A Fall of Books – By Free Range Oyster

A Fall of Books – By Free Range Oyster

*And a Sunday challenge from me.  Write the first two paragraphs of a story where the main character is a beggar, the setting is modern and the problem is distraction. – SAH*
A peaceful and joyful Sunday to you all. Let’s start off the new week with a mess of books, shall we? There’s no shortage this week, and we’ve a nice mix of styles to boot. Leaves are falling (in this hemisphere) and books are blooming. As always, future promo post entries can (and should!) be sent to my email. Happy reading!

Jason Dyck, AKA The Free Range Oyster

Overstimulated, underremunerated, medium rare, and half price on Thursdays

Jason Anspach

’til Death

Rockwell Return Files Book 1

Sam Rockwell is a fledgling private investigator specializing in Returns, or, recently deceased ghosts with unfinished business. After his no-nonsense father is murdered and comes back, Sam takes the case hoping for a big break and a chance to win the heart of his Girl Friday.

Short on experience and long on the swagger of the dog-eared pulp fiction he keeps in his desk, Rockwell sets out to find his father’s killer only to find himself caught up in a deadly game of Cold War Intrigue at its most horrific as the Doomsday Clock inches closer to permanent midnight in this witty throwback to the Golden Age of Hollywood noire.

On sale for 99¢

’til Death: Second Impressions

Rockwell Return Files Book 2

Wisecracking Private Detective Sam Rockwell is running for his life, but that doesn’t keep him from taking the case of a Return who’s slipped past Heaven’s radar and overstayed his time on earth. Together with his fiancé, Amelia, Sam brawls and dances his way through San Francisco to unravel a zany mystery where nothing is what it seems at first blush.

The laughs and silver screen thrills of Jason Anspach’s signature 1950s Cold War tale of Hollywood noire are back in this madcap sequel as Sam and Amelia return once again to right wrongs, solve crimes, send the dead off to their proper eternity, and maybe, set a date for their wedding! The Maltese Falcon meets It’s a Mad Mad Mad world in this smart and witty paranormal romp.

On sale for 99¢

’til Death: The Man Who Balked

Rockwell Return Files Book 3

A pennant is on the line and a life hangs in the balance!

When local baseball player Junior Jones receives death threats over the color of his skin, the team’s wealthy owner hires Sam Rockwell to solve the case and stop a murder before it happens. Sam goes undercover as a minor league pitcher to strike out the culprit. Follow the clues along with Sam’s curmudgeonly ghost of a father Frank Rockwell, and Sam’s wife Amelia, who holds a secret that will forever change the lives of the entire Rockwell family.

It’s another laugh-filled, madcap mystery in the warm, witty 1950’s hollywood style of author Jason Anspach.

Currently available for preorder

William Lehman

Keeping The Faith

John Fisher Chronicles Book 2

It was supposed to be a simple poaching case. A “easy way to get back on the horse, after your injuries”. Oh yeah, it involves lycanthropes, but, that shouldn’t be a problem. The trouble is, NOTHING is ever simple when John Fisher, Federal Park police, and retired Navy SEAL is assigned to the case… When they found the dead Marine, that’s when things really went south. John and his partner have to solve poaching, the murder of an active duty Marine Lycanthrope, and several other crimes, but it seems the Government isn’t exactly happy to help.

C.J. Carella

Advance to Contact

Warp Marine Corps Book 3

(WARNING: Contains violence, strong language and adult content)

As war rages on across the galaxy, a diplomatic mission turns into a desperate fight for survival.

Captain Peter Fromm: Fromm and his Warp Marines face old enemies and new threats inside a colossal space habitat ruled by a mysterious alien civilization. Their lives and the fate of their country hang in the balance.

Heather McClintock: The CIA operative faces her toughest opponents yet: a race of decadent immortals with godlike powers and murderous urges. Her only weapon is an untried new technology with lethal side effects.

Major Lisbeth Zhang: The fighter pilot risks her very soul when she makes contact with entities from the depths of warp space. Her choices may lead humanity towards a golden age – or eternal damnation.

