This weekend, many of us will be getting together with family and friends, proudly waving the red, white, and blue, grilling hotdogs (or steaks, if you’re a politician and the huge jump in food prices doesn’t affect you), and setting off fireworks to scare all the dogs in the neighborhood. All in the name of Independence from the King of England hundreds of years ago. Our tea prices may have dropped temporarily, but sadly, they’ve returned to pre-dictator pricing. Along with everything else.
As an indie author, I feel your pain. Sure, I’m free from the tyranny (contract) of a big publishing house, but I’m also personally responsible for every aspect of putting my book together. I have independence from a deadline but sometimes thoughts of others taking care of the cover, the editing, the publicity, etc, makes me long for simpler times when all I had to do was spend half my life sending out query letters and waiting. I never got any books published in all those months and years I waited but at least I didn’t have to do my own promotions, right?
Which reminds me…
Independence Day shopping may be a bit tighter this year, but don’t worry. I would never let you spend your holiday weekend without a good book. Do I have the deal for you!
Now 40% off thru July 4th!
A Man Can Die but Once (reg.
4.99 now $2.99)
This is the 5th book in Blake & Shelby Gunner’s Double Barrel Mysteries series. Check out the free sample below:
A man can die but once.
(Henry IV, Part 2, Act3)
Leaning over the body of the mayor, he pressed two fingers to the man’s thick neck, searching for the carotid pulse. Faint but still detectable. Suddenly, he felt the man grip the ragged edge of his untucked shirt and tug him closer as though trying to say something. Eyes wide and staring, the mayor’s blue lips moved faintly, but only a mewling whimper sounded from the depths of his chest. Instinctively, he jerked away from the moist breath of vomit and death that accosted him, and the mayor’s white-knuckle grip was broken. The mayor fell back, pulling his arm in close to his body and appeared to curl around his pain, then he exhaled one last time and was gone.
Slowly, he straightened, standing tall over the mayor’s body, his stance relaxed. Purposefully at ease. Closing his eyes, he allowed his adrenaline-laced heartbeat to slow and his breathing to return to normal. No matter how many times he’d watched men die, he still felt a weight of darkness envelope his soul. A feeling he had to fight with every breath in his body. Exactly sixty seconds later, he opened his eyes and stared down on the ashen-faced man crumpled at his feet.
Everyone talked about this man. Locals either hated him or despised him. Some thought he was a necessary evil. A nasty, pushy politician could get things done for the town that nice people could not. But he’d never run across anyone who loved and respected him.
The great Farley Jones. The man who would be king… or at least, mayor of Port Scuttlebutt. He used people. Connived. Pressured. Even blackmailed them into doing his dirty work or going along with him in some unsavory deal or another. He’d heard the tales, but until recently, he’d never had the opportunity to see the man at work in person.
He had no real stake in the welfare of Port Scuttlebutt. Didn’t care whether Farley Jones ran things like a Detroit gangster or was more of a Saint Francis of Assisi, communing with birds and saving pine trees.
Farley’s mistake today was purely subjective.
The Mayor of Port Scuttlebutt had made a choice. He chose poorly. He never should have tried to hurt a woman on a mission. Like PETA zealots who write meat is murder on a butcher’s shop, to save-the-trees groups who chain themselves to bulldozers, or nuts who release thousands of minks from farms to starve to death or be eaten by foxes, people on a mission were the scariest people in the world to deal with logically. To them, the end always justified the means. Even if it didn’t turn out quite the way they planned. Much like war.
Stepping back, he carefully looked over the scene, imprinting it on his memory for possible future posterity.
Blood seeped from a wound on the back of the mayor’s head, glistening wet and dark. The fancy overcoat and loose-legged suit pants did nothing to hide the effects of a man accustomed to overindulgence and lack of exercise; a thickened waistline, fleshy jowls and neck, and overall poor muscle tone. He rested on his side where he’d fallen, one arm beneath him, the other extended across the floor, pudgy sausage fingers splayed out like a fan as though trying to grasp the baseball bat that lay just out of his reach.
Bending, he picked up the bat, twirling it in his gloved hands. There was a splotch of blood on one side. He wiped it clean on the leg of his black sweatpants, admired the scrawled signature, and then carefully placed it back on display above the fireplace with the other baseball memorabilia.
A piece of paper peeked out the pocket of the dead man’s overcoat. He squatted beside him and slipped it out, pressing it open flat on the knotty pine floor. A to-do list. He smirked. Apparently, the man’s mama was every bit in charge of the world and everyone in it as the rumor mill suggested. Even her son, the mayor, had to submit to her authority.
He started to rise, but the last item on the list caught his eye. He read the words and expelled the breath of a laugh. Not surprising, all the errands had been crossed off except this one. A smile stretched across his face, and he rifled through the man’s pockets for a pen. Finding one, he leaned over the paper. There. Farley’s last day was complete.
I hope you were intrigued by this opening scene. Pick up your own copy of A MAN CAN DIE BUT ONCE at any online store. Don’t wait! This deal will only last through the 4th!
Leave a comment and share a memory from one of your special 4th of July celebrations, tell us what independence means to you (are you glad we’re free from driving on the wrong side of the road and calling chips crisps?), or, let me know if you are a fan of Blake and Shelby and the Double Barrel Mysteries.
Happy Independence Day!
Barbara is the author of The Fredrickson Winery Novels, The Second Chances Series, The Amish Bloodsuckers series, and The Double Barrel Mysteries. She lives in Minnesota during the spring, summer and fall, and endures the winter by pretending she owns Robin Masters’ estate in Oahu and Thomas Magnum is her personal security guard.