Friday, 19 July 2019

Tribute: Kevin Killian



Kevin Killian 1952 - 2019

It was a massive shock last month to learn that my good friend Kevin Killian had died after a long illness. Understandably, a lot of people took to social media to share their stories of Kevin and the impact he’d made on their lives and careers. While I wanted to write a tribute to Kevin, it was too soon. The news of his death, just a few weeks after the passing of another good friend was too raw. In a lot of ways, it still is but I’d like to share some of the memories I have of Kevin.
Kevin Killian was a novelist, poet, teacher, artist, photographer, playwright, editor: a truly creative spirit. He lived in San Francisco where he was an influential figure in the art and theatre scene. Kevin wrote four semi-autobiographical novels and numerous short story and poetry collections. Just last year his memoirs were collected in a single volume called Fascination, published by MIT Press. But despite all his own vast achievements, he was generous supporter of other writers and artists.
I first heard from Kevin late in 2000. I was a prolific writer of erotic fiction at the time, having established the pen name Thom Wolf writing for numerous gay magazines through the 1990s. Following the publication of my first novel Words Made Flesh (Virgin Books), Kevin sent a long email praising the book. His analysis of my dirty novel went deep. He saw things in the narrative and language I wasn’t aware of myself, at least not consciously. He read and understood the book in ways I didn’t. From that first letter, Kevin became my unofficial literary mentor.
While I wasn’t ashamed of my erotic writing, I didn’t go around bragging about it either. But Kevin made me realised that erotic fiction, or porn as he preferred to call it, should be celebrated. He encouraged me to keep writing and try new things. Kevin was a hugely experimental writer, and I was thrilled when he asked if I would collaborate on a story with him. Writing had always been a solitary experience for me and I had no idea how we would go about writing together, especially as we were divided by the Atlantic Ocean. But there were no obstacles to Kevin’s creativity. We each created our own characters and threw them together in a story to see what happened. I asked if I could go first, figuring I would write something and then turn it over to Kevin to do whatever he wanted with it. As he had experience of working with other writers, this seemed like the safest way forward. As we were both huge Kylie Minogue fans we called our story Too Far, named after the opening track on her 1998 album Impossible Princess. Kevin included Too Far in his short story collection, also called Impossible Princess (City Lights Publishers). That’s the kind of generous and supportive guy he was.

Kevin would often include himself as a character within his novels and stories, blurring the lines of reality and fiction. This is something he encouraged in my own writing, and I used Kevin Killian as a character in several of my stories, always with his approval. I think he got a kick from being featured in my porn work. He certainly gave plenty of encouragement. In 2012 when I wanted to self-publish a collection of erotic stories, Kevin volunteered to edit the book, completely unpaid. Another example of his huge generosity. I returned the favour by posing naked for his on-going photography project Tagged, which has been exhibited several times and he also used my photo when he collected several of the images for a limited-edition print run. The sheer number of novelists, poets and artists that he persuaded to stripped off for Tagged is testament of how much he was admired by his peers.
 Kevin was fearless. Inspirational. One of kind. There will never be another like him and I'm honoured to have been part of his life and career. The man may be gone but his work will endure. If you haven’t discovered him already, what are you waiting for.

Wikipedia: Kevin Killian

Tuesday, 16 July 2019

Teaser Tuesday: Kill Switch by S.W Vaughn


 photo Kill_Switch_Vaughn_zps8vlpqgny.jpg

Psychological Crime Thriller
Date Published: July 26, 2019 (preorder available now at 99 cents)

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

Marco Lumachi is a professional hitman. His name is not Donovan North, and he’s not a detective transferring from New York City to Landstaff Junction, Vermont. But the whole town thinks he is, and if he wants to stay alive, he needs them to keep believing that.

Because the real Donovan North — who happens to look a lot like Marco — was gunned down on the way to his new job, by a rival mob family who thinks they killed the hitman.

Forced to work on the right side of the law, Marco finds himself hunting down a serial killer who’s brutally murdered two women already. Worse, his new “partner” is beautiful, dedicated, and not buying a word of his cover story.

