Tag Archives: Literary Fiction

Scott Free Blitz

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Literary Fiction
Date Published: June 2019
Publisher: Crimson Cloak Publishing
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Scott Free chronicles the life of a near thirty New York City filmmaker, ironically stuck working the concession stand at an upscale movie theater,, trying to negotiate his dead end relationships, too. He hops a “Greyhound $99 Special” en route to Hollywood, but in failing to reach the stars he lands on his knees, down and out in the San Francisco cleaning toilets and realizing that his life West resembles his life East as there’s really no escaping oneself.
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Excerpt
I started by speed-walking and then high-stepping into flat-out mad dashing. I knew that my increasing anger was irrational. If you leave twenty bucks and a crackhead in your room alone, ain’t the inevitable your fault?
I convinced myself that I could smell the coke cooking as I approached, and so I immediately pounded on his door. When he appeared with a huge, welcoming grin spread across his Buddha face, I went completely off and threw everything I had into his gut. Just that quick (kapow!), he shot back at me with a thick wad of pink, gooey and chunky vomit, which caused me to react as if I had actually been hit by a bullet. I dropped to the floor, flat on my butt, and felt my face and neck as if searching for the wound. I pored over his nasty insides stuck in between my fingers and looked at him as if he were one of those disgusting creatures from the Men in Black movies or, better yet, Star Wars’ Jabba the Hut.
After a few breaths to recover, he plopped down next to me on the
floor.
“Whatchudodatfor, Scotty Tissues?”
Flicking goo off the bridge of my nose, I turned to Darnell. “You really
don’t know why…?”
“No …?”
“My twenty …?”
Darnell suddenly grew excited. “You gotta twenty?”
“No, fool, you smoked it up, my last twenty!”
“Oh, dat! I thought you left it there for me …?”
Coming back to my senses, relatively speaking, I figured conversation was pointless, and so I resolved just to clean myself up. After I got to my feet, I pulled up Darnell and intended to follow him into his room, but before I could take a step, I caught a reckless blow right across the jaw, which caused me to stumble a little.
Justin! He stood there huffin and puffin with a horrified look on his
face, one of those punk-ass white dudes (a metrosexual) who’d never hit a man before and was thus shocked by the reality of it. Moreover, he noticed a sticky chunky on his hand and shook it as if it were a bug. He was scared of a bug!
I went all Darnell Crackheady on him: “Whatchudodatfor?”
“I told you to stop messin with her!”
Justin repeated himself two times, slobbering out the words. He was hysterical and fighting back tears. I was about to crack up laughing. I didn’t wanna say anything like “I’m not messin with her!” because I thought that would make it seem like I was punkin out and perhaps embolden him more and lead him to take another shot. (And, c’mon, dude had hit me with everything he had, and I was fighting back the giggles!) To avoid any further drama, I tossed him a bone.
“All right, man, I’ll stop messin with her.”
I turned and looked at Darnell, who had a comical look on his face.
Seeing him looking all funny and fat and crackheady, I just burst out laughing.
Justin gave me an odd look and then stamped off. He left, pouting.
After he was out of view, Darnell swept me off my feet with an
enormous bear hug, and then, switching from a cackling storybook witch, which he really was, to a game show host, he opened his door to present Kelli, passed out on his bed but sleeping peacefully. Next to her was a pipe, all black and shit.
Scott Free
About the Author
Nkosi Ife Bandele writes for periodicals, stage, TV, and film. His three novels, The Ape is Dead! (2016), The Beast (2017), and Scott Free (2019), are all published by Crimson Cloak Publishing. His outrageous short fiction, including Fuckity Fuck Fuck Fuck, Fuckity Fuck Fuck Fuck Part 2: Shit Shit Shit Shit Shit, and Itty Bitty Titty Committee, appear in Akashic Books’ Terrrible Twosdays series.
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Literary Fiction Date Published: June 2019 Publisher: Crimson Cloak Publishing Scott Free chronicles the life
The Girl In The Seaside Hotel Literary Fiction, Mystery Published: February 2019 Surf And Sand:
Literary Fiction, New Adult Date Published: August 14, 2007 Publisher: Editus Publishing   With high
Literary Fiction Date Published: October 7th, 2018 Doe’s Circus, one of the last of its

