Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Juggernaught: Chapter 10 - Tour Group

The bus driver mounted the steps to get his big machine warmed up.  The lengthy cranking of the stubborn beast served as a gathering call to the surrounding groups who began to gravitate toward it.

The tour guide, a tired-looking bleach blond in an outfit best described as "durable", introduced herself as Yvonne and began to run through their itinerary. 

Without pausing for breath, she jumped straight to her next rote script, laying down the basic rules of the game...  stay with the group, don't touch the museum exhibits, watch out for pickpockets, etc, etc...

Then she ran through it all over again in French.

To Jack and his fellow Bible Study team, this was particularly redundant.  They were fluent in both of those languages.

Much like the other travelers, they only half-listened to what she was saying as they tried to navigate the bus' narrow isle.  Difficult on a good day - nearly impossible amid the chaos of thirty other people all trying to get baggage stowed and seats found.

In the first seat they passed, was their contact Howell along with another boy, whose name was presently unknown. 

Sitting directly across from them were a pair of attractive young girls who, though also unknown, seemed like they belonged to his group as well.

"There's Howell."  said Wendell, loudly, and pointing.

Everybody involved in the clandestine rendezvous did a face-palm.

"What?" asked Wendell as the Americans kept inching their way rearward.

Looking down at Misty's disgusted expression, he asked more emphatically, "What??"

"That was about the least stealthy move I've ever seen."

Her battered Hello Kitty cell phone rang at that very moment.

She flipped the cover open, but before she could speak a voice on the other end said,  "Quite right, my little parakeet."

She was confused.

Jack nudged her and pointed.  Looking in the direction the finger indicated, she saw Howell and his team laughing and waving.

"How did you do--"  she called out, then realized what she was doing and spoke into the phone.  "My number...  How did you do that?"

"Captured your phone's routing signature as you walked past."  His voice took on a droll tone, "A trifling trick.  My, my, what they must teach you in the States.  Well, tah."  He hung up before she could form her rising anger into words.

"Clever."  Observed Wendell.

"Not that clever."  replied Jack.  His face wore a mischievous grin.

He reached into the pocket of his leather flight jacked and withdrew a small metal box.

The container read "Altoids", but the buttons and controls poking out like electronic warts meant that it contained anything but candy.  In fact, the gadget looked so cobbled-together that it bore the Dr Puttery trademark in spades. 

Jack, still grinning, said, "I traced that call, so we got his number too!"

He flipped a switch labeled, "replay" and held it up for Misty to see.  Flickering blue-green digits leapt to life on its tiny display.

At once Misty was furiously punching in numbers and brought the phone back to her ear. 

On the third ring the other end answered.

"Hello?  Scotland Yard 'otline.  Please state the nature of your emergency."

Misty hung up quickly and blushed.  "Cool trick."

"How do you suppose he did that?" said Jack, confounded.

"Was that long distance?" added Wendell.

They looked up at the sound of the other team roaring with laughter again.

"They're good." concluded Misty.

NEXT CHAPTER... COMING SOON!


The preceding has been a chapter from Juggernaught: A Moast Unusual Bible Study
(Copyright 2016, Edmund Lloyd Fletcher.)

For more on this story, please visit its main page.

Also, don't forget to subscribe to the email list so you never miss a thing!

Juggernaught: Chapter9 - Nanyera

Nanyera was well-respected in the community.  She was very old in a culture that still honored age.  Her wrinkles, rather than being regarded as a cosmetic failure, were instead each numbered as badges of wisdom gathered throughout her many decades.

Nearly all to whom she was directly related had already gone on to Heaven ahead of her, yet all in the village regarded her as "Nanyera".  She was grandmother to all, whether directly related or not.

Like Lois and Eunice from the Bible, she served as a pillar of godliness and an inspiration to the younger members of her culture.  Due to her love and devotion to Christ, many felt that she would never die, but rather be carried to His side like Elijah of old, swept into the sky in a chariot of fire one day.

In this matter, they were, of course, mistaken.  The years began to hang heavy and even Nanyera knew that her time on Earth must soon come to an end.