But the man he’s impersonating kept secrets of his own, and what Detective North was hiding could prove deadly … for Marco, and for the innocent women that the killer is still targeting.



Excerpt

Prologue


New Heights Juvenile Detention Center — Bronx, NY

Seventeen years ago

I was out in the yard after another pathetic excuse for dinner, checking around to see if anyone had gotten a care package from home so I could muscle in on them and get something decent to eat, when I spotted the new guy over by the outside fence. And I couldn’t look away.

There must’ve been a hell of an expression on my face, because Jake Paladino came over and elbowed me, even though I’d punched him for less in the past. “Did you see a ghost, or what?” he wheedled, and then flinched away, clearly remembering too late that I didn’t appreciate being jabbed.

I let it go this time, though. I was too fascinated to be angry.

“Over there,” I told him with a bare nod toward the fence.

Jake followed my gesture, and the perfect bug-eyed jaw-drop that formed on his face almost made me laugh. He looked like a real-life cartoon. Wile E. Coyote, watching the rocket he’d just fired at the Road Runner bounce off a cliff and head back at him full speed.

“You got a brother I don’t know about?” Jake finally blurted.

I shook my head, my gaze not leaving the newcomer. Apparently it was true what they said: everybody has a lookalike somewhere in the world. And here was mine. The new guy was a mirror, a twin, a clone of me.

My doppelganger.

Jake shook off the shock first and started bouncing on the balls of his feet, a lunatic grin on his unfortunate face. The scrawny, twitchy kid who’d followed me around like a stray dog since the day I got locked up in this crap place claimed to be the son of a mobster, and swore he was going to introduce me to his father and bring me into the “family business” when we got out of here. But I only had a week left on my sentence, and Jake had six months on his. Plus, he was probably lying about his mob connections.

I was considering it, though. If nothing better came along before Jake got out of here, maybe I’d give the little weasel a chance to make good on his claims. Considering my talents, the mob might be a decent fit for my future.

Not that any of us in New Heights could have a real future. They called it a youth center, but it was really just a prison with brighter colors — and everybody knew that ex-cons were screwed. Even if they were just kids when they went in.

Nobody who came out of this place would ever be considered a child again.

“Jesus, look at him. Holy shit.” Jake giggled and almost nudged me again, but then he thought better of it at the last minute. “I bet he’s about to piss his pants over there. Hey, let’s fuck with him.” The jagged grin spread. “You know what? You could do anything, even in front of the security cameras, and just blame it on that guy. We should burn this place down or something. Oh, wait, how about we kill a guard?”

“No,” I said sharply. Sometimes Jake had to be corrected like a dog, and it was all I could do not to rub his nose in his own shit. “Leave him alone, for now.”

The new guy — my doppelganger — did look unsettled. But unlike Jake, I didn’t believe he was scared. Reserved, maybe. Hanging back, getting the lay of the land. His posture was guarded and self-protective, as if he was expecting some kind of abuse, and that could’ve been interpreted as fear. But I sensed something dark in him.

Or maybe I was only projecting my own darkness onto the spitting image of myself.

Jake lost interest in the other kid fast once I rebuked him. His face only fell for a few seconds, and then his smile bounced back. “Vince and them are trying to crowd the hoop again,” he said, pointing over at the rundown basketball half-court in the far corner of the yard, where four or five of the younger boys had begun a half-hearted game of Horse. “Want to scare them off?”

“Nah. I’m hungry,” I told him. “Go find somebody with a care package. I want good shit, nothing generic or homemade.”

Always happy to serve, Jake nodded vigorously and scuttled off. I watched him absently for a few seconds before I returned my attention to the new guy.

This time, my doppelganger was looking back. And there was no fear in him at all.

There was nothing in him.

It really was like looking in a mirror.




About the Author

 photo SWV_authorphoto_zpsgw7kithf.jpg
S.W. Vaughn lives in “scenic” Central New York, with its two glorious seasons -- winter and road construction -- along with her husband and son. An award-winning author, copywriter, and blogger, she's been writing professionally for over 15 years.

Under Sonya Bateman, she is the author of the DeathSpeaker Codex series (urban fantasy) and the Gavyn Donatti series (urban fantasy / Simon & Schuster).


