Broken Pieces

Jack Canon's American Destiny

Najeev Raj Nadarajah's Take on Sanity, Deadlines & Writing @NRNadarajah #WriteTip #Fantasy

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Allow me to tell you about a little something I learned when I was just a wee little lad. Several times a week, my dad would sit me down and ask me: “so, what’ve you got planned for the day?” It was a simple question, and one I should’ve had an answer for each time he asked. But that was usually never the case. I hardly ever had an answer for him, and when I did, it was a fleeting thought about something that I might’ve wanted to do a day or two down the road.
“You need to make a schedule,” he’d then tell me. “Make a schedule and organize your thoughts. Create a checklist or something like that. You’ll be more productive that way.”
Did I listen to him? I’d like to tell you that I did.
So, how have I managed to write two YA fantasy novels, as well as two other picture eBooks for adults, while sticking to my deadlines without driving myself barking mad?
You’ve guessed it. I finally started listening to what my old man had to say. Here’s how I’ve incorporated his advice into furthering my productivity and finding success along the way.
Every Sunday, I’d take about five to ten minutes out of my time and sit down to make a checklist. Trust me on this. Make a list and write down everything you’d like to accomplish that week. And then when you feel like you’ve listed out and scheduled your entire week, add a few more items you’d like to accomplish.
There are seven days in a week, which equates to 168 hours. That’s a whole lot of hours just waiting to be used up (or wasted. That decisions up to you). 168 hours. There’s so much we can do in that time. There’s so much we can accomplish, and yet, the majority of us find that we’re only ever able to complete a fraction of what we intended to finish. The reason, I find, is because for the most part, we end up wasting our time trying to figure out what to do next, or how to kill that time which is given to us.
This is where the checklist we created comes into play. Take it as a challenge to accomplish each and every item on that list. Because you’ve already written down the things you’d like to get done by week’s end, there is little or no time wasted trying to get yourself organized. What’s more is that you’ve written down more than you can accomplish. Try your hardest to get all of it done. Chances are you won’t. But by reaching for the stars, you know how the rest of this cliché goes.
So how does making this checklist and trying to complete the items on that list help you meet your deadlines and remain sane while doing it?
Creating that list and hoping to check off the items as you finish them isn’t enough to get the job done. Sometimes, it is. However, along the way, we tend to bite our nails, repeatedly bang our heads on the table, grit and bare our teeth at our laptops hoping for some miracle to happen, take naps to calm our mounting frustration, etcetera, etcetera, and another etcetera, why? Because we tend to look at the project as a whole.
Don’t do that. It can be rather overwhelming considering the amount of work that needs to be done to complete whatever it is that you’re trying to complete.
Instead, take a deep breath. Relax. And while you’re making that checklist to start the new week, remind yourself to take this one day at a time, one step at a time. And while you’re at it, remind yourself why you’re doing this.
No one’s forcing you to be a writer.
This is your passion. Your choice.
You’re pushing yourself beyond your mental endurance because you want to see your book, your creation, come to life.
So why stress over that deadline and hurt yourself while trying to meet it.
You’ve got the tools. You’ve got the want and the will. And now, you’ve that magical little checklist to guide your way. So start cracking and start checking off those items as you breeze right through them.
If you’re a writer, you’re reading this, and you’re trying to meet a deadline, always keep one thing in mind. We’ve already embarked upon a quest that makes us partly insane. So tell me, fellow writer, what’ve you got to lose?
Haunted by memories of his massacred settlement, sixteen-year-old Weaver seeks cover in a hidden refuge among the remains of a ruined city. In the midst of building a new life, Weaver discovers that he has the amazing power to cast his dreams into reality. Convinced it’s just an anomaly, Weaver ignores it. That is until he learns of a mysterious man who shares the ability, and uses his power to bring nightmares into existence and wage war on the world. The peaceful life Weaver hoped for begins to unravel as waves of chaos begin to break loose about him. In a race against time, Weaver must learn to accept his role as a dream caster and master his new power, before his new home is destroyed and humanity is pushed to the brink of extinction.
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Genre – Fantasy
Rating – PG
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Fool for Love by Merry Farmer @MerryFarmer20

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Chapter Four

The Majestic rose up out of the water in its Liverpool dock with all the glory of its name.  Amelia held one hand to her hat and stared at its iron sides, its two dun-colored funnels and three tall masts.  The ship was a strange thing to her, a mixture of old and new, progress with hints of the past.  It had sails that could be unfurled in a pinch, but with its powerful new engines, the ship could cross the ocean in a week.

