Venture Galleries http://venturegalleries.com Connecting Readers, Writers, and Books Sat, 30 May 2015 10:17:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 What kind of story did God write? http://venturegalleries.com/blog/what-kind-of-story-did-god-write/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/what-kind-of-story-did-god-write/#comments Sat, 30 May 2015 07:40:17 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=64685 God the Father, painted by Ludovico Mazzolino in the 15th century. I'VE HEARD THE PREACHERS say, “God created heaven and earth.” I’ve read it in Genesis: “God created heaven and earth.” I don’t doubt it for a minute. But... Read more

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God the Father, painted by Ludovico Mazzolino in the 15th century.

God the Father, painted by Ludovico Mazzolino in the 15th century.

I’VE HEARD THE PREACHERS say, “God created heaven and earth.”

I’ve read it in Genesis: “God created heaven and earth.”

I don’t doubt it for a minute.

But here came the people He made.

They came on the run.

Some were in love.

Some were mad.

Some suffered.

Some got rich.

Some ended it all.

And earth went to hell in a hand basket.

The man is ruggedly handsome.

But he’s tired.

He’s homeless.

He’s on the prowl.

He takes what he can get, and he takes it often.

Easy come.

Easy go.

And it’s not always legal.

He’s not a bad man.

He’s a desperate man.

He carries a gun.

He leaves a man dead in the night

And he’s on the run.

Another town.

Another time.

She’s a beauty.

But she’s bored.

She’s married.

She feels ignored.

She’s longing for love.

And here comes the desperate man.

He’s a rogue.

He has the gun.

She falls into his arms.

Was it love?

Or lust?

Or did it matter?

They run away together.

A husband’s heart breaks.

He’ll forgive her, he says.

But please come home.

She won’t.

She’s wild.

She’s free.

She wakes up on morning.

And the rogue is gone.

He left with his gun.

He left with the money.

Sadly, she has no other choice.

She goes back home again.

The door is locked.

The locks have been changed.

She looks through the window and sees her best friend.

She’s in bed.

Her husband is smiling.

The wife wails.

She has been thrown away.

No.

She threw herself away.

She has just enough money for breakfast.

And a gun.

One shot.

One dies.

Which one?

It doesn’t matter either.

Genesis said it, and I believe it.

God created heaven.

He created earth.

But when He sat down to write, He didn’t write the story of mankind.

God wrote a soap opera.

Caleb Pirtle III is the author of Little Lies, a psychological thriller that might be classified as a soap opera, too.

Little Lies Final Cover LL Mar 13

 

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My Own Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The Authors Collection. http://venturegalleries.com/blog/my-own-texas-chainsaw-massacre-the-authors-collection/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/my-own-texas-chainsaw-massacre-the-authors-collection/#comments Sat, 30 May 2015 06:55:43 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=64674 Scene from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Jim Callan could have taught him a few things. I ADMIT IT. I was a city boy. Born and raised in Dallas, I thought I was moving to the country when I moved to a town of only 40,000. But over the... Read more

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Scene from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Jim Callan could have taught him a few things.

Scene from the original Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Jim Callan could have taught him a few things.

I ADMIT IT. I was a city boy.

Born and raised in Dallas, I thought I was moving to the country when I moved to a town of only 40,000. But over the years, I worked my way down to a town of 20,000, then one of 3,500 and eventually I didn’t live in a town at all, but out in the middle of a forest.

We had been in our new tree-surrounded home for only a few months. My wife and I worked in the small town twelve miles away. One evening, shortly after we got home, my wife declared that, as it was my birthday, we should go out for dinner. And we did, driving an hour to Tyler, having a leisurely dinner and returning home several hours later. But, midway down the long driveway to our house, we discovered a tree had fallen, completely blocking our path. It was too big for me to handle, but between the two of us, we managed to move it out of the way so we could drive in.

James R. Callan

James R. Callan

About five o’clock the next morning, my wife was in extreme pain. I rushed her to the hospital where they quickly determined she had a ruptured appendix. Thirty minutes later, she was in surgery.

Everything went well, and soon she was in recovery. Big sigh of relief.

Later that afternoon, they moved her to a private room and she slept. So I had time to think about the events. What if we hadn’t gone out to dinner? We would have been in for the night. Then, at five in the morning, when we were rushing to the hospital, there would have been a large tree blocking the driveway. I couldn’t move it. We couldn’t get around it. What would I have done?