And yet, the people were about to be surprised how close their assumptions had been.  This very night a chain of events began to unfold.  The first domino that would set off a chain-reaction that would rattle the very globe.

No one could have guessed -- no one could have foreseen that a simple old native Peruvian woman, shuddering and cold beneath her threadbare shawl in an unremarkable village high in the Andes would be so important to the unfolding to the history of humanity. 

None, that is, but He who is Author of such things, and She to whom He has chosen to reveal them.

"She"?

Oh, yes, indeed, for tonight something was bound to happen that even Nanyera, in her many years of life had never seen.

Nanyera had a dream.


The preceding has been a chapter from Juggernaught: A Moast Unusual Bible Study
(Copyright 2016, Edmund Lloyd Fletcher.)

For more on this story, please visit its main page.

Also, don't forget to subscribe to the email list so you never miss a thing!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Juggernaught - Section II intro

Hey all,


I hope you're all enjoying the free Juggernaught story so far, but I've got to say, the Moast exciting is yet to come!
(See what I did there? ;) )

Anyway, bad puns not withstanding, I thought I'd cut in here with a brief introduction to the next section, Zombie Cult. ~dun dun duuuun~ With a title like that, you know it will be exciting! 

In it, our Peregrini friend as well as Jack, Misty, and Wendell go head-to-head against an ancient pagan deity.

Just as we were introduced to Mac Criche in the last section, in this one his story finally resolves.  To take his place, we meet a simple South American woman and her young grandson, who somehow hold the key to the whole mystery.  (AND to the Moast Unusual series in general!)

To celebrate making it to the next section and to make up for lost time I'll be uploading the next two chapters tomorrow morning.  Also, the first is rather small, so I didn't want short people by doing just one.


Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher


Thursday, November 24, 2016

Queen of Atlantis - IN STORES NOW!

That's right folks, it's finally that time!  The book is officially RELEASED!  Woot!  Woot!

But before I get to that I'll do a little one-sided interview here and give a little background (to make this blog article less of a plug and give it some value).

A little over two years ago I came up with the idea for this series while listening to secular book-on-tape stores on my looong commute into the city every day.  Clive Cussler, Tom Clancy, and the rest are masterful storytellers who can really get your adrenaline pumping with danger and intrigue.  I always wanted to share these exciting stories with my own boys, but all the sex, foul language, and other thematic elements made that impossible.

So I decided to write my own.

I already knew the sorts of extreme circumstances that the characters would be getting into, but the big question was, "How would a Christian react in these sorts of situations?"  I mulled this over for quite awhile.  (Yeah, I'm a "muller".)

What shook out was this concept of a Bible Study group -- something common that most of us are familiar with, but with a twist.  Where sometimes church small groups (another name for it) take on special interests like mens' and womens' groups, different age ranges, or hobbies, what if there was a group that happened to be focused on saving the world?

From there, it became a matter of assembling a team that could do it.
I've often been amazed by the wide range of folks you often find in Christian churches and groups.  I mean, people who would never have anything in common are suddenly thrown together and now considered brothers and sisters.  Church culture gets this strange potpourri dynamic happening where vastly different people now have to learn how to try and relate to one another. 

I wanted to capture all that, while at the same time each person must bring his or her own piece to complete the puzzle together as a team.  The "body of Christ", being the Biblical analogy.

Here's the cast, in brief:

   Michael Moast - a real man's man.  Strong and silent type.  Also, a self-made millionaire.  The guy who pays for all the team's toys, and gets the bill for all of their mistakes.

   Melinda Moast - his wife, an old-money heiress who would prefer things clean and simple, but rarely gets her wish.

   Dr Puttery - a reclusive and eccentric scientist / inventor.  He's always ready with a spliced-together gadget or key fact and doesn't mind arguing for his offbeat opinions.

   Ms McCready - as you'd expect, a matronly old Irish woman.  As you would NOT expect, she is also an expert sniper once involved in US covert ops, and has names, addresses, and overdue favors from many unscrupulous characters around the globe.

   Wendell - long and lanky, yet with a bottemless stomach.  This young man never shies away from peril, nor pun.