Seven days to a new world.  It was an exact description of everything her life had become.  It was every bit as daunting.

“What am I doing?” Amelia whispered, staring at the hopeful monstrosity in front of her.  It was one thing to accept an offer for a new life.  It was another thing entirely to go through with it.

She turned away from the ship, swallowing the nausea that had plagued her since she’d left her mother’s house.  This time it wasn’t morning sickness.  That was long past.  At the moment, the baby was the least of her worries.  Her stomach rolled over the idea that she was about to board a ship heading for a new life at the mercy of a stranger, a man, no less.  The last time she had trusted her life and her future to a man had been a disaster.

She paced, purse clutched to her chest, scanning the busy dock in search of her American savior.  Men, women, and children crowded the gangplanks, eager to start their journeys, excited and hopeful.  Many of the third-class passengers carried bundles that indicated theirs was a one-way trip as much as hers was.  Eric had left her there to go buy her ticket, but there was nothing stopping him from running off and leaving her stranded.  Like her father.  Like Nick.  She was a fool to agree to this.  She pivoted and marched away from the ship.

No, she stopped herself after a handful of steps, this was the best decision she could have made.  She may have felt small and lonely standing by herself, waiting, heart and stomach fluttering, but she was as much a part of the intrepid adventurers seeking a new life in America as any of her fellow passengers.  This was right.


“Well, we got a minor problem on our hands.”

The twang of Eric’s accent shocked Amelia from her worries.  She spun to face him as he approached her with wide strides, scratching his head and looking as guilty as a schoolboy.

“A problem?” she asked, voice fluttering.

“Yeah.  I went to buy you a ticket, but they’re plumb sold out.”

Amelia’s chest tightened and her tender stomach lurched.  “Oh.  Oh dear.  Well I suppose….”

She lowered her eyes, heart aquiver.  As quickly as it started, her chance for a new life was over.  All that worrying for nothing.

She squared her shoulders to face her fate.  “I … I thank you for your efforts on my behalf regardless, Mr. Quinlan.”

Eric’s brow crinkled into a curious frown.  “Regardless?”

“I suppose I could find work here in Liverpool,” she explained.  “Surely there must be a shop somewhere that would look the other way from….”  She lowered her hand to the mound of her stomach.

Eric’s lips twitched.  The morning sunlight caught in his eyes.  “I didn’t want to have to put you in third-class, so I told them you were my wife.”

Amelia blinked.  “You what?”

“I told them we’re newlyweds.  I reserved my stateroom in first class last year when I came over.  Good thing I paid for it then too, ‘cuz after this fiasco of a trip I’ll never ride first-class again.  Anyhow, when they said they didn’t have any more rooms, I told them you were my wife and that we would be staying in the same stateroom.  They sold me a ticket for that.”  He handed her a fresh, clean ticket with her name written as ‘Mrs. Amelia Quinlan’.  “Sorry.”

Amelia held perfectly still on the outside, but on the inside her heart pounded and her stomach rolled with guilt for questioning him.  He wasn’t abandoning her.  He had gone out of his way to help her.  Her heart squeezed as it never had before.  She took the ticket from him with a trembling hand, hardly noticing when her fingers brushed his.  She was rescued after all.

“Thank you, Mr. Quinlan.  You have no idea how much this kindness means to me.”  She had to concentrate on breathing, standing straight, and looking up into his handsome eyes with a smile to keep her tears at bay.

“You don’t mind sharing then?” he asked her.


