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Weird writing habits of famous authors

Did you know some famous authors have quirky habits

By Jack Milgram of Custom Writing

Sometimes, it’s more than just the outstanding works of famous writers that make us talk about them. It’s also their strange habits that capture people’s attention. See all 20 of them in our infographic.

Weird author idiosyncrancies
Outer Banks Publishing Group Happy New Year 2018

Write it on your heart that every day is the best day of the year

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

Happy New Year 2018 from Outer Banks Publishing Group

 

 

Happy Holidays photo

Have yourself a merry little holiday

Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill, to be plenteous in mercy, is to have the real spirit of Christmas.

– Calvin Coolidge

Happy Holidays photo

Wishing you and your family a magical and joyful holiday season from all of us.

Outer Banks Publishing Group Author Koos Verkaik

Author Koos Verkaik wants readers be entertained and enlightened

Reprinted with permission by Fiona Mcvie from her blog, Author Interviews.

By Fiona Mcvie

Fiona: Where are you from?

Outer Banks Publishing Group Author Koos Verkaik

Koos Verkaik

I am from The Netherlands, I was born in a small village near Rotterdam.

Rotterdam has one of the biggest harbours in the world. It is said that the inhabitants are ‘born with rolled back sleeves’ – which means that everyone likes to work hard. That’s the spirit I like. I am a writer and work every day and never had a writer’s block.

Fiona: Tell us your latest news.

Outer Banks Publishing Group, Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, offered me a contract for my series of children’s books Saladin the Wonder Horse. Four books. The covers are already done. Everything looks splendid. This is what the stories are about:

England, the twelfth century:

Angie, a poor Saxon girl, looks after the horses of Lord Baltimore.

It is a rough time in England, where Prince John sits temporarily on the throne of his brother Richard the Lionheart.

The girl plunges into wild adventures when she tries to keep a colt out of the greedy hands of the prince. She meets a mysterious knight, who gives her his horse – Saladin, the black wonder horse.

With the two faithful animals, Angie manages to reach the camp of Robin Hood, bringing him an important message.

Silver, the colt she saved, learns quickly from the clever Saladin.

The exciting adventures of Angie, Silver, and Saladin come to a head as the girl resolves to outsmart Prince John.

And of course, she cannot achieve that without her special horses…and some very special friends.

Fiona: What inspired you to write the Saladin the Wonder Horse books?Saladin the Wonder Horse by Koos Verkaik

I wrote dozens and dozens of scripts for comic magazines. The drawings were done by Spanish artists. The comics were published all over Europe: The Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, France… The main publisher asked me to write a series about horses. I came up with Saladin the Wonder Horse.

The publisher decided to print the books in Sweden. They came to The Netherlands by truck: 40.000 paperbacks!

Before Saladin the Wonder Horse, I had written another series for another publisher. The title of the series was Slimmetje, which means as much as ‘Smarty’. It was published by two different companies and more than 450.000 copies were sold in the Netherlands only!

Fiona: How did you come up with the title?

I have always been interested in history. Saladin is a name you will find when you read about the crusades. Fascinating times. I created Saladin, a big black war horse, brought to England by a wounded knight. It is a true wonder horse and little Angie had to take care of him when the knight passes away.

Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?

When you write books, you learn something every day. I often write fantasy, but the stories take place in a normal world. Sometimes in the present, sometimes in the past. Then you have to deal with lots of facts, you must know what you are writing about.

I could not have written Saladin the Wonder Horse without knowing about the middle ages.

Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?

Saladin the Wonder Horse would be a terrific film. The producers and the director must look for a clever girl who is able to ride a horse.

Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?

I write children’s books and novels. More than often I write two books at the same time. Start writing at half past seven in the morning. All I need is one single idea – that is enough to start writing, I never know how it will end. There is chaos in my head and I need to put an avalanche of words on the screen of my laptop to clear up my thoughts. I feel free when a book is finished, but soon it starts all over again and I concentrate on writing new things. I have written over sixty different titles and hundreds of comic scripts, worked as a copywriter for a big agency, and wrote songs and plays. It just never stops and I am so grateful for that!

Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?

Love to travel. Mostly by car. From The Netherlands it’s easy to drive to Germany, Austria, Switzerland. But I don’t have to travel for my books. Been to New York – I was invited by Bill Thompson, the editor of the first books by Stephen King and John Grisham. That was a great experience.Outer Banks Publishing Group Koos Verkaik

Fiona: Who designed the covers?

They were done by Maverick Book Services in the Philippines. Publisher Anthony Policastro and I instructed the artist and we received sketches and different ideas. We picked out the best designs. Isn’t that fascinating? I am in The Netherlands, my publisher in the USA, the cover artists in the Philippines and the Internet brings us together!

Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Yes! The message in all of my books is simple: “I hope you will have a good time.”

What I write is pure entertainment. Of course, I have some interesting things to say as well, but that is not the main goal. I just hope that my readers (kids and adults) will enjoy my stories.

Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?

At the age of 7. I filled a pile of notebooks. I was Europe’s youngest scenario writer for comics when I was only 16 and my first novel was published when I was 18 years old.

Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?

When I was 16. I had three pages in a weekly for several years. It was fascinating to learn that so many kids in school bought the comics and read my stories.

“As a boy, I was, of course, not allowed to write too late at night. The bookkeeper of my father’s business knew I had that drive to write after midnight. He gave me a special old light bulb, that was used during the Second World War; lights were forbidden then, they could attract bombers. I used the bulb to write at night: a small beam shone down on my paper. Only I was able to see it. It was exciting to write my stories in the dark.”

Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?  Who is your favourite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?

I always mention Jack Vance when someone asks me about my favorite writers. He was such a good fantasy writer. And Edgar Allan Poe still fascinates me. He remains a mystery and some of his short stories are almost too scary to read…

Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.

Will tell you a secret. As a boy, I was, of course, not allowed to write too late at night. The bookkeeper of my father’s business knew I had that drive to write after midnight. He gave me a special old light bulb, that was used during the Second World War; lights were forbidden then, they could attract bombers. I used the bulb to write at night: a small beam shone down on my paper. Only I was able to see it. It was exciting to write my stories in the dark. The old bookkeeper encouraged me to write my stories when I was still a kid.

Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?

Yes, I do. I have always worked at home and could make money by being an editor and a copywriter and that gave me the opportunity to build a career as a writer. With ups and downs! Now I have found a home for Saladin the Wonder Horse and other series of children’s books. Signed a contract for twelve novels with Righter’s Mill Press, USA; they are the owners of Three Corners Entertainment for film and television and all titles are under contract with this film company as well.

Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in the Saladin series?

Robin Hood and Angie from Saladin the Wonder HorseNot as word. I always read my own work several times, because I write in Dutch and then have to translate it into English. During that process I can change the text as often as I wish. After the translation is done, I am satisfied and nothing had to be changed.

Fiona: Any advice for other writers?

One advice: Go Your Own Way. Which means read a lot, but never imitate your favorite writers; surprise the world with your own style. Every new writer has to find his way in the publishing world. It is not easy, but so what? If you want to become a writer, then write – as simple as that. When you think it is time, you should try and find an agent who is willing to help you.

Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?

Read the first book of the Saladin series: Saladin the Wonder Horse.

Adults, mothers, fathers, grandmothers, grandfathers: buy it for your kid or grandchild. He or she will love it. Angie is a hero for girls. And the boys will especially like the brave boy, Joe, and his big brown bear Bruto! That is pure adventure!

Fiona: What book are you reading now?

What We Cannot Know: Explorations at the Edge of Knowledge, from Marcus du Sautoy. A fascinating book about what we will (probably) never know.

Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?

