paranormal

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#TeaserTuesday An Improbable Interview with Yours Truly

Published May 3, 2016 by administrator

Welcome back to the final Teaser Tuesday featuring the authors of An Improbable Truth: The Paranormal Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. 

 

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Is it a bit egotistical to interview myself? If so, I kinda don’t care. See, I love this book, and I love my story in this book. And I want you to buy this book and read my story. So I’m going to talk at you. My tale is titled Worlds Collide, and as it implies, I bring the past to the (Victorian) present and confuse the hell out of our favorite detective.

THE IMPROBABLE AUTHORS: S.H. Roddey

1. What drew you to submit to this particular anthology?

Part of it is the editor, but mostly I love the concept of Sherlock Holmes. He’s a brilliant madman, and he brings with him a whole list of psychoses I’m dying to explore. I’ve always loved the stories and the various visual retellings, and I never thought I’d have the opportunity to do what I’ve done here.

2. Tell us a little about your story.

I like to complicate things (as any of you who know me know very well). It started as kind of a let’s see how easily I can run Lexxx up the wall type thing and ended up taking a turn into completely weird. Sherlock finds himself stumped on a murder investigation and reminiscing after a visit to a fortune teller. The old gypsy woman leads him down roads he didn’t expect and into a twisted scenario where past and present collide. And they say no one lives forever…

3. Who’s your favorite Sherlock?

As with my contemporaries, I love Jeremy Brett…but my favorite Sherlock is definitely Benedict Cumberbatch. I love the way the BBC characters interact. The on-screen chemistry is fabulous between Sherlock and Watson, and I’m in awe of the updated storylines.

4. What else (if anything) have you written?

Take a look in the side bar. You’ll find more than enough to keep you busy.

5. Where can we find you online?

Right here. Also on Facebook (AuthorSHRoddey), Twitter (@draickinphoenix) and at http://www.SHRoddey.com

THE IMPROBABLE TRUTH: WORLDS COLLIDE

I never expected Sherlock Holmes to agree to going back for a second visit to Madame Felicia, yet at 6:00 PM sharp, I found myself standing between he and Mary, staring up at the garish sign. Since our last visit, the gas lamps on either side of the door had gone out, presumably using up the supply from their hidden tanks, and the curtains in the window to the right of the door had begun to fray along the bottom edge. Sherlock turned to me with a put-upon look about his face.

“This is ridiculous,” he said, and I half expected him to stamp his foot. “An utter waste of time.”  Chuckling, Mary bypassed me in favor of taking his arm and leading him up to the door.

“Come on, Sherlock,” she persuaded, tugging at his elbow, “humor me. If you believe she has information you need, simply use your talents to uncover it.”

“But…”

“No buts. Come on,” Mary ordered, and pulled him up the step and inside. Just before the door fell closed behind them, I reached out and placed my hand against the jamb, affording me the opportunity to slip in behind them without turning the latch again.

The building was decorated in a gaudy, garish manner. Tapestries and scarves hung from every surface, and beads jangled against one another in the door frames, caught in the draft creeping in from the top of the stairs. I shivered against the chill and followed diligently along behind my fiancée and her unwilling yet oddly complacent victim. We were led to the same room as before: a tiny, cramped area with a round table and a glass orb on a rusty tin base. In this room, as with the rest of the space, brightly-colored scarves and linens decorated every surface, and cobweb-covered beads hung from the dusty sconces along the walls. Mary guided Sherlock to a seat opposite Madame Felicia, then took the seat beside him, putting me between her and the fortune teller. From his very posture I could see how uncomfortable my flatmate had become, but I said nothing with the hope that Mary’s foolhardy plan would remove this inconsolable frustration from his head.

I took my seat in stony silence, fighting the urge to curse as my fingers slid against the rough surface of the table, catching a rather large splinter in the process. Irritated by this happening, I jerked the offending plank of wood from the side of my hand and flicked it into the air, where it landed somewhere near the old gypsy’s feet with a noticeable clatter. Mary glared at me across the table as I dabbed at my bloody hand with my handkerchief.

“You have returned,” the withered woman said, her voice thick with Slavic inflection. Sherlock immediately leaned into the conversation, his whole attention focused on her.

“I need to know more,” he said. “Tell me where I can find the killer.”

“Sherlock,” I growled in warning, but Mary laid her hand over top of mine, attempting to quiet the ire growing in me. From that point on I kept my mouth shut and listened.

“When past and present collide, only then shall you find what you seek,” she said. “You are drawn to the unfamiliar, the unexplained, the impossible. It is not the answer to the question you crave, but the hunt itself.”…

Read more in An Improbable Truth.