I jumped up and raced to the hardware store. And there, on November 6, 1988 I bought my first chainsaw. And this city boy was not too embarrassed to ask the salesperson how to use it.

I stayed in the hospital with my wife until they released her to go home several days later. But once home, I went out into the woods, found a tree on the ground, and put the chainsaw – and my new-found knowledge – to the test.

If there was another emergency and a tree tried to block our exit, I was ready.

The years have passed and now we have at any given time five chainsaws. This (former) city boy can use the gas chainsaw, the electric chainsaw, and the chainsaw on a pole. And there are two other chainsaws – one for use by anybody I hire to help maintain the acreage.

And a spare. Just in case.

All it took was an appendectomy to move a city boy to a chainsaw toting country boy.

James R. Callan is the author of Over My Dead Body.

cover-OverMyDeadBody

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Top 8 Tools to Unleash Your Writing Creativity http://venturegalleries.com/blog/top-8-tools-to-unleash-your-writing-creativity/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/top-8-tools-to-unleash-your-writing-creativity/#comments Sat, 30 May 2015 06:50:29 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=64680 ARE YOU TRYING TO WRITE an amazing short story or an ambitious novel? Maybe you just want to start writing better blog posts that would attract more readers and comments? Whatever your goal is, you can always rely on technology that will unleash... Read more

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ARE YOU TRYING TO WRITE an amazing short story or an ambitious novel? Maybe you just want to start writing better blog posts that would attract more readers and comments? Whatever your goal is, you can always rely on technology that will unleash your creativity. Try the following eight tools to see which ones would fit into your routine:

PagePlus X8

Sometimes you need better page layout to get inspired to do your best work. That’s when you can use PagePlus X8 – a writing environment that’s much more attractive than your regular word processor. Although this desktop publishing tool doesn’t offer advanced features, it’s still great for writing brochures, magazines, booklets, newsletters, and other types of documents that need cool design.

NinjaEssayshttp://study.com/cimages/multimages/16/photo_typing.png

When you have to conduct a serious research on a topic you have no knowledge of, the entire writing process becomes more complicated. You can make your job much easier if you rely on the professional writers at this website. You can hire an expert with PhD degree in any area of study, so you will get reliable facts to support your discussion with. Essay writing service NinjaEssays also offers awesome editing, formatting and proofreading services.

RapidTyping

If you want to become a more productive writer, you have to practice fast typing. This is the perfect tool for that purpose. RapidTyping Tutor will instruct you how to use the keyboard more effectively through a series of lessons. With regular practice, you will easily boost your typing speed.

SimpleOCR

If you need to include content from other sources into your documents, you would waste a lot of time in retyping the passages by hand. SimpleOCR will save you a lot of time in such situations. You can use it to include lengthy passages from a book, or a printout of a file without an available electronic version. The paid version includes a handwriting conversion feature.

GranttProject

This management tool is especially effective when you are working on multiple projects simultaneously, since it will eliminate the confusion. You can also use GranttProject when you are collaborating with others. The tool enables you to break a lengthy writing process into smaller goals and achieve them progressively.

WriteMonkey

Are you one of those writers who sabotage themselves through procrastination? WriteMonkey seems like a simple tool, but it has a great potential to keep you focused on your work. Don’t be misguided by the scarce interface; this software is full of great features in the context menu.

LibreOffice                  

Are you bored by your plain MS word processor? That’s not the only office suite available. Try LibreOffice – a free, but powerful alternative that enables you to do your work quickly and easily. The suite gives you full control over the appearance of your documents. Among all useful features it includes, you will surely appreciate the table of contents creator and autocorrect function.

Scribus

If you are working on a project that requires more than filling pages with words, this is the tool for you. Scribus is a powerful, but open-source alternative to high-end layout applications. You’ll have to spend some time to explore the program in order to realize how it functions, but you’ll be able to create stunning layouts as soon as you get used to it.

A word processor is not the only tool you need as a writer. With so many options that can increase your productivity levels, it would be a shame not to unleash your entire potential. It is important to choose the right tool for the specific project you are working on. The eight suggestions above are a great starting point!

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Authors Showcase: All Things New by Felicia Mires http://venturegalleries.com/blog/authors-showcase-all-things-new-by-felicia-mires/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/authors-showcase-all-things-new-by-felicia-mires/#comments Sat, 30 May 2015 06:40:43 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=64664 The Book: All Things New The Author: Felicia Mires The Story: What happens when a Jew marries Hitler's niece? When his Jewish family flees from Germany, Jacob Cohen loses everything, his farm, his homeland, and his wife, Hitler's niece.... Read more

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The Book: All Things New

The Author: Felicia Mires

The Story: What happens when a Jew marries Hitler’s niece?

