Full Scoop on The Fargenstropple Case

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Fargenstropple front w tagWhen Chief Inspector Terrence Morgan was called up to the Fargenstropple estate again, he assumed it was for another wild goose chase. He was wrong. This time stolen family jewels, an enigmatic debutante and radio-controlled ferrets make the case a real mystery.

See the ★★★★★ reviews!

Oh, just buy it!

Meet Chief Inspector Terrence Morgan:

Terrence was delighted to find that carpenters had already re-framed his door by the next morning. The panel of glass rested against the wall in the corridor, ready to be inserted. He tilted his head to admire the gold lettering.
T. Morgan
Chef Inspector
He sighed heavily and trudged down the corridor to the Superintendent’s office.
The secretary there greeted him with a coquettish grin. “Why, hello, Inspector Morgan,” she said. “Have you seen your new door? The glazier dropped off the panel just before you arrived.”
“Yes, Lydia. Did you order that for me?” he asked brightly.
“Do you love it?”
“If I worked at the culinary institute, dear Lydia, it would be perfect!”
She looked puzzled and waved Terrence into the Superintendent’s inner office. “He’s just sleeping, Inspector. Go right in!”
Terrence stood in the doorway for a moment watching his superior defy gravity by the way he leaned back in his chair. The higher Terrence climbed in the police force, the more he wondered why he was not already Chief Superintendent—even on days when ferrets bit him and he fell off horses. He cleared his throat just quietly enough to make it sound natural.
The Superintendent bolted upright, and his chair spun 180 degrees to face the window. By the time he had swiveled himself aright, he had on his sternest gaze. “Morgan!”
“Sir.”
“You should be…Oh…” He seemed to realize that he was not, in fact, angry about something. “Sorry about the glass for your door! Lydia, you know…”
“Will it be corrected, then, sir?”
“Is it absolutely necessary? This whole thing is getting rather costly, you know.”
Terrence held his breath and counted to twenty-three.

Meet Millicent Fargenstropple:

“What can we do for you today? Something brewing at Bloome Manor?”
Millicent simpered for a moment before drawing a deep breath and announcing her complaint. “It has to do with Lady Chatterly!”
“I’m sorry, who did you say?” asked Terrence, picking up a pen and clicking it open.
“Lady Chatterly,” she pouted. “She’s a cat.”
“Ah, well, my dear Mrs. Fargenstropple, I’ve heard women can be like that if they find some reason to be jealous,” he said smoothly. “Is she coveting your rose garden, then? Nothing like it in the county. I don’t believe I’ve heard of Lady Chatterly. Is she new in the area?”
“No, no, she’s a cat. A real cat.”
Terrence sighed and tried not to rub his temples too conspicuously. “A cat, Mrs. Fargenstropple? With fur? That kind of cat?”
“Yes, that kind of cat,” snapped Millicent. “Can you help me, Mr. Morgan?”
Terrence severely hoped this did not have anything to do with flowerbeds and feline toiletries. “Could you elaborate on the nature of your concern, please?” he asked.
“Lady Chatterly,” she explained seriously, “is the sort of cat that most people never notice. Not unless she becomes perturbed, but when she is upset, she releases a fearsome yowl and thunders about, knocking into walls.”
“I see,” said Terrence blandly.
“My dinner guest just last night paused mid-way through the creamed spinach course, and cried, ‘Good heavens! What was that?’”
“Creamed spinach. Yes. It is a dubious dish.” There was a pause while Terrence waited for her to continue. She did not, so he frowned sympathetically, and said, “That must have been quite disconcerting.”
“Quite.”
“And so the trouble is within your own household?” asked Terrence. “Because this department deals primarily with concerns between citizens, you see—”
“Well, of course the cat is in my household,” she cried. “But the question is…”
“The question is…?”
“The concern is what is upsetting her so? I am convinced that we have intruders in Bloome Manor. Burglars, no doubt. Something is distressing her greatly, and it must be found out!”
“Well, now, burglars would be in our department,” said Terrence brightly. “Has anything gone missing, then?” he asked, reaching for his notebook.
Millicent closed her eyes solemnly. “Only the serenity of our home.”
“Ah,” he said, clicking his pen closed again.
“For weeks and weeks now.”
Terrence steadied himself. “Weeks and weeks of invisible burglars in your home taking nothing, but frightening the cat at meal times?”
“Precisely. Can you help me, Inspector? The Chief Superintendent said you were his very best man for this sort of thing.”