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#TeaserTuesday An Improbable Interview: Tom Olbert

Published April 26, 2016 by administrator

Welcome back to another Teaser Tuesday featuring the authors of An Improbable Truth: The Paranormal Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

 

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Please welcome to the stage Tom Olbert, fellow MMP veteran and author of The Arendall Horror.

THE IMPROBABLE AUTHORS: TOM OLBERT

1. What drew you to submit to this particular anthology?

The atmosphere, mainly.  The dark, chilling feel of a foggy London night in Victorian times.  The clatter of hooves down a cobblestone street.  I’ve long been intrigued by the idea of combining that with the most horrific forms of science fiction.  I’d delved into the idea before, and I couldn’t resist the urge to do so again, especially when the one and only Sherlock Holmes was the topic.  Who could ask for more?

2. Tell us a little about your story.

Basically, it’s Arthur Conan Doyle meets John Carpenter.  Holmes vs. the Thing from Outer Space.  The set-up is pretty typical Holmes fare.  A distraught young woman comes to 221B Baker Street with a perplexing problem that only Holmes can solve.  Everyone else blames the devil for the inexplicable and horrific events occurring on a country estate, but Holmes follows the path of science, straight to a hideous extraterrestrial life form that absorbs every living thing it touches.  Forbidden clandestine relationships, otherworldly science and horror combine in a dark tale of mystery and alien evil.

3. Who’s your favorite Sherlock?

Jeremy Brett, definitely.  He tempered the cold, intellectual Sherlock with a hint of almost child-like innocence that was endearing.

4. What else (if anything) have you written?

Quite a bit, actually, including “Black Goddess” a dark science fiction/horror novelette about a troubled young man who travels back in time to the beginning of the universe, obsessed with finding the ultimate truth, no matter how terrible.  Now available from Mocha, along with “Hellshift” a sci-fi horror short and “Along Came a Spider,” a steamy romantic science fantasy short.

5. Where can we find you online?

Check out my blog at http://tomolbert.blogspot.com.  Search on my name at Amazon.com, or just Google me, and you should be able to find titles and reviews.

THE IMPROBABLE TRUTH: THE CANARIES OF CLEE HILLS MINE

Sandborn led us through the tunnel, into the caves.  As we all entered, torches lit, I sensed something cold and horribly forbidding in the dank interior of those murky caverns.  There was a slimy, rancid stench as if we were walking into a slaughterhouse.  “What is that horrid smell?” I asked.

“Rats, I expect, sir,” Sandborn answered.  “I saw a few of them down here that night, picking at other scraps of itself that thing had left behind.  Then, I heard the poor vermin squealing in the dark as they died.”

Then, I saw it. The torchlight fell on a shadowed corner of the cave.  Dripping milky-white fibers formed a grotesque nest of sorts, containing three large, ovoid, leathery objects.  They resembled egg pods in a spider’s web, though magnified to scale many thousands of times.  I gasped as the horrid things began to split open, bursting from the inside out.  Sickly, milky-white fluid coated the abominable things that emerged, squealing as they clawed their way out.  To this day, I cannot accurately describe them.  The creatures had long, jointed limbs like that of a giant spider, yet they were webbed, like the wings of a huge bat.  Their heads   were rodent-like and snarling with six-inch fangs dripping .  Their eyes glowed green in the torchlight.  Scarcely out of their ungodly crèche, they were shrieking and swarming at us with inconceivable speed, slithering on multiple tentacles…

Read more in An Improbable Truth.

#TeaserTuesday An Improbable Interview: Robert Perret

Published April 19, 2016 by administrator

Welcome back to another Teaser Tuesday featuring the authors of An Improbable Truth: The Paranormal Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

 

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Please welcome to the stage Robert Perret, author of The Canaries of Clee Hills Mine.

THE IMPROBABLE AUTHORS: ROBERT PERRET

1. What drew you to submit to this particular anthology?

Sherlock Holmes and the supernatural are just such a great fit.  The hyper-rationalist facing off against the irrational is charged by a natural frisson.  I am also a huge Sherlock Holmes fan, and I come at the Canon and the character from the perspective that they are fun mystery adventure stories, and the call for submissions from Lexx Christian definitely had that vibe.  There is a major vein of Sherlockian fiction that is focused on historical accuracy and period verisimilitude and that’s a perfectly fine field of endeavor for those it appeals to, but it wasn’t what Arthur Conan Doyle was doing.  He was writing awesome, amazing stories with this perfect archetype of a character that just happened to be in Victorian London because that is where and when Conan Doyle himself happened to be.  He was very much writing pulpy entertainment, and for me, it is more interesting and fun and true to maintain that spirit of what he was doing rather than myopically focusing on the form of what he was doing.