   Misty - just as short as Wendell is tall.  She has a low self-image, but is an expert in martial arts.  She finds a kindred spirit in Jane and the two become fast friends.

   Kurt - a running gag.  We never really see Kurt.  And he always seems to collect some bizarre injury that takes him out of the action for the duration of the book.

   Jack - our dashing young hero.  He's a James Bond / Indiana Jones / name your cliche, young man.  Things never seem go his way, but he'll fight his way though against any odds.

   Jane - our main protagonist.  As the book description says, she really doesn't have any special ability that she can point to.  In fact, she suffers from Aspergers Syndrome, which makes just leading everyday life hard, let alone such extreme circumstances as what the Bible Study must face.

Like in real life, they each react to one another differently.  Sure, they sometimes even get on eachothers' nerves at times, but they always have this deeper bond that holds them together through it all.

From there it was simple.  All it took was two, plus, years of grueling, often exhausting work.  In fact, most days I was living exclusively off crackers and cheese as I sat hunched over my laptop in the parking lot on my lunch break.

Very long story, short, it did finally come together, and I am proud of that.

In fact, my eldest son is reading the paperback as we speak, so that alone is enough to bring a tear of satisfaction to my eye.

Furthermore, I honestly do think that it developed into a great story and a great adventure with many interesting surprises along the way.  I'm quite confident that you'll enjoy it too! :)

I guess that's as good a segue as any to get to the purchasing details:
You can get the paperback on amazon.com [here].
Or a kindle version [here].
Or if you have some other brand of eReader, you can get it [here].
 But what if you're not sure if you want to buy it or not?  Maybe the concept seems good, but you don't know if you'll like my writing?

That's fair.  All you need to do is follow that last link and you can read the first 20% of the book for free to see if you like it.

But honestly... you'll like it! ;)


Live your adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher


Images for social media:
 

Friday, November 18, 2016

Juggernaught: Chapter8 - Kurt's Mission

Misty lie on her bed in the Moast mansion, looking out as the full moon bathed its grounds in silver-blue glory.  She should have been asleep by now.  There was a lot planned for tomorrow.  It was going to be tough enough with a full night's sleep.  Every minute she stayed awake would make it all the harder.

And why shouldn't she sleep?  She was in a very inviting bed, safe and warm.  The weather drifting in through an open window was ideal, and even gave her a nice, bright, moon for ambiance.  (Not to mention how it also acted as a gigantic spotlight on anyone trying to sneak up on her.)

There would be no surprise drills this night.
 
And yet her gut still harbored some unexplained tension.  If Wendell were here, he'd probably say something like, "I sense a great disturbance in the force."

"WENDELL!" she shouted.

With a thunk, a throwing knife seemed to grow out of the wall right next to the grinning face that appeared through a narrow gap in the doorway.  He may have glanced at it, but didn't say a word as if it happened all the time.

Misty, for her part, was much more shaken.  Had she not recognized him in mid-throw and deliberately knocked the dagger off course, her friend would be a human shishkabob right now!

The gap widened as Wendell was shoved from behind and stumbled into the room. 

Jack was right behind him.  He hit the light switch.

Misty shielded her eyes from the sudden glare.  "What!??" she demanded.  Then she added, "This is the girls' wing.  You shouldn't even be here!"

Jack ignored both protests and launched directly into his tirade.  "Did you hear about Kurt?"

"No.  Why?"

"They gave him a field mission!  A real mission!"

"No way!"  she shouted and hurled a pillow at Jack's head.

He caught it with one hand.  She was as outraged as him now, and that made Jack feel a little better.

"Aren't you mad?"  she asked Wendell, who was looking around apprehensively rather than being appropriately furious.

"Yeah.  Of course.  But what you said about the girls' wing..."

All at once Miss Maarm, Resident Assistant to the girls' wing appeared and caught his ear.  "You got that right, slim!"

She started to lay into him with her We expect more out of you than this speech.  Or, for those who had been around long enough, simply Speech #7.  One of her favorites.

While Wendell was being verbally roasted alive, the other two continued.

"Gimme the deet's."  demanded Misty.