When his Jewish family flees from Germany, Jacob Cohen loses everything, his farm, his homeland, and his wife, Hitler’s niece. Now, he’s living for revenge. Somehow, he’ll make Hitler pay for Geli’s death. Jacob leaves his son with relatives in England and joins the Resistance in France. Along the way, he has an encounter with God that changes his perspective. He still wants to stop the Nazis, but he’s learned that love brings more redemption than revenge.

Chloe Fabius and her family do nothing to attract the wrath of advancing Nazis through their small French town, but that doesn’t matter. Chloe’s brother is killed as an example for the town, and Chloe is made the Nazi commandant’s mistress, a hostage to keep the townspeople subservient. If Chloe can find a way to kill every last German, she will.

When Jacob arrives in her town to carry out a mission for the Resistance, Chloe has no idea that this German spy holds the means of her salvation. Can she forgive the fact that he’s a man and German as well? Can love truly make All Things New?

All Things New is a Christian romantic suspense novel set in the WWII era.

About Felicia Mires:

Felicia Mires

Felicia Mires

Felicia Mires began her writing career years ago when she became bored with what she found available in the Christian Fiction market. Hoping to entertain herself and provide inspiration to other Christians, she wrote her first novel, Diamonds are for Eden.

Since that time, she has written more than twenty Christian novels (all with a bit of romance), even becoming a finalist in the ACFW competition. Along the way, she has judged multiple writing contests, edited scores of books for other writers, and discovered a wealth of fascinating Christian fiction.

But, God did not create man, or woman, for books alone. Thankfully, there is relationship. Felicia has been married for over twenty-five years to Gene Mires, from whom she gains a plethora of hilarious and creative ideas. Felicia and Gene have three incredible children and three dogs who think they’re children. Ahh, the drama…and unending plot ideas.

Review by Aamos:

What a beautiful story.

WWII is not a genre I like to read, but because of the author and knowing how much I enjoy her books, I gave this one a chance. It took me about two chapters to be engrossed with this story. I loved this tale of redemption and grace. Many people feel that because of what they have done in their past makes them unloveable and unwanted. God has shown over and over He wants us and Mrs. Mires put that message in the story of Jacob and Chloe.

I believe this story shows the true nature of some of the things that occurred during this time of war, due to that I would recommend this book to mature readers, even though it is a clean Christian read.

Review by Julie Wakolbinger:

This was a beautiful story about how good prevails over evil every time. A great love story that is centered around their love for each other but most of all their unconditional love for God.

It is a very quick read, that you can NOT put down!!!! I highly recommend this book if you are looking for good love story and along with some suspense.

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Saturday Sampler: Kill Me Again by Paul Bishop http://venturegalleries.com/blog/saturday-sampler-kill-me-again-by-paul-bishop/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/saturday-sampler-kill-me-again-by-paul-bishop/#comments Sat, 30 May 2015 06:30:39 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=64669 In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Venture Galleries has launched a new series featuring writing samples from some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Saturday's sampler is an excerpt from Croaker: Kill Me Again by... Read more

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In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Venture Galleries has launched a new series featuring writing samples from some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Saturday’s sampler is an excerpt from Croaker: Kill Me Again by Paul Bishop. If you’re looking for a great crime story and riveting mystery, this is the novel you don’t want to miss.

***

FEY CROAKER LOOKED UP from the arrest report that had been occupying her attention and saw Lieutenant Michael Cahill crossing the squad room toward her. As she watched his approach, she felt a familiar chill of anticipation wash over her. Goose bumps thrilled up her neck. Her Irish mother always told her the feeling came from someone walking over your grave. If that was true, Fey hoped they were walking softly.

“The first stiff of the new year?” she asked when Cahill was close enough.

The detective lieutenant shook his head in genuine amazement. “Damn it, Fey. How do you do that? How do you always know when I’m coming to tell you we’ve got a cold one? It’s spooky.”

“It’s instinct.”

“I don’t care if it’s ESP. It’s still spooky.”

Paul Bishop

Paul Bishop

Fey took off her reading glasses and let them drop by their cord onto her chest. “Where’s the body?”

“2008 Mirrorwood.” Cahill held out the pink phone memo with the scribbled information.