2. Tell us a little about your story.

I live in north Idaho, where there are actually very few potatoes but lots and lots of mines.  One bit of history that looms large over the area is the Sunshine Mine disaster in 1972, in which 91 miners died from suffocation as the air in the mine was slowly replaced by carbon monoxide and other poisonous fumes as an underground fire raged.  Basically, the people of north Idaho are well aware that mines are places where truly awful, terrible things can happen.  For me personally, claustrophobia is probably my greatest mortal fear, so when I set about thinking of a horror story, a mine was a natural setting to me.  I feel like I can’t say too much more without giving away the story, but I will note that I am more of a fan of retro and vintage horror than modern horror, so my story probably nostalgic in that respect.

3. Who’s your favorite Sherlock?

Besides the original literary character as written by ACD, I assume?  If you mean actors I love all the Sherlocks, yes including Robert Downey Jr, and Johnny Lee Miller.  However, the Sherlock who lives in my head is probably closest to Basil Rathbone.  I think most people latch onto their first Sherlock and for whatever reason Rathbone was mine.  As a Sherlockian writer I think there are elements that can be gleaned and utilized from all of the major depictions of the character.

4. What else (if anything) have you written?

Recently I had a Robert Ludlum parody, “The Dewey Code”, appear in Two-Fisted Librarians.  I also have a bunch of Sherlockian pieces out to various places that I have high hopes for and a few other odds and ends.  After a long, unintentional sabbatical from creating I’m basically rebooting myself as a writer again, so I am on the lookout for great opportunities. Gentle readers, if you are looking for Sherlock Holmes or pulp adventure type stories for your anthology/website/etc., hit me up!

5. Where can we find you online?

Joining the 21st century on the internets is one of my short term goals, but for now you can find me on facebook and reddit and Google+.

THE IMPROBABLE TRUTH: THE CANARIES OF CLEE HILLS MINE

Perhaps it is the time of year. It could be that persistent chill that compels me to throw more coal in the brazier. Or perhaps the brittle, ashy feel in my hands reawakening those memories that I had thought mercifully dormant, but I hear my friend Sherlock chiding me from across the years even as my shaky hand puts pen to paper. “You mustn’t, Watson. There are horrible truths. Immutable, unfathomable truths that can only serve to destroy mankind. There is nothing to be gained and everything to be lost.”   The voice is but a dull ache in my heart, and I know that if I cannot expunge these memories onto paper and thus finally give my fevered mind blissful rest I shall certainly go mad. None need ever see this account. I shall set it down, bury these papers at the bottom of some long disused trunk in the attic, and then I can rest easy. The icy wind outside rattles the windows of my study, the gas light gutters for just a second, the howling gust subsides, and I feel the story fall from me.

****

It was the autumn of 1901 and a new century had found the same old Holmes up to the same old tricks. We had just recently returned from the Priory School up north where a bicycle tire patch and some novelty horse shoes had allowed Holmes to solve a will dispute, a kidnapping, and a murder all at once. I was reclined upon the couch, my former bedroom long since appropriated for more arcane uses by Holmes. My head was muzzy from too much brandy the evening prior and I was still waiting for the room to cease spinning. I stared in vain at the coffee pot steaming on the range in the kitchen. A cup or two and I’d be all right, I thought, if only I could convince Holmes to bring me a cup. Instead I pursued the more likely course of willing the pot to levitate across the room. “Holmes,” I wheezed. “I don’t suppose…” I waved feebly across the room. Holmes chuckled.

“Now, now, dear boy. When you have put one foot in front of another, traversed the room, poured a cup and lifted that warm porcelain to your lips you will know that you have earned it. I wouldn’t dare take that away from you.”

“Nonsense. You simply bristle at the very idea of service. And what eye-opener has left you so chipper?  Did you earn that little pick-me-up?”

“However I may have opened my eyes this morning I managed it myself. A man who is not master of his own destiny is not a man.”  I was reprieved from replying to this peevish sleight by a swift rapping at the door.

“Ach!  I find a moment of rest and here comes some new devilry,” we heard Mrs. Hudson lament from the bottom of the stairs. “Sherlock, you get poor John a cup of coffee or I shan’t be bothered to ever put another kettle on for you.”  A moment later she ascended in a whoosh of starched skirts with a letter in her hand. “For Mr. Holmes, naturally.”  She held it up to the light momentarily before stiffly holding it out at Holmes. He took it with a slight smirk and held it up to the light himself. Then he carefully examined the front and back of the envelope…

Read more in An Improbable Truth.