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Genre – Western Historical Romance

Rating – R

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"The Platnios" from Anomaly by Michael Gilwood @MichaelGilwood #excerpt #amreading #scifi

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Platnios
It was about seven in the morning when the first shadow of a building touched the vehicle. Two fiery streaks left the launch pads and zoomed upwards into the clear, violet sky. Sentrywatcher would track the Grionic missiles progress every step of the way until their eventual detonation on Abnarak. The Excelsior was patient in the front row, constantly sending images back to Terron. If everything went well, the impact would take place in about five hours. Alana had programmed the second missile to impact on Abnarak on the dark side, just in case the Platnios had some device to prevent the missiles from landing. Lexia continuously scanned Abnarak for any changes in behaviour, but it was as ominously tranquil as it was before. Between all of them, they erected a formidable wall of defences combining the new batch of weapons with their remaining stocks.
Alana programmed the blue rays, strategically placing them on walls or high ground pointing towards valleys and vacant spaces, on all points of the compass. For up to seven kilometres, the forest-surrounded city and its flattened splendour gave them an ample, perfect view. All entrances to the buildings were protected by blue rays, bringing comfort to all of them.
A general alarm sounded for all civilians to come into the city, for protection during the battle. Philip had never seen a mass concentration like this. It was an endless sea of heads, appearing out of nowhere. More than four million Peblinus scuttled into the city and disappeared into the bunkers. Some came with their strange wind vehicles, while others drove electric machines with small mounted stumpy wings like flaps. They descended into the underground tunnels constructed for this purpose decades ago.
The tunnels stretched for dozens of kilometres under the city. They consisted of three levels accessible only by a metal ladder. At each entrance to the bunker, a guard tower added some extra protection. The underground tunnels could sustain life for up to six months, each one capable of housing more than half a million Peblinus. The normal everyday Peblinus here on Ganus was a shy person, they avoided confrontation. The few times Philip or Lexia tried to communicate with them, they backed away without saying a word, so they never forced the issue.
"Just look at them," said Baygorn. "Two billion people without defences; the battle wouldn’t have lasted even a day." Some of the elite guards would use their ion and plasma technology, they seemed capable enough to handle them.
"We got an impact warning!" shouted Alana, as she watched Sentrywatcher transmit images on the C-12. The first missile landed directly in the middle of the two infestations. The visual images they received were fascinating because the detonation didn’t reveal any physical explosion of any kind. Instead, as it struck the landscape of Abnarak, the rocky surface began to melt away like an ice cube on a hot summer’s day. All matter living or dead would become part of this rapidly forming, giant drop of water. By the time the second missile hit, Abnarak had almost transformed, but before the missiles had completed their task, some of the Platnios had taken off. Twenty Platnios warships had reached the orbit of Abnarak. They were hanging there in debate. Lexia was observing them with the eyes of Sentrywatcher --- suddenly she stood up.
"Here they come!" Most of their plan had worked. The math was easy. Ramaan calculated that each Platnios warcraft carried about a hundred thousand. The good news was they didn’t know Philip and his crew were here, but Philip wasn’t sure if they could even defeat twenty of these gigantic freighters with their limited firepower. Philip certainly wasn’t sure of the quality of the Commanders manpower. The Peblinus were completely untrained for any type of military maneuver, and all Ramaan could do was to show them how to point and shoot. Many of these Peblinus would die ---they knew it, yet it was up to them to prevent it. Ramaan and Alana pointed out to them strategic positions. Philip gave them powerful weapons, but they had limited time ---the twenty war craft could arrive at any moment. Baygorn constantly monitored and relayed their distance and speed. One of the Peblinus gave them a map of the central continent. They called it Astmad. Philip unwound the map on the floor as the C-12 continued unravelling their progress. A Peblinus, staring at the map, moved closer.
"Its possible they could land there and there," he said pointing with a long plastic ruler revealing fourteen possible points of descent.
"The remaining Platnios will probably land on the other side of Ganus ---the maps are not available, but we did manage to warn them. They are aware of the situation."
When two-hundred year old human remains are found on one of Neptune's moons, Earth's history falls into chaos. The momentous discovery points planet earth towards a solar system a thousand light years away. Twenty years later, Captain Philip Wakefield and his team, onboard the starship Excelsior, reaches the solar system of Mintaka and continues the investigation. But they are not the only thing evolving in the galaxy. Something frightening has them in its sights. Their discovery of the very cradle of humankind becomes a struggle for interstellar survival.
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Genre - Science Fiction
Rating – PG
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A Chance At Love by Sheena Binkley @ChevonBink #Excerpt #YA #New Adult

