Venture Galleries http://venturegalleries.com Connecting Readers, Writers, and Books Wed, 29 Jun 2016 11:10:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Stories are always better in black and white. http://venturegalleries.com/blog/stories-are-always-better-in-black-and-white/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/stories-are-always-better-in-black-and-white/#comments Wed, 29 Jun 2016 07:40:19 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=77009 Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in the movie To Have and Have not. William Faulkner wrote the screenplay based on a story by Ernest Hemingway. It doesn't get any better than that. I PREFER MY STORIES in black and white. Take movies, for... Read more

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Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in the movie To Have and Have not. William Faulkner wrote the screenplay based on a story by Ernest Hemingway.

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in the movie To Have and Have not. William Faulkner wrote the screenplay based on a story by Ernest Hemingway. It doesn’t get any better than that.

I PREFER MY STORIES in black and white.

Take movies, for example.

No special effects.

No gimmicks.

No gore for the sake of gore.

No shock for the sake of shock.

Black and white movies are real.

They are honest.

They are character driven.

I like black and white books for the same reasons.

The plots make sense.

The suspense takes your breath away.

So does a good romance.

The humor is laugh out loud funny.

The characters are believable.

You root for the hero.

But you know he can be a heel.

He’s salty.

He’s gruff.

He’s wound tight and ready to fight.

He loves the pretty ladies.

He leaves them.

Some lady might catch him.

Some lady might keep him.

Don’t hold your breath.

He could have easily been the villain.

However, he simply came to a crossroad in life and, by chance or happenstance, turned the right way.

You hate the villain.

But he’s so charming.

He will offer a lady an umbrella in the rain.

He will buy the little waif on the street a candy bar.

He will stop and fix the flat of some damsel in distress.

But he can pull the trigger and kill a man without flinching and with no regrets.

You want him caught.

You want him convicted.

You want him behind bars.

But I feel sad when he’s hauled away in shackles and cuffs.

He’s bad but life made him that way.

He could have been the hero.

He just came to a crossroad in life and turned the wrong way.

I read too many books and see too many movies these days that rely too much on a gimmick of some kind.

The plot is weak?

Have a sex scene.

Erotica is better.

The story slows down?

Blow something up.

Have a car chase.

No.

Tear up as many cars as you can.

Characters dull?

Turn one into a zombie.

Or a vampire.

Or maybe a werewolf.

The suspense is boring?

Bring on a ghost.

Or a time traveler.

Someone from outer space.

Anything that goes bump in the night.

Can’t think of a clever punch line?

Use a four-letter word, preferably one that begins with F.

No.

Use a whole string of them.

Hammer them into the story like nails in a coffin.

The devices all work, and a lot of great writers are using them while turning out a lot of great books.

I admire the authors.

I cheer for them.

We showcase their novels.

But, frankly, I would rather crawl inside the minds of good characters and follow them along no matter where they want to go.

Finely drawn characters become family.

I care about them.

I worry about them.

I lose sleep over their problems.

But I do remember the characters long after the names of the books or movies have been forgotten.

I say goodbye.

And I miss them when they’re gone.

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Independence Day protects the choices we make. http://venturegalleries.com/blog/independence-day-protects-the-choices-we-make/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/independence-day-protects-the-choices-we-make/#comments Wed, 29 Jun 2016 06:55:22 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=76993 Remember our fighting men and women who guarantee our freedom and liberty. Photo Source: Family Reflections PRAY. Or don’t. It's our choice. Dissent. Or don’t. Tell off a politician. Or don’t. Vote. Or don’t. Go to church. Or... Read more

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Remember our fighting men and women who guarantee our freedom and liberty. Photo Source: Family Reflections

Remember our fighting men and women who guarantee our freedom and liberty. Photo Source: Family Reflections

PRAY. Or don’t. It’s our choice.

Dissent. Or don’t.

Tell off a politician. Or don’t.

Vote. Or don’t.

Go to church. Or don’t.

Roger Summers

Roger Summers

Read the Bible. Or the Koran. Or neither.

Be a Republican. Or a Democrat. Or neither.

Live in the city. Or out in the wide open spaces.

Dress up. Or dress down.

Drive a gasoline powered vehicle. Or an electric one.

Exercise. Or lie on the couch.

Be a coach. Or a cowboy.

Appreciate the Constitution. Or ignore it.

Choices –- countless, cherished choices –- are ours.

Freedom, independence make it so, as we are reminded on this July 4th.

Heck of a deal, no?

Roger Summers is a journalist, essayist and author of Heart Songs From A Washboard Road.

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Every day’s a celebration in Celebration. http://venturegalleries.com/blog/every-days-a-celebration-in-celebration/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/every-days-a-celebration-in-celebration/#comments Wed, 29 Jun 2016 06:50:59 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=77001 A Celebration sun sets behind the Palms. Photograph: J Gerald Crawford. MY HUSBAND'S FAVORITE PLACE in Celebration, Florida (the town that Disney built) was situated along a wide promenade overlooking the downtown business district. After... Read more

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A Celebration sun sets behind the Palms. Photograph: J Gerald Crawford.