Contact Links




Purchase Links






a Rafflecopter giveaway

RABT Book Tours & PR

Tuesday, 2 July 2019



 photo Slaved_zps0e2vuqq9.jpg
Last Chance Series, Book 2
Erotic Romance, Romantic Suspense
Published: June 2019


 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

"I could feel her heartbeat

even though we were miles away"



Rescued from the only life she had ever known, Alannah Jackson learns what it means to be loved and not controlled. Finally able to let go of her past she begins a new life with the man who has shown her what love is. Faced with the truth, Alannah finds she can never escape her past or who she is. She will never love, only serve.



Roman’s love for Alannah is tested when he finds that she has been slaved by a man just as ruthless as Winston Nelson. Against his better judgment, he accepts Martin Holland’s offer to help retrain Alannah and he begins to question the love they shared.  After Martin Holland makes it clear of his intentions, Roman stops at nothing to get her back. There is no room for another man in her life.



Contains adult content 18+


About the author:

 photo Slaved Author A.L. Long_zpsf3na1yvr.jpg
Award-winning Author of the Independent Press Award and NYC Big Book Award. A.L. Long is also the recipient of the National Indie Excellence Award.

My love for writing began several years ago after an early retirement from a demanding job that I loved, but also hated because it consumed so much of my time. Now, I am able to focus my time on what I love. Writing romance has been a life long dream and to actually say that I am a published author is beyond what I would have ever expected.

Even though some may say I have a little naughtiness in my books, I look at it as an added bonus for my readers. After all what is a romance book without a little spice.

When I am not writing, I enjoy spending time with friends either at home or out on the town. Mostly, I enjoy a relaxing night at home where I can enjoy a glass of wine in the company of a good book.



Contact Links

Website  


Purchase Link

Amazon  


RABT Book Tours & PR

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Out Now—Fluffy by Julia Kent (@jkentauthor) #romance #romcom









FLUFFY

Author: Julia Kent

Release date:  April 30, 2019

Genre: Romantic Comedy, Contemporary Romance

Cover Designer:  Hang Le

Editor: Elisa Reed

Audiobook narrator: Erin Mallon



Description:



An all-new STANDALONE from New York Times bestselling author Julia Kent 

It all started with the wrong Help Wanted ad. Of course it did. 

I’m a professional fluffer. It’s NOT what you think. I stage homes for a living. Real estate agents love me, and my work stands on its own merits. 

Sigh. Get your mind out of the gutter. Go ahead. Laugh. I’ll wait. 

See? That’s the problem. My career has used the term “fluffer” for decades. I didn’t even know there was a more… lascivious definition of the term. 

Until it was too late. 

The ad for a “professional fluffer” on Craigslist seemed like divine intervention. My last unemployment check was in the bank. I was desperate. Rent was due. The ad said cash paid at the end of the day.  

The perfect job! 

Staging homes means showing your best angle. The same principle applies in making a certain kind of movie. Turns out a “fluffer” doesn’t arrange decorative pillows on a couch. 

They arrange other soft, round-ish objects. 

The job isn’t hard. Er, I mean, it is — it’s about being hard. Or, well… helping other people to be hard.

 Oh, man…

 And that’s the other problem. A man. No, not one of the stars on the movie set. Will Lotham – my high school crush. The owner of the house where we’re filming. Illegally. In a vacation rental.

By the time the cops show up, what I thought was just a great house staging gig turned into a nightmare involving pictures of me with an undressed naked star, Will rescuing me from an arrest, and a humiliating lesson in my own naivete.

My job turned out to be so much harder than I expected. But you know what’s easier than I ever imagined?

 Having all my dreams come true.



Buy links:










Google Play: http://bit.ly/2COKLmQ









Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2TjDjqS   


 


Excerpt:





You're changing the subject.”



How do you know that’s what I’m doing?”



Because you have this thing you do when you get nervous. You did it in high school and you're doing it now.”



What’s that?”



You start cracking your knuckles. One by one.”



He halts mid-crack on his ring finger. His bare ring finger.



Will looks down. A slow smile pulls at his lips. “You’re right. I do.” Our eyes meet. “How did you know?”