Fey took the note and glanced at it quickly. Without her glasses on, she had to hold it at arm’s length. “Isn’t that the new town home complex? What’s it called? Oak Vista Estates? The one only dope dealers and Ferrari salesmen can afford. Up off of San Vincente and Barrington.”

“Yeah. And it’s a sure bet the homeowners’ association isn’t going to be real pleased about the situation. The people who live in the complex are paying through the nose for private security and all the other amenities.”

Fey looked at Cahill. “Come off it, Mike. Those people put more money up their nose in a day than they pay in homeowners’ fees. That kind of stuff is just pin money to them.”

“Anyone ever tell you you’re a cynic?”

“Yeah. It’s why I’m good at my job.” Fey stood up from behind her desk. She checked her watch. Eight-thirty a.m. A hell of a way to start a day. “Who found the body?” she asked.

“The maid. She thinks it’s the owner …” Cahill grappled with his memory and then pointed to the memo he’d given Fey. “I wrote the name down.”

Fey gave the pink slip of paper another long-distance glance. “Miranda Goodwinter?” she read with a question in her voice.

“Sounds right,” Cahill said. “Anyway, the body is female, white, forty something. Naked. The maid didn’t take too close a look. Too much blood.”

“So no positive ID?”

“Nothing beyond the maid’s guess, which is probably going to turn out to be good.”

“I don’t recognize the name. Any political or big-time money overtones yet?”

Cahill snorted. “Hey, you know how it works. This is West L.A. Unless the stiff is a homeless, there’s always political or big-time money overtones. Do you think the Oak Vista Estates homeowners’ board are going to stand by quietly while we go about our business? Hell, no. They’re going to be screaming bloody murder to both the chief’s and the mayor’s office. If we don’t solve this one in a hurry, our butts are going to be in the middle of the skillet.”

The West Los Angeles Division was the jewel in the crown of the Los Angeles Police Department—the gem of all twenty-one geographic divisions. Many of L.A.’s richest areas, including Brentwood, Bel-Air, Cheviot Hills, and Pacific Palisades, fell within its jurisdiction.

Beverly Hills had their own Japanese-technology-worshiping police department bordering the West L.A. Division to the east. The city of Santa Monica had a similar setup on the division’s west wide, although they favored a more liberal mode. And the northern border along Mulholland Drive possessed some of the most expensive and isolated estates in the city, if not the world.

West L.A. was the rich filling in a money sandwich.

When Fey had first promoted in to West L.A. as a Detective II with sixteen years on the job,  Mike Cahill had taken her aside to explain the divisional facts of life. Things were handled differently in West L.A., Cahill told her, because the rich never went up the chain of command. Instead, they started at the top and let the crap roll downhill. The rich were different and expected to be treated differently.

This different treatment didn’t mean the rich never went to jail. But it did mean officers better be damn sure of what they had before slapping the cuffs on some movie star’s brat. It also made things very tough for an officer who stopped someone for drunk driving only to find out the lawbreaker was on his way home from a thousand-dollar-a-plate fund-raiser for the mayor.

Neither did the difference mean the rich automatically had all their crimes solved and recovered all their property. But it did mean a detective better be prepared to jump a little higher when a councilman’s wife said there was a trespasser on her grounds while her husband was out of town on a junket. This was true even if there was no trespasser, and the only reason the wife had called was because she was lonely and horny and wanted some attention from the stud of a uniformed officer who she knew would respond to her 911 call.

Fey played the game with the rich very well. She was known for her bedside manner and for her ability to soothe even the most ruffled of feathers. She was also known to solve a lot of crimes and put a lot of suspects behind bars. In an enclosed world where reputation counts for almost everything, Fey was a rising star. The respect, however, was still grudging because she was still undeniably a woman in a man’s world. A bitch in the locker room. A nigger in the woodpile. Different generation, but the same prejudice.

After four years in West L.A., her abilities led to her promotion to Detective III. Two years later, she was given the homicide unit to supervise. It was the top detective spot in the division, and Fey was the first woman to ever head the unit. She was very pleased at first to have overcome that barrier. Then she found out orders had come down from on high to put a woman in the spot—not because a woman, or specifically Fey, deserved the spot, but because a token had to be presented for public relations purposes.

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Do you know where your story will take you? http://venturegalleries.com/blog/do-you-know-where-your-story-will-take-you/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/do-you-know-where-your-story-will-take-you/#comments Fri, 29 May 2015 07:40:41 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=64634 IT WAS that time again. One novel is finished and in the editing stage. It’s gone. It’s mostly forgotten. This morning, I would start anew. I never have any idea what the story is about, but I figure the opening will solve... Read more

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sunset_road

IT WAS that time again.