A Celebration sun sets behind the Palms. Photograph: J Gerald Crawford.

MY HUSBAND’S FAVORITE PLACE in Celebration, Florida (the town that Disney built) was situated along a wide promenade overlooking the downtown business district.

After daily three o’clock rain showers, his afternoons were spent sitting in a white rocking chair enjoying the scenic view, listening to simple piped melodies, sipping a cup of Starbucks, and seriously reliving his career with Bass Anglers Sportsman Society.

A golf cap covered his bald head.

J Gerald Crawford

J Gerald Crawford

Sunglasses shaded the sun from his blue eyes.

The rail surrounding the lake supported his sandaled feet.

The setting sun turned the sky a brilliant orange.

A soft pink reflection in the water merged into pearl and silhouetted the two resident alligators.

Only months before, on April 9, 2005, Disney’s movers had loaded our belongings onto a large truck. Destination was Orlando, Florida. After our garden home was spotless, and doors locked, we looked through the windows and reminisced the past sixteen years.

While tears ran down our faces, we said good-bye to Sturbridge Plantation in Montgomery, Alabama.Trading the comfortable security of the known for an uncertain future was not easy. A new chapter of our lives began.

Living on the outer edge of South Village just across from one of the areas golf courses, our blue town home was located on Siena Palm Drive. This beautifully palm-lined street connected World Drive directly into Walt Disney World parks and resorts allowing us to drive to Disney property without using busy thoroughfares.

Our home was a mile from the Disney Building where all four Disney theme parks were visible from Gerald’s ninth floor office. Our six year old grandson said,” Oh look! I see Aftercot!” (Epcot). From our upstairs bedrooms, our grandchildren watched the nightly fireworks from all area parks.

I can still envision Gerald lying on the lounge chairs under the tall palms in the fresh summer air listening to the cheerful birds, and smelling the fragrance of the bright pink and watermelon red bougainvillea blossoms that cascaded over the gate, and watching the puffy white clouds travel across the blue sky.

Hidden behind this realm of color was an inviting pool. I watched my husband, with his melancholy spirit, his mouth above his gray beard turned ever so slightly toward a smile as he savored the leisure life in the safe protected world of Celebration.

Bougainvillea blossoms cascade over the gate.

Bougainvillea blossoms cascade over the gate.

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Wednesday Sampler: The Devil’s Liege by Danielle DeVor http://venturegalleries.com/blog/wednesday-sampler-the-devils-liege-by-danielle-devor/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/wednesday-sampler-the-devils-liege-by-danielle-devor/#comments Wed, 29 Jun 2016 06:40:46 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=76997 In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Venture Galleries is showcasing some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Wednesday’s Sampler features an excerpt from The Devil’s Liege, an urban fantasy from Danielle DeVor,... Read more

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In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Venture Galleries is showcasing some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Wednesday’s Sampler features an excerpt from The Devil’s Liege, an urban fantasy from Danielle DeVor, a novel populated by a vampire or two.

 As one reviewer said: Overall, there’s a bit of adventure, a dash of mystery, and some demon-esque creatures that give this novel just the right amount of edge. It’s not overly gruesome, or horrific, but there are plenty of vivid scenes and dark imaginings to tantalize the mind. 

The Story

Being a vampire isn’t all it’s cracked up to be- in fact, it kind of sucks.

After surviving his duel with Lilith, Mathias thought that he could relax. That is until he discovers that, Nossy, the new king, has been kidnapped.

When the investigating vampires seem to have no clue how to rescue Nosferatu, Mathias must step in. Everything is peachy until Mathias is named the next new king in order to stop the man behind Nossy’s kidnapping from taking over the throne.

Suddenly, his life is not his own again, and Mathias must make a choice: risk his life to find his friend, or sit back and watch disaster unfold.

The Sampler

Danielle DeVor

Danielle DeVor

“Thias.”

The voice was near to his ear and seemed breathy. Sleep was his friend. He hunkered down further into his pillow. The darkness was a comfort to him. Safe.

“Thias.” It was closer this time—right next to his ear. He didn’t want for this to be real, prayed that it wouldn’t be.

Snick. Snick.

Mathias jerked awake. His heart hammered in his chest. He looked around the room. Everything was where it was supposed to be. It was still too fancy for Mathias with the polished wood, the gold brocade curtains and the velvet chair next to the window with his stack of books beside it. Nothing was wrong. There was no insane woman about to cut him with a pair of rusty shears. With his eyes the way they were now, with his vampire’s ability to see in the dark, he didn’t need to reach over and turn on the light. He could see everything perfectly. It must have been a dream. At least, Mathias hoped that’s what it was.

There was no one in his room but himself. “Fuck.”

He closed his eyes for a minute and sighed. Ever since he’d killed Nic, the sorcerer who had caused him to become a vampire, Mathias had been dreaming about her and the past. It honestly was something he wished he could forget.