Corporal Russell Edison: Russell just wanted to travel across the galaxy, meet exotic aliens, and shoot them. These new ETs want to play with Charlie Company, and they are about to find out that Marines only play to win.

Release Sale: Advance to Contact will be on sale for $2.99 until October 18, when its price will go up to $4.99

John Van Stry

Past Tense

Days of Future Past, Part I

Paul’s been having a bad day, perhaps one of the worse days he’s ever had. And now into the middle of all this, his instructor just got drafted by some mystical goddess to help save a world.

As for Paul? Well, he’s really not supposed to be there, and if he thought he was having a bad day before all of this, it just got worse, a lot worse. He’s now on a one way trip, forced to help a man who despises him while at the mercy of the world’s biggest trickster.

J.M. Ney-Grimm

A Knot of Trolls

North-lands spellcasters who reach too boldly for power transform into trolls – grotesque villains wielding a potent magic and destined for madness.

Spanning the North-lands history, from ancient times to the pastoral present, A Knot of Trolls features seven such evildoers. Seven trolls and the ordinary youths called by chance or by destiny to take a stand.

“The Troll’s Belt” stars motherless Brys Arnsson, challenged as much by his own deceit as by his troll foe. “Crossing the Naiad” presents shepherd girl Kimmer with a dangerous tragedy from the distant past.

“Skies of Navarys” follows two friends with a vehement difference, their contested decision to decide the fate of thousands. In “Resonant Bronze” Paitra and his brother struggle to claim appropriate guilt – neither too much nor too little – and thereby defeat a troll warlord.

“Rainbow’s Lodestone” offers the spirit of the rainbow a chance to learn that the smallest places birth freedom. “Star-drake” stalks a pitiless troll-herald to defeat – or is it victory? – utterly unforeseen.

And in “Perilous Chance” young Clary needs a miracle. But her miracle – when it comes – sports razor-sharp talons, world-shaking power, and a troll-witch to guard its sleep.

Seven tales of magic balance death and destruction against destiny and hope.

Also available from these fine booksellers:

Dwight R. Decker

Some Other Shore

From Mermaid-Land to Poughkeepsie…

Daft professors and their put-upon students roam this world and others in these six stories, training the all-seeing eye of Science on history’s stranger mysteries and legends, and answering questions no one ever thought to ask before…

Are Gingerbread House-Building Witches really apex predators following instinctive behavior patterns something like trapdoor spiders?

When a UFO contactee cult builds a landing field for flying saucers, will anybody show up?

Is it possible to bring a dead king back to life when he probably never existed in the first place?

Was the next step in human evolution something we never even suspected – and we’ve already missed the bus?

Those intrepid if somewhat queasy investigators bring a much-needed reality check to fantasy… but sometimes fantasy bites back!

Jeb Kinnison

Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations

Human Resources (HR) departments are widely disliked, and job searchers are generally advised to contact the hiring manager directly if they really want to be considered for a job. There are good reasons why HR acts like an arm of the government bureaucrats pressuring companies to hire more protected minorities and women—because that’s what they are, in many companies.

There are many people working hard in HR to promote the interests of their organization, but their efforts are often blunted by the prevailing HR culture that values buzzwords and feel-good social goals more than productivity and excellence.

This book may make you angry, but it will show you how you can fight back by resisting HR and its policies.

30 responses to “A Fall of Books – By Free Range Oyster

  1. BobtheRegisterredFool

    Vignette theme word? Luke? Mary? Mike?

  2. I watched the dark, professional skirt moving from right calf to left as the woman, banker or lawyer, walked down Yonge Street towards the lake. I grimaced to myself because she was exactly the type to drop a twonie, two loonies, three quarters, and a nickel into my hat if only to get them out of her purse. However, I could not get last night out of my mind long enough to make eye contact with anyone and there she went. I saw her stop briefly for Gary the retired minister of justice bureaucrat down the block.

    Some mornings it just didn’t pay to sit on a street corner.

  3. Peachum grimaced. Walkmen, then iPods, had been bad enough. Now everybody was so hyper connected through their blue-tooth enabled smart phones and Google glasses that it was nearly impossible to catch anyone’s attention long enough to deliver a spiel, even though he’d managed to get it down to a 15-second “elevator pitch.”