Meet Jessica Hadley-Merrill, the debutante:

Terrence gulped. He was not fond of horses. At least not the sort that sat underneath him. He preferred to watch them racing around tracks with betting odds to win a race. “Hello Miss…Jessica. I…er…didn’t bring my riding clothes…”
“Oh, we don’t have to ride,” she said. “But the horse frightens the hounds. We’ll just walk across the grounds, if you prefer. If anyone but Aunt Louisa drives down that gravel lane, the dogs go wild and chase, but if we sneak in quietly—”
“With a horse…”
“With a much larger animal,” clarified Jessica, “then they leave us alone.”
“Well then, lead the way!”
Terrence was aware of a difference in Jessica as they walked. She seemed much more confident, though no less feminine. He worried at first that her assurance came because she felt herself far superior to him, but dismissed this notion when she continued to speak to him with respectful tones. Crumfellow’s words lingered in his mind, and he began to daydream. He was confused, therefore, when Jessica stopped walking and looked at him.
“Have you thought of something, Inspector? You look deep in thought. A clue?”
“What? I…er…was thinking about what you were saying,” he said.
“About the ferrets? It is alarming how many people disregard them, but Aunt Louisa is convinced that they are the brightest of animals.”
“Ferrets?” asked Terrence. “Oh, I…Rather weasley little things, aren’t they? Smelly?”
Jessica’s laugh was light as a breeze. “She bathes them in lavender water! Can you imagine?”
Terrence tried to think of something to say, but only one thought came forward clearly. “You seem to be the only sane member of this family.” He immediately wished he had thought of something else.
However, Jessica’s eyes showed no reproach. “Sanity depends on what you think is real, doesn’t it? And who’s to say what is real, since no one ever agrees?”

Full Scoop on The Gypsy Pearl 1: Caren

posted in: About the Books | 0

GP1CarenCaz hates living in space. All her life, she has just wanted the chance to explore the Surface of any one of the three planets in the Granbo System. Her chance comes when she is sentenced to a Reformatory for violent youth on the blue-green planet Caren.

But the same strange creature that attacked her in space now follows her to the Surface and continues to make her life a living nightmare–until the day she realizes her life’s purpose is to save the creature and its whole species. To do so, she must travel to all three planets on a quest to cycle a gypsy pearl and obtain untold power.

See the ★★★★★ reviews!

Oh, just buy it!

Meet Caz, who hates living in space:

The doors of the lift slid shut behind us, and I announced, “Level six, Paradise!”
“Stop it, Caz,” said Felly, tugging me away. “Do you have to complain all the time?”
“What? I didn’t complain. See how nicely someone arranged the fake plants. It’s wild in here.”
“Caz, you joke about it, but it is wild down there.”
“So they tell us.”
“Inhospitable weather, dangerous animals—”
“Felly, shut up,” I said. “You will never convince me that life on an ICS is as good as life on the Surface.” I stopped and slumped against the wall, my arms folded.
Felly waited for a small group of children to pass and then copied my stance on the opposite wall. “All right, out with it,” she said. “You haven’t given your speech for two days, and I want it over with before we eat, so I don’t get sick listening to your ingratitude.”
“Felly, you don’t understand.”
“No. I don’t. Explain it to me. Again. Whine a little while you’re at it.”
“Felly—”
“I don’t know how someone so smart can be so stupid, Caz. You got all of Dad’s intelligence and none of his sense.”
Maybe that’s the part I inherited from Mom. I’d never know. No one would talk about her. Anyway, I hate it when she says stuff like that. I probably do make her crazy, but can I help it?
I growled in frustration just as a couple strolled by. They reacted with alarm and distaste. “Practicing my doggie speech,” I said sweetly. “I want to be an interspecies diplomat when I grow up.” They didn’t respond.