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Jerkwater – Blitz

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Literary Fiction
Date Published: August 2, 2019
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Set in Mercer, Wisconsin, where tensions over Native American fishing rights are escalating, JERKWATER is a story about the racial tensions churning just beneath the surface of what often appears to be placid, everyday American life.
Excerpt
 
CHAPTER ONE: SHAWNA
There were spots in the lake where the anchor never hit bottom. The murkiness always fascinated Shawna. She knew it was only tangles of muskgrass and pondweed down there, but a part of her couldn’t help but imagine strange, never-before-seen creatures dwelling among the coontails and duckweed. Like Wisconsin anglerfish. Or some rare breed of dwarf whale. And maybe the lake was bottomless, like in those stories her mother used to tell her where Nanaboozhoo was always stumbling and laughing his way through the world.
     Shawna dug around inside the cooler. Her journal was peeking out from under a tin of sardines. Ever since the day her stepfather had taken her mother away from her, the journal had become a sort of artificial limb for Shawna. Or maybe an artificial organ, a somewhat bulky and awkward replacement for what had been her heart.
     “It’s not the world’s fault you’re lonely,” Shawna said out loud. It was something her mother used to say. The words came to her like that sometimes, like ghost ships sailing across the years, reminding her of who her mother had once been: a strong woman who’d been haunted by demons. White demons. Shawna picked up her journal and was sitting with her hand hovering over the page, waiting to take dictation from a dead woman, when she heard the muffled sounds of voices on the water. Then there was the echo of oars being worked in their sockets and a tackle box being slid across a metal hull. She lay flat on the ground, peering through the reeds, and spotted a man rowing quietly toward the island. There was a little boy in the boat, too, a little lump of a thing bundled up in a too-big camouflage coat and looking barely old enough to handle the pole he had dangling over the edge. Then, just as she thought they might row past, the man dropped anchor about forty feet out.
Shawna lowered her head and wondered about her boat, if they could see it. As she lay there frozen, she noticed a turtle sunning itself on one of the larger rocks near the island. It was an ugly thing with a head like a wrinkly old penis. The shell, though, was beautiful, almost like the yellow undercoating and the elaborate black hatch-marks were trying to make up for its unflattering head.
     “You want me to do it?”
     “No. I can do it.”
     “Then take this one. He’s nice and fat.”
     Shawna couldn’t see their faces all that well, but it was definitely them. It was like they were all in the same room together, the walls made of the mist still clinging to the lake. There was the crack of a can opening. Soda maybe. Or beer.
     “You hungry?”
     “No.”
     “You sure?”
     “I’m sure.”
The room became hushed, and Shawna watched the two figures hunched over their rods, waiting. For the man, the waiting seemed like a kind of forced meditation, like something he wasn’t all that interested in but that came with the territory of fishing. As for the boy, he didn’t seem to want to be there at all. That much Shawna could tell without seeing his face.
     “Here.” The man handed the boy something. “Eat.”
     “When we get back can we–?”
     “Quiet. You’ve got a bite.”
     Shawna watched the boy’s bobber. There were little ringlets pulsing out from it like sonar. Then nothing.
     “I think he ate my worm.”
     “Maybe. Reel it in a little.”
     The boy slowly reeled his line in, letting it stop every few feet or so. Then the bobber suddenly disappeared.
     “Look!”
     “Okay, okay. Let him take it now. That’s it.”
     “Can I reel him in now? Can I?”
     “Did you set the hook?”
     “I don’t know.”
     “Give it a little tug. Not too hard now.”
     Shawna could see the boy yank on the line, lifting the pole over his head.
     “Jesus, you’ll be lucky he still has a mouth left on him.” The man went about getting his net ready and leaning over the side of the boat as the boy pulled the fish closer. “See, I told you this was a good spot. Didn’t I tell you?”
     The man lowered the net into the water, but when he brought the fish up, it didn’t appear all that big to Shawna. Maybe a bluegill or sunfish. She watched as the boy reached into the net and was sprayed with water as the fish flipped and arched about. The man put the net down on the floor of the boat, no doubt stepping on the fish to keep it from flopping about, then ruffled the boy’s hair before carefully pulling the fish from the net and placing it on a stringer. Shawna figured they’d probably go home now, but the boy went back to staring blankly out at the water while the man began casting a bright yellow lure closer and closer to the bank of the island. Shawna guessed he was going for Muskie now since they were known to hide in weed beds. Ojibwa called them maashkinoozhe. Or “ugly pike.”
     “Can we go soon?”
     “Soon, Jack.”