One novel is finished and in the editing stage.

It’s gone.

It’s mostly forgotten.

This morning, I would start anew.

I never have any idea what the story is about, but I figure the opening will solve that problem for me. Wherever the opening takes me was where I will go. I’m simple that way.

So how should I open the story?

I looked out the window.

Storms had hammered their way through East Texas.

Nothing but rain.

And lightning.

And with the lightning came thunder.

So I wrote:

He walked a lonely road in the early night, and the storm clouds above him had turned the earth around him even darker than it had been. Through the pounding rain, he saw her standing beside her aging Chevrolet, looking frantically down the empty highway, pulling her yellow raincoat tighter around her shoulders. Her hands abruptly spread apart at her throat, and she crumbled to her knees, clawing at a ragged hole that had suddenly appeared just beneath the top button of her coat. He had heard the sound. He thought it was thunder. The rain fell around her and washed the blood away.

Well, I had a beginning.

It had my three basic ingredients.

A man.

A woman.

And a gun.

But the love interest was dead.

The love interest had died far too quickly.

He didn’t even know her name.

I had no idea why she had died.

I didn’t even know who killed her.

Hell, I didn’t even know who he was.

I was just a stranger in a story.

The empty road was headed somewhere.

I no longer cared where it went.

I took a deep breath.

I hit the delete button.

I began again.

He would not be on the empty road to Gum Creek at all if the heavy rains had not breached the dam, flooding the farmlands and releasing the old ghost town from its grave beneath the waters of Lake Cisco. The town had been abandoned thirty-seven years ago when the dam was built on New Caney Creek, families packed up and left, and the Corps of Engineers buried the aging downtown beneath forty-eight feet of water. No one ever expected to see Gum Creek again. But now the town had risen from its grave and its streets were dry again. Only one resident remained. He had not driven away with the rest. He may have tried. He didn’t get far. He stayed in his office at the First State Bank. But then, it was hard for a man to leave when he was chained to an empty vault with a bullet lodged in his skull.

I still don’t know who he is.

But I know where he’s going.

And I know why.

I’m even curious to to find out what he finds out.

Of course, there’s still not a love interest.

But she will come along.

She has to.

She’s more curious than I am.

The dead man in the bank?

He was her father.

But who killed him?

I have three hundred pages to find out.

It might be a pretty good ride.

Caleb Pirtle III is author of Golgotha Connection.

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Why do we waste such a luxury as water? The Authors Collection. http://venturegalleries.com/blog/why-do-we-waste-such-a-luxury-as-water-the-authors-collection/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/why-do-we-waste-such-a-luxury-as-water-the-authors-collection/#comments Fri, 29 May 2015 06:55:12 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=64646 The rushing waters of Niagara Falls separating New York from Ontario. Photograph: J Gerald Crawford I STOOD UNDER THE SHOWER for much longer than I needed to this morning. I should know better. I’ve lived in Mali where we dared not... Read more

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The rushing waters of Niagara Falls separating New York from Ontario. Photograph: J Gerald Crawford

The rushing waters of Niagara Falls separating New York from Ontario. Photograph: J Gerald Crawford

I STOOD UNDER THE SHOWER for much longer than I needed to this morning.

I should know better.

I’ve lived in Mali where we dared not touch the water from the river for fear of disease, where children sold this same water tied in little scraps of plastic to bus passengers, where plants and people withered and died during the dry season.

Darlene Jones

Darlene Jones

I’ve traveled from Edmonton to Tombouctou via Toronto, New York, Casablanca and Bamako. The most expensive stop? Tombouctou—and that was for the bottled water which cost more than the night’s stay in the hotel in New York.

On safari in Kenya we stayed in a tent camp. Water for the shower was heated in bags and hung outside the tents. My roommate and I showered M*A*S*H fashion. Turn the water on. Get wet. Turn the water off. Soap and shampoo. Turn the water on. Rinse. Turn the water off.

I’ve seen the scant water holes in the Serengeti. I’ve seen the murky water coming out of the taps in Mexico – the water that leaves your skin feeling dirtier after your shower than before you got in. I’ve seen the sharp demarcation between lush green and arid desert in the Nile valley.

Here in North America, we take water for granted, waste water shamefully. Not just any water, but clean water, drinkable from the tap water.

