Saturday, September 20, 2014

Pre-release sale!


Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Festival this Thursday!


Monday, September 15, 2014

Fall Book & Author Festival slated for Thursday

ADA – Ada Writers Second Annual Fall Book and Author Festival will be Thursday, Sept. 18, 4:30-6:30 p.m. hosted by Karen’s Art and Farming, 108 East Main. The festival will feature books by local authors and “Creations 2014,” the latest anthology by Ada Writers.

“This is our chance to show our appreciation for the support we’ve received from Ada and the surrounding area,” said Stephen B. Bagley, Ada Writers president. “We will have a limited number of signed copies of ‘Creations 2014’ available.”

The anthology features short stories, poems, memoirs, and more by members of Ada Writers, including Kelley Benson, Eric Collier, Stacey Foster, Gail Henderson, Mel Hutt, Sterling Jacobs, Ken Lewis, Rick Litchfield, Don Perry, Martha Rhynes, James Sanders, Anna Tynsky, Joanne Verbridge, Tim Wilson, Tom Yarbrough, and Loretta Yin. Unsigned copies are available for purchase on Lulu, Amazon, and other online retailers.

“We will also be featuring books from our members,” Bagley said. Among the books offered will be “Floozy & Other Stories,” “Tales from Bethlehem,” “Murder by Dewey Decimal,” and “Murder by the Acre” by Stephen B. Bagley; “On Target: Devotions for Modern Life” by Kelley Benson; “Montana Sunshine” by Arlee Fairbanks; “Red Bird Woman” by Gail Henderson; “Devoted to Creating” by Jen Nipps; “The War Bride,” “Secret of the Pack Rat’s Nest,” “Jack London,” and “How to Write Scary Stories” by Martha Rhynes; and “Tree Stand Scribbles” and “Treasures of the Kingdom” by Tom Yarbrough. “The books range from mysteries to romance to biography to inspirational and more,” said Bagley.

Several members of Ada Writers will read from the various Creations anthologies, and original music will be provided by member Anna Tynsky. “We will have refreshments, of course, and plenty of good conversations about books and writing, and a few surprises,” Bagley said.

Ada Writers has been helping local authors with their writing goals for more than 25 years. The group meets the second and fourth Saturday of each month in the upstairs meeting room at the Ada Public Library at 11 a.m. Meeting times may be changed to accommodate holidays and bad weather. The meetings feature writing programs and tips aimed at beginners, professionals, and all those in between. For more information about Ada Writers, visit their website at www.adawriters.blogspot.com.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

First paragraphs from Blackbirds First Flight

Heir to the Warrior Queen
By Wendy Blanton
I gripped the sword hilt in the pre-dawn gloom as I stood watch overlooking the sleeping village of Londinium. It wasn’t much of a village from what I had been able to see. Small, unprotected. Why would the Romans leave their trade center unprotected?
         A small scraping sound preceded warmth on my shoulders. My mother fastened the cloak under my chin and wrapped her arms around my shoulders. Her touch was the only one I could bear.
         "What are you still doing with that Roman sword, Scotta?"
         "I am going to kill Romans with it."

Robbing the House of Roche
By Kent Bass
He moved quickly through the crowded Parisian streets, keeping his head down, careful not to make eye contact with anyone, not to go any place familiar, not to give anyone a chance to recognize him. He knew he had to get out of the city and fast. He had hidden for two days and waited until tonight to come out. He had to be gone before the night ended.
         Etienne had always lived on the edge of society but always on the safe side of that edge. He never did anything that would draw attention to himself. He worked odd jobs and committed the occasional petty theft, but nothing serious.

Rage
By Gail Henderson
Nine o’clock.
         The book that had fascinated her at eight lay across her lap, face down, her hands rigid on its spine. Dark rage welled up inside her, filled her, and leaked out into the room, replacing wall-to-wall emptiness. With clenched teeth, she turned the book toward her face; her eyes straining to bring the words into focus, reading and re-reading the same paragraph, until, abruptly, she switched off the lamp next to her chair, placed the book on the end table, rose, and walked through the rage-dark room into the kitchen.
         She touched the light switch, illuminating a pan of cornbread and a pot roast cooling quietly on the stove and a few dirty dishes in the sink. Rage shrank back from her habit of orderliness. Rinsing out pans, wiping off counter tops already shiny dissipated her dark energy into apprehension. Nine o’clock was not so late. There might have been problems. Maybe a flat tire. He might not be able to call and tell her he was going to be late.
         What if there had been an accident?