Lilith, the former Queen, had tried to kill him just so he couldn’t tell the vampire world about the horrible things she’d done to him in a past life. She’d cultivated this kind and generous persona that wasn’t really like her at all. It wasn’t Mathias’ fault that Vlad had chosen to cross him over into a vampire. Being a vampire hadn’t been his choice. Hell, he would have rather had his parents back, but he guessed fate was just one of those things.

He wiped the sweat from his forehead with his hand. Along with the dreams, he’d been breaking out in cold clammy sweats. Why the dreams were happening now, he didn’t know. It would have made more sense for them to happen after Nossy had killed Lilith, his mother, but maybe his brain was still being stupid. It wouldn’t surprise him.

He got up, walked across the room to the window, and pushed the plush red brocade curtain out of the way. Staying with Vlad again was weird. The room was just too fancy. He preferred Nossy’s clutter. It felt more homey somehow. But, with Nossy being king, it was easier for Mathias to stay with Vlad. He understood that. He just wished things were less complicated.

Outside, the frost on the ground was so thick that it made the grass look almost white. That was Siberia.  Winter came early here. Snow had been hitting the ground in intervals since October, with it now being November, well, the frost was a little bit of an improvement. That meant it wasn’t as cold today.

He wrapped his wings around himself and sat down in the chair next to the window. It was still weird to have wings. They were longer than he was in order to support him in the air. They weren’t unlike the wings of a fruit bat, sort of. The glass reflected what Mathias still viewed as his new face. His brown hair was still long, his blue eyes were still jaded, but he was big now.

Part of him still expected to see that fifteen-year-old kid in the mirror. Needless to say, the last year had been one hell of an experience. He looked at the bookcase opposite his chair, but nothing sparked his interest enough. Still, no sense in trying to go back to sleep now. The dreams would just start again. Mathias just wanted to rest, but his mind had other ideas.

He leaned over the side of the chair and picked up the book he’d left on the floor. It wasn’t a fun read, but necessary. It was an old tome about ancient fighting techniques. Mathias thought that if he could learn about how the old techniques were taught, then maybe, he could rectify everything he remembered from the past with that things were like now. He sighed. His plan wasn’t working very well if his dreams were any indication. He didn’t want to remember more ofher. It was getting to the point that when he saw a woman with long black hair, he’d have to suppress a shudder. Not normal at all.

He let the book fall into his lap and stared out the window again. The frigid scenery was something better to focus on.

I’m tired of being alive.

The thought just kind of popped into his head, unwarranted and unwelcome. He hadn’t even been thinking, not really. He’d actually been trying not to think. But, he had to admit to himself, it was true in a way. The stress of his “testing” by Lilith, trying to remember who he was, and then finally getting his revenge on Nic kind of took the wind out of his sails. There was nothing left to look forward to now.  People who wanted to live forever had no idea how boring it was. And hell, in this life, he was only sixteen. It probably would have been better if he’d never remembered his past at all.

He drummed his claws against the book, softly though, so as to not damage it. Suicide wasn’t an option. Being a vampire, he wasn’t very easy to kill and it wasn’t like he could cut off his own head. He didn’t think he could at least. It wasn’t exactly the easiest thing to do. So, he was stuck like this—probably forever. No wonder all the vamps he knew were fucking nuts.

This never ending existence was the very reason he never wanted to be a vampire. The only things he had that meant anything to him were Nossy and Vlad. Too bad they weren’t enough. What he really wanted, and what he didn’t want to admit, was that he just wanted someone to take care of him. His pride wouldn’t let him ask for it.

* * * * *

Tallus stroked the parchment lovingly. This was his child after a sort. The candlelight made the parchment glow slightly golden. It was perfect. True, it had been a great expense to have the document forged, but that was no matter. Not when he’d have it all. Then, expenses would be something he had no reason to fret with.

He chuckled at the cost.

Some paid much more than others. The one who performed this forgery had paid the most.  He was now lying underneath several layers of ice—all covering his head. It was a great loss, but Tallus was willing to bear the guilt of the sacrifice. It was all for the greater good after all.

He lowered the parchment to the table. When she had been around, none of this was possible. Lilith had always been so … suspicious. He didn’t dare try to act on anything then. In fact, he was always careful to be thinking of things not related to his try for the throne in her presence. It was safer that way.

Tallus grinned. Her death had made things so much easier. Without her paranoia to make him hide in the shadows, he had everything he needed for his plan to work. In contrast, Nosferatu was an easy mark. He was too trusting, and sadly, the King thought Tallus was his ally. That was likely his first mistake. For being as old as he was, Nosferatu really was rather naive.

He picked the parchment up off the table and kissed it. It was all so perfect. Soon, the plan could begin. He couldn’t wait.

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I feel naked. Where have all my books gone? http://venturegalleries.com/blog/i-feel-naked-where-have-all-my-books-gone/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/i-feel-naked-where-have-all-my-books-gone/#comments Tue, 28 Jun 2016 07:40:36 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=77006 I FEEL NAKED. Where have all my books gone? I go to Amazon. I look under my name in the Kindle store. And nothing’s there. Thank God for White Bird Publishing. Evelyn Byrne has my paperback books online. But my eBooks have... Read more

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I FEEL NAKED. Where have all my books gone?