Meet Alf, an inmate in the Lamond Reformatory:

Alf froze with his hand on a cluster of duspies. “You heard I went to Solitary, yeah?”
“Yeah.”
He leaned in so our foreheads touched. He smelled dirty and sweaty, and I could sense his strength. A knot of fear wriggled in my stomach. “Three things you need to know about that,” he said slowly. “One: there are more than leaves grabbing at you in the woods. Two,” he said, “I never cried. That’s a lie.”
We locked eyes and I saw his fierce courage. “And three?”
He whispered, “There aren’t any fences around the forest.”
“What?”
“After an ICS, with no space and too many rules, we have a whole world of space and no rules.” His eyes flashed with excitement.
“There’s nothing keeping us here? What about the guards?” I asked. “I heard there were tower guards, whatever that is.”
Alf’s arched eyebrow dismissed that concern.
I felt my scalp crawl with sudden understanding. “They’re counting on the fear of the woods to stop us from going too far,” I said.
“You catch on quick.”
“But it must be dangerous in there,” I said, pushing back the adrenaline rising in my ears.
He shrugged. “It is. But you’re free.”
“You’re going to escape!”
His purple hand covered my mouth and held my head tightly in place. “If you tell anyone, I’ll kill you.” His grip loosened. “Don’t make me do that. I don’t want to.”

Meet the gypsy, Maddy:

Maddy retrieved his heavy metal box from the skimmer and waded into the water. “Come on. Follow me.”
I stepped into the water and shivered at a stinging pain that assaulted every nerve now under water. “You said ‘cool’, not freezing.”
“You’ll be numb in a minute,” he said pleasantly. “It’s waist-deep, and then it drops off a little before the wall.”
“Well, that’s not too bad—whoah, that’s c-cold—if I get to w-walk most of the way,” I said, inching in with rapid breaths that failed to relieve the cold.
“About three meters before the wall, I’ll hand you the box. That should weigh you down to the bottom. Hold your breath—”
“What? How long?”
“Twenty seconds at the most.”
I did a test run, holding my breath until Maddy wriggled his eyebrows at me and I exhaled with a laugh. “Won’t the box hold me down forever?”
“No, because you’ll put it down so you can rise again. Make sure that when you come up, you push forward so that you’re at an angle to go under the wall.”
“What if I hit my head on the rock?”
“Don’t. That’ll hurt.” When I glared at him, he added, “Keep your hands above you.”
“This is suicide,” I said miserably.
“No, it just feels like it,” he said. Maddy patted my shoulder.

Dealing with Bad Reviews

posted in: Indie Advocate | 0
thumbs-down-simon-cowell-300x230
photo credit: sodahead.com

The reviews are in!

“…it was banal, predictable and anticlimactic…”

“Way too little redeeming virtue to make it worth plodding through.”

“Please do not waste your time on this book. I think some novice was brought on to write it. I have read close to 200 books on my kindle in the last year and I would say this ranks near the bottom.”

“I hated this book–so boring.”

“This is a dull story with self-centered drunks and some symbolism about bulls thrown in. I get it. Yawn.”

“Must say– disappointed with this book.”

Believe it or not, those reviews were written for best-selling books–by super famous authors. You may have even read and loved the books in question. We’re talking #1 Best-Sellers, authors whose names are household words, and classics you read in high school literature with Mrs. Fizzbody. By all (normal) accounts, really good books.

My point? You can’t please everyone. (Of course, the number of five-star reviews they each had was astronomical.)

On the opposite end of the spectrum, some of the very best books I’ve read in the last two years had fewer than 20 reviews total–all glowing. Some talked about how the book had changed the reader’s life! They were by indie authors that no librarian has ever cataloged.

Here’s the thing: There will be many times in life when you will do great things that will go unnoticed or unappreciated, but you will know, and the people whose lives you touch will know.

Never equate the worth of your accomplishments by how many people applaud.

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