I sat behind you in nearly every honors class, Will. I’ve watched you answer countless questions from teachers. And every time you didn’t know the answer, you cracked your knuckles. One”–I crack my index finger–“by”–I crack my middle finger–“one.” My ring finger won’t snap.



He waits.



You spent a lot of time paying attention to me, Mallory.”



I sat behind you. It’s not like I could stare at your ass all day. I had to have something else to look at.”



You stared at my ass?”



It was two feet in front of me! Four classes a day!” I start to sweat. The memory of him in football uniform pants. Oh, sweet ice cream fairy, deliver me from evil.



You okay? You look,” he says, stepping closer, “a little disturbed.”



I’m fine.”



Hot, even.” The rise and fall of his chest pauses after those words, as if he's holding his breath, too.





Author Bio:



New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge. From billionaires to BBWs to new adult rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every contemporary romance she writes. Unlike Shannon from Shopping for a Billionaire, she did not meet her husband after dropping her phone in a men's room toilet (and he isn't a billionaire). She lives in New England with her husband and three sons in a household where the toilet seat is never, ever, down



Social Media Links:






Newsletter:  http://bit.ly/2PIBi9n







Release blitz organized by Writer Marketing Services.




 




Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Crossing the Line by Carla Swafford


 photo Crossing the Line_zpstjwzafwd.jpg
An Atlanta Edge Hockey Novel
Sports Romance
Published: March 2019

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

Atlanta Edge's hottest Russian hockey star made a big mistake. Now he must find a way to apologize big time to the girl he left behind in the States.

I've been a puck bunny most of my life. So when Roman Volkov, up and coming hockey star with the Atlanta Edge, takes me home and treats me like a queen, I believe I've found the man I can love. Then one morning, I wake to the news that Roman has left me behind while he plays in Russia. His agent takes pleasure in kicking me out of Roman's house. I don't believe anything the sleazy man says. Roman is good to me. No way will he treat me like this. So I go in search for the truth and I discover so much more.

I'm suffocating on the third line when the season ends. So when I get a call from Russia in the middle of the night to participate in a high-profile tournament, I go for it. I'm certain a gold medal will launch me into the top line with my team back in the States. No sooner than I arrive, I call Kitty Summerville to explain why I left without waking her. She's not answering. Has my ambition destroyed any chance of a future with her? When I return, my sexy kitten and I will have a long conversation.

Only, I want to know why is she living with my Coach, and his wife and family?


About the Author

 photo Crossing the Line Author Carla Swafford_zpsp2a0vndn.jpg
Carla Swafford loves romance novels, action/adventure movies, and men, and her books reflect that. And that’s not all, she’s crazy about hockey, and thankfully, no one has made her turn in her Southern Belle card. She’s married to her high school sweetheart and lives in Alabama.



Contact Links



Purchase Links


RABT Book Tours & PR

Monday, 15 April 2019

Release Blitz: Vicious by L.J Shen


 photo Vicious_zpsgxnmooak.jpg
Sinners of Saint, Book One
Contemporary Romance

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

Emilia

They say love and hate are the same feelings experienced under different circumstances, and it’s true.

The man who comes to me in my dreams also haunts me in my nightmares.

He is a brilliant lawyer.

A skilled criminal.

A beautiful liar.

A bully and a savior, a monster and a lover.

Ten years ago, he made me run away from the small town where we lived. Now, he came for me in New York, and he isn’t leaving until he takes me with him.


Vicious

She is a starving artist.

Pretty and evasive like cherry blossom.

Ten years ago, she barged into my life unannounced and turned everything upside down.

She paid the price.

Emilia LeBlanc is completely off-limits, my best friend’s ex-girlfriend. The woman who knows my darkest secret, and the daughter of the cheap Help we hired to take care of our estate.

That should deter me from chasing her, but it doesn’t.

So she hates me. Big fucking deal.

She better get used to me.