A Dutch journalist, Fije Wieringa, wrote about that in Penthouse:

“Once I asked the Dutch author Koos Verkaik, whose reputation in the Netherlands is similar to that of Stephen King, which book had influenced him the most in his life. Without losing a second he replied, ‘Alice in Wonderland, that is such a weird and scary book. A lot scarier than any of my own horror and ghost stories.'”

Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?

I seldom cry. Life itself makes me laugh, because it is a rather cruel joke; we have to deal with consciousness, we know that there is a beginning, there is an end… but I am a very optimistic man and I love to laugh every day.

Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?

Gerrit Jacobsz, an ancestor from 1720. He is my oldest known ancestor. In Holland, your second name is the one of your father: Jacobsz. It means ‘son of Jacob’. My full name is Jacobus Jan; I would love to shake hands with that man from 1720. I have a lot to tell him and who knows what he can tell me…

Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?

I play guitar. You can find me playing blues here:

Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?

Play guitar in a blues band.

Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?

He refused to leave before the last word was written…

Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?

www.koosverkaik.com
https://www.facebook.com/Verkaik.Koos/

Netherlands Children’s Book Author, Koos Verkaik signed on

Pre-order your copy of Saladin the Wonder Horse Book 1 at the publisher’s special discount of $8.99

Saladin the Wonder Horse by Koos Verkaik

5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm) 
Black & White on White paper
132 pages
Outer Banks Publishing Group
ISBN-13: 978-0990679066 
ISBN-10: 0990679063 
BISAC: Fiction / Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology
Publish date – January 2018

 

_____________________________________

Synopsis’ of The Saladin Series, by Koos Verkaik

Book 1: SALADIN THE WONDER HORSE

Angie looks after the horses of Lord Baltimore.

It is a rough time in England, where Prince John sits temporarily on the throne of his brother Richard the Lionhearted.

The girl plunges into wild adventures when she tries to keep a colt out of the greedy hands of the prince. She meets a mysterious knight, who gives her his horse—Saladin, the black wonder horse.

With the two faithful animals Angie manages to reach the camp of Robin Hood, bringing him an important message.

Silver, the colt she saved, learns quickly from the clever Saladin.

The exciting adventures of Angie, Silver, and Saladin come to a head as the girl resolves to outsmart Prince John.

And of course she cannot achieve that without her special horses . . . and some very special friends.

Book 2: SALADIN AND SILVER

Angie roams the country, that is reigned by the ambitious Prince John.

An encounter with a mysterious knight saddles her with an even mysterious horse: Saladin the wonder stallion. This horse reveals himself as the teacher of Silver, her own, silver colored horse. This way Silver becomes a wonder horse as well.

Angie has gone far away from Nottingham and the castle of the prince.

Of course she rides Silver. The beautiful horse is no longer a colt, hardly seems to feel the weight of the young girl and loves it to be together with her.

Again Angie meets the most odd people – a tinker, Joe and his bear Bruto and especially the spoiled Princess Wanda, daughter of Prince John, who is after her favorite horse! Angie has become an outlaw and a fugitive: she has to keep Silver out of the hands of the greedy princess!

Book 3: SILVER AND THE GHOST HORSE

Again Angie and her wonder horse Silver plunge into the most dangerous adventures. It all starts, when a sly councilor and a giant soldier decide to destroy the camp of Robin Hood. No one knows where to find that camp of Robin and his men. No one, except for… Angie! Soon everyone is looking for her and things don’t look good for the girl. But she can count on the help of Silver and Saladin and of her friend Joe and his bear Bruto. And another party is interested in Angie and Silver! A strange man, who calls himself Sultan! And where do these mysterious ghost horses come from? Angie and her horse stay tough. For together they are strong, together they stand tall in a land full of enemies and problems…

Book 4: THE JESTER OF NOTTINGHAM

Prince John reigns over England, now his brother Richard Lionheart is not there. He exploits the people and wears Richard’s crown. Everyone fears this mean prince. Except for men like Robin Hood and… girls like Angie!