Chapter 1: Tia
Love can be a wonderful thing. It can also be dangerous. I knew the pain it would cause, that’s why I stayed away from it for so long. Just the thought of having that wonderful feeling and then having it ripped away can be disturbing and also sad.
I knew what I was getting into when I put myself out there to the person I really loved. The person I wanted to be with. But instead of him returning my love, he trampled over it, making me re-evaluate the meaning of it and never wanting to relive it again.
I had everything under control, or so I thought. But instead of putting the truth out there, it backfired on me — big time.
Now, as I stand outside the front of Ashton Gardens, an event venue in Houston, I have to figure out my next move. Should I continue to shield myself from the notion of love, or go for it full force? Over the past four weeks that I have spent with him, I realized that I didn't want the feelings I had to go away.
Now, I know that I have a chance at love. I just hope he feels the same way.
Four weeks ago…..
“Thanks so much for coming,” Camille Anderson said as she gave me a hug.
I returned the hug and gave my best friend a huge smile. She looked extremely happy, pushing her long, dark brown hair off her shoulders. She smoothed down her black lace dress, giving a happy expression through her pretty chocolate eyes.
Throughout the time we’d known each other, Eric and I never thought about getting together (mainly because of the fact that he was with Camille). We did become friends, which later became more after the bachelor/ bachelorette party for Trevor and his ex-fiancée, Chelsea Parker.
Since I got Camille’s blessing to date Eric, the two of us have been inseparable. We haven’t done anything without the other in the six months we’ve been together. Since Eric is a consultant for a major publishing company, one of the requirements is traveling, so he has taken me along on his occasional weekend trips.
Being with Eric is truly wonderful. He’s the first real relationship I’ve had in a long time, so I really want things to work out between us. Not only is he a true gentleman, he cares about my thoughts and feelings. I couldn’t have asked for anything more. He is perfect.
I stared at him, his smooth coffee brown skin, light brown eyes shining brightly at me; the way he filled out his black suit gave me thoughts of ripping it off of him. As much as the thought was creeping into my head, I had to refocus my mind since there was a surprise coming for Camille.
She smiled at us as Trevor came over, all smiles.
“Is it okay to steal my beautiful girlfriend for a second?” he asked and kissed the side of her neck.
My smile grew even wider at the two. The moment had finally come, and I was too eager to witness it. Trevor informed me of the big surprise earlier that week. While I was glad my friend told me the news, it was hard to keep the secret from my girl.
“Of course,” I said as I gave Trevor a wink.
He gave me a look that read stop it as he took Camille’s hand. Before she could respond to Trevor’s look at me, he led her towards the front, near the stage.
“What was that?” Eric asked as he looked at me.
“You’ll see in a second,” I said.
I turned to him, putting my arms around him.
“Did you ever think you would be at an event for your ex-girlfriend?”
Eric smiled and put his lips towards my neck, giving me a slight nuzzle as he breathed in my perfume.
“No. In fact, it doesn’t even bother me.”
“Why is that?” I whispered.
“Because I’m here with the most gorgeous girl in the room,” he whispered back.
He leaned his lips towards mine, giving me a kiss so powerful that I wanted to quickly end this night and go back to my place. This man definitely takes me away with his kisses, making me instantly wet.
As our kiss deepened, there was a loud feedback from the microphone as Trevor stood near the stage looking at Camille. He seemed nervous, which automatically made my eyes fill with tears. This was a long time coming, and I was so proud to be a part of it.
“Seventeen years ago, we met outside of our parents’ homes,” Trevor began. “I was just moving into the area, while you were standing outside, wondering about the new family moving next door. I remember that day as if it were yesterday. You were wearing a dark green dress that was kind of heinous, but you made it look beautiful. You had your hair in a ponytail and an expression on your face that was shy but intrigued. As soon as you noticed I was wearing a Hakeem Olajuwon jersey, you asked if I was a Rockets fan. I said, 'Of course.' You gave the biggest smile, and I remember thinking it could light up the entire city. That, and the fact that we talked about video games, let me know we would be instant friends.”