    He’d tried setting the plea to local area broadcast but most people had ad blockers which made that fruitless, and the very few who received it and were moved to consider donating tended not to carry money. Things being as they were he’d found that using Bitcoin or other electronic transfers tended to convey the wrong message about his neediness, not unlike the street musician across the way using a Starbucks cup for her tip bowl. It just seemed to give people the impression that their donations were not so necessary as all that.

  4. Begging wasn’t a very safe profession. No one particularly cared about beggars, which meant that they were easy targets for anyone who wanted a little extra cash or to get their jollies by offing someone. If that wasn’t bad enough, the competition among the beggars for the prime spots could be literally cutthroat. As a result, anyone who lived to be an old beggar was very cunning and very aware of his surroundings.

    Charman was an old beggar–the very oldest, actually, although Yohs, who plied his trade four streets over claimed the title. Normally, despite his advanced years, he had an animal’s perceptions and instincts. Unfortunately, even animals have health problems, and while normally he could ignore it, his rheumatism was flaring up particularly badly that evening, which was why he never noticed the man coming up behind him.

      • Well, since you asked…

        When he came to, he knew that he was alive, in a chair, and untied. That was better than most of the alternatives. Then he realized that he was in a stone room without a window and that there were several people in the room, all of whom were out of reach. That was not better than most of the alternatives. He decided to open his eyes, did so, and regretted it instantly.

        Sitting in front of him was Harrison Whitelock, the man who controlled the Underside of Fresno. He couldn’t imagine what the man wanted with him, but it couldn’t be good. No one who was in his position dealt with Whitelock and got the better end of it.

        “Charman,” Whitelock said with a voice like olive oil, “which I suppose I must call you by, since you don’t have any identification of any sort, which cuts you off from the homeless program. The oldest beggar in the city, although obviously not the smartest.”

        Charman debated whether or not to dispute that part, but decided not to. Anyone who’d looked far enough to get past Yohs’ claim wouldn’t be put off by that. “’M a beggar, not a leech,” he growled. “Don’t need ID ‘less you want to sponge off the gov’mint. Folk want to give me stuff, that’s fine. I don’t take wi’out askin’.”

        “An odd position to take, for a beggar,” Whitelock replied. “But your peculiar ethics aren’t why I directed my man to retrieve you.”

        Whitelock, Charman thought absently, didn’t talk like you’d expect a six-foot three skinhead to. He wanted to ask why he’d been kidnapped and brought here, but he needed to act like he didn’t care.

        “Could’ve asked. I’d’ve shown.”

        Whitelock laughed. “I don’t think so,” he said. “Not after you heard what I wanted you for.”

        “What d’you want me for?”

        “You know what’s under Wolfe Manor, and how to get to it.”


  5. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, but I hate stakeouts. And deep-cover stakeouts are absolutely the pits. Greg Horn shifted his “homeless veteran, need help” sign to be a little more visible from the sidewalk and told himself to be glad he was in San Francisco. Back home in Chicago, with its hot, humid summers and icy winters, it would’ve taken a lot more self-discipline to maintain his cover identity 24/7.

    An older man dropped something into his cup with a muttered “thank you for your service.” Greg waited a few moments to pull out a gift card for one of the local fast food places. One down the street, of course — he couldn’t get a lucky break and have someone give him one for the Vietnamese place right inside the McHenery Megatower so he’d have an excuse to go inside and have a better vantage point to watch. You’ve got twenty-seven genes from a Bangkok temple cat. Think of it as waiting by a mousehole. Still, he was going to be glad when he could wind up this case and be back home with Tabitha.

  6. Was “’til Death” formerly on sale? Amazon shows it as $2.99, not .99 …

  7. Christopher M. Chupik

    “(WARNING: Contains violence, strong language and adult content)”

    All the good stuff, in other words.

  8. The flies were real, Eddie knew that much, as he swatted at yet another before being bitten yet again. The man-horse things, kentors? Senataurs? They couldn’t be real. The collision never happened as the young woman walked right through one of the pair of them talking to — or rather, at — him, dropping a few coins into his bowl as she passed. “Thank you kindly, Miss.”