Quin
By Jean Schara
Francois’s hand had been poised to open the door to his new employer when it opened, revealing a courtly gentleman decidedly out of place in this rundown industrial district.
         “Mr. Bergeron, I presume?” the man asked.
         “Yes. Please call me Francois.” He offered his hand for a hand-shake, hoping the gentleman would introduce himself, because he did not like being at a disadvantage.
         The man took his hand, guiding him into the building before releasing his grip and shutting the door behind them.

Grave Matters
By Stephen B. Bagley
The dead man on the blood-drenched bed had clearly seen better days. Justina Grave slowly approached the body. His heart had been cut out of his chest. Crow and raven feathers were scattered around the room along with other spell materials.
         “Charming,” she muttered. Her Nethersenses probed for signs of magic. She found many. Dark tendrils of energy hovered in the area, visible to any Mage. Something had fed on the victim’s life force and used that energy to power a spell.

Endorphins
By Tamara Siler Jones
Edyth stood in the shower, hot water thrumming on her aching head, the heat refusing to soothe her tortured soul. “I just can’t do this anymore,” she sighed through the steam. She scrubbed herself with a complete lack of enthusiasm, refusing to acknowledge her loose sagging stomach, her wide cellulite-dimpled thighs, jiggly arms, or her soft, jowly face. Still sighing, she finished her shower and turned off the heat.
          As Edyth toweled off, she told herself not to look in the mirror, but she sought out her shame anyway. She stared at her reflection, at the droops and rolls on the stranger staring back at her. The hideous person she had become gawked back, sickened disbelief carved into the fat. How did this happen? she asked herself. How did I become so ugly, so utterly repugnant? But maybe, just maybe, I’ve found a solution. Maybe my luck is about to change.

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

An Unattended Death, Part Two

An Unattended Death, Part Two
By Stephen B. Bagley

I didn’t know Aaron Brody or his family so my involvement in his death should have ended there. They didn’t know me from Adam so it was a strange twist that I attended Aaron’s funeral.

Not that I really wanted to, but our sales manager, showing that compassion that made us call him Hitler behind his back, decided that the entire sales staff of the radio station should go. His reasoning: lots of our customers would be there so we should be in case any of them needed to discuss their advertising. No, I am not making that up.

Thus, I found myself in a car with three other salespeople. We enjoyed ourselves on the way to the funeral, comparing our sales manager to various animals. (He drove his BMW to the funeral.) The other three championed a skunk, but I happen to think skunks are fine animals, perhaps a little smelly, but they didn’t deserve to have our sales manager lumped with them.
Hundreds of people turned out for the funeral. Leon Brody was well known and well liked. I saw Simon Williams and several of my other clients. None of them, strangely enough, approached us to discuss advertising, a fact that Charlie, our morning DJ and afternoon salesperson, said he was going to make sure our manager knew.

Dozens of flower bouquets lined the front of the church. I counted at least a hundred different sprays. The florists in town were making money. I wondered if they gave a special discount on funerals ... And would it be too tacky to advertise it if they did? How could you word the radio spot so that it didn’t sound ghoulish and macabre? It’s an absolute joy to live inside my head sometimes.

“Wow,” Charlie breathed.

I looked and saw a young woman in an extremely short black dress walk by. Her hair was that bright blond that only comes from a bottle, and she was thin to the point of starvation. All in all, a hottie by the current accepted definition. (I, however, prefer women that don’t look like they would need anchors in a strong breeze.)

She sauntered down the aisle and sat in the pew reserved for family. After a few moments, one of the attendants hurried down the aisle to her, and there was a sharp whispered conversation. I couldn’t hear what was being said, other than a few words from the woman, and they weren’t words you’d want to repeat to your mama, depending on who your mama is, of course.