Camille smiled. “Of course, even though you pointed out several times how much I suck at Halo.”
“That’s because you do, baby, but I still love you.”
Several partygoers smiled at the two, which made me smile even more.
“Throughout our friendship, I knew something was there, but I was too stupid to tell you. Now that we’re together, I want us to stay that way, not only as friends, but as husband and wife.”
He slowly pulled out a burgundy ring box from his suit pocket and opened it. He got down on one knee, giving Camille a serious look.
“Camille Shanice Anderson, will you marry me?”
I looked at them, remembering the day Trevor asked me to go with him to pick out an engagement ring for Camille. I didn’t think he would want me to help pick out something so intimate, but he told me that she and I are family, so he wanted me to be a part of this special moment.
I glanced over at my second parents, Keith and Claire Anderson and saw Camille’s mother in tears. Yes, I considered her parents my own since I was practically at their house every day through middle and high school. My parents passed away three years apart from each other while I was attending college, so the Andersons took me in as their own, which I will always appreciate.
“It’s about damn time,” Keith said with a smile.
The crowd started to laugh as Trevor looked over at him and shook his head.
Camille looked at her parents and then at Trevor with tears in her eyes. She looked at the ring and at Trevor again, unable to speak.
“So, what’s your answer, baby?”
“Of course, Tre. Yes!”
Trevor pulled Camille into his arms and lifted her off the ground. As the crowd began to clap and cheer for the couple, I sucked in a deep breath as the tears began to flow down my cheeks.
Eric looked at me as he gently wiped my tears.
“You okay?”
I nodded my head.
“I’m fine. I’m just so happy for them, that’s all.”
“Let’s go congratulate the two,” Eric said.
“You go ahead. I’ll be there in a second.”
He looked at me, then gave me a kiss on the cheek. He walked over to the crowd surrounding the newly engaged couple, offering their congratulations.
I looked at the scene, completely emotional at the moment. I was happy for my two friends, but I had to wonder if I would experience that moment when someone would literally sweep me off my feet. Will I ever be so in love that I couldn’t imagine my life without him?
Even though I’m with Eric now, I have to wonder if my relationship with him will be just another fling or the real deal.
I sighed as I walked over to the crowd and hug my best friends. I’m not sure where my relationship with Eric is going, I just hope it will eventually be towards my happily ever after.
Tia Simmons has been happily dating Eric Taylor for the past 6 months, and could possibly see a future with him. He’s everything Tia wants in a man- smart, funny, and extremely sexy, but she feels something is missing in the relationship. Until she finds what she’s looking for, she’ll be with Eric as long as she can.
Charles Robinson always dated women without the concept of falling in love. He doesn’t even want to think about the word considering he was at one point in his life. When his ex arrives claiming she wants another chance with him, he starts to rethink the notion that love is not a bad thing.
While the two are living their lives, they both are centered around their best friends, Camille Anderson and Trevor Williams, who are madly in love. Seeing the two together put their own lives in prospective and wonder if their lives are where they should be; but there is one problem that have plagued them both.
Tia and Charles have known each other since high school. They were actually good friends, until one night changed their relationship forever. After that night, the two have been distanced, causing them to snip at each other any chance they got. But when a new merger unexpectedly puts Tia and Charles in the same company, the two have to come together not only for a big account, but also to settle their differences before both are out of a job.
Through a string of events, including a drunken night out, a game of strip Twister, and a wedding, the two realize that love can come when they least expect it.
(A Chance At Love is the sequel to In Love With My Best Friend, but the book is considered a standalone and can be read separately.)
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Genre - Fiction / Young Adult / New Adult
Rating – R
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Inside the Mind of #Romance #Author Karolyn James (A Chance at Love) @karolynwrites