     Shawna knew all too well who they were: Peyton Crane and his little boy. She’d made a sort of hobby over the past year or so of casually stalking them. Lately, though, it had become less casual. She noted the day and time in her journal next to the others.
Something was slid across the hull of the boat. “Here, have a pretzel. We’ll go back soon. I promise.” Peyton stood up in the boat, and Shawna got her first clear look at him. He was wearing a brown flannel jacket and a camouflage baseball cap, his dumb brown hair sticking out the back like burnt straw. The beer belly pushing out against his flannel made him appear older. And pregnant. Shawna smiled to herself. If that were true, ninety percent of the white men in town would be knocked-up.
     Shawna watched as the turtle, apparently having had enough of all the commotion, waddled off his rock and into the water. The turtle reminded her of a story her mother used to tell her about the world being flooded and Nanaboozhoo sitting on a log searching for land. In the story he tried to swim to the bottom of the lake to grab a handful of earth so he could create a new place to live, but the lake seemed bottomless. A loon, a mink, and a turtle also tried to reach the bottom, but all of them failed. Finally, a little muskrat tried. The muskrat didn’t survive, but when his lifeless body floated to the surface, they found a ball of earth still clutched in his paw. Nanaboozhoo put the ball on the turtle’s back and with the help of the wind from the four directions, the dirt grew into an island which is now North America. Ever since then, Ojibwa have revered the muskrat for his sacrifice, and, also the turtle for literally bearing the weight of the world.
As Shawna daydreamed about the turtle down below holding up the island, she heard something clatter in the branches overhead. There, not a foot away, was a lure with a treble hook swaying and glinting in the sunlight.
     “Jesus H. Christ.”
Peyton stood up and began yanking on the snagged line, rocking the small boat back and forth so that the boy was forced to set his pole down and grab the oars for support.
“Shit if I’m going to lose another lure to a goddamn tree.”
     When he eventually gave up and began reeling in the anchor, Shawna pulled the lure down and set the line between her teeth. It took a few bites but soon the lure came free and the line went slack. Shawna could see the boy staring intently at the island, and, for a brief moment, it seemed like they were staring at one another. Almost like the boy had seen what she had done but had decided to remain quiet.
     “Look. It came free.”
     Peyton turned to see his line lying limp and flaccid on the water, and Shawna thought she could see a smile spread across the boy’s face.
     “You promised we could play video games, ‘member?”
     Peyton stared hard at the island, like the thought of leaving the lure there somehow meant the island had won.
     “Yeah, I remember alright.”
     He then worked the boat around with one of the oars and began rowing them back across the lake. Shawna rolled over on her back and studied the lure in the sunlight wobbling its way through the leaves. It was a simple lure. Wooden. Handmade. She wondered idly if Peyton had ever caught anything with it. Save Two Walleyes – Spear A Pregnant Squaw. Too Bad Custer Ran Out Of Bullets. She remembered the protests and the bumper stickers on the boats from when she was a girl. She remembered, too, the hate white people had spewed at her relatives as they tried to dock with their boats full of walleye. “Ignorance,” her mother had told her, “is a dangerous thing. But now at least you know its face.”
     She turned the lure over in her hand, her fingers tracing the lines of the treble hook, pushing the barb gently against her thumb. She found herself thinking about the ceremonies the Plains Indians used to have where the boys pierced their skin with hooks and suspended themselves from chains as a rite of passage. She rested the lure against her shirt, brushing the metal back and forth across the cotton. She wondered how much pain a person could endure. She wondered if enjoying it would somehow invalidate it.
     Just as she was imagining her own skin being pulled and stretched, a moth landed on her knee. A gypsy moth. She recognized it because she always thought their floppy antennae made them look like little flying rabbits. They were hated by both whites and Chippewa alike because they were destroying large swaths of Wisconsin forest. It was one of the few things both agreed on. Shawna shooed the moth away, watching as it flitted up into the tree to work its mayhem, and rolled over onto her stomach before tossing the lure into the cooler.
She watched the now tiny boat as it docked along the southern edge of the lake. The poor kid didn’t stand a chance. Whether he wanted to be or not, he was a racist-in-training. Half the kid’s heart was probably already polluted, and by the time he reached high school, his insides would be entirely black. And what was worse was that things would continue on like that, the kid growing up, having his own kids, and then infecting them. And on and on and on. Like a cancer. Or like a gypsy moth making its home in the family tree. There was nothing for it to do but spread disease.
About the Author