Angie roams the country on the back of her wonder horse Silver and comes across the most odd persons. She runs into knight Rush and his little son Arthur, she meets a merry rat catcher en returns to the camp of Robin Hood. In the meantime Prince John organizes an election: the man who becomes the Jester of Nottingham, is allowed to reign the country for one week. He does not know that King Richard has set foot on English ground again! Angela knows where she can find the king and looks him up with Silver and the mighty Saladin…

And the king can use the help of Angie and her wonder horses!

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John Fallis, main character of Concerning the Matter of The King of Craw by Ron Rhody

Meet the baddest of the bad on Nov. 5 in Frankfort, KY

One of Kentucky’s baddest bad men is being resurrected at the Kentucky Book Fair in Frankfort Saturday, November 5 —baddest of the bad if you believed the press of the day, but a hero to the downtrodden if you listened to the poor and the powerless.

John Fallis is his name.  He was the King of Craw—the notorious red-light district in Kentucky’s capital city that flourished during the Roaring Twenties and was famous all the way down to New Orleans for its wild and licentious ways. He was a political power, a gambler, a bootlegger, a legitimate merchant, and a charismatic Lothario who brooked no insult, would not be pushed around, who bent a knee to no man.

Concerning The Matter of The King of CrawThe men who ran the town thought him Lucifer unleashed. The common folk thought him their protector and benefactor. His rise and fall is the stuff of which legends are made. Which the new book Concerning The Matter Of The King Of Craw attempts, for the first time, to draw out and illuminate. Its formal release is set for the opening of the Kentucky Book Fair at Frankfort’s Convention Center, Saturday, November 5. Ron Rhody, a Pinehurst, NC resident, who wrote it, grew up in the Capital City where stories about John Fallis are still being told.

Concerning The Matter Of The King Of Craw is a work of fiction, for no formal biography exits, but it is based on fact and hews as close to the actual record as such a record exists The book begins with the night of the Big Shoot-Out when he takes on the entire city police force and ends with him dead on a craps table in Craw in what the newspapers deemed the aftermath of an argument over a game of dice, but which many believe was a hit ordered by powerful members of the city’s elite.

The Kentucky Book Fair, operated by the Kentucky Humanities Council and the Kentucky Book Fair Board, is one of the biggest in the Southeast. It regularly attracts a crowd of 3,000 or more and this year will host 170 regional and national authors. It is set for the Frankfort Convention Center, hours nine to four-thirty, Saturday, November 5, 2016.

CONCERNING THE MATTER OF THE KING OF CRAW can be ordered from our bookstore for $11.99.

He brooked no insult, would not be cheated, would not be pushed around. He bent a knee to no man. He was the King of Craw and the powers-that-be wanted him gone.

Concerning The Matter of The King of Craw

List Price: $16.99

6″ x 9″ (15.24 x 22.86 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
288 pages
Outer Banks Publishing Group
ISBN-13: 978-0990679042
ISBN-10: 0990679047
BISAC: Fiction / Historical / General

Another Sneak Peek into Ron Rhody’s new novel

Author Ron Rhody

Novelist Ron Rhody

Outer Banks Publishing Group author Ron Rhody has agreed to serialize a few chapters of his newest novel, Concerning The Matter of The King of Craw,  giving readers a sneak peak into his book based the real life of John Fallis, a legendary figure, who was like a Robin Hood in Frankfort, Kentucky during the Roaring Twenties.

Each week, we will present a new chapter here or you can read it on Ron’s blog. Here is the second chapter Ron released.

Sketch by Karen Piedmont of the “Craw” section of Frankfort, KY in the early twenties.

CONCERNING THE MATTER OF THE KING OF CRAW will be released Nov. 5, 2016 at the Kentucky Book Fair, Frankfort, KY. You can pre-order a copy from our bookstore at the publisher’s pre-release price of $11.99.