How lucky we are to have such luxury.

Darlene Jones is author of Embattled.Embattled jpg for Kindle

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I don’t believe everything I think. http://venturegalleries.com/blog/i-dont-believe-everything-i-think/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/i-dont-believe-everything-i-think/#comments Fri, 29 May 2015 06:45:43 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=64640 This may not be exactly what Uncle Mort had in mind. ON A NIGHT WHEN SLEEP WAS FITFUL, I caught the tail-end of a TV talk show. A guy quoted my Uncle Mort, who believes drinking buttermilk daily is the secret of his longevity. Of all the... Read more

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This may not be exactly what Uncle Mort had in mind.

This may not be exactly what Uncle Mort had in mind.

ON A NIGHT WHEN SLEEP WAS FITFUL, I caught the tail-end of a TV talk show. A guy quoted my Uncle Mort, who believes drinking buttermilk daily is the secret of his longevity.

Of all the claims I’ve heard Mort make—and there are many—none I recalled involved buttermilk.

First thing the next morning, I called my 102-year-old kin to share what I’d heard on TV.

*****

   “The guy quoted me correctly, nephew,” he answered. “Actually, I’ve drunk a pint of buttermilk daily for more than forty years.” Scrambling, I told him I’d never heard of his drinking buttermilk, daily or otherwise. “Maybe you should have asked,” he said sharply.

“I did hear once of a guy who believed drinking buttermilk daily assured living until age one hundred,” I said. “But he died at eighty-five.”

“See what I mean?” Mort countered, “He didn’t drink it long enough.”

*****

 

Uncle Mort

Uncle Mort

He reminded me of his upcoming birthday on July 4, and was emphatic–for the first time ever–he wanted no one to bring gifts. “I won’t need ‘em, ‘cause I should be rolling in enough dough in another month to buy whatever I want.”

Oh, my. I’d heard this a few hundred times before, and to date, none of his “get rich quick” schemes has worked out.

He’s long been convinced that he’ll get a surprise inheritance, find stacks of gold right over the next hill, or benefit from oil discovered smack dab in the middle of his spread down in the thicket. Knowing I’d best drag up a chair and get comfortable for a “lengthy listen,” I asked him what he’s up to this time.

*****

   “We live in a world abuzz with social media–with guns blazing–and we’re plunging headlong into entanglements that are inevitable when too many people believe in the laws of the land as long as they’re applied only to others,” Mort began.

It was hard to argue with his premise.

“Way too many shots are being fired today,” he moaned. “When I was a kid, we were much into western movies, plunking down our dimes at the picture show every Saturday. We called the movies ‘shoot-‘em-ups.’ Nowadays, shots are fired up, down, angled and sideways, with social media at the ready with pictures and sound.

“Now stay with me, nephew,” Mort said. “You’ll quickly see why my invention is going to popularize three-wheeled motorcycles.”

Though his invention has nothing to do with the basic operation of motorcycles, he thinks the ones with side cars soon will outstrip others in sales.

“Cyclists are bound to opt for three-wheelers when they learn about my invention,” he bragged.

*****

   With a second wind, he rattled off what he says will make the new side car immediately practical.

He said that with the press of a button, direction of the sidecar can be reversed. Immediately, passengers see where they’ve been rather than where they’re going.

“At the center of a pop-up shield is a mount for whatever may be the weapon of choice for tail-gunners,” Mort claimed.

*****

   He said a sign holder is attached to the side of the car. “That way, others won’t have to guess about the guy or gal’s gang affiliation.” (He claims this will be particularly helpful on hot days when leather jackets aren’t worn.)

As an aside, he said he’s planning to attach a sidecar to his golf cart, hoping this will entice Aunt Maude to ride along more often.

“She’s adamant about firearms, though,” Mort said. “Maude says she’s not about to fire anything with more pop to it than a single shot .22.”

*****

   Eager to change the subject, I asked him if he thinks there should be governors on motorcycles.

“I’ve felt for a long time this would be a smart thing to do,” he stated. He added it would be a good idea to strap quite a few other elected officials on cycles, too.

Since it’s just a few days until Mort’s birthday, I seriously doubt all of his projected riches will come to pass, so we’ll take along a gift, just in case. I’m planning to give him a t-shirt reading, “I Don’t Believe Everything I Think.”

*****

   Dr. Newbury is a speaker in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. Inquiries/comments to:

newbury@speakerdoc.com. Phone: 817-447-3872. Web site: www.speakerdoc.com. Archived at venturegalleries.com, newbury blog.