#TeaserTuesday An Improbable Interview: Harding McFadden

Published April 12, 2016 by administrator

Good morning, my lovelies! Welcome to to another Teaser Tuesday featuring the authors of An Improbable Truth: The Paranormal Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

 

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Today’s victim is Harding McFadden, author of The Adventure of the Slow Death: from the Scourge Diaries of Emily Watson.

THE IMPROBABLE AUTHORS: HARDING MCFADDEN

1. What drew you to submit to this particular anthology?

For as long as I can remember, I have been a fan of Doyle’s Holmes stories. There was something about them that just grabbed me, and just wouldn’t let go. I’m sure that I’m not the only one. When I saw the open call for this anthology, it was an opportunity that I just couldn’t pass up. I threw myself into this little piece, and gave it my all. I tried to do good service to the legacy of these characters, while still making the story decidedly mine. I hope that I managed to pull it off.

2. Tell us a little about your story.

When I saw that this was a call for a horror-themed Holmes collection, it seemed just right to make everything about it horrific. I think I’ve written somewhere else that I’m kind of a snob when it comes to horror. I want something that will stick with me, that will wake me up at night. I don’t know if I’ve managed to do that with this, but I’ve certainly tried for it. What I’ve cobbled together is an adventure for the Great Detective that puts him not just into a terribly situation, but that drops him into a nightmarish world. I wanted it to be unsettling, self-contained, but with enough action to keep the narrative flow moving. In short: I wanted to entertain anybody that happens to read it. Modern anthologies are a real mixed bag for me. It seems to me that if I can find any collection where about a quarter of the stories in it are worth reading, then it’s a good book. I hope that when the book is read, that the readers hold it up to praise as one of the few without a single clunker in it.

3. Who’s your favorite Sherlock?

Jeremy Brett. Hands down. Nobody owned the part like him. His every word and mannerism was perfect. I can’t read any of Doyle’s stories now without hearing his voice speaking the dialogue. Though it must be admitted that Lara Pulver is Irene Adler.

4. What else (if anything) have you written?

Well, I’ve written a lot of things, but very few that are available to the public. Lucky for the public. I remember writing things as a later teenager, or twenty- something that I thought were  just world-shaking. Bunch of junk. I remember reading an introduction to a Dean Koontz reprint  where he said he found himself making Clint Eastwood faces rereading some of his older stuff. Holy  jeez, do I understand. After fifteen years of rejections, though, I did manage to get printed for  the first time two years ago. Those things that I have gotten printed are available in a few  places. The short story “Trampled” has been published twice, first on everydayfiction.com then in  the August issue of Mystic Signals; “The Last of the Damned” was likewise printed on  everydayfiction.com; one of my personal favorites, “Those Things Held Most Dear,” a story about a dragon named Rainbow that  my wife really likes, is available in Carol Hightshoe’s Dragon’s Hoard anthology; a short  Lovecraftian story, “Casual Blasphemies” is available in H. David Blalock’s The Idolaters of  Cthulhu anthology; and there’s a piece of flash fiction called “The Hen and Jimminy” is due in the December issue of Cyclopean e-zine. Add to that “The Adventure of the Slow Death,” and there’s my complete resume. If you decide to seek out all of these, thank you  very much. I hope that you don’t regret it.

5. Where can we find you online?

Full disclosure: I’m fairly technologically backward. As such, I do not have a facebook account, nor anything for myspace, twitter, whatever else there might be. If you want to look for me, the only real place is on Amazon, where there is a small Authors Page. Well, that’s about it. I hope that you enjoy the book, wherever you are…

THE IMPROBABLE TRUTH: THE ADVENTURE OF THE SLOW DEATH

It was some time after the Case of the Crestfallen Corsair that the great detective allowed me to fill my late fathers shoes as his biographer. This would have been after the Great Scourge left half the globe a charred mass, the other half a sweltering, desiccated nightmare. Those of us in what was left of Great Britain looked fearfully to the dawn, constantly on alert for our own time. Nine months with no Heavenly fire, and still we shook in our shoes.

“It was hardly a Divine fire from Heaven,” he told me over tea one melancholy evening. I had made the error of reporting to him the judgment of many papers of the time, that the sky of fire had been the Judgment of God. “Nothing more than a particularly large ejection from our sun. One with devastating effect, but a natural occurrence, nevertheless.”