I go to Amazon.

I look under my name in the Kindle store.

And nothing’s there.

Thank God for White Bird Publishing.

Evelyn Byrne has my paperback books online.

But my eBooks have gone away.

I am in the midst of changing digital publishers.

I liked my old publisher.

He sold a lot of my books.

His sales made the writing effort worthwhile.

But now he, sadly, is going away as well.

I will miss him a lot.

Alas, I have had the good fortune to turn to a bright, new, innovative, high-energy, visionary publishing company to handle, promote, and market the eBooks.

You heard right.

Y&R Publishers promotes and markets books produced by its stable of authors.

In today’s publishing wasteland – where everyone wants to write, everyone wants to publish, and nobody knows a damn thing about selling books in an environment that changes every time a new geek awakens with a new idea – that is a rarity.

And it’s a blessing.

Other publishing houses, large and small, have said they would.

Their contract was filled with empty promises.

I’ve seen the snags.

I’ve heard the cries of woe from disappointed authors.

A couple of those cries, years ago, were mine.

Y & R is different.

I’ve seen the game plan.

I’ve seen it in action.

However, as we all know, the process of re-releasing books takes time.

But then, nothing worthwhile is ever done overnight.

In the past, I’ve written books, I’ve thrown them on Amazon, I’ve hammered out a bunch of blogs, I’ve scattered a lot of tweets, I’ve shuffled the novels around on Facebook.

I was blindfolded and shooting in the dark.

Buy an ad here, people said.

Buy an ad there, people said.

Join this group.

Jump on a forum with that group.

Watch the sales soar.

I keep watching.

Sell a few here.

Sell a few there.

It’s never enough.

Maybe this time, my publishing and marketing will be done right.

Maybe I won’t be scatter shooting anymore.

I like new ideas.

I like innovation.

The old ways didn’t work so well.

Let’s try some new ways.

Y & R’s program makes sense.

Y & R has mapped out a whole new direction for book sales, and I think the team is on to something.

Wait, I tell myself.

Be patient, I tell myself.

But I keep checking Amazon.

Where’s Secrets of the Dead?

What happened to Conspiracy of Lies?

Did it get too dark for Night Side of Dark?

On Kindle, I no longer exist.

My name’s erased.

My books are erased.

Being naked is a terrible place to be.

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Discovering Forgotten Masters of Hard-Boiled Mysteries http://venturegalleries.com/blog/discovering-forgotten-masters-of-hard-boiled-mysteries/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/discovering-forgotten-masters-of-hard-boiled-mysteries/#comments Tue, 28 Jun 2016 06:55:57 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=76989 MODERN FANS OF HARD-BOILED PRIVATE-EYE novels often discovered the genre via Robert Crais’ Elvis Cole or Robert B. Parker’s Spenser. Women hardboiled fans also read Crais and Parker, but they often come to the genre through Sue Grafton’s... Read more

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MODERN FANS OF HARD-BOILED PRIVATE-EYE novels often discovered the genre via Robert Crais’ Elvis Cole or Robert B. Parker’s Spenser. Women hardboiled fans also read Crais and Parker, but they often come to the genre through Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone, Marcia Muller’s Sharon McCone, or Sara Paretsky’s V.I. Warshawski—who have also entertained many male readers. Casual readers usually stop with these names from the bestseller lists. However, others find themselves on the dangerous path to hardboiled addiction.

Thinking they can quit at any time, they begin chipping the original masters of the genre—the godhead of Chandler, Hammett, Ross MacDonald. Quickly, still denying their addiction, they look for further highs, uncovering John D. Macdonald or Mickey Spillane before scoring more modern masters—Lawrence Block, Estelman, Max Allan Collins, Bill Pronzini, Robert Randisi, Walter Mosely, Dennis Lehane, Andrew Vachss…

Paul Bishop

Paul Bishop

Falling further into the depths of their addiction deepen, hardboiled junkies score their highs from the private eye characters created by the likes of Wayne D. Dundee, Joe Gores, the ever dangerous Andrew Vachss, Jeremiah Healy, Arthur Lyons, Michael Collins (aka: Dennis Lynds), Stephen Greenleaf, Joseph Hansen, Jonathan Valin, and an almost never ending list of other two-fisted sleuths.

Falling further into the depths of their addiction deepen, desperate hardboiled addicts go old school for their kicks with the likes of Mike Shayne, Cool and Lam, Shell Scott, Johnny Liddell, Ellery Queen, Nero Wolfe, Dan Turner, and others from the golden age of private eyes. But eventually, even these hardboiled speedballs aren’t enough to satisfy a mainliner.

There remains only one place for these sad souls to go, a place known to only the most devoted of hardboiled fanatics. It is an opium den where the air is acrid with the residue of smoking guns, healing bruises, laddered stockings, and the underlying strains of a dying torch song. Here there be treasure—the treasures of The Eye, a hidden cabal of the hardboiled inner circle who tightly guard long forgotten, gritty paperback original private eyes series, which are passed from hand to hand with whispered reverence.