By Ron Rhody

CHAPTER FOUR: RISE PEON

Monday came.

Collection day.

The day Tubby and his merry men would be expecting to collect their tribute, the day that would mark the start of my second full week of school in this town still strange to me, the day that would set the way my peers would think of me.

I knew they knew of Tubby’s shakedowns. They must have talked of it. The word must have gotten around. Not that they were likely to ostracize the timid and the weak among them. They’d just have no respect for them.

I understood that. If you don’t respect yourself, no one else will. To prove that you do, you can’t let others push you around.

While I was a boy, the only instruction I ever had in fighting came the afternoon Andy Charbonneau got beat up.

Jigger Swinson beat hell out of him. Jigger was the biggest and meanest boy in class.

We were playing marbles after school behind the swings. Jigger said Andy cheated. He grabbed Andy’s taw and wouldn’t give it back. Andy called him a liar.

“Don’t call me a liar you little bastard.” He took Andy apart.

When Andy couldn’t stand up any longer, Jigger kicked him in the side and walked away with Andy’s taw.

Jimmy D. and Winston and me helped him home. Andy’s dad, the guide, the elk hunter, was there. “What happened, boys” he said as he washed the blood from Andy’s face.

Mr. Charbonneau, Baptiste Charbonneau, was a cheerful man with an easy way and the build of a bear. His face was wind-burned and sunburned and his eyes crinkled at the sides when he smiled. No smiles now.

When we finished, Mr. Charbonneau said, “Did anybody help this Jigger Swinson beat on Andrew?”

“No, sir.”

He waited a moment or two, considering, then said, “I’m not for fighting, boys. But some things you can’t let pass.”Concerning The Matter of The King of Craw

He looked around to each of us. “I want all you boys to pay attention to this.”

Another long pause, waiting to be sure we were listening.

“I don’t expect you to fight unless you have to. But from time to time you’ll have to. Life works that way.” He seemed saddened by that, but continued.

“If there’s going to be a fight, don’t stand around jawing. Don’t waste time pushing or shoving. Knock the sonofabitch down and stomp on him. Hit him as hard as you can! Go for the stomach. Knock his wind out. When he bends over to try to get a breath, hit him behind the head with both your hands locked together. When he falls, stomp on his hands so he won’t be able to hit again for a long time. Don’t give him any quarter. Don’t give him time to collect himself.”

Mr. Charbonneau was a respected man. He had to master the mountains. Sometimes had to master the egos of the swells who could afford his skills but who drank too much or wanted to take a calf for the meat when it was bulls only season and he wouldn’t permit it.

We listened.

“Beat him so bad he’ll never want to fight you again,” he said. “Blow through him like a Maria and then stand over him and tell him if he ever sees you coming he damn well better get out of the way.”

We were gathered in his kitchen when he told us this. Andy was sitting on a stool by the sink with the bloodstained washcloth floating in the basin and we were ringed around him. Mr. Charbonneau was standing behind Andy with his hand on Andy’s shoulder.

“Understand, boys? Understand what I’m telling you? Don’t get caught up in ideas about fair fights. There are no fair fights. You hit first! Hit with as much force as you’ve got. Drop him down and stomp on him before he knows what’s happening. Make him never dare mess with you again.”

He ran his gaze over each of us, satisfying himself that we understood.

“Now, Andrew,” he said, moving around to stand in front of Andy. “I want you to go find this boy Jigger Swinson. I want you to give him that message. And I want you to get your taw back.”

He walked to the corner by the fireplace where he kept a staff that he used when he was scouting in the mountains, a long wooden staff of fire-hardened oak that had been shaved into round and varnished slick. He hefted it, swung it, slapped it against his open palm a couple of times, walked to the window and looked out. The afternoon was fading but there was still an hour or two to sunset. He walked back across the room to stand in front of Andy.