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Jamie Zerndt is the author of THE CLOUD SEEDERS, THE KOREAN WORD FOR BUTTERFLY, and THE ROADRUNNER CAFE. His short story, “THIS JERKWATER LIFE”, was recently chosen as an Editor’s Pick in Amazon’s Kindle Singles store. He received an MFA in Writing from Pacific University and now lives in Portland, Oregon, with his son.

 

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RABT Book Tours & PR
Literary Fiction Date Published: June 2019 Publisher: Crimson Cloak Publishing Scott Free chronicles the life
The Girl In The Seaside Hotel Literary Fiction, Mystery Published: February 2019 Surf And Sand:
Literary Fiction, New Adult Date Published: August 14, 2007 Publisher: Editus Publishing   With high
Literary Fiction Date Published: October 7th, 2018 Doe’s Circus, one of the last of its

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Surf and Sand – Blitz

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The
Girl In The Seaside Hotel
Literary
Fiction, Mystery
Published:
February 2019
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Surf
And Sand: The Girl In The Seaside Hotel is the story of a young girl and her
family living in Hermosa Beach during the late 1950s, the so-called
“Gidget Era” of surfing.  A
formerly grand old hotel becomes the setting for the girl’s growing obsession with
solving the mysterious disappearance of another girl 21 years earlier in the
hotel’s basement swimming pool.  After a
friend goes missing too, the detective from the original case, now nearing
retirement, is called in to help solve the two cases, which may or may not be
connected.
 
Excerpt
…There
had been a large crowd in the ballroom that Saturday night, as a well-known
jazz orchestra had been playing.  As many
as 300 people.  None of the girl’s
friends reported any suspicious incidents or encounters before the girl went
missing.  Irene Young did not have a
steady boyfriend or local family, and lived with another young woman in
Hollywood, a woman who hadn’t been at the hotel or ballroom that evening.
Irene’s
friends had tried to report her missing much earlier that morning, just after
2AM, with a mildly frantic phone call, but the police had just assumed she’d
just probably gone home in a taxi-cab or with a friend or someone else she’d
met there at the hotel.  And besides she
hadn’t been missing the required 72 hours for a formal report.  Still, a police officer was eventually sent
over just after daybreak, really just to placate her friends. It was all more
or less routine until the shoes and necklace were found.  Then detectives had arrived to ask questions.
There
were no obvious signs that any physical violence had occurred down in the pool
area, but it couldn’t be ruled out either.
Eventually every room in the hotel had been searched for any sign of
violence or evidence that Irene Young had been there.  Nothing was found to indicate she had.  She had simply vanished.
But
one of the newspaper stories that Nell found had included a few of the
witness’s first names and last name initial.
These were the names of Irene’s companions that had been interviewed by
the police. There was a Joey F, a Clark S., and a Lois J.  And one of those names was a Virginia W.  That’s just like mother’s maiden name, she
thought.  Worsham!  Nell had never heard of a Joey F., but there
was Uncle Clark and Aunt Lois.  How could
this be?   It couldn’t be coincidence,
could it?  Sherlock Homes didn’t believe
in coincidence.  Nell didn’t know what to
think.  Or what to do.
About
the Author