Vicious a complete standalone and a part of the Sinners of Saint series


Other Books in The Sinners Of Saint Contemporary Romance Series:



 photo Vicious Sinners of Saint Series_zpstpxkhop7.jpg

Defy

Sinners of Saint, Book Two

ISBN: 978-0996135672



Ruckus

Sinners of Saint. Book Three

ISBN: 978-1546904465



Scandalous

Sinners of Saint, Book Four

ISBN: 978-1977569189



Bane

Sinners of Saint, Book 5

ISBN: 978-1717110985



About the Author


 photo Vicious Author L.J. Shen_zpsotiogvim.jpg
LJ Shen is a USA Today and Washington Post bestselling author of over ten books. She lives in California with her husband, son, and cat.




Contact Links



Purchase Links

RABT Book Tours & PR

Saturday, 13 April 2019

Release Blitz: Tick Copper by John Vance



 photo Tick Cooper_zpsr2lyb1xn.jpg
YA & Adult Historical Fiction
Publisher: Black Opal Books

 photo add-to-goodreads-button_zpsc7b3c634.png

“I swear by everything I ever owned that my adventure will be the honest truth—even if I had to tell a few lies along the way to get to the meaning of that truth.” So promises Tick Cooper, a twelve year old Ohio boy who’s about to accompany his Uncle Ned down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans. It’s the autumn of 1860, right before the election that will send Abraham Lincoln to the White House. With his mother deceased and his father having deserted him for the chance of gold in California, Tick has been most fortunate to receive the care and love of his father’s older brother and his wife—Aunt Clara. Although she has recently passed away, she and Uncle Ned have educated the boy about living a good and proper life. But Tick hasn’t had much of a chance to put what he’s learned into practice—nor to face the moral challenges every young person will face as he or she grows up. But the river journey will provide plenty of those experiences and tests of character. Yet, reaching New Orleans does not conclude the lessons and challenges, for there Tick witnesses a slave auction, and on the block is a thirteen-year-old freed black girl named Clarissa, whom Tick had briefly met in Ohio. Now Tick faces his most significant challenge. Can he help get Clarissa back to Ohio all the way from New Orleans?