“This boy’s bigger than you. Take this to even that up. When you find him, don’t say anything.”

Mr. Carbonneau raised the staff above his head and swung it down in a sweeping arc.

“Smash him! Hit down, like you’re chopping a log. Hold the staff in both hands. Hit hard. Aim for a spot between the shoulder blade and the neck. Then switch your hold and swing like you’re hitting a baseball and hit him across the upper arm.”

He drew back, pivoted and stepped into the swing as if he expected to drive it out of the park.

“Then swing it down and bark his shins. Then stab it into his gut. When he falls, stand over him and jam the stick into his neck where the Adam’s Apple is. Not too hard. You’ll kill him if you press too hard.”

Mr. Charbonneau stood there, legs apart with the staff’s point shoved into the floor at his feet and him leaning into it, steel in his tone.

“Tell him give me back my taw. Tell him don’t you dare come at me again.”

He handed the staff to Andy. “Go now.”

And turned to us. We were breathless at what we’d seen, shocked at what we’d heard. “You boys go with him,” he said. “See that no one interferes.”

No one did.

Andy got his taw back.

Jigger Swinson didn’t mess with any of us again.

I remembered.

Tubby and his three merry men circled me when class let out for morning recess.

“Pretty boy, pretty boy, we’re waiting for you. It’s Monday morning and tribute is due.”

They were standing by the outside water fountain. You had to pass it on the way to the playground. Tubby made his little sing-song chant loud enough to be heard by those who were passing. Most of the class knew what to expect. They didn’t stop as they passed but began to gather in little groups just far enough away to be close enough to watch.

The morning was chilly. Tubby had on knickers again and a neatly knotted tie and a button- up sweater, with hair slicked back and an arrogant smile. He stood hands on hips, looking big and threatening. The three merry men grinned at each other.

He held out his right hand, palm up, smirking. I smiled right back and drove my fist into his gut with all the force I had. Tubby’s eyes widened. He folded over, gasping, and I hit him behind the neck with my interlocked hands. He splayed out flat, almost bouncing off the concrete pavement at the base of the fountain. I let him lay gasping for a minute, then rolled him over and knelt down with my knee in his chest. I grabbed his tie and forced his gagging face up to look me in the eyes. The surprise on his face was deeper than the pain.

“Wha….” he tried say but he was fighting too hard to breathe.

I tightened my grip on his tie. “Tubby, the peons have risen,” I said.

I dropped him down then and rose to deal with the merry men. But there was no need. Lucas was standing behind me, protecting my back.

Across the schoolyard kids were running in to get closer.

Tubby was still on his back gasping for breath. The merry men seemed dazed. Lucas nodded his head toward Tubby and said to them, “Your little shakedown is over, boys. I wouldn’t try it again or pretty boy might get mad. Now pick your friend up, clean him up, and get out of here.”

Then he turned to me laughing and shaking his head said, “Where’d you learn that!”

(more to come)

Bizarro by Dan Piraro

In Jail for Self-publishing?

By DAN PIRARO

If you have ever seen Dan Piraro’s critically acclaimed comic Bizarro (and you have: it is published daily in over 360 papers), you know that he doesn’t see the world like the rest of us do. His single panel gems are a unique concoction of surrealistic imagery, social commentary, and witty plays on words. Indeed, if Salvador Dali, Garry Trudeau and Oscar Wilde had an illegitimate child, that child would be Dan Piraro.

 

Author Ron Rhody

Novelist Ron Rhody gives sneak peek of his newest novel

Outer Banks Publishing Group author Ron Rhody has agreed to serialize a few chapters of his newest novel giving readers a sneak peak into his book based the real life of John Fallis, a legendary figure, who was like a Robin Hood in Frankfort, Kentucky during the Roaring Twenties.

Each week, we will present a new chapter here or you can read it on Ron’s blog.