In the spirit of the Masked Magician—only without the mask—who delights in revealing the mechanisms behind magic’s smoke and mirrors, I am going to devote the next few columns to unveiling the hidden treasures of private eye fiction…

First up is a personal favorite—Rafferty, a tough ex-cop turned Texas private eye created by W. Glenn Duncan. Starting with Rafferty’s Rules (#39: Smiting the wicked sounds biblical, but mostly it’s good clean fun) in 1987, this PBO (paperback original) series ran for six titles.

At first blush, the framework for Rafferty appears to be yet another Spenser clone (Cowboy, Rafferty’s semi-sociopathic partner channeling Hawk; Hilda, Rafferty’s significant other who is a less irritating version of Susan Silverman; an equal number of wisecracks, fists, and bullets), but it’s quickly apparent in the first few pages of the series, Rafferty and company are in a class of their own..

Rafferty doesn’t play well with others. He is stubbornly contrary, refusing to be told what to do or how to do anything. Being able to back his mouth up with smarts—or brute force when intelligence fails—is half the fun of the series. Rafferty is a refreshing throwback to the golden age of good, clean, hard-hitting, men’s action and adventure. Rafferty’s seemingly endless collections of rules provide a warped sense of ethics to his actions and we are happy to be along for the ride.

Brash Books would drool to be able to reprint this series, but Duncan has somehow disappeared into the Australian Outback…Until search parties can locate him, interested parties will have to peruse used bookstores or the Internet.

THE RAFFERTY SERIES

Rafferty’s Rules (1987)

Last Seen Alive (1987)

Poor Dead Cricket (1988)

Wrong Place, Wrong Time (1989)

Cannon’s Mouth (1990)

Fatal Sisters (1990)

FOR MORE ABOUT RAFFERTY CLICK HERE

H2

Another hidden PBO series horded by hardboiled aficionados is Ralph Dennis’ Hardman. Published in the ‘70s, the series remains one of the most overlooked and underestimated entries in the genre.

Jim Hardman, is a middle-aged, overweight, out of shape, ex-Atlanta cop turned unlicensed private eye. Despite his physical attributes, Hardman remains one tough bastard. When coupled with his partner, former Cleveland Browns pro-football player Hump Evans (yes, Hardman and Hump – get over it), the duo form a formidable team—Spenser and Hawk before there was a Spenser and Hawk. Despite the groundbreaking done by the television series I Spy, having an Afro-American sidekick who worked as an equal partner was fairly progressive for the time period.

Hardman’s beat is Atlanta, a great city for kick ass action, which Dennis brings to harsh life using spare prose with a sprinkling of real nightclubs, restaurants, bars, hotels, and street corner descriptions throughout the series. Atlanta was the author’s adopted home, and his affection for the city is obvious.

The books hold up surprisingly well. Dennis’ tells a good, violent, series of tales making Hardman, Hump, and Atlanta well worth making the effort to track down. The publisher, Popular Library, did the whole series a disservice—destining it for obscurity—by packaging it as a low-rent Executioner rip-off. The covers, however, are have become retro collectibles.

Hardman is another series ripe for reprinting, but the rights have proved difficult and expensive to disentangle. As an alternative, you can still find some of the series entries for affordable prices through the usual sources, but trying to put together the whole series from scratch will be a challenge.

THE HARDMAN SERIES

Atlanta Deathwatch (1974)

The Charleston Knife’s Back In Town (1974)

The Golden Girl &Amp; All (1974)

Pimp For The Dead (1974)

Down Among The Jocks (1974)

Murder’s Not An Odd Job (1974)

Working For The Man (1974)

The Deadly Cotton Heart (1976)

The One-Dollar Rip-Off (1977)

Hump’s First Case (1977)

The Last Of The Armageddon Wars (1977)

The Buy Back Blues (1977)

FOR MORE ON HARDMAN CLICK HERE

Next week I’ll be featuring three more obscure hardboiled gems…

Paul Bishop is a former LAPD detective who writes such street-wise mysteries as the bestselling Lie Catchers.

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Historical Americans: Hero of the American Revolution http://venturegalleries.com/blog/historical-americans-hero-of-the-american-revolution/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/historical-americans-hero-of-the-american-revolution/#comments Tue, 28 Jun 2016 06:50:31 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=76986 I REMEMBER THE NAME Molly Pitcher  from grade-school history class. Curiosity overcame me and I decided to use the power of internet to learn the facts about this hero of the American Revolution. Mary Ludwig, who would go down in history as... Read more

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I REMEMBER THE NAME Molly Pitcher  from grade-school history class. Curiosity overcame me and I decided to use the power of internet to learn the facts about this hero of the American Revolution.

Mary Ludwig, who would go down in history as Molly Pitcher, was born circa October 13, 1754, near Trenton, New Jersey.At the age of thirteen, she married William John Hays on July 24, 1769. During the American Revolutionary War, Hays enlisted as a gunner in the Continental Army. Mary was with Hays when he fought in the Battle of Monmouth in Freehold, New Jersey, on June 28, 1778.