 photo Tick Cooper Blitz_zpsleh02egm.jpg



Excerpt



There I was jumping from the top of one tree to another. It wasn’t exactly as if I was flying, because I had to land on the top branch of each tree, but it sure felt like flying. Geese were following me and honking away like they were trying to warn me about something. But when I decided to forget about the tree tops and just fly, I fell hard to the ground thirty feet below and started rolling down the side of a hill while I was hiding my face in a pillow. I kept feeling the feathers from the goose down pillow sticking out and poking my cheeks and the side of my neck. Try as I might, I couldn’t pull that pillow off my face and it got to be stained with the blood coming out of me. But I kept rolling and rolling until I was stopped by something firm but soft. But by the time I finally pulled the pillow away from my face to see what or who had stopped me, I woke up and I never found out. That happens to me in dreams a lot. Wish it didn’t, though. What woke me up was my Uncle Ned telling me it was time to leave our house and get on the train to Cincinnati where we would get aboard the steamboat the St. Paul and head down to New Orleans. I was about to leave on the greatest adventure of my life. I swear by everything I ever owned that it will be the honest truth—even if I had to tell a few lies along the way to get to the meaning of that truth. Uncle Ned shouted from the front porch of our house in Oxford, Ohio, “Time to catch the train, Tick.” That’s my name—Tick—Tick Cooper. Or what they’ve always called me anyways. Uncle Ned said I’d always remember this day as long as I lived, but I still wrote it down when we got on the train in Hamilton so I’d be sure never to forget— “November the 1st, 1860.” We would ride some thirty-five miles to Cincinnati, the 2 largest city in the whole state. I’d a been on the train only once before—when the railway first opened, when I was six. But what gets a boy excited when he’s six and what gets him excited at twelve are quite different things—so this time I acted all grown up like I’d ridden the railroad every week. I didn’t jump around and bother Uncle Ned the way I did the first time. Even so, it was still pretty special chugging along in such high style. Nothing much happened on the train for the first twenty miles or so, but two more passengers got on and right afterward I heard some commotion going on in front of where we were sitting. “I say that’s my seat you’re sitting in. Get out of it now.” The man who said that was an elderly gent who looked like he had gotten into many tough scrapes in his life. He had long white hair and side whiskers, but what I grabbed my attention most was his scarred-up face. It looked like someone had dug trenches on his cheeks and above his right eye. And he seemed much bigger and stronger than men as old as he was. He was talking to a boy who looked younger than me—maybe nine or ten. The boy was in the seat by himself and was just too scared to say anything back. “You had better come up with a good reason why you took my seat or I’ll rip your nose right off your face, boy.” Because Uncle Ned had fallen asleep, it was up to me to do something. I just had to be sure that boy kept his nose on where it was, so I ran up to the man. “Excuse me, mister. My brother here is in the wrong seat. Come on, Ben. Your seat is back with us.” That boy almost flew out of the seat and headed to the back of the train car. “Excuse my brother, mister. He doesn’t hear well and sometimes I have to tell him things twice.” I turned and walked back to my seat, expecting that that white-haired old devil would 3 grab me and try to take my nose off. But he didn’t say or do anything. He just grunted and sat in the seat I guess he always sat in when he rode on that train. I found out that Ben’s real name was Peter Butler and that he was put on the train by his grandpap so he could take a steamboat from Cincinnati to Pittsburgh, where his mother, father, and baby sister had just settled in a house. I told him I’d look out for him until we reached Cincinnati, where his grandpap’s brother lived and would take him in for the night. We talked about the man with the scars on his face—I mean we talked softly so we wouldn’t wake Uncle Ned or let that old buzzard hear us. I told Peter that some folks believe they really own whatever they use often—cups, chairs, and such--and that it’s easy for someone big to get what they want from someone smaller, who can’t do anything about it. And if that big someone is also real ugly, it’s all the easier. When I told Peter my name, he wanted to know if I was born with it. I told him that when I was born my father named me John Polk Cooper, but those first two names never really suited me much. It was Aunt Clara who first called me “Tick” because when I was a baby I used to burrow into the blanket like a tick into a dog’s back. But the name really stuck when I started running around and hiding in bushes, old dead trees, and holes in the ground. I also like the sound of Tick Cooper better than John Cooper or John Polk Cooper any day of the week. One of my teachers said that Tick Cooper wasn’t as easy to pronounce as John or John Polk Cooper, because the first name ended with a “k” sound and the second name began with the same sound. But she was educated and I guess those things matter to those kinds of folks. Ben said that Polk was a funny name to be stuck with—and it was, but from what Uncle Ned told me I got my middle name because of the then president of the United States, James Polk, who they say kicked the Mexicans out of Texas and took it for the 4 United States. Uncle Ned said that my father thought Polk did the right thing, but from what Uncle Ned also told me, my father once shot a man in the leg who claimed that the twelve feet at the very back of my father’s land rightfully belonged to him. They say the man showed my father the papers, but my father shot him anyways, saying that it was the law that those who live on the land and cultivate it have all right to it. I guess old President Polk never heard of that law when he took Texas. So since I was born on March 3, 1848, I got stuck with a Polk between my first and last names. If I was born three years ago