Friday, February 21, 2014

An author’s mind is a very busy place. I can’t speak for every author out there, but I know my mind never stops working. So many times I’ve been sitting, watching a television show with friends and they’ll look at me and just know my mind is working on something. As an author, an idea can spark from a random thought or something we see. Our eyes and ears never stop working, obviously transferring so much information to our minds.
I’ve blogged many times on the origin of Brothers of Rock. I was doing dishes one night. For some reason (I don’t know why) I started thinking about music and musicians and rockstars. I wondered what it would be like to write a series following a band, capturing their life off stage. The next thing I knew I was spending weeks writing outlines, character ideas, and just like that, Brothers of Rock became a reality.
I take daily walks and it’s on those walks where I look around for ideas and inspiration. My mind tries to challenge me… who lives in that house? What’s the history of that tire swing? Other times, I use my walks to plot myself out of a jam. As a funny story, I recently had to a get CT Scan done. The nurse told me to close my eyes and relax. You know what I did? I thought about Brothers of Rock and the next book!
An author’s mind is a working machine that can’t stop working. That’s why I always give advice to other authors to make sure they have some kind of notebook with them for when those ideas strike. There’s nothing worse of a feeling than losing a great idea.

From Karolyn James, the NY Times / USA Today Bestselling author of the Brothers of Rock series...
A small town built on family, hope, and a chance to find true love.
Coming to Ferry Creek was supposed to be a short trip to settle a past, not begin a future.
The day billionaire businessman Sullivan Chasen receives a phone call that his father is dying is the day his world became turned upside down. The problem is that his father has been dead for ten years. The bigger problem is that the person who called keeps calling, insisting that Sullivan's father is going to die soon.
A shocking DNA test suddenly has Sullivan questioning everything he has ever known and has him packing up and driving to the small town of Ferry Creek, North Carolina.
There, he confronts a past he never knew existed, including a half-brother who is living in a small apartment above the family diner, a local staple in Ferry Creek.
What begins as a short trip to settle any necessary needs soon turns into a new life for Sullivan. The longer he stays in Ferry Creek, the more he falls in love with the small town... and a waitress named Jess who works at the diner.
Stay up to date with Karolyn's mailing list!
Read the Brothers of Rock series:
Chasing Cross books:
- All Access
- Broken Sound
- Bitter Farewell
- Buried Notes
- Last Song
Falling Tuesday books:
- A Voice to Love
- A Song for Us
Did you know Karolyn James is the pen name for bestselling western romance author, Claire Charlins?
Don't miss the books now available in the Mail Order Romance series:
-West for Love
-Finding Love west
-A Marriage West
-Hope Found West
-True Love West
-A Romance West
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Genre - Romance
Rating – PG-13
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Connect with Karolyn James through Twitter

"They dig that intellectual, #author thing..." #Excerpt from @AlexMueck's #Humor Novel