    It had been getting worse. A few weeks back there were gargoyles or grotesque perched on top some buildings, but they didn’t bother anyone or even seem to be noticed by anyone else. And then they were gone. A few days later the sky had dragons on and off, but they stayed high up except for the one that circled the court house a couple times, as if needing to check the time on the big clock. The ‘little people’ yesterday also hadn’t been noticed by anyone else either, but they stayed away from people. These horse-men were the first to approach. The pair was trying to get him to come with them for something, yet they couldn’t be real: a well dressed man strode purposefully right through the both of them, the shock of the sight making him forget to make any pitch at all. Eddie twitched a fly off of his leg.

  9. I was working the turn lane at the freeway exit that some planning genius had merged with the exit lane from the local discount warehouse place, today using my hand scrawled “Homeless – Veteran – Need Work” cardboard sign on the perpetual traffic jam that resulted, when I noticed Jimmie working up the line of cars on the other side. There’s unwritten rules for begging – the first one to set up gets to work without competition, and any disputes on the good spots get settled out of the view of the public. Nothing turns off the flow of money like two bums flailing away at each other in the streets of Silicon Valley, and somebody’s guaranteed to call the cops. I thought Jimmie and I had settled just such a dispute a few days ago, but here she was working my marks.

    For now I kept working my turn lane, making non-aggressive eye contact and collecting cash while trying to keep one eye on Jimmie, and simultaneously trying to figure out how to deal with Jimmie without the popo getting called on us. “Thank you, ma’am,” I said as I took the twenty from the driver of a Lexus SUV, moving down the line, shooting a fast glare over at Jimmie as I moved to the next car, a shiny black Escalade. With all that on my mind it’s not surprising I didn’t notice anything odd going on until the Escalade driver gasped “Holy crap!” looking up behind me, and dropped what looked like a fifty he was holding out his window. I remember bending over to grab it and noticing my shadow – actually shadows, as I seemed to have gained several – shift rapidly across the pavement, then the next thing I remember I was flat on my back partway under the Escalade, which seemed like it might be on fire. It turns out bending over for that bill saved my life, as something had flashed overhead and slammed into the warehouse store parking lot, throwing chunks of asphalt, cars and shoppers across the stopped exit lane traffic where I had been standing.

  10. BobtheRegisterredFool

    Big-Eared Runt needed to distract the richly dressed foreigners, or Fatty Li would kill him. Li collected the take for the beggar’s sect, and was starting to get really vicious again. Bald Zhang ran street thieves, and would protect Big Ears for a price.

    Big Ears strode shouting into the path of the brown suited man on the left. ‘Candy! Candy! Dollar! Dollar!’ Brown suit tried to get around, but the other urchins had followed. Big-Ears grabbed for the brown jacket, and brown suit fended him off like he didn’t know how to shove a brat into the ground.

  11. He glanced her over and dismissed her at once. Probably had money. Probably would curl her lip — alone, she wouldn’t tell someone she’d rather give to a charity.
    She walked through his field of vision. And in the middle, stepped sideways into a tree.
    He blinked. And missed a few better marks in his blinking.

  12. I reach to grab the crisp green Tubman a generous man in a suit waves out his window at me from the next lane over. The piercing sunlight reflecting off the rear windshield of the VW Rabbit to my left saves my life. I turn my eyes away from the pain and see a giant chrome 62 Chevy truck bumper rushing to squish me between both vehicles. I’ll never see my 15 year-old daughter Madri again. I dig my palms into rough black asphalt. The VW bumper crunches up over it’s own rear axle. Condensing steam from a puncture in the Chevy’s radiator pours down my back. I grunt and roll away from the source.

    The bright yellow Chevy truck door opens and an older black woman climbs out, her face buried in a cell phone, almost hidden by her curly extensions. She glances everywhere without noticing me grimacing and laying on my back below her. Just as well. The sooner I get up, the sooner I get that Tubman. Reaching into my pocket, I clutch the Backpage ad with my daughter’s picture on on the front and an IP address on the back. Still there. That man in a suit can’t have driven off. I must have the money. I can’t afford distractions nor delays if I’m going to rescue my daughter Madri from slavery.