She got up, pushed past the attendant, and strode toward the door. She paused, then turned and looked at all of us already seated, and loudly said, “Take a picture. It’ll last longer.” With a contemptuous flip of her hair, she exited, leaving a lot of scandalized conversation behind her.

“Who was that?” Charlie asked, his eyes bright with excitement.

The lady in front of us turned and whispered, “His girlfriend.”

Charlie leaned forward, and he and the lady (using that term loosely) exchanged a few minutes of gossip. To hit the low points: the girlfriend’s name was Marlene Postwain, she was thought to have started Aaron on drugs, she had been arrested several times but let off because her uncle was a state senator, Aaron’s mother Margaret hated her, and all in all, she was basically naughty. Charlie and the woman had a good time. Nothing like gossip to liven a funeral.

A few minutes later, the family entered. Leon Brody looked terrible. He walked as if he would fall at any moment. Several friends hung close to him, but I never saw him let them help him. His haggard face would haunt me later. His wife Margaret was wearing a hat with a black veil, the only time I had ever seen that except on TV. About two dozen other people made up the rest of the family. I recognized a couple of them from events around town.

The funeral was fairly short. A prayer, a couple songs, the eulogy, another prayer, and it was over. Aaron didn’t leave people with much to say about him. As I stood in line to view the body, I wondered how he had managed to mess up his life so badly.

Aaron looked young and small in the coffin in a suit that seemed oversized. I turned and hurried out of the church.

Outside, the other radio station people and I stood around, waiting for the parking lot to thin out. Our car was blocked in. A lot of people were in the same situation so little knots of people talked and laughed. While the mood was somewhat somber, most seemed to treat it as an occasion to catch up with friends. Isn’t it strange that people can treat funerals like social events? Perhaps it is a comfort of some sort to renew our friendships, catch up on family news.

Charlie told our sales manager that we hadn’t sold any commercials. Our manager said, “I didn’t say we would. I said we had to be prepared to sell some.”

“We’re just like the Red Cross of the advertising industry,” Charlie deadpanned.

Our manager nodded as if that made perfect sense. His car was free so he left.

The family finally came out of the church. Margaret Brody stumbled on the steps, and Leon reached out to steady her. She jerked away from him and made her way to the car. He stood there for a moment in the harsh sunlight, looking at the crowd. For a weird moment, it seemed like our eyes met, and then I realized he was looking beyond me. I turned. A police car was parked across the street under a tree, Police Lieutenant Ron Sims leaning against the car. I looked back at Leon. He entered the family car. People formed the procession, turned on their headlights, and headed for the graveside service.

I knew Ron. He came to the station once a month to record public safety messages for the police department’s drug prevention program for kids. I had helped write a couple of spots for him and set him up in the recording studio. I started to go over to him, but he got into his car and left. He didn’t join the procession, instead turned and followed a little red car that had been parked on the other side of the parking lot. I stood there for a moment, shrugged, and went to our car.

That was that. Or it should have been. But not even two weeks later, I would be in the woods where Aaron was found, looking for clues like a real world version of Scooby-Doo and the gang, facing a gun.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Book blurb!

Here's the book blurb for Blackbirds First Flight:

An unhappy wife can’t decide what to do about her boorish husband until an uneaten meal gives her a dark idea...
Something is raising zombies in Tulsa, and Justina Grave is the only one who can stop it...
When a fat farm promises to make Edyth thin again, her dream comes true. She will never be fat again—or safe...
Hopping a freight train can be a cheap way to travel. Unless you pick the wrong boxcar...
One kiss gives Francois immortality, but at a cost he doesn't see coming...
A woman warrior must choose her fate as the Romans ravage her land...
Stalked by terrible creatures seeking vengeance, a band of robbers runs for their lives in medieval France...

This anthology will lead you into dark, twisted places filled with mystery and delight. Enjoy thrilling stories and chilling poems by authors Stephen B. Bagley, Kent Bass, Wendy Blanton, Gail Henderson, Tamara Siler Jones, and Jean Schara.

It goes on sale October 1st! Watch for it!

Monday, September 01, 2014

Coming October 1!