Don Newbury is author of When The Porch Light’s On.

WhenThePorchLightsOn-3dLeft

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Crystal Deception by Doug J. Cooper http://venturegalleries.com/blog/crystal-deception-by-douglas-j-cooper/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/crystal-deception-by-douglas-j-cooper/#comments Fri, 29 May 2015 06:40:18 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=64628 The Book: Crystal Deception The Author: Doug J. Cooper The Story: Criss lives in a special kind of prison. He can see and hear everything around the world. Yet a mesh restrains his reach and keeps him cooperative. His creator, Dr. Jessica... Read more

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The Book: Crystal Deception

The Author: Doug J. Cooper

The Story: Criss lives in a special kind of prison. He can see and hear everything around the world. Yet a mesh restrains his reach and keeps him cooperative. His creator, Dr. Jessica Tallette, believes his special abilities offer great promise for humanity. But she fears the consequences of freeing him, because Criss, a sentient artificial intelligence with the intellect of a thousand humans, is too powerful to control.

Guided by her scientific training, Tallette works cautiously with Criss. That is, until the Kardish, an otherwise peaceful race of alien traders, announce they want him. With technologies superior to Earth’s, the Kardish express their desires with ominous undertones.

The Union of Nations is funding Tallete’s artificial intelligence research, and she turns to them for help. Sid, a special agent charged with leading the response, decides Earth’s greatest weapon is the very AI the aliens intend to possess. But what happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? And what is humanity’s role if an interstellar battle among titans starts to rage?

About Doug J. Cooper:

Douglas J. Cooper

Doug J. Cooper

As a young child, Doug stood on a Florida beach and watched an Apollo spacecraft climb the sky on its mission to the moon. He thrilled at the sight of the pillar of flames pushing the rocket upward. And then the thunderous roar washed over him, and shook his body and soul.

Since then, he has explored life as an educator and entrepreneur. He enjoys telling inventive tales, mentoring driven individuals, and everything sci-tech. In his new novel, Crystal Deception, Doug swirls his creative imagination with his life experiences to craft a science fiction action-adventure story with engaging characters and a plot line with surprises.

He lives in Connecticut with his wonderful wife and with pictures of his son, who is off somewhere in the world creating adventures of his own.

Review by Frankie Blooding:

I actually started reading Crystal Deception yesterday while my work computer was being swapped out. Lucky for me, the computer is wicked fast, but can’t run anything, so I had some time to read. *Don’t let the bosses read this. What? No! Guys! Hit the backspace button!* Once I started reading this, I did NOT want to put it down!

I can’t remember the last time I enjoyed a book this much. No. Wait. I do. It was over a year ago. I’ve read good books between now and then. I have, but this one GRABBED me! I needed to escape my life. I needed to get out and experience something…else. Mr. Cooper took me, scrubbed all my worries, put them aside and shoved me head-first into a brand new world!

The writing is incredible! Best ever? Meh! That’s a matter of opinion. Yes. I know a few scholars that would disagree, but they can’t even agree with themselves. I thought the word-smithing was amazing! I found myself standing in line at the mechanic’s last night, waiting to pay for the diagnostics on my dead car that’s going to be towed to the junk yard, and I had to open the book back up and continue reading. I was in the middle of rush hour traffic and was so tempted to open the book up and read right there. Mr. Cooper’s voice is so active and so captivating!

The characters were good! Looking back, I can’t say they were all fully three-dimensional, but I also don’t remember complaining as I was reading. I cared about what was happening in the story, but I think it had less to do with the characters themselves, and more to do with the plot and the world!

The science! OMW! Guys! The sciency-geeky parts of me were in heaven in the book! My brain was exploding all over the place with the ideas and concepts thrown out there with such brilliant EASE! They weren’t all original. Let’s not get too crazy here, but they were delivered in a way that made the entire book feel fresh!

Review by Larry B. Gray:

I love a good science fiction / space opera book that can absorb me into the storyline. Crystal Deception by Doug J. Cooper is not a good book but an EXCELLENT book full of fast paced action, adventure and intrigue.

I really like the way the author developed his story. He provides the necessary background info to make the story come alive and be believable. This is the kind of story that was easy for me to get into and become an invisible tag along. When I can become so involved in a story that I feel I am there then this is a great book.

The action was nonstop and the story was full of plot twist. Even with this, Doug J. Cooper’s writing style made the story easy to follow and read. This is the style of book I hate see end and now I can’t wait to read the next installment.

