Saturday, November 7, 2015

Preview of "Harry and the Redheaded Angel"

Thanksgiving through Christmas is my favorite time of year. I always thought as a writer that I would probably, at some point in time, do a collection of Christmas-themed stories. I haven't done that yet. And if you've read In the Shadow yet, you know that Christmas isn't exactly jolly in that story. So I was excited to get to tell a happier holiday tale in "Harry and the Redheaded Angel." It's not only a story of Thanksgiving and Christmas, but it's a story of great romance. As an added bonus, I wrote it during the hot summer months, so it took me temporarily to the chill air of November and December.

I thought this would be a good time to give you a little taste of the story. It's from the very beginning, when Harry meets his angel. Well, meets isn't completely accurate. He already knew her. He just didn't realize before that she was his angel. I'll let the story explain it. Here's the opening scene of "Harry and the Redheaded Angel."

I was running late—again. I was tempted to find a sparsely populated pew in the back after I shook hands with an usher who handed me a bulletin. The first strains of an old hymn, one I’d undoubtedly heard a thousand times before but the title of which I just couldn’t place, were filtering into the narthex as I swung the door open and stopped to get my bearings at the threshold to the sanctuary. Halfway through scanning the pews, I spotted my boss and only real friend in town flagging me down like one of those people who wave in an airplane after it’s landed. The ones wielding the flashlights with the long orange extensions on them. There’s probably a name for that job, but I’ll be darned if I know what it is. He was way down front and the service was just about to start. I found it uncomfortable walking all the way up the center aisle in front of the whole church. Especially since I’d only been here one time before. But Lucas McCain was not letting up, so just to get him to stop, I hurried to take a seat beside him.  
“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” was the hymn. I really had heard it a thousand times. The pianist was really vamping it up, though, so I didn’t recognize it at first. I figured it out as she was finishing.  
“You barely made it,” whispered Lucas, scooting over to make room for me. “What happened?” 
Guess,” I said, flipping through the bulletin without really looking at it.  
“Again.” I glanced down the order of service, half paying attention. Something on the page caught my eye. “I wonder…” 
“Wonder what?” 
“Huh? Oh, nothing.” 
“It’s just the soloist. Same name as somebody I went to high school with.” 
“In West Virginia?” 
“No, the other place I went to high school.” 
He looked at me, his face deadpan. “Such disrespect. I just mean I doubt it’s her.” 
“Yeah,” I said. “Deanna Baxter’s probably a pretty common name.” 
“You know her well?” 
“No, she was a couple years behind me.” 
“But you remember her name?” 
“Dated my best friend for a while.” 
“I don’t know. She was only sixteen last I saw her. Redhead.” 
“You do like redheads.” 
“I do.” 
Speaking of which, what are you going to do about J Lo? 
I don’t know. She’s getting really temperamental.” 
I’d say. It’s not even that cold.” 
“Tell J Lo that.”  
It had become unseasonably cool early for Louisville, Kentucky, with the night before, November 1st, falling well below freezing 
“You gotta do something about her, he said. 
“Pay me a living wage and I’ll gladly move on.” 
He started to respond, no doubt with something to the effect that I was barely worth what he was paying me as it was. To which I would have said something to the effect of bite me, after which we both would have laughed too loudly for the setting. That was our relationship from the day we met. Never a serious word except when it came to work. And sometimes not even then. With some of the cases we worked, you couldn’t help but laugh. Others, it was laugh to keep from crying.  
But before he could speak, the heavens opened and my whole life changed.  I’d only been half listening to the pastor as he introduced the soloist. Lucas and I were busy gabbing. After a short piano introduction, she began singing. From that first note, I was captured, captivated, entranced. I was half afraid to look up, nearly convinced she was an angel and that her glory would blind me. As it turned out, I wasn’t far from right.  
Well, Shalan, I thought, better hope she’s beautiful because you’re going to marry her. Slowly, deliberately, I raised my eyes. Maybe it was coincidence or possibly divine intervention, but she looked right at me at precisely the same moment I focused on her. Probably mirroring mine, her eyes grew wide with recognition. It was Dee Baxter. My Dee Baxter. Well, to be fair, she was Otis’ Dee Baxter back in high school. She’s mine now, I thought.  

Want to read the rest? Well, you have two choices: wait until Thanksgiving week and get it on Smashwords or Amazon. Or join my mailing list and get the whole thing for free today! It's easy. Just put your email address in the box at the top of the page. You'll get a confirmation email and as soon as you confirm, you'll get a link to this whole novella absolutely free. And not just that. You'll get the first Shalan Adventure, Harsh Prey and a four-chapter preview of the third in my series, In the Shadow. All for the low cost of zippo.


  1. Your books, always so captivating and easy to vision place and time. As always, great job!