CONCERNING THE MATTER OF THE KING OF CRAW will be released Nov. 5, 2016 at the Kentucky Book Fair, Frankfort, KY or you can pre-order a copy from our bookstore for $11.99.

By Ron Rhody

         King of Craw by Ron RhodyI’m not sure how to characterize it. It is a work of fiction, yes —  but it is based on real people and real events. A mystery? Yes, but not of the usual kind. This one has to do with a man of glaring contradictions —  a mercurial man of lethal temper and tender compassion  whose acts cause him to  becomes an iconic figure in Bluegrass folklore.

No one who knew him, not even he himself, could explain why he did the things he did.  He was either Lucifer let loose or Galahad  to the rescue of the poor and the powerless. The debate on whether the sum of his actions was good or evil was intense then and remains so now. And the matter of his death is still suspect.  Was it a fight over a game of dice  as the newspapers reported, or a killing ordered by powerful men who had had enough of the King of Craw?

The book is about all that, and friendship, and the odd turns love can take. Considering this, I thought it might be  good  to give prospective readers an idea of what the story is and how it unfolds. So over the next few weeks we’ll run a  few of the opening chapters here. The one that follows is the Prologue – the “overture” before the curtain rises. Comments and questions are welcomed.

“The essence of good and evil is a certain disposition of the mind.”

Epictetus

PROLOGUE

I have been able to reconstruct most of the facts of his life, but I still cannot explain the man.

The sudden explosions of violence.

Like the cutting of Semonis.

The surprising acts of compassion

Like the burial of the mountain child.

What drove him?

He and Semonis were friends. At a dance. A woman. A remark by Semonis that John Fallis thought insulting? The knife was out and in Semonis’ side before anyone could move.Some spark, some circuit in his mind connected and he reacted violently and without thinking.

That happened often.

Ted Bates.Not serious. The bullet missed the bone and the leg healed. Tubba Dixon had a pool cue broken over his head and would have had the jagged stump shoved down his throat if he hadn’t been pulled out of Fallis’s reach.

There were other shooting and cuttings.

Anger? Surely.Self defense?  Perhaps.

For the Semonis knifing, he was arrested, charged with cutting and wounding with intent to kill without killing, and jailed. But nothing came of it.

From his bed, Semonis petitioned the Judge to set John Fallis free. John is my good friend, he declared. It was a simple misunderstanding, as much my fault as John’s.  Please let him go.

The battered and the wounded often petitioned the court to let him go.

Because of acts like the burial of the mountain child?

A stranger, a man from the mountains, had come to town to find work and feed his family. No work could be found. While the man searched, his baby son caught the river fever and died.

The man knew no one. Had no friends or family to call on.  No job. No money. No way to bury his baby son, his only son. For a man like him, a man from the prideful culture he came from, the shame of it was damning, the despair of the loss of his son crippling.Then someone told him about a man who might help.

No need to belabor the story.

The stranger came to the grocery. Stood before the counter. Humble. Humiliated. Told his story. Promised somehow, someday, if only Mr. Fallis could see his way clear to lend him enough money to bury his son, he’d pay it all back, swear to God.

John Fallis listened quietly. Took the measure of the man. Didn’t lend him the money. Gave it to him. More than was needed.  And stood with the man and his wife at the burial so that they didn’t have to endure it alone.

Like the spark that set off the violence, there was a spark that triggered compassion.

I doubt he was aware of either.

Whatever the case, to most of those in that section near the river where the poor lived, that section where the bad-ass bars and the honkey-tonks and the cat-houses huddled, to most of the people in that part of town where John Fallis had his grocery, and to many others all over town that were poor and powerless, he was revered. He stood up for them.

To the proper folk of the city, though, he was Lucifer unleashed. He was a lawless, thuggish, un-intimidated insult to decency and the Powers-That-Be. They wanted him gone.

John Fallis was ten when he began to carry a knife.