I found it very easy to identify with Doug J. Cooper’s cast of characters in this story. They were very real and believable. The background info he used to develop them made them come alive.

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Friday Sampler: The Presidents Club by FCEtier http://venturegalleries.com/blog/friday-sampler-the-presidents-club-by-fcetier/ http://venturegalleries.com/blog/friday-sampler-the-presidents-club-by-fcetier/#comments Fri, 29 May 2015 06:35:11 +0000 http://venturegalleries.com/?p=64637 A new series on Venture Galleries will feature sample writing from novels produced by some of the best writers we know. It underscores our mission of connecting readers, writers, and books. Friday's sampler is from The Presidents Club by... Read more

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A new series on Venture Galleries will feature sample writing from novels produced by some of the best writers we know. It underscores our mission of connecting readers, writers, and books. Friday’s sampler is from The Presidents Club by FCEtier. Want a great political thriller with characters you won’t soon forget?  You’ll be glad you read this one.

***

The 6’5” frame of John Hixon filled the doorway of Mr. Jimmy’s General Store. The mid-morning sunlight silhouetted him. John navigated the open area passing the chairs, stools, and benches that surrounded the hot pot-bellied stove in just a few long strides. So far, the winter of 2012 had been mild by Smoky Mountain standards and even more so in Tuckaseegee, North Carolina.

“Hey! Come on in heah! Let me shake your hand.” Mr. Jimmy was happy to see Hixon.

“I just got in. On my way up to the cabin and wanted to stop by.”

“You been gone a while. I’s surprised at how long.” Mr. Jimmy had a lisp that added a pleasing charm to his persona although at some times, it could interfere with clear communications.

“You get my letter?”

FCEtier

FCEtier

“Yep. I took care them dogs for you.”

“Thanks. I bet they were glad to see you.”

“First time I went up there, thought they’d be pretty hungry. They good huntin’, huh?”

“Yes, sir. They could survive in the wild just fine, but they like their Purina, too,” Hixon laughed.

It wasn’t often that he left the area for more than a few days, and this most recent excursion had ended with him in a small but well equipped clinic near Knoxville.

“Did I get any mail?” he asked of his host.

“Junk. ‘cept for this.”

Hixon reached out and accepted a shipping box with a big smile on the outside and a single letter.

“Looks like my books came in and there’s a letter from an old friend. I’ll read it later.  I need a few supplies and then I want to get back to the cabin.”

“Dogs’ll be happy! Oh,wait. There’s a couple boxes from yo’ friend.”

Hixon took a quick look at two boxes addressed to “Claudia” in care of John Hixon.

“Can you keep them here till I make another trip into town? I don’t want to fool with them now.”

Mr. Jimmy nodded his approval, then asked, “You goin’ back to Georgia soon?”

“Why?”

“Retired big shot with the State Department got murdered down in Marietta. Right after he walked outta yo frien’s bar.”

“I don’t know anybody like that,” Hixon shrugged and walked out to his truck. He gave the Marietta incident no further thought.

Mr. Jimmy stashed Claudia’s packages in a hidden closet in the back of his store.

After his stay in Knoxville, Hixon had been flown to Atlanta by the firm that had contracted his services. He wasn’t accustomed to getting shot, but he was healing up well. In Atlanta, he visited his safe deposit box and then took a taxi to see an old friend.  Robert Dillon had been keeping Hixon’s truck for him but had no idea how long the storage might last.

Hixon got out of the taxi, paid and tipped the driver and looked around the place. There was his truck in the driveway, just as planned. He remembered thinking to himself, “Thank God he’s not at home. I don’t think I could take much of his conversation.”

Robert Dillon was one of Hixon’s more eccentric friends. Dillon was an old hippie whose brain had been fried on LSD and peyote. He had been normal by most standards, until he spent a few months in the desert with Carlos Castaneda. Afterward, Dillon’s entire vocabulary consisted only of words written as lyrics by Bob Dylan.

He was a fantastic tailor.

Hixon had left Dillon a note on the door and drove back to North Carolina. He couldn’t resist leaving his friend a note that would sound familiar. On the small scrap of paper, stuck in the screen door, Hixon had written, “Where I’m bound, I can’t tell. Goodbye is too good a word, babe. So I’ll just say fare-thee-well.”

John Hixon walked back towards his truck to begin the journey home. He looked to make sure the note was secure then turned to unlock the truck door.

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