Gay Ingram

Gay Ingram

She earned her nickname Molly Pitcher because of the many trips she made to a nearby spring. She shared her pitchers of cold water with the soldiers and some were poured over their cannons to cool them down.

When Molly saw her husband collapse at his cannon, she dropped her water pitcher and took his place. She manned the weapon throughout the remainder of the battle until the Colonists achieved victory. Even when a cannon shot passed directly between her legs, doing no damage other than to tear away the lower part of her petticoat, she remained in place.

Molly remained with the Continental Army until the war ended. They moved back to Carlisle in April 1783 where she later worked as a domestic as well as a “charwoman” in the State House in Carlisle. She was honored by the Pennsylvania Legislature in 1822 for her wartime services, receiving an award of $40 and an annual commission of the same amount for the rest of her life.

Another “Molly Pitcher” was Margaret Corbin (b. 1751)  on November 16, 1776, Margaret  stood at a cannon beside her husband John and handled ammunition. When he was fatally wounded, she took his place at the cannon until she herself was  wounded.

Her arm was almost severed and her breast lacerated by grapeshot. Congress later authorized that Margaret receive, for life, one-half of the monthly pay allotted to soldiers and as a one-time allocation, a complete outfit of clothing. She lived until about 1800, but few remember her as a true hero of the American Revolution.

So there you have it…two for the price of one.

Gay Ingram writes historical fiction, and her latest novel is Not Bound by Blood.

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Tuesday Sampler: Spellbound in His Arms by Angel Sefer http://venturegalleries.com/blog/tuesday-sampler-spellbound-in-his-arms-by-angel-sefer/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/tuesday-sampler-spellbound-in-his-arms-by-angel-sefer/#comments Tue, 28 Jun 2016 06:40:48 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=76975 In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Venture Galleries is showcasing some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Tuesday’s Sampler features an excerpt from Spellbound in His Arms by Angel Sefer. It is a riveting tale... Read more

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In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Venture Galleries is showcasing some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Tuesday’s Sampler features an excerpt from Spellbound in His Arms by Angel Sefer. It is a riveting tale of deceit, murder, and love at first sight. Not your typical love story, Spellbound In His Arms is perfect for those who enjoy animal magnetism based romances.

As one reviewer said: The author deftly interweaves the plot as it twists and turns until the reader fears for the lives of heroes Jackie and Michael. It’s a fast paced, suspenseful read, with diabolical villains, an intrepid heroine and a super hot detective!

The Story

Reporter Jackie Alexander and Detective Michael Apostolou are forced to work together to investigate the mysterious deaths of the heirs to the incredible fortune of Greek tycoon Andreas Demiris.

But their suspicions and unanswered questions are devouring them, just like their rising passion for each other.

The Sampler

Angel Sefer

Angel Sefer

JACKIE STOPPED DEAD in her tracks. What was that? A light noise, coming from somewhere in the back of the mansion, turned her blood to ice. She immediately turned the flashlight off and stood still, holding her breath. Her mouth went dry. What if there was someone in the mansion? How would she explain who she was and what she was doing here in the middle of the night? Then again, would her explanations make any difference to whomever, or even worse whatever, was out there? The old mansion was pitch black, far away from any civilized soul, and the owner dead. Who could it be?

Jackie instinctively flattened herself against the wall, waiting, trying to track the source of the noise and peer through the darkness. Her heart pounded fast, so loud she could swear she could hear its echo in the room. The back of her neck prickled. Was it true? She silently cursed herself for laughing at Stephanos’ warnings. What if he was right? What if something supernatural was responsible for the mysterious deaths in the family of Greek tycoon Andreas Demiris?

Now, trapped here, feeling something lurking in the dark, she wished she’d thought better before flying six thousand miles away from home on this weird, creepy assignment. But she always jumped head first into every new challenge. She should have known her impulsiveness would get her into trouble one day.

Too scared to even breathe, she waited, motionless, for a couple of minutes that seemed like an eternity. The fact that she couldn’t see anything around her made matters even worse. The dim moonlight behind the threatening clouds didn’t penetrate the stained glass windows. The interior was as pitch black and eerie as the forest surrounding the old mansion. Jackie desperately tried to pick up the slightest noise. But, there was nothing—only dead silence.

She knew she was being foolish. There is nobody here, she reassured herself. Why should there be? The place was deserted and had been for months. All she needed to do was to find what she had come for and get out as soon as possible.

Blind in the complete darkness, she took a couple of steps to her right, keeping her hand against the wall. At the same time, her other hand clung tightly to the flashlight, ready to use it as a weapon. All her senses worked overtime to detect the slightest noise or movement whatsoever. Even though she sensed nothing, the warning bell going off inside her head was impossible to ignore.

Suddenly, Jackie stiffened. Something was moving closer to her…a lot closer. She froze in place and held her breath.

A strong hand grabbed her by the throat and shoved her violently against the wall. A sudden strong light shone on her face blinding her. She instinctively closed her eyes.