Sample 1 - Chapter 17
Present Day
Baxter boasted, “If you Google the slang word for Johnson, you will find it’s synonymous with penis. The source of the reference is murky, and there are lots of theories, but the first recorded reference was in the 1860s. I believe I have now uncovered the origin of this urban legend.”
Professor Gladstone sighed, shrugged, and brought his right hand to his forehead as if he had a migraine. The summarization of the bar scene alone had Gladstone thinking of some good scotch he had back home. He half-wished he were drunk now.
Even if he’d been inebriated, he was not some sorority hussy. He could never fall for Baxter’s bullshit. Silly songs, college bar games, saucy dialogue, and nudity—the paper reminded him of some cheesy porn script covered over by a few historical clichés.
He recalled camping in rural Maine. At the one general store, one could get live bait, along with an assortment of goods, including playing cards, booze, condoms, and the four-pages-only local newspaper. It also had a small selection of rentable movies, half of which were porn.
Then he had been revolted by some of the titles: The perverted Dickens, A Tale of Two Titties; the Huxley bondage epic, Slave New World; the heroine Indian gangbang adventures of, Poch-a-Hotness; the make-love-not-war lesbian drama, Daughterhouse Five; Surecock Holmes in the “whore done it?”—The Mounds of Baskerville.
It was all so vile, but no more so than Baxter’s thesis.
Baxter had more to say. “All those songs were real, Professor Gladstone, except of course the one he made up on the spot. All those people, John Edwards, Little Archie, Frank James, Badger Bob—they existed.”
Professor Gladstone took his hand from his head and pointed at the student. “The first three names I’m well familiar with, but this Badger guy is likely your own creation—along with the rest of the bit characters.”
“What about the main character, Captain Coytus?”
The pounding against his skull intensified. He closed his eyes for several seconds and willed this nightmare to end. Continual harping about this Captain Coytus reminded him of a matter with his only son, Theodore. For almost a year, his son had insisted a monster lived in his closet. No matter how many times the room was inspected and the closet cleared, when the lights dimmed, the monster returned.
How much more must Baxter’s frightful tale continue? The comparison brought something else to mind—the closet. Behind his office closet door lurked another monster, a deposit of Baxter’s mischief.
He spread his hands. “Mr. Baxter, I really have had enough for one day. We don’t need to rehash this sordid story. I’m at the point where I’ll give the paper a D- grade just for your conviction. Will a passing grade and graduation from Harvard be enough to send you on your way?” His furrowed brow etched with hope.
“It certainly will not,” an insulted Baxter replied.
Professor Gladstone massaged his temples. “How about a C?”
Baxter straightened. “For this magnum opus, I will take nothing less than an A+.”
With vigor that bordered on panic, Gladstone shook his head, holding both hands in a stop motion. “An A+ paper will be seen by fellow professors. If this was ever to see the light of day, I would be ruined with ridicule.”
The student grimaced. “I plan on publishing this. Consider yourself lucky that you got a sneak peak.”
“I owe it to the academic world. I came here expecting at minimum, praise, but I never considered that you’d be envious of my work.”
Heat swelled into his cheeks, and he gripped the armrest of his chair until his nails turned white. “Envious?”
Baxter nodded. “Jealousy is the only explanation I can fathom for pretending to ignore the obvious.” He paused, raised an eyebrow, and asked, “You’re not trying to play dumb, only to steal this scoop for yourself, are you?”
To think he, a professor, would ever author something so maniacal! “I would never—”
Baxter cut him off. “It’s unethical.” And tapping his chest, he continued. “Unlike me, you do not possess the evidence to make the case.”
Like an electrical eel that keeps shocking its already dead prey, Baxter kept zapping away. Professor Gladstone’s brain buzzed but felt short-circuited, as though he couldn’t quite bridge the gap between what was happening and what should have been happening.
“Anyway, at least I don’t have to offer you the privilege of penning the foreword. I felt obliged, being your student. There are plenty of other more acclaimed historians who surely will jump at the chance of having their name associated with this surefire seller.”
Baxter paused for just a second and continued. “I could have placed a review from you on the back cover. Naturally, I would have been happy to return the favor for one of your future endeavors, but it’s your loss on mutual prestige.”
This was beyond cocky; the lad suffered from delusions of grandeur.
Yet he wasn’t finished. “I can see the book tours. I suspect you could meet a lot of women on the road. They dig that intellectual, author thing.” He stopped to observe Professor Gladstone and then quipped, “Well, usually.”
After leaning back and with a cocky smirk, he shrugged. “If you ditch that comb-over and your Mr. Rogers’s sweater-thing, you might reel in a few ladies yourself. Try suspenders; they seemed to work for Larry King. Speaking of which, he might come out of retirement just to interview me.”
Professor Gladstone instinctively moved his wedding-ring-less hands below his desk. His marriage lasted six years, gave him a son, and then his wife left him, claiming he was a bore. He took Baxter’s insults like the anesthetized take pain. The absurdity was heaped in such rapid fashion it was mind boggling. Nothing registered. The boy had to be done with this bravado … he hoped.
Baxter preened. “I’ll do what J.D. Salinger should have done—quit after the first book. Sometimes you only have one classic in you.”
“Indeed,” Professor Gladstone offered at last. “What is this proof you speak of? I want evidence that this Captain of yours existed.” 

"“A historical fiction comedy that packs
as much heart as humor.”
—Michael Dadich, award-winning author of The Silver Sphere
When a Harvard history professor receives a thesis paper titled Jesse James and the Secret Legend of Captain Coytus, from Ulysses Hercules Baxter—an underwhelming student—he assumes the paper must be a prank. He has never read such maniacal balderdash in his life. But after he calls a meeting with the student, Professor Gladstone is dismayed when Baxter declares the work is his own. As he takes a very unwilling Professor Gladstone back in time via his thesis, Baxter’s grade hangs in the balance as he attempts to prove his theory.
It is 1864 as philanderer and crusader Captain Coytus embarks on a mission to avenge his father’s death and infiltrates the Confederate Bushwacker posse looking for the man responsible, Jesse Woodson James. Accompanied by the woman of his dreams, Coytus soon finds himself temporarily appointed to be the sheriff of Booneville and commissions his less-than-loyal deputy to help him carry out his plan.
But when tragedy strikes, the Captain is forced to change his immature ways and redefine his lofty mission—more or less."
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Genre - Humor, Historical Fiction
Rating – R
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