"Central America.  Some dictator is trying to stage a political coup.  Total hush-hush.  CIA uber classified, but he's going up against one really bad hombre." 

Jack snapped his fingers and Wendell slipped him a manila folder with CLASSIFIED stamped all over it.  Meanwhile, he didn't dare break eye contact with Miss Maarm for fear of worse repercussions than being caught with CIA documents.

"He got an assassination!  Lucky dog!"  ghasped Misty.

"Nah.  Just a kidnapping.  Here.  See for yourself."  Jack tossed her the folder.  "Michael wants to turn the guy in as a peace offering for some government's toes he stepped on once."

Misty skimmed through the folder, too overwrought to take much in.  Plenty of guns and guerrillas -- that was the jest of it.  Lucky dog!  she thought again.

Miss Maarm had just reached paragraph 8, stanza 3 in her tirade, indicating to all that it was about over and the boys were about to be tossed out on their ears.

Misty handed the folder back.  "There's no way Michael can give Kurt an assignment and not us.  It's just not fair!"

"So what do you wanna do?"

Misty gave a sardonic laugh at whatever image popped into her imagination.  Then she frowned, knowing it wouldn't fly in reality. 

"I don't know."  she admitted at last,  "But we've got to get out of here too, before I go stir crazy." 

"... and so I don't want to catch you here again!" Miss Maarm concluded at that moment.  She pointed directly at Wendell's face and gave him the evil eye.  Then she turned to Jack and repeated the gesture.

"I'm going to see Michael."  said Jack.

Wendell nodded, storming off with him.

"Wait for me!"  Misty leapt out of bed and began pulling on a robe as she jogged.

"Miss Carlisle!  Really!"  huffed Miss Maarm indignantly.  She added a stamp of her foot for emphasis, but the display of sternness was too late.

Though she'd never once let down her ogre act in front of the recruits, the corner of Miss Maarm's wrinkled mouth now curled up in a knowing smile.  She plucked the dagger from the door frame.

"Ah, youth." she recalled.

The flick of her wrist sent the knife spinning end-over-end down the hallway and directly toward the center stick of the candelabra she was aiming for.  It neatly sliced off the burning wick, flush with the wax but without nicking it!




Michael had the highly-tuned ears of a jungle cat, and so, easily heard the angry footsteps of the kids approaching long before they arrived.

"Well, Kurt", he said, holding the door open, "that's the mission.  Think it over.

"And now, unless I miss my guess, here come the others to complain about it."

Jack did a double-take as Kurt brushed by, but Misty was already laying into Michael.

"It's not fair!" she demanded.

"Why not?"  Michael shrugged.  "He's well-trained."

"Not as well as us!"  said Misty.

"Kurt is clumsy." added Wendell.

"And accident-prone." concluded Jack.

"The point is..." began Jack. 

"We want a mission too!" everyone helped him finish.

Michael narrowed his eyes.  He stared down each person in turn.  To his credit, Jack was the last to crack and look away, but even that was within seconds.

Now that they knew their behavior was unbecoming, Michael allowed himself to sink down to a sitting position on the corner of his desk.  A smile cracked the corners of his mouth.  Like Miss Maarm, he too remembered this time of his own life.

"I thought you might say that.  Puttery should be here any moment."  He pointed at the clock on the wall.

[11:09 PM]

Dr Puttery was known for his uncanny clockwork punctuality.  That is, he was always precisely 10 minutes late -- down to the second!

The kids watched the second hand chop its way around the circle.  Each counted it off silently.
...
6...
5...
4...
3...
2...

And the door burst open.

"You're early."  commented Michal Moast with a wry grin, just as the clock ticked off the last second.

Puttery grunted from behind the armload of rolled blueprints and posters.

"Well.  I'll leave you to it."  Michael slapped his knees and hopped back to his feet.

After the door had closed, all eyes turned to Dr Puttery.

"What is it?" asked Misty, "An assassination?"
(She seemed to like the idea far too much.)

"A kidnapping?"  asked Jack, following the same line of reasoning.

"Deep cover recon of a pastry factory?"

All eyes glared at Wendell.  Most embarrassingly of all, the only one that seemed to take his joke seriously was his stomach, which let out a low gurgle.