She struggled to breathe, but the grip tightened around her throat. Fear paralyzed her. On the cusp of fainting, she heard a deep, masculine voice, commanding in Greek, “Who are you?”

She gasped for air and flailed at her assailant with her flashlight. He blocked her move with impossible speed and effortlessly knocked the flashlight out of her hand. Jackie raised her arms and frantically tried to free her throat from the deadly grasp. It was no use. The hand seemed to be made of steel.

A second later, the question was repeated, more insistent this time. The grasp loosened just a little bit, allowing some air into her lungs and giving her a chance to answer.

“Please…” she managed to whisper.

She heard him taking a deep breath, but couldn’t see anything with his flashlight shining on her face.

“Who are you?” he asked, in English this time. His voice was deep, with a clear foreign accent.

Who is he and what is he doing here? Jackie wondered anxiously. What could she possibly say to him? She couldn’t tell him the truth. But, on the other hand, would he settle for anything less? Her mind worked double time as she sensed him shifting impatiently.

“You do speak English, don’t you?”

“Yes…” she whispered. “Please, I can’t breathe,” she continued, trying to buy some time. Actually, it was the truth. She could barely breathe with his strong hand wrapped tightly around her throat.

“Who are you?” he insisted, without relaxing his grasp any more.

“Jackie… Jackie Alexander,” she muttered.

“And what are you doing here, Jackie Alexander?” he demanded.

Now, that was the hard part. She had prepared a few things in her mind, just in case there were questions raised for her unexpected visit to the island. But she hadn’t anticipated finding anyone in this old mansion in the middle of the night.

“I’m a relative of the owners,” she said. This part wasn’t far from the truth.

The man hesitated for a moment.

“I’m a relative of Constantinos Demiris,” she repeated.

His hand released her throat, and she sucked in a ragged breath. He remained unbearably close, though, blocking every possible escape route.

She heard a distinctive click, and the bright light of a chandelier filled the room.

Jackie looked around her, disoriented, and finally, her eyes rested on him. He was tall, at least six inches taller than she, and at five feet eight inches, she was no shrimp. He had jet black hair and a well-built muscular body any athlete would envy. His face was very handsome, with a strong jaw and the bluest eyes she had ever seen. Those eyes now searched her face intensely. Jackie felt uneasy under his piercing gaze. It was as if he could see all the way to her soul.

For a moment, they stared into each other’s eyes, and Jackie felt her heart suspended in her chest…but not from fear this time. Even though he looked tough, she had to admit he was startlingly handsome and manly—a seductive stranger as Aphrodite, her romantic teenage cousin, would call him.

The thought of sweet, innocent Aphrodite jolted her back to reality. She had to find out who or what was causing the deaths of all the heirs. They had died one by one, all in accidents, starting two years ago with the oldest. Now, her dearest cousin back in Atlanta was next in line. Jackie was desperate to find out how and why. And coming to the Demiris mansion on the Greek island of Corfu was the right place to start her search.

“That still doesn’t explain what you’re doing out here in the middle of the night.” He watched her closely.

Jackie could tell that he was on guard, ready to prevent any attempt to escape. He was obviously stronger and faster but didn’t seem aggressive.

She began to relax. Now that the initial shock of her capture was behind her, she needed to regain control of the situation.

“And who exactly are you?” she demanded.

A smile appeared on the handsome stranger’s face, and he gave her an appreciative look. “You’re a tough cookie, aren’t you?” he said.

As his gaze caressed her skin, Jackie shifted uneasily. Her pulse accelerated. She could see the desire in those beautiful eyes, as blue as the waters of the Ionian Sea surrounding the island. Oh, God! How easily I could get lost in those eyes.

 

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The day I learned the facts of life. http://venturegalleries.com/blog/the-day-i-learned-the-facts-of-life/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/the-day-i-learned-the-facts-of-life/#comments Mon, 27 Jun 2016 07:40:12 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=76968 I WAS IN THE SIXTH GRADE when I learned the facts of life. It came about quite by accident. It shocked me. It stunned me. It left me confused and concerned. It was a hard lesson. And I never forgot it. Word came down from on... Read more

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bdb8ed01b96a384bdb7a859b82c7eca2_1456747298_cropped-1I WAS IN THE SIXTH GRADE when I learned the facts of life.

It came about quite by accident.

It shocked me.

It stunned me.

It left me confused and concerned.

It was a hard lesson.

And I never forgot it.

Word came down from on high and ricocheted down the hallways of New London School that, on Friday, we would be asked – maybe it was required – to participate in the Sadie Hawkins Day affair.

Maybe you’re too young.

Maybe you don’t care.

Maybe you don’t remember.

Maybe you never read the Li’l Abner comic strip in your local newspaper or pored through the pages of a genuine Li’l Abner comic book.

He was big, muscular, and handsome.

All the girls were beautiful with low-cut blouses, sexy curves and wore skirts far too short to be considered mini-skirts.

In fact, they came around long before mini-skirts were invented.

The hemlines were ragged as though ripped from the cloth.

It was the first time that most of us boys, at least those of use in the sixth grade, realized girls had legs above the knees.

In the comic strip, all the boys gathered out on an open field on Sadie Hawkins Day, and the good-looking ladies chased them through hills and meadows, down dirt roads and across empty fields, under fences and over creeks until they trapped themselves a beau.

Catch a boy, and he was your sweetheart.

He didn’t have a choicse.

It was a test of courage and speed and the decision to yield to temptation, and, in those days, temptation always won,

It still does.

The rules at New London School were quite simple.

The boys lined up on the goal line of the Wildcat football field.

The girls gathered back in the end zone.

A starter’s gun fired its blank shot.

The boys started running like the track stars they were.

The girls started running with fire and determination in their eyes.

Up and down the field they ran.

Catch a boy, and he shared the lunch you brought.

It wasn’t love, they said.

It wasn’t bad, or so they said.

My friends and I made a solemn vow to each other.

We would not be caught.

It was a matter of pride.

It was a matter of honor.

God had not yet invented a girl who could run fast enough to catch us.

I lined up in my blue jeans.

I was barefooted.

I could run faster barefooted.

I wasn’t tall, but I was skinny as a rail.

If I hadn’t had an Adam’s apple, I couldn’t have cast a decent shadow.

I rolled up my pants legs.

I dug my toes in the dirt.

There was nothing to slow me down.

The boys all took deep breaths.

The girls were giggling.

The gun fired, and we commenced to running.

I was nothing but a shadow the size of a matchstick.

I zigged.

I zagged.

I was a whirling dervish.

Here.

There.

And gone again.

I sprinted from one end of the football to the field to the other.

I could run all day.

And I felt like I ran all day.

No girl caught me.

No girl even got close.

And there on the fifty-yard line, reality hit me like a ballpeen hammer between the eyes.

There on the fifty-yard line, I learned the cold, sad, hard facts of life.

No girl caught me.

No girl got close.

No girl was even chasing me.

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It was time to take a chance on my book. http://venturegalleries.com/blog/it-was-time-to-take-a-chance-on-my-book/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/it-was-time-to-take-a-chance-on-my-book/#comments Mon, 27 Jun 2016 06:50:54 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=76963 HAVE YOU EVER HAD THE FEELING that something wonderful was about to happen, but you didn’t know what it was? Not long ago this happened to me. My intuition was screaming at me to take a chance…on me, to take a chance on my book. In a... Read more

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HAVE YOU EVER HAD THE FEELING that something wonderful was about to happen, but you didn’t know what it was? Not long ago this happened to me. My intuition was screaming at me to take a chance…on me, to take a chance on my book.

In a bold move, I bought back my rights to Wings of Mayhem without knowing what would happen or what road I’d take. I have to say Tirgearr Publishing was wonderful, too. Many publishers would jerk an author around if they approached them about reverting their rights.

But they didn’t. They supported my decision.

So here I was, my future in my hands and no idea what to do next. Then something amazing happened on Twitter. An editor from Harper Collins reached out to me. They invited me to submit, which was incredible. After I sent them the manuscript, I thought about my readers.

Sue Coletta

Sue Coletta

The Big 5 can take a year or more to bring a book to market. Did I really want to keep my readers hanging that long? No. You are the reason I write. I owe it to you to produce the best quality books I can and bring them to market in a reasonable amount of time. However, I’m not stupid, either. I explained my position to the editor. It’s now an open-invitation. Woohoo!!

Shortly after, two other houses extended an invitation to submit, as well. Publishing houses that don’t normally take un-agented submissions. I was blown away. Before I knew it I was sending in my manuscript.

I was taking a chance on my book, and it was all happening so fast, I could barely wrap my mind around it.  I signed a three-book deal with Crossroad Press for digital, print, and audio. Because I’d already gone through the editing and proof-reading phase with Tirgearr, and because I’d gone over it again when I got it back, they felt comfortable releasing the ebook right away while we wait for formatting of print.

I’m thrilled to announce Wings of Mayhem has formally hit the shelves. Yay!!! Because I had a previous release date with Tirgearr, we’re skipping the pre-release phase. The amazing cover art was designed by Elle Rossi from EJD Designs, who also created the cover for Marred.

I’ve been dying to introduce you to Shawnee Daniels. She’s so snarky and fun, I’ll probably write her stories for a very long time. So, I hope you like her as much as I do, because The Mayhem Series will last much longer than three books. For Marred fans, I’m in the process of writing book two. Not to worry, I’m not ditching Sage and the gang anytime soon, either.

More From Sue Coletta:

I write what I love to read, like most authors. As a reader, there’s nothing better than being on the edge of my seat…wondering, who committed the crime?…and trying to solve complex puzzles about grisly murders before the detective does.
As such, I imbued my stories with these elements. I spend countless hours of research before starting to write, which is one of my favorite parts of the process. Learning about forensics, investigations, what happens to the body after death, the mind of a killer–these things fascinate me. I have the best job in the world!
My focus, however, is always on you, the reader. My hope is that you’ll enjoy reading my stories as much as I enjoyed writing them. Because if it weren’t for you, dear reader, I wouldn’t get to live my dream.

 

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