  13. Sellman eased his back up against the rough bricks of the alley off 32nd NW and drew his legs up so the heat off the steam grate could blow up his ratty trouser legs. It was getting cold, so cold these days. Grunting, he finally made it to his feet, stamping them hard to try to get some feeling back. Time to get to work, he thought, as he carefully stacked his cardboards behind the dumpster.

    Looking down the alley, he counted seven other ‘camps’ and shook his head. Looked like Auntie Marie didn’t come back last night. Trudging slowly down the alley, cup in hand and sign under his arm, Sellman psyched himself up for another day on the hard, cold streets of DC.

  14. Dangit. All those lovely sounding books and my Kindle broked two weeks ago. Fortunately I still have the Kindle Fires, and it looks like we may get to some Wifi soon. I will purchase, and then can download later.

  15. Professor Badness

    He floated in a river of thoughts; smiling with the happy, crying with the sad, leering with the lascivious, exulting with the proud. The river was a maelstrom of emotions, powerful and seductive. The feelings of others was always a raging torrent. It had taken lives and minds before, but he always seemed to pop to the surface again, buoyant as a cork.
    It was better here.
    The old guy showed up at every festival, street show and political rally. He’d been picked up by the cops a dozen times, obviously stoned out of his mind. His seemingly lifeless body lying under a bush or behind a dumpster. But it always passed by the time he got to the drunk tank.
    He would just say he was “Riding the river”. Whatever that meant.

  16. Dear Mad Geneii, if you’d like free typeface / cover page layout assistance please drop me a line.

    Mr. Anspach is playing in the majors, but I can help those of you who’d like to take your cover design to the minors just by adjusting your font and it’s arrangement on the page.

  17. “All the world’s a stage,” Da would quote and our stage encompassed four square blocks just east of City Center. It was that part of town clinging by its fingernails to the lower rung of middle class; dry cleaners, nail salons, and stores whose windows were filled with signs *Nothing Over $1!* A part of the city where it was easy to be invisible as needed. Da raised me well on how to use that invisibility, to present to the harried shoppers and shirt-sleeved workers exactly what they expected to see and to give them a moment’s salvation as they dropped spare change or crumpled bills into our can or guitar case or even my child’s open hands before we quietly faded away.

    But today Da wasn’t here and he’d be sorely disappointed at my wool-gathering, wondering what kind of fool he raised as a pair of shadows fell over me and large hand gathered a handful of my shirt and lifted me up off my feet.

  18. ItCouldBeVerse

    He leaned on his crutch on his corner by the second-hand clothing shop. A woman in a dark coat with a bit of fine red dress showing walked past, ignoring his offered cup and “P-please.” He drew back his arm, watched first one direction and then the other. A group of local children skipped down the street, stopped a moment to taunt him and throw small stones, then ran off. He didn’t even bother to flinch. He had to keep paying attention. Another woman walked past in the same direction. Same build, same dark coat, but with flashes of green. He turned his head to look, and then shook himself.

    The man had told him to watch. Had given him a whole twenty with a promise of another. Had told him to watch for the person who came by in the red hat, for the man’s brother, for which way he went. And then he’d get another twenty. Minutes passed. So did a few more people. He was given a few coins. Yet another woman, of the same appearance, again in a dark coat. This time he peered closely as she walked, and had a sudden inexplicable urge to step out into her path — but he had to keep watching. He forced himself to look away from her, back down the street. Where another woman in the same dark coat, with the same build, with the same face had already started walking.

    (And last Sunday’s 50 word “Indifferent” vignette, since I’m a horrible procrastinator — or didn’t read the blog until days afterwards. Wait, I should embrace the power of And.)

    Larai stowed the vibromop and walked to the cafeteria.

    Her eggs had pepper in them — the Vaugn were back in control. So that sound had been screaming. She took out her datapad.

    Yes, her schedule had changed with the station’s ownership. Shrugging, she began to eat.

    Pepper was all right.