Curious and Unusual Tales
To be released spring 2024
The twenty-eight original short stories included in this book are all fictional and include created myths, fables, parables, folktales, vignettes, fairy tales, and emotive sketches, drawn from world travels, fascinating characters, peculiar dreams and a vivid imagination. They are divided up into seven different categories: animal tales, criminal conduct, extraordinary events, fairy tales, puzzling places, states of mind, and unusual individuals. They run from 564 words in only two pages, to 4,052 words over eight pages. All of them have three things in common: they focus on a singular dramatic event, contain few characters, and leave the reader with a memorable feeling. The curious and unusual combine to make this group of stories unforgettable.
Book image copyright Dima Zahar/123RF.com Used with permission.
The Santon Sacrifices
To be released winter 2024
In late November of 1891, a village in southern France called Lambesc was preparing for the Christmas season. Within this region there is the holiday tradition of displaying the nativity scene with small clay figurines that have been fired and intricately painted, known as the santons, or “little saints,” These figurines are sold to families to display the nativity scene in their homes, and are made larger for public display in the local church. Aside from the Holy Family, shepherds, and animals seen within the barn, there are other figurines that get set up in the village display that surround the barn. These are the typical Provence trades people, who support the livelihood of a small village, and all go on display to be revealed by December 1st.
On that first morning, one of the santon figurines in the church is discovered missing and then a trades person in the town, which the santon represents, is found murdered. The mayor asks the country guard, who is the town’s only officer, to find the murderer. But the next day there is another theft and another death. On the third day it happens again, and the villagers go into a panic. The young country guard is overwhelmed by the task, so the mayor asks for help from the nearest large town of Aix-en-Provence. A smart detective and his lieutenant rush to Lambesc to help, but the thefts and murders continue. The townsfolk are terrified, as the three officers are faced with a harrowing task. Only two thousand people live in and around the village, but who among them is doing the killing, and why? Eventually, the clues begin to add up, but not before this small town experiences the worst nightmare since the French Revolution.
Panic in Patpong
To be released spring of 2025
Programmer Cody Hudson works for an information technology business called Track IT. He and the company’s employees are in Bangkok to celebrate the sale of a specialized software package for one of Bangkok’s most prestigious gem and jewelry stores, KC Gems. Cody and his two best working buddies, Charlie and Evan, are directly responsible for developing the specialized Point of Sale program. Perhaps it is because Cody is a typical nerd, who is shy, quiet, naïve about the world, and totally devoted to his wife Kelsie at home, that Charlie and Evan take it upon themselves to try and widen his horizons by introducing him to Bangkok’s entertainments.
Trouble soon begins when the computer system at KC Gem’s freezes. Is it the new software or is something else at play? When Cody begins to figure out the problem, he ends up learning more than he can handle. He is pursued, robbed, and lied to, as a world of kidnapping, blackmail, and smuggling quickly overwhelm him. Is there a spy involved that is causing the problem, or is the spy the answer to his problem?