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W.B.
Edwards is a retired telephone employee, who took two years of college as an
English major at Rio Hondo in Whittier, California, from 1966 to 1968.  Edwards is a Vietnam era Navy veteran, a
motorcycle enthusiast, surfer, taiji practitioner, and dreamer.  He is an Indie author with two novels
completed, and working on a third.
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The Lonely Hearts Bar – Blitz

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Literary
Fiction, New Adult
Date
Published:
August 14, 2007
Publisher: Editus Publishing
 
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With
high hopes of conquering Hollywood, the novel’s main character goes to Los
Angeles to study directing and screenwriting. On the way, she ends up at a
roadside bar that uncannily links the destinies of the main characters, who had
given up everything to follow their dreams. What’s in store for the young
rebels in Los Angeles? Does your dream have another side, one that’s just as
enigmatic and invisible as the far side of the Moon?
Excerpt
“To
be honest, I have no idea what cinema is and why it’s so magnetic…  Also, I don’t know what it’s like to be
called a ‘great’ director. I only just jumped out of the plane and am waiting
for my parachute to open.  In the
meantime, I’m just looking at an illusion of how my life should be.  Maybe I’ll see the light as soon as I hear
the clapperboard and ‘Action!’ But it’ll all be meaningless if people aren’t
inspired… My name is Connie. I came from New York on a long journey in my old
car. Maybe, on the other side of the world, a little girl is going to bed who,
just like I used to, dreams of becoming a filmmaker. And every time, closing
her eyes, she holds a camera in her hands and mentally goes over her movie’s
screenplay… why am I a director? I think I’ll be able to answer that when I
become one. Now I’m just one more student who is just dreaming of becoming a
filmmaker and is still falling asleep, just like that little girl.  The main thing is to not lose faith…”
 
About
the Author

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From
the age of 11 Konni has been writing books. When she came of age she moved from
a small abandoned town to Moscow where she exchanged the dream of “becoming a
director” for the profession “doctor.” Now at the ripe old age of 21 years old,
Konni is enjoying the acclaim of The Lonely Hearts Bar and working on her next
novel.
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Sci-fi/Romance/New Adult Date Published: Oct 5th 2019 Publisher: VisualBee Publishing I won’t bore you with
    I grew up in Southeast Missouri; home of the Throwed Rolls, high cotton,
Isle of Savages by T. Briar Publisher: �MuseItUp Publishing (June 15, 2017) Category: Thriller/Suspense, New

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Animal Circus – Spotlight

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Literary Fiction
Date Published: October 7th, 2018
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Doe’s Circus, one of the last of its kind in Australia. Travelling across the country all year round, thousands of humans visit to revel in the tradition of Dagwood dogs, dodgem cars and the weekend prime time show. 
Yet for the animals locked away in the small confines of the petting zoo, the circus is a neon-lit, human-infested nightmare.
Tormented by the ringmaster and his gang of tyrannical showmen, two pigs, a rooster and a sheep devise a plan to accomplish the impossible―escape the circus.
About the Author

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Michael Batchelor, born 1991, is an Australian author based on the Gold Coast, Queensland. He graduated from Griffith University in 2011 with a Bachelor of Communications and in 2015, published his first novel, The Red Chilli.
Michael’s greatest joy is to share his stories and ideas with the world.
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Literary Fiction Date Published: August 2, 2019 Set in Mercer, Wisconsin, where tensions over Native
The Girl In The Seaside Hotel Literary Fiction, Mystery Published: February 2019 Surf And Sand:
Literary Fiction, New Adult Date Published: August 14, 2007 Publisher: Editus Publishing   With high

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