In my minds-eye I could hear him saying these words around the stem of his pipe. Now, however, there were no ‘Three Pipe Problems.’ Inquiring as to why one particular day, I was informed that the smoke did nothing to focus his mind of late. I couldn’t help but assume that it was the constant barrage of ash flowing over the world that put him off of his pipe. How does a man willingly spark a match when the charred reminders of half of mankind float by his window on every breeze?

A small charcoal of my late parents adorned a place of honor upon the stone fireplace around which we sat. We both looked upon it through the silence that evening, and many others. No fire burned, nor embers glowed. Even through the deepest winter past, the heat of day was nearly intolerable. It was through habit and emotional necessity that we persisted there. The past may be lost to us, but should never be forgotten.

With a tip of his cup, he said to me, “I find that I miss them more often of late. Never let you think that those friends around you are but passing fancies. They are the spice of life. Without them, our outlooks are simply… Bland.”

Companion though I may have been, I was aware of my position to him. He had known me since birth, though I would never be able to take the place of his fallen friends. I could only stand in their place, not fill their shoes.

The calm of the evening was abruptly shattered when the four black-robed men burst into the detectives sitting room, poor Mrs. Hudson shoved roughly before them. Before the frail woman was able to crash to the floor, the great detective was out of his chair, his hot tea thrown into the face of the nearest attacker, the cup shattered into the wide eyes of the next, while he used his free arm to right his landlady. Spinning her somehow poetically into his own vacated seat, he turned to the last two attackers, but needn’t have bothered…

Read more in An Improbable Truth.

#TeaserTuesday An Improbable Interview: Katie Magnusson

Published March 29, 2016 by administrator

Good morning, my lovelies! Welcome to to another Teaser Tuesday featuring the authors of An Improbable Truth: The Paranormal Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

 

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Today’s victim is the lovely Katie Magnusson. Her story Sherlock Holmes and the Hungry Ghost is a lot of fun. Please take a moment to meet her, then meet her ghost.

THE IMPROBABLE AUTHORS: KATIE MAGNUSSON

1. What drew you to submit to this particular anthology?

I love supernatural and paranormal pastiches, and here was an anthology asking specifically for paranormal Sherlock Holmes stories. It sounded like fun!

2. Tell us a little about your story.

The title is “Sherlock Holmes and the Hungry Ghost.” The term “hungry ghost” appears in Buddhism and Chinese ancestor worship, as spirits driven by intense needs. It’s also been used as a metaphor for the cravings of a drug addict. So this isn’t exactly a stereotypical ghost story. It’s very internally and mentally focused; I wanted to tap into that primal fear of losing one’s mind, the idea that ghosts are very real – they just don’t haunt houses.

3. Who’s your favorite Sherlock?

Jeremy Brett in the Granada TV series, hands down. Brett had a perfect mannerism about him, this great mix of the flair for theatrics and restrained reasoning machine that is so essential to the character. I remember flipping channels one day and coming across a rerun of “The Norwood Builder” episode on PBS.There’s this scene where Holmes is walking around the area where a huge fire was, and he sort of leaps up onto a low ledge to gaze down, and I thought, “He moves like a cat!” I was so fascinated by the performance, just this simple act of examination, I watched the rest of the episode and every single one afterwards.

4. What else (if anything) have you written?

This is the first story I’ve published, but there’s a series of short stories I’ve been working on for a few years. I’m currently trying to put them all together into a book. They’re cyberpunkish Sherlockiana — a doctor with a cybernetic leg meets a man who’s modelled himself around Sherlock Holmes. Adventures ensue.

5. Where can we find you online?

Send a tweet to @mrskatem, or watch me post random things on kaelma.tumblr.com. People who’re interested in my cyberpunk short stories should go to thediaryofdrwatts.com, or follow the Facebook page (facebook.com/TheDiaryofDrWatts)

THE IMPROBABLE TRUTH: SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE HUNGRY GHOST

He opened his eyes, lying on the floor. He’d fallen asleep. His body had finally rebelled and forced upon him the rest he sorely needed, much to his amused chagrin. He stood slowly, stretching his long limbs, and beheld his correspondence scattered across the room. The jackknife that usually held it in place on the mantel was gone.

He turned, scanning the room. The knife was easy to spot, embedded in the opposite wall from the fireplace. He didn’t remember throwing it there.

“You’re going mad.”

“Who’s there?” He looked around and saw no one. He was alone.

“They’ll leave you -.”

“Where are you?”

“- just like everyone else.”

It was a woman’s voice, and it seemed to come from everywhere at once. She laughed as he searched, and a tingling feeling crept across his skin as if an insect were crawling down his spine.