Misty giggled.

"Enough tomfoolery!"  declared Puttery.   "Your mission is this:"

He unfurled one of the papers for all to see.  It was a map of Europe with a heavy, winding line traced through it in red marker.

"Woa."  said one of the kids, capturing the sentiment of all.

"What are we supposed to do?"  asked Jack in awe.

"Stay with the group."  said Dr Puttery.

"Group?"

"Yes, of course, the..."  Dr Puttery glanced at the paper.  "Oh." he said, unrolling it more.

European Tours for Every Budget, read the caption across the bottom.

" 'Tours'?"  asked Jack hesitantly.

"Please tell me this is a real assignment and not a field trip." said Misty.  She feared she already knew the answer to that.

They all did.

Dr Puttery surprised them, saying, "Oh.  No.  It is a mission all right."

He turned and shuffled through the papers he'd lumped on Michael's desk.  He found the 8x10 photo he was looking for.

"You are to rendezvous with this person.  His name is Howell.  He is a trainee, just like yourselves, only from a UK organization similar to our own."

"Okay, so he is kind of cute." admitted Misty, but then added, "But, with respect, this still doesn't seem like a real mission."

"It is real."  objected Puttery again.  "This is a real-world training exercise.  You are to take turns gathering intel and then passing it to the other team without being detec--  Oh, now what?"

"This isn't a real mission."  concluded Jack.

"He is kind of cute though..."  teased Wendell.

He wasn't able to speak again for some time, having the wind knocked out of him from the inevitable punch to the gut.

This all upset Dr Puttery.  He had evidently spent a lot of time putting all this together. 

"Fine.  Stay home then." he said, scooping about 80% of the mess back into his arms in preparation for storming out.

"Wait."  said Jack, placing a hand on his shoulder.

"We're sorry."  added Misty.

She and Jack slowly exchanged glances, weighing their limited options. 

"We'd love to go."  she added.

"Yeah."  wheezed Wendell.

Dr Puttery smiled.  "If it makes you feel any better, Michael wanted this European Tour to be like a senior class trip to celebrate your graduation.

"Even though you've worked hard and earned a vacation many times over, this is more than just a reward though. This is also your first taste of being on your own in the world.  Out there you're going to experience new things, see other cultures, converse in languages that are not your own... who knows, maybe you'll even get lucky and encounter a pickpocket or two."

This gave Misty a smile.

"Here's the thing.  We're sending you out there mainly to learn self-reliance, to chart your own course - to get from point A to point B without an adult holding your hand all the time.

"This is your time to test yourself, to learn about yourself.

"I guess what I'm saying is, this trip isn't just to celebrate the end of your education, but rather a way of beginning it."
(Or read the author's intro, first.) 


The preceding has been a chapter from Juggernaught: A Moast Unusual Bible Study
(Copyright 2016, Edmund Lloyd Fletcher.)

For more on this story, please visit its main page.

Also, don't forget to subscribe to the email list so you never miss a thing!

Monday, November 14, 2016

More eye candy

It took of back-and-forth, but I now have the final cover design for Queen of Atlantis ready to go!
A book mockup and icon came with that as well, so I can get all fancy on the website:


Likewise, I thought my cover design for Juggernaught was pretty good:












Yeah... the professional version may be a little cooler. ;)


I also received some interior graphics for Queen of Atlantis, but since that kind of stuff isn't super exciting, so I won't bother to show you those.

Coming in on the home stretch with this deal!  HURRAY!


Live YOUR Adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Promo tear-offs

Hey Fletcher Fans!

Just checking in briefly today.
Here's one more simple way you can help me promote my stories if you would like to help out.

My graphic designer just came up with a pdf tear-off sheet you can print out and post (with whatever permission required, of course) on public bulletin boards.
 
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5CTcYGHzdOLTXdHMUI5YWpvb28/view?usp=sharing

Note the page contains two half-sheets.  The idea being you can stack them for twice as many tear-offs.

Okay, so this is probably not the most exciting blog update in the world, but an important one on the long road to release. :)


Live YOUR Adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher