Posted: 13 Jun 2016 01:00 AM PDT
GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY
Mrs. Odboddy, Hometown Patriot
(Odboddy Mysteries Book 1)
by Elaine Faber
Mrs. Odboddy, Hometown Patriot by Elaine Faber is currently on tour with Great Escapes Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.
Since the onset of WWII, Agnes Agatha Odboddy, hometown patriot and self-appointed scourge of the underworld, suspects conspiracies around every corner … stolen ration books, German spies running amuck, and a possible Japanese invasion off the California coast. This seventy-year-old, model citizen would set the world aright if she could get Chief Waddlemucker to pay attention to the town's nefarious deeds on any given Meatless Monday.
Mrs. Odboddy vows to bring the villains, both foreign and domestic, to justice, all while keeping chickens in her bathroom, working at the Ration Stamp Office, and knitting argyles for the boys on the front lines.
Imagine the chaos when Agnes's long-lost WWI lover returns, hoping to find a million dollars in missing Hawaiian money and rekindle their ancient romance. In the thrilling conclusion, Agnes's predictions become all too real when Mrs. Roosevelt unexpectedly comes to town to attend a funeral and Agnes must prove that she is, indeed, a warrior on the home front.
Wearing comfortable walking shoes, a chic white blouse and a blue serge calf-length skirt, Agnes carried a tray of oatmeal cookies for the boys at the USO in Boyles Springs. She opened the door of her 1930 Model A Coupe and laid the covered tray on the cushions. She slid into the driver's seat. Old Nelly is getting on in years, but weren't we all? Aging had nothing to do with spunk and ability. She and Nelly had plenty of both.
She turned the key, tapped the dashboard dials to check the fluids, pulled the timing lever down, pushed the starter button on the floor, and gave it a little gas. The engine rattled to life. She smiled. That was easy!
Driving Old Nelly always took her back to her adventures during WWI when she had to hand crank the engine, then jump into the driver's seat before the engine died. With the ruts in the road, most assignments included at least one blown tire. Jacking up the car and changing a tire while wearing an ankle length skirt and a corset took perseverance. Everything was harder for a woman back then, thanks to costume issues.
Old Nelly was at the edge of town when the first drops of rain splatted across the windshield. The single wiper swished across the glass. Whish-Yoo! Whish-Yoo! A drizzle of rain seeped through the door window and dribbled down inside the glass. Agnes peered into the gloom. Rain sloshed against the windshield, blurring the images. The road narrowed as it climbed the cliffs beside the ocean.
Agnes flipped on her headlights, slowing the car to the 35-mph speed limit set by the government to save fuel and tires. She smiled. Just a law-abiding citizen, adhering to the speed limit.
The sky darkened and the rain sluiced down. A touch of panic crept across her chest. She swallowed a lump in her throat. I should have canceled tonight. What was I thinking? She pulled the car to the side of the road. Should I go home? She hated to disappoint the boys at the USO, but other volunteers would be there; volunteers who didn't have to risk their life in the pouring rain on a crooked road along the ocean.
A large black Packard roared up behind her, lighting up Nelly's interior.
"Fool! At that rate, he'll end up in the ocean. Well, Nelly old girl. Should we go on to the USO, or turn around and go home?" She squinted at the Packard's tail lights. They blinked on and off as it dipped down and back up where the road rose. And then the tail lights stopped.
What am I doing, sitting here in the rain? Turn around and go home before you run off the cliff road and kill yourself. Her gaze moved across the black sea. There, far off the coast, a light flashed, barely visible through the mist and rain. Up ahead, the Packard still sat on the beach; its headlights blinked. Once. Twice. Three times.
Agnes gasped. "Call me a suspicious old woman if you want, but that's a Japanese submarine out there signaling. And, sure as God made little green apples, there's a spy in the Packard, waiting to pass off secret information."
She wasn't exactly able to take on a spy ring alone, but she wasn't about to let the spy get away with his nefarious doings. She would record the license number and alert the authorities.
Agnes jammed the Ford into gear and inched her way through the darkness. Anxiety sharpened her senses. Her pulse quickened at the thought of the risk.
From the light of the quarter moon, she could just see a dark shape on the beach. The Packard! Likely the spy had left his car and was already rowing out in a small boat to deliver his stolen documents to the submarine.
Agnes drew off her shoes and crept toward the Packard, running in short spurts between clumps of ocean grass and driftwood logs. A run in her stocking zipped up her leg. The moon slid behind a cloud, preventing a good view of the Packard. She crept closer. Each breath burned in her throat.
Her chest rattled with short, raspy breaths. She paused. It wouldn't do to rush headlong into the fray and get caught. One thousand one, one thousand two… Her breathing eased. She crept closer. The moon slid out from behind a cloud revealing the numbers on the license plate. 6X2358
Agnes threw herself face down into the sand. Another signal to the submarine? Or had they seen her?
Tiny shells bit her cheek. She spit sand and wiped her hand across her mouth. The door on the Packard creaked. If they catch me, I'm dead!
Agnes closed her eyes. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death…Psalms. Good to remember, but doubtful the Archangel Michael would be hovering on the beach tonight after she put herself under the shadow of death on purpose.
Thoughts of home almost made her weep. What was an old woman doing, sneaking up on murderous spies when she could be in her own bed with her cat? Was there still time to back away and leave?
She lifted her head and peered at the vehicle. There sat the Packard, quaking and creaking under the light of the full moon, the squeak of the springs loud in the stillness. Steam clouded the car windows. Soft moans came from inside the car.
Was that…? It was.
Even reaching back into her distant memories, creaking springs and fogged up windows could only mean… "Oh!"
Agnes scooted backwards through the sand. Her stockings sagged and her shoes were full of sand. She crept away, unnoticed.
A fishing boat with poles and buckets hanging off the back drifted off shore. Its running lights blinked as it disappeared into another fogbank.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]
Praise for the Book
"This book has everything a cozy should have- danger, odd characters, unusual circumstances, wacky names. With a name like Odboddy you expect it to be silly. The book delivers with a punch and so much more!" ~ DogsMom
"It's a very different take than I'm used to in my mysteries. This book is everything I hoped for – mystery, romance, humor, and a setting that I find fascinating. The author does a nice job of mixing it all together in one epic story. Plus, the book brought a smile to my face. What more can you ask for? I can't say enough good things about this unique book. I'm looking forward to the next one in this series." ~ Yvonne Reviews
"I really enjoyed this book. It's another delightful adventure from author Elaine Faber." ~ Kathleen112
"Elaine keeps your attention from the get go and the book was almost impossible to put down. There were a couple of twists that had me going wha-a-a-a-a-t? I cannot wait for the next book." ~ Ruth Powers
"There are a few intense moments, as well as several hilarious moments, but overall, this is a cozy mystery that leaves a reader with the warm fuzzies." ~ lilacqueen75
Guest Post by the Author
The Secret to Writing a Successful Series
Mrs. Odboddy, Hometown Patriot is the first of a series of three humorous WWII mystery/adventures. Book two is already written and book three is now my work in progress.
When writing a series, the author must be aware of different ways to present the books.
The first novel:
The first in a series introduces the characters and plotline and makes the reader want to go on this journey with the main character. Mrs. Odboddy is patriotic. As a retired WWI secret agent, she wants to do all she can to fight (and win) WWII from the home front. Thus, she is determined to bring spies to justice and expose what she believes to be a black market ration book scheme in small town Newbury. What could possible go wrong?
Every novel must have an exciting beginning, a middle that keeps on presenting problems and a satisfying, compelling conclusion that ties up the strings, answers the questions, brings the villain to justice (or not) and begs for another adventure because the reader had come to love the protagonist.
The author must write a sequel as compelling as the first book, creating an adventure of what happens next or at least an equally exciting adventure. In the second Mrs. Odboddy book, Agnes plans to travel with Mrs. Roosevelt on her WWII Pacific Island Tour. Of course, trouble arises on the train across country when she believes a Nazi spy is trying to steal the package she is carrying to President Roosevelt. (Mrs. Odboddy, Cross Country Courier TBP late 2016)
In the sequel, the author must engage in a clever dance. Assuming a mixed audience of fans from the first book and new readers starting with book two, we must give enough of what happened before to understand why this and that is happening in book two without spoiling the conclusion or giving away the mystery of book one. "And a one, and a two, side-step, side-step…"
The third in the series:
The third novel in a series must tie up any loose ends created within the first two books and those newly created in book three, leaving the reader contented with the conclusion. This story can either be a continuation of the first two or another adventure with these familiar characters and perhaps adding a few more. The third Mrs. Odboddy book (WIP) deals with someone trying to systematically destroy Agnes's reputation with a series of events that land her deeper in trouble. Oh my!
Generally, the expected number of books in a series is three. Then the author might jump ship, create a new protagonist, a new setting and circumstance in order to build another "world" and another reason for our readers to fall in love with our books. Authors who continue on with successful fourth and fifth books with the same characters are skilled, indeed.
I promise that you will love all three stories. Why not start now, with Mrs. Odboddy, Hometown Patriot? Available at Amazon in paperback and ebook.
Also check out my three cat mysteries: Black Cat's Legacy, Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer, and Black Cat and the Accidental Angel.
About the Author
Elaine is a member of Sisters in Crime, Inspire Christian Writers, and Cat Writers Association. She lives in Northern California with her husband and four house cats (the inspiration for her three humorous cozy cat mysteries, Black Cat's Legacy, Black Cat and the Lethal Lawyer, and Black Cat and the Accidental Angel).
Mrs. Odboddy's character is based in no way on Elaine's quirky personality. Two more Mrs. Odboddy adventures will publish in the near future. Many of Elaine's short stories have appeared in magazines and multiple anthologies.
Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win one of three ebook copies of Mrs. Odboddy, Hometown Patriot by Elaine Faber.
Posted: 13 Jun 2016 12:00 AM PDT
Lake of Fire
(The Apostates Book 3)
by Lars Teeney
Lake of Fire, the third book in The Apostates series by Lars Teeney, is FREE on 13 and 14 June. The author stops by today to share an excerpt. Also available: New Megiddo Rising, The Apostates, and Remnants.
Archon Greta Sanchez and Strategos Evan Nubia struggle to hold together the Manhattan Union, amid Acolyte Possession Attacks, factional strife, and Database cartel crimes, while Sister Consuela Grajales tries to provide spiritual guidance to the people after she has renounced violence. But, when the Acolyte Possessions threaten all of their families directly the former Apostates consult Simon Schrubb about this mysterious threat. Simon Schrubb directs them to seek out Paradise, a hypothetical super backup server that just may hold the key to the Acolytes. And so, they set off in an armored convoy across the radioactive city ruins and dead tree littered wastelands on their perilous quest.
Little do the Apostates know that Apedemak Nubia and his Nubian Braves fight for control of their home, Sulfur Springs, which is said to hold Paradise, against the Trinity, a being that somehow controls the Acolyte Horde. As the Nubians split up to search out allies east and west, the Republic of Ukiah finds unlikely allies in the Nubian Braves, and the former Prelate Ayane Inoguchi, who struggles to reconcile her past, while helping to defend the Republic from an all-out Chinese invasion of the West Coast.
But, amid all the chaos the Lake of Fire burns deep below the Earth and threatens to undue all labors to consume the world and usher all souls to Paradise in the name of the Trinity and the Proxy Messiah.
The black Charger swerved on the highway due to three sizable craters that had recently been blown into the already rough pavement. The smart tires equipped on the Charger mitigated the shock. Ayane Inoguchi decided to pull off the ancient Highway when she caught sight of a weathered sign for Weed, California. Of course the pillars of smoke rising from just off the highway also captured her attention. As she drove down the main stretch of the town she could see that it had been sacked. Most of the structures had been blown apart, and bodies littered the street. She drove slowly along a block of shattered shanties. Ayane came upon a trading convoy with a cart and several pack mules, and it appeared their owner was scavenging for valuables in the rubble. When he noticed the Charger pull up he shot upright and pulled out a sidearm. Ayane slowly exited the Charger.
"Easy fellow, I don't mean you any harm," Ayane said.
"What do y'want? Get!" the weathered-faced man barked as he waved his gun.
"I just want to know what happened here. What's your name?" Ayane asked.
"Name's Tucker. The whole place has been blown to shit. I'm taking the opportunity to stock up. Now go find your own pile!" Tucker yelled, getting ever more agitated.
"Do you know who did this?" She asked.
"Hell if I know. Been seeing tons weird stuff: babbling cultists and men in armor blowin' the hell out of towns," Tucker growled as he rummaged through a pile of refuse.
"Anything else you can tell me?" Ayane pressed further.
"You're a pushy broad, eh? I don't know—some were displaying a red star," Tucker muttered. Ayane knew what that meant. As a Prelate for the Church of New Megiddo, she had once pursued a target north to the very border of Chinese Alaska. There she had seen the Red Star of the Republic of China on border outposts. As she completed that thought she heard a gunshot, and the scavenging trader slumped over a rubbish pile, dead. Ayane's instincts kicked in and she hunched down by the front fender of her Charger. The crackle of more gunfire rang out with bullets ricocheting off the armored body of the Charger.
Ayane willed the truck to pop open and she activated two of her drones via her neural implant. The drones ascended into the sky. They gathered visual data on her attackers. When the data was transferred back to her she could see that the assault consisted of a squadron of armored Chinese soldiers. She crawled to the rear of her Charger and snatched a "Zealot" combat rifle from the trunk. Then she sank back down behind the fender.
Suddenly, an explosion ripped through the debris pile not far from her. It tore through Tucker's pack animals, sending limbs and hide skyward. Her ears rang from the pressure wave. She realized that they had a mortar and she was being shelled. Ayane could see that the Chinese were flanking her on two sides and she heard the discharge of another shell. Ayane willed the passenger side door to open and she dove in. Then she guided the car to start. The rear wheels peeled out and the Charger fishtailed as it accelerated, just before a shell impacted at the spot it had previously occupied. Ayane regained her bearings, and up ahead she could see an armored Chinese soldier readying a shoulder-fired missile. Ayane rolled the passenger-side window down and leaned out, aiming her "Zealot" rifle at the soldier. Before she could take the shot he fired the missile, which careened forward, leaving a vapor trail in its wake. Ayane willed the Charger to swerve just in time to dodge the missile, which continued onward to detonate against a tree trunk. Ayane returned fire, tagging the soldier several times in the chest and helmet. The impact was enough to knock the man back, but he struggled to regain his stance. Ayane did not give him the chance as the Charger collided head on with the armored soldier. Ayane watched the man disappear under the front end, but she felt the jolt of the tires running him over.
Onward the Charger sped. She reached the edge of town and decided to stop there, as she needed to reclaim her drones. She gathered more intelligence through one of the drones. Into her retinal H.U.D. the drone fed visual data. She could see that the Chinese soldiers were regrouping and attempting to mount another attack. Ayane directed the drones to attack. Small, multi-barreled, rotating guns were revealed on the underside of the disc-shaped drones, as they accelerated through the air. The two drones formed up and then opened fire, strafing the Chinese soldiers with thousands of rounds-per-minute unleashed against them. In some cases, the armor held up, but many of the shots found weak points in the armor, shattering limbs and tearing flesh. She thought that if they weren't killed outright they would be immobilized.
Satisfied that the strafing attack made by her drones disrupted the Chinese assault, she recalled the drones. The flying discs came humming back to the rear of the Charger, where they landed and engaged small charging stations. She closed the truck and then sped off, taking the on-ramp back to the highway. Ayane wondered why the Chinese were invading, and more to the point, why they were killing and destroying everything in sight.
As Ayane pondered her next move, a piercing pain shot through her, and she began to hear a voice calling to her.
"You there, former Holy Warrior, the Trinity forgives you! Join us! Do the holy work you were born for!" the voice said. She could swear that she had heard the voice before, but all she wanted was for the intrusion to stop. Ayane gritted her teeth and resisted the strange force attempting to overtake her form.
"Get the fuck out of my head!" she screamed. Then, as quickly as it had begun, the presence in her mind was gone. Ayane felt relieved because she had resisted this high-tech demon's attempted possession over her. Ayane wiped some sweat from her brow. She thought about how she had made this same trip from Portland into California some six years before, but during that time she was the pursuer and not pursued. Ayane felt a sense of hopelessness wash over her at the realization that the "possessed" were not the only threat that she faced. China had now invaded.
Ayane decided on sending out drones to gather aerial data ahead of her position on the highway. The truck flew open and two drones gained altitude and flew off ahead of her. Ayane then called up old maps which were then overlaid on her retinal H.U.D. She studied them and denoted which towns had been abandoned due to climate change or had been destroyed in wars. Having grown up in California she was fairly familiar with much of it. Ayane had heard news of a budding Republic near the Northern Coast: a place called Ukiah. She had heard that there was a thriving economy there based on trade, so she resolved that she would travel there to seek refuge, assuming that she would not be killed or possessed before that time.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]
Praise for the Book
"Political intrigue. Intense, badass sci-fi action. A mysterious and thrilling ride. This book started out a bit slow; each chapter focusing on a different set of characters and where they were in their lives. However, by the second half of the book, things really started to pick up and this book quickly transformed into a page-turner. It was if the author kept cranking and cranking the wheel, building up to the epic climax of the book. The ending left me speechless and astounded. Truly shocked. Lake of Fire is a great read and I recommend it to any lover of Sci-Fi action/thriller books." ~ BookAddict
"Lars Teeney did an amazing job with making all of the characters seem like real people with how they all had their own strengths, weaknesses, desires, and goals. The author also did an astounding job of allowing me to create a picture in my head of what was happening in the book. I really felt like I could understand and picture almost every scene like it was a movie. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoyed the previous Apostate books." ~ Teah Mist
About the Author
Lars Teeney was born in Montana. After going to an art school in San Francisco, racking up insane student loans and working for years as a freelance designer for the start-up culture, he became burnt out. He abandoned the Bay Area for the Pacific North-west, where he could hike and bike to my heart's content. He has worked for a variety of technology companies and has a keen passion for politics, history, science and art.
Enter the Amazon giveaway for a chance to win a Kindle edition of Lake of Fire by Lars Teeney (US only; ends 22 June).
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