The older boys, the bigger boys, picked on him. He fought back. They thought it was funny. Until he got the knife.

When he became a man, no one thought it would be funny to pick on John Fallis. He brooked no insult, would not be cheated, would not be pushed around. He bent a knee to no man.

He was the King of Craw and Lucas Deane was his acolyte.

I came to know Mister Fallis through Lucas. That’s how I thought of him—as Mister Fallis.

He was strikingly handsome. He had a charm that was almost magnetic. When he chose to use it, which was not always, he won friends easily and women became willing prey. Being around him was like being swept up in a vortex of energy where something exciting, something dangerous, something unexpected could happen, would probably happen, at any second. I fell gladly into his orbit. I was only a boy then. We were in the seventh grade, Lucas Deane and I, when we met. I was transferring in from a distant school. Lucas was already there. That year was nineteen-twenty. The Great War was over. The country was opening the door to the Roaring Twenties.  The Big Shoot-Out was a year in the future.

The Big Shoot-Out. The day John Fallis took on the entire city police force. You’ve heard of it. Everyone’s heard of it. Even the New York Times was appalled. But John Fallis was special to Lucas Deane long before that. Lucas and his mother would have starved but for John Fallis.

Lucas’s mother was ill and couldn’t work. They were penniless.  No money for food, no money for rent. Lucas was only seven at the time.  John Fallis heard of it. He found Lucas and gave him a job … things he could do, sweep up at the grocery after school, stock the shelves … and paid him enough that they could get by.

Later, Mr. Fallis kept Lucas on. He liked the boy. Lucas’s gratitude was endless, his admiration boundless. I could understand that. I came to admire John Fallis, too. But not to the point of blind devotion.

Lord, save us from our heroes.

The Killing Road, based on a true story by Scott Fields

Author found it emotionally difficult to write The Killing Road

Outer Banks Publishing Group Author Scott Fields

Author SCOTT FIELDS

Author Scott Fields talks about his new novel, The Killing Road, and why he decided to dramatize this true story and how hard it was to write such a book.

What made you dramatize the true life events of The Killing Road?

I was at a book signing when a young couple came up to me and the woman told me about a time when three members of her family were killed by a maniac who eventually killed twelve people in a three week period. She gave me the phone number of her grandparents. I met with them and they gave me a scrapbook that was full of everything I needed to know.

What is your fascination with real life crime stories? Why do you think you are so interested in true crime? Your earlier novel, The Mansfield Killings, is also based on true events.

Normally, I prefer feel good stories. I like a story with a conflict but a happy ending. The Killing Road and The Mansfield Killings began by someone telling me about some events that happened years ago. Something clicked inside me when I heard about each one, and my regular life was put on the back burner.

What do you hope to accomplish by writing The Killing Road? By writing any book?

Most everyone has a hobby, and mine just happens to be writing. For all my life ideas would pop into my head. If they stayed there for several years, then I took them seriously and would eventually turn those ideas into a novel.

How did you go about starting The Killing Road? What was involved?

After several interviews and trips to the library for additional information out of the newspapers, I was ready to begin.

You said it was hard writing The Killing Road. What did you mean by that?

It was extremely difficult to write about some of the things that he did. It only took me four months to write The Mansfield Killings, and it took me two years to write this one. He was incredibly vicious and did some things that I described in the novel but will not discuss them today.

Do you have another book on the horizon?

I am about halfway finished with a little more upbeat kind of novel. Imagine a mafia hitman turning into a pastor and becoming obsessed with taking care of kids with cancer. I have a real problem with kids getting cancer, and I just had to write a story about it. This will be one more way of feeding my hobby.

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The Killing Road
Now $12.99 directly from the Publisher for a limited time

Click here to order your copy!

List Price: $17.99
5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Black & White on White paper
220 pages
Outer Banks Publishing Group
ISBN-13: 978-0990679035
ISBN-10: 0990679039
BISAC: Fiction / Crime