His head felt as if his skull was being hollowed out with a red hot poker. His chest was tight. He couldn’t breathe. “Voices that aren’t there…” he wondered aloud. Could the damage to his mind be so great?

“No. I refuse to believe it,” he pressed his hands to his ears as the woman laughed again, taunting, though it did nothing to dull the sound. “I am sane! If I were not, then I would not recognize my decline! These experiences have nothing to do with the cocaine,” he stalked over to the knife in the wall, yanking it out and firmly sticking it back in its proper place in the mantel, “I refuse to believe it,” he said again, softer, slowly absorbing the significance of his statement. “If I am not mad, then what is going on?”

He applied his mind to the problem at hand with feverish fervor. It was almost a relief. Here was a problem he could ponder at last, but he didn’t like the only possible solution.

“No man could do these things. No member of humankind at all. It is physically impossible. If I am not mad, if this is not the cocaine, and it is not the result of mortal effort, then the solution must lie in the supernatural.”

He would have preferred insanity…

Read more in An Improbable Truth.

#TeaserTuesday: An Improbable Interview – Thomas Fortenberry

Published March 22, 2016 by administrator

Good morning, my lovelies! Welcome to Tuesday…my least favorite day of the week.

I have something pretty for you today. Well, actually this stuff was supposed to go live six months ago and in my postpartum lunacy (new babies mean never sleeping, you know) I didn’t realize I’d left them in draft form. [Cue failure music here]

Back in October, a bunch of us chickens got together and, with the help of Mocha Memoirs Press and our lovely editor-chick A.C. Thompson, released a fun little anthology called An Improbable Truth: The Paranormal Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. You might have heard of it. You might not. Either way, you should, because it’s fantastic. Here’s the gorgeous cover, courtesy of the lovely Anne Rosario:

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Now for the tasty tidbits… I have some fun stuff for you guys to read. First up, I’ll be picking on brother-in-arms Thomas Fortenberry. His story The Hunt of the Red Boar is probably one of my favorites in the book (aside from my own, of course…). I’d like everyone to meet him, then take a peek at his unusual, little tale.

THE IMPROBABLE AUTHORS: THOMAS FORTENBERRY

1. What drew you to submit to this particular anthology?
Are you kidding? It’s Sherlock Holmes!  I spent my entire childhood reading and watching every Sherlock Holmes mystery I could find.  I would have murdered a few hundred people standing in the way of me and Sherlock. Which just so happens to be the subject of my next meta-fiction….
2. Tell us a little about your story.
My particular story, “The Hunt for the Red Boar,” lies at the intersection of Lovecraft and Doyle.  Since this anthology focused on the supernatural, I wanted to link it to my personal favorite and perhaps the greatest darkverse there is… the Cthulhu Mythos. Also, given the timeframe of Holmes, it was a perfect match historically.  These two pulp serial or “penny dreadful” styles are closely related. I also mentioned several characters from other literary universes that fit perfectly in this particular milieu. One other thing I wanted to do was have Sherlock be active and get him out of the Baker St setting. Though 221-B is as famous as the characters themselves, I did not want this to be limited to the “bat cave,” so to speak.  Sherlock to me is best when he is frenetic and on the the hunt.  I love to see Sherlock in action.
3. Who’s your favorite Sherlock?
Currently my hat is off to Moffat and Cumberbatch for their masterful modern reinterpretation of Sherlock. I had great trepidation when the show was launched because usually adaptations of characters are appallingly bad.  But, thankfully Sherlock is done extremely well, honors the original while modernizing it, and is such a joy to watch.
That said, I grew up a fan of the old Basil Rathbone Sherlock. But I must admit I loved the more recent Jeremy Brett version on TV and enjoyed the steampunkish cinematic interpretations starring Robert Downey, Jr.
4. What else (if anything) have you written?
I have been writing since childhood and wrote my first novels in fourth grade. My mother was an English teacher, so what else would you expect?  I have written in every genre from fiction to nonfiction, including comic books, SF, horror, adventure, mystery, history, poetry, and plays, tele- and screenplays.  There is a more expansive literary biography on my website.
5. Where can we find you online? 
www.thomasfortenberry.net

THE IMPROBABLE TRUTH: THE HUNT OF THE RED BOAR

Of all the myriad cases we have undertaken, there are only a few I have witnessed that have baffled my partner’s logic. This was one of our more troubling cases, for many reasons, not the least among them the failures in science it heralded. I have pondered recording it for many years. It probably should not have been written down, and in fact Holmes urged me to never do so. But I fear it. I must address it. I must reveal the facts in the hopes that it makes a difference and helps someone in the future. This is the one case that fundamentally shook me to the core.

It happened that I was present at the outset of this case, having arrived quite early for breakfast and to gather Holmes for an arduous undertaking. It was a trip to visit my Mary’s family on the occasion of an important gathering. There was an event, more of which later, that we wished him to partake in and for which I had spent the better part of two weeks convincing him, against vehement opposition, to attend.

Fate intervened, as it often does when in Sherlock’s company.

He had been dragging his feet all through the early hours, discoursing on various topics and news of note. He was still in his morning robe and smoking his before-breakfast pipe. I knew this was typically composed of leavings from the day before, but witnessing him pulling multiple plugs and crumbled leaves from the sizable mound on the corner of the mantle-piece to repack the pipe time and again, I realized that he had been amassing this collection of dried dottels for at least a week, and most probably the entire two weeks I had spent convincing him to accompany me.

Reclining once more upon the lounge wreathed in an ever-growing cloud, he had just pulled his pocket Petrarch from his robe and begun a reading of, “Per fare una leggiadra sua vendetta,” when Mrs. Hudson burst in upon us.

“Yoohoo, Mr. Holmes, Mr. Watson. Please excuse me, but ‘‘twas a beatin’ upon the kitchen door and I need to know if—” she began.

Holmes broke off his recitation. “I will pass your apologies on to Petrarch, though perhaps your butchering of the Queen’s tongue with your quaint accent would be of enough interest to the Father of Modern Italian that he would forgive the intrusion in order to make a more thorough linguistic study. If you are seeking reassurance on breakfast, the rashers were–”

“Oh, no!  No, not that. One of your little urchins–”

Before she could utter another word one of the poor boys Holmes employed as eyes and ears on the streets and back alleys of London pushed past her into the room. You could see the soot and grime of London upon him, the haunt of poverty in his eyes.

Sherlock Holmes bolted upright. He was instantly alert and waved the boy over…

Read more in An Improbable Truth.

Tuesday Teaser: Haunted

Published July 22, 2014 by administrator

So I have this novella. It’s a pretty good one, and it’s been through a few versions in the span of its short life. Mocha Memoirs Press has done an outstanding job bringing it to life. Between Michael’s top of the line editing and Nancy’s beautiful cover, I’m absolutely thrilled to see it out and about in the world.

It’s scary.And I’m going to let y’all read a little of it.

Oh, and its cover looks like this:

Haunted by S.H. Roddey

The Blurb:

When Bobby Gaston walks into a diner and orders a beer with his breakfast, he can’t quite remember why he needs the fortification. While he wants to remember, he’s pretty sure he doesn’t want to know what happened. He strikes up a conversation with the cute little waitress, Sheila, who offers him a ride back to the house on Normandy Road where he claims his ghost-hunter friends are sleeping after a night of exploration in the spooky old mansion.

Only, Bobby knows his friends aren’t just sleeping. He inherited the house from his grandfather, and while his memory is hazy, his unerring knowledge that something evil lurks inside makes him hesitate. But with the spunky and impetuous Sheila by his side, the darkness doesn’t seem so bad… until she leaves him hanging.

Bobby is left with two options: turn tail and run, or face his personal demons while fighting against the evil that waits for him.

 

The Snippet:

This is the first few pages of the book. I’d love to know what y’all think. And if you want to read the rest, you can buy it at Amazon, B&N, or the MMP Store.

***

“I’ll have an egg-white sandwich with a side of sausage. And a beer, if you’ve got one.”

The waitress couldn’t have been more than sixteen. She looked at me strangely for a moment with her faded blue eyes, shot a sideways glance at the clock, then shrugged and turned to call in my order. It was a greasy spoon, and it was deserted, save my ragged presence. From the girl’s reaction, nobody had come in here asking for a beer in nearly two years.

“Hey Rick!” she called to the guy on the other side of the pass-through. “Do we have any beer?” Either I was sitting too low, or the guy was really short, because all I could see was the tip of a greasy, white paper hat.

“You know you’re too young to drink, Sheila!” he called back. “But for a fee I’ll see what I can do for you, hon.” I could hear the sarcasm and sleaze dripping from his voice. He had been trying to get into this girl’s pants for a while now.

“Not for me, jackass!” she snapped and punched her hands against her hips impatiently. “You know I can buy it any time I want! This guy wants a beer.”

“At six in the morning?” he asked, sounding dumbfounded. I suspected confusion was a typical state of mind for him. “Check the blue box in the closet,” he replied, his voice much flatter than before.

The girl, Sheila, smiled weakly over her shoulder at me and disappeared behind a grimy, unplugged jukebox. While she was gone, the heavenly scent of frying sausage filled the dusty air of the little diner, and though I wasn’t particularly hungry, my stomach started doing backflips.

After what I’d been through, what I could remember of it, I doubted I’d ever be able to eat again.

Sheila reappeared a moment later, her oily pigtails bouncing alongside her ears as she skipped back toward the counter. She blew a thick layer of dust from around the bottle cap, and the telltale blue ring of PBR caught my attention.

“Sorry if it’s a little old,” she said, nodding her head slightly as she popped the top, “but we don’t get much demand for beer around here.” She handed the bottle to me, and from the moment my fingers touched it, I knew it was not only flat, but skunked. It didn’t matter; I needed the fortification.

I held my breath and took a long draught from the bottle. It was every bit as disgusting as PBR should be, and then some. But it was beer, and it wasn’t overly hot. Despite the bile creeping back up my throat to dispel the ghastly taste, the alcohol grounded me slightly. My fingers ceased their shaking a little, and my vision didn’t seem like it was confined by quite so long a tunnel.

“What’s got you drinking beer at six in the morning, sugar?” Sheila asked me, though she couldn’t have sounded more disinterested. “You act like you seen a ghost or something.” I cringed at her horrible grammar, but kept the comments to myself. Suppose I did tell her I’d seen a ghost; would she believe me? Not likely.

“Just a kick start,” I lied, and fought to swallow the beer that was steadily rising in my gullet. I washed it down with another long swig. “Long night.”

“So, who’s the lucky lady?” she asked, turning those pretty blue eyes back to me. Now she was interested, which was strange. Nobody ever paid attention to me unless I’d done something wrong.

“No lady tonight, hon,” I replied and tried to smile. It must have worked, because she smiled just before her lip turned downward into an apologetic pout.

“That’s too bad,” she said with returning disinterest. Not really, I thought. “What’s your name, darlin’?”

“Bobby,” I said.

She nodded, and I could see the gears in her brain turning to process the new information. She looked me in the eyes again, this time with building curiosity.

“Well, Bobby,” she started, but Rick quickly cut in with a smack to the bell in the window and a loud shout.

“Order up!” he called a little too loudly into the emptiness of the restaurant.

“Jeez Louise, Rick!” Sheila snapped, turning her attention to him. “I’m standin’ right here!”

“Just wanted to make sure ya heard me, doll.”

“Can it, dickweed!” she snarled, her pretty little pink mouth curling downward into a sneer that could have stopped a truck. Something about the shape of her lips as the word fell from them was disturbingly erotic.

She lifted one perfectly-manicured hand to pick up the plate and turned back to me with another of those flashy smiles. She was definitely too young; her teeth were still too white and too many to belong to an early-morning waitress. She was as dingy-looking as the establishment around her, but that radiant grin could cut through any layer of grime.

“So, Bobby,” she repeated and set the plate in front of me, shooting a dirty look over her shoulder I was certain Rick wouldn’t be tall enough to see, “what brings you into The Breakfast Bowl so early?” As she said it, she motioned to the empty building. “We usually don’t see customers until after the sun comes up.”

Normally I wouldn’t have had a problem answering that question. This morning, though, was a different story. I picked up my fork and toyed with a sliver of egg hanging off the toast. The night had been one for the books, no doubt. I couldn’t really remember much of it, but I knew there had been blood. Lots of blood. The memory of it nearly brought back the stale beer.

“Just headed home,” I said over the rampage of my own memories, and the sudden eruption of gastric juices settled.

“Where ya from?”

“Wellington, just on the other side of Wichita.”

“Well, what’re you doing in Newton at this hour if you’re from Wellington, Bobby?”

I discovered I couldn’t answer her. The events of the night – the clear parts – were still too surreal for me, though when the sun came up and the house was discovered in its current state, it would be all too real. I knew the police would come for me, even though it wasn’t my fault.

“Waiting for my friends to wake up,” I heard myself say, though the sound of my own voice was distant and alien, “so I can catch a ride home.”

“Where are your friends?” she asked.

“Normandy Road.”

“Well, what are they doing over there?” she asked, wide-eyed and innocent. In the kitchen, I could hear Rick grumbling about something and slamming dishes. All I could gather was he was angry over my presence interrupting his attempt to woo her.

I hesitated in answering her again. I couldn’t just announce what they were doing on Normandy Road was lying dead in someone else’s home. That would scare her for sure. No, I definitely couldn’t tell her that.