my name would have been John Buchanan Cooper, which was wore then the name I had. As Aunt Clara used to say, “Thank heaven for small favors.” When the train stopped in Cincinnati, we waited until the foul-looking man left the train car before we did. Uncle Ned woke up and finally met Peter, who thanked me for helping him and waited until he saw his grandpap’s brother before getting off the train. I wished he was going to New Orleans instead of Pittsburgh, because I knew I’d never see him again, but my Aunt Clara used to say that the older you get the more often folks would come in and then out of your life—sometimes on the very same day. Aunt Clara. I guess I forgot to say that she was Uncle Ned’s wife and was always like a mother to me, since my own mother died when I wasn’t yet two years old. I’m still very sad that Aunt Clara got real sick and died a few months back. The day before we left Oxford, we went to see her grave at the Old Yard Cemetery. Uncle Ned had been going there every week since she died, but he never made me go with him. I just did it on my own every few weeks or so, but it was more to be with Uncle Ned because I really wanted to go. Not that I’m afraid to visit the graves of all those dead people. I’ve been there after the sun went down with three of my friends and was the very last to run out of there, which won me the wool cap we found snagged on a tree limb the day before. 5 Anyway--at her grave, Uncle Ned told Aunt Clara that he’d be going away for a spell and he’d be thinking of her all the time. He also told her that he’d be taking me with him. She was so good to me—she really was. As soon as we got off the train, we heard a noise on the wooden platform—a kind of “ker-thump” every several second or so, so we looked around and saw a man who looked like he hadn’t shaved his whiskers in a hundred years limping along with a wooden crutch under his arm, which he dragged as he took a step with his good leg. Good leg? I should have said only leg! Uncle Ned reached in his pocket for a coin or two, which he liked to do whenever he saw someone who couldn’t walk or see too well. So I reached in mine and pulled out one of my two new Indian head pennies. My other one was back in my room at home, but I always carried one of them with me for good luck. But when I looked at the coin, I wanted to think that Uncle Ned’s contribution would be enough that the one-legged old soul wouldn’t hold it against me if I jammed my lucky coin back in my pocket. I sure didn’t want to be without luck on my grand adventure to New Orleans. But I didn’t think or act fast enough because the next thing I knew I had put my Indian head penny in the man’s hand. He closed his old fist around it, and I felt like I dropped my hunting rifle down a well. My stomach became as heavy as a cannon ball, and my throat felt as dry as if I had swallowed a campfire. Being charitable isn’t always “its own reward,” as Aunt Clara used to say. The poor man had only limped about ten feet away when two men in fancy clothes, with new top hats and walking sticks came up behind him and started laughing and pointing at his crutch. I guess these were men because they were dressed in all high fancy, but they acted like boys not much older than me. The one in the striped pants took his walking stick and swung it like he was chopping at a low limb and knocked the 6 crutch out from under the old man, who fell to the platform before I could take get close enough to break his fall. Those two dandified gents both burst out laughing as the old man let out one of them painful old man’s screeches, with a whistling sound—probably because he lacked some front teeth. The coins he had gotten from me, Uncle Ned, and some other kindly folks were scattered all over the platform. And then you know what those two popinjays did? They threw down several coins themselves! I couldn’t believe it. I guess they paid for the right to hurt the old man. Or maybe they did it to make sure their consciences wouldn’t bother them none. Uncle Ned told me once that some folks believe they can make up for their being cruel and thoughtless by giving money. And these two gents were nothing compared to what I’d see later on my adventure. But I’m running ahead of myself. When I went over to help up the old man, I saw my Indian head penny about six feet away, picking up the bright sunshine, which made it sparkle. When I got the crutch situated under the old man’s arm, I walked over and picked up the coin. I was afraid someone else would take it and use it to buy something useless. No. Now wait. That’s not all of it. I better come clean or this tale isn’t going to be worth you’re taking the time to read it if I don’t. To tell the honest truth, I picked up the coin mostly because I wanted to think more about his need for it, since four other folks gave the old man more money. I picked up my coin as the lame old man was walking away with the rest of the money that someone had picked up from the platform, along with the new coins just placed in his hand. I knew he wouldn’t miss my Indian head penny—not one bit--and seeing that it and the other penny back home were gifts from my Uncle Ned, I decided to put the penny back in my pocket. For about a second. I caught up with the old man and gave him my good-luck penny for a second time. Maybe I was wrong, but I just felt he needed the good luck 7 much more than I did. Then I heard Uncle Ned calling me, and that was the last I saw of my penny and the old man. But not the last I’d see of those two high-hatted, dandypants scoundrels who knocked the old man down.





About the Author

 photo Tick Cooper Author John Vance_zpsnkmizxpe.jpg
During his career as Professor of English at the University of Georgia, John Vance was the author of six books and numerous articles devoted to literary biography and criticism. He also began indulging his love of theater as actor, director, and playwright, with thirty-five of his plays staged. Now he has turned exclusively to fiction, and is the author of fourteen novels, including the humorous memoir Setting Sail for Golden Harbor and the recently BookBub featured In Mind of the Vampire. He lives in Athens, Georgia with his wife Susan.


Contact Links



Purchase Links

RABT Book Tours & PR