Desperate Doings

See previous post, dated January, 2022, for the beginning of Chapter One. In summary, Agnes was rescuing her Siamese cat, from the apple tree when she fell... and....

Agnes hit the ground with a thud. Her head flung back and thwacked against the apple tree. Then everything went dark.

****

The story continues....

A voice called her name from far away. “Mrs. Odboddy. Can you hear me?”

Ow.” Her cheek smarted. Had someone slapped her? Another slap? Near dead, and now being attacked? What was the world coming to when an old woman couldn’t fall from an apple tree and die in peace? Agnes opened her eyes. Ling-Ling leaped from branch to branch and dropped lightly beside her hip. “Meow!

Her head lolled back against the tree. Now she comes down, after I risked my life to…  Several faces hovered over her. Godfrey’s face and two others.  Fireman? Why?

Katherine knelt beside Godfrey and took her hand. “Grandma. Are you alright?” She turned toward the men in heavy overcoats. “Did she break anything?”

“Hard to say, ma’am.” Barnaby Merryweather, the gray-headed volunteer fireman, touched the lump on the back of Agnes’s head. “She has some scratches and a sizable bump on the back of her head. Her doctor should check her over to be sure. She took a pretty good whack. Agnes? Do you know what day it is? Who’s the President?”

Ow!” Agnes swatted at the fireman’s hand. “Of course. It’s April 26, 1944, and Franklin D. Roosevelt is the President. Now, help me into the house.” Her hand dropped onto Ling-Ling’s back as she nuzzled under her arm. “I see the wretched cat managed to rescue herself.”

“If you’d asked my opinion before you risked your fool life, I would’ve told you she’d come down when she was darned good and ready, Grandma.”

“I called Godfrey. When he didn’t come, I thought I could get her down, myself.”

“Just see how well that turned out,” Katherine patted her grandmother’s cheek. “You could’ve killed yourself.”

“It takes more than a bump to kill an old bird like me.” Agnes touched the lump on her head and twisted her neck from side to side. “Ow.

“Give me a hand, Barnaby,” Godfrey said. One could always count on volunteer fireman,Barnaby Merryweather, a volunteer fireman, whether for a kitchen fire or a cat up a tree. Godfrey put his arm under Agnes’s shoulder. “Can you stand, sweetkins?”

“I think so. You’re right. I should have called the fire department in the first place.”

Barnaby and Godfrey helped Agnes into the house where they lowered her onto the sofa. Barnaby’s son, Benjamin, followed Katherine inside.

“Now I mean it, Agnes. Your doctor needs to check that bump,” Barnaby said. “It looks like it’s swelling up more.”

“Agnes knows what’s best for her, Dad. Maybe she doesn’t want to see the doctor.” Benjamin said. “It’s not your decision, old man.”

Barnaby scowled. “Thanks, Son! Where did you get your medical degree?”

“Just sayin’ she knows how she feels better’n you,” Benjamin snapped.

Barnaby, a long-term citizen of Newbury, had recently handed Merryweather Shoe Repair  over to Benjamin. Word was, they argued about replacing the heel on a shoe almost as much as how to run the volunteer fire department.

Agnes rolled her eyes at the two Merryweather men. “Stop bickering. I’ll contact the doctor later, if my head still hurts.”

Barnaby pulled the straps on his hat. ”Next time your cat goes for a climb, Agnes, stay out of the tree!” He and Benjamin turned and stomped out the front door.

Agnes glanced between Katherine and Godfrey. “Why were they here in the first place? I didn’t call them.”

Godfrey ducked his head. “I told you before, plum blossom. We needed their ladder to rescue the cat. Then, by gum, you fell smack at my feet. We should call the doctor. You never know about a head injury.”

Humph! Head injury, my Aunt Fanny. It’s just a little bump. Katherine? Can you fix me a cup of tea and bring me a headache powder?” Agnes stared at Katherine. Her mouth pulled into a frown. “Why on earth are you wearing that ridiculous hat?”

Katherine’s hands went to her head. “Hat? I’m not wearing a hat.” She glanced at Godfrey, then back to Agnes.

“My dear!” Godfrey patted Agnes’s hand. “You must lie down. I’ll get  an ice pack for your head.” He hurried toward the kitchen, paused at the door, and looked back. “I’m calling the doctor.”

“Whatever for? I told you I’ll be just fine… Katherine, would you be a dear and bring me a headache powder? My head hurts like the dickens.” Agnes swiped angrily at tears on her cheeks.

“Agnes, my sweet,” Godfrey said, his cheeks as pale as cottage cheese. “You already asked Katherine…" He sighed. "Never mind. I’ll get you that cup of tea.”

*****

. The three Mrs. Odboddy mystery/adventures are available on Amazon (ebook) for $3.99.

Mrs. Odboddy Hometown Patriot, Mrs. Odboddy Undercover Courier, and Mrs. Odboddy And Then there was a Tiger

Hope you enjoyed the excerpt.

16
Jan

Sneak Preview.... Mrs. Odboddy's Desperate Doingss

If you haven't yet met Mrs. Odboddy, you'll enjoy all her books, the last titled Mrs. Odboddy And Then There was a Tiger where she attempts to save a displaced carnival tiger.

This is the beginning of her next adventure... Mrs. Odboddy's Desperate Doings... to be published soon.

Chapter One 

Agnes slung her leg over a limb in the apple tree and reached to grip a higher branch. “Hang on, Ling-Ling. Mama’s coming.”

“Meow!”

The cat’s shrill yowl announced her displeasure that Agnes should question her agenda to reach the top of the tree. Agnes’s boyfriend, Godfrey, peered into the branches. “Agnes! Come down this instant. What in tarnation do you think you’re doing?”

Agnes yanked her skirt down over her rump in an attempt to cover her chubby thigh and flannel stockings. “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that I’m trying to rescue Ling-Ling. She’s been up here for hours and won’t come down. If you’d come when I called you over an hour ago–”

“I came as soon as I could, Lambkins, after I called the fire department and asked them to bring a ladder. Now, come down before you fall and break your noggin. Leave the climbing to the firemen. They rescue cats every day.” A siren shrieked in the distance.

“No need. I’ve almost got her.” Agnes loosened her grip on the branch to reach for the Siamese cat as she climbed higher. “Just a little more. Come to mama, baby.” Wasn’t that just like a cat? “You rascal. I have half a mind to leave you here, and let you starve. Come here before I…” Crack! Agnes gasped as the branch under her foot gave way. “Saints preserve–”

Godfrey sprang toward the tree as Agnes flung out her arms and grasped at branches to break her fall. Pieces of twigs and leaves pummeled Godfrey’s head. As she plummeted toward the ground, images and questions flashed through her mind. Godfrey’s image intermingled with her little ward, Maddie, and her granddaughter, Katherine. Would Shere Khan, the displaced carnival’s tiger, find a home without her help? It’s true. Your life flashes before your eyes just before you die.

Agnes hit the ground with a thud. Her head flung back and thwacked against the apple tree. Then everything went dark.

*****

What follows is a wacky adventure where Agnes struggles to find justice not only for the tiger but for the community, as she faces personal conflict and drama at every turn. Guaranteed, you'll laugh at her antics in every chapter.

Let me know if you wish to reserve an autographed copy. If you read on a device, all Mrs. Odboddy's adventures are just $3.99 (ebook) at Amazon.

 

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