SPOOF!

SPOOF!

By Kathy Clark

 

It used to be people would say “it is what it is.”   But that may no longer be true.  Actually, it is getting less true every day.

REALITY ROMANCE novels are stories about real people engaged in normal activities whose lives are interrupted by the unexpected.

But what is reality in the early part of the Twenty-first Century?

In current films, for example, it is increasingly difficult to identify the parts of the movie that are real and those that are CGI (computer graphic imaging).

Today, most people glance at their phone screens and check the caller ID before answering their phone.  But few people realize that with little or no technical expertise, it’s easy to make any name and number appear as the caller ID on your phone.  Every day people get called by the police or the IRS with warnings about arrests or worse because money is owed for unpaid tickets or taxes.  But don’t send them that check.  It’s probably scammers who have misidentified themselves as authorities that you trust.  SPOOF!

Maybe you’ve received an email from someone and in fact the sender never sent the email.  SPOOF!

A newer, more complex trick is to cause someone’s geographical location as shown on their cell phone or vehicle GPS device to be somewhere it isn’t.   SPOOF!

REALITY ROMANCE is contemporary life.  In the third book of our SCANDALS series, WORST DATE EVER, an on-line dating service is hit by a spoofer.  As the incidences escalate from identity theft to murder, Tulsa and a millionaire fireman must work together to stop the hacker.  Of course, romance and mayhem follows.

Go to this link to find the best priced copy of WORST DATE EVER, book #3 from our SCANDALS Series-  www.lrd.to/worst-date-ever

Here are the first three books in the SCANDALS Series…

 

And our website has all of our books – http://www.LoveRealityRomance.com

 

There are many types of spoofing but here are a few of our favorites as they frequently show up in our Twenty-first Century news, TV shows, films, and books:

CALLER ID SPOOFING

  • Public telephone networks often provide Caller IDinformation, which includes the caller’s name and number, with each call. However, some technologies (especially in Voice over IP (VoIP) networks) allow callers to forge Caller ID information and present false names and numbers. Gateways between networks that allow such spoofing and other public networks then forward that false information.  Since spoofed calls can originate from other countries, the laws in the receiver’s country may not apply to the caller. This limits laws’ effectiveness against the use of spoofed Caller ID information to further a scam.  So next time a police officer or an IRS agent calls, don’t panic.  Unless you’re expecting the call, it’s probably not really an official.

 

eMAIL SPOOFING

  • The sender information shown in e-mails(the “From” field) can be easily spoofed. This technique is commonly used by spammers to hide the origin of their e-mails and leads to problems such as misdirected bounces (i.e. e-mail spambackscatter). E-mail address spoofing is done in a similar manner as writing a forged return address using snail mail. As long as the letter fits the protocol, (i.e. stamp, postal code) the SMTP protocol will send the message. It can be done using a mail server with telnet.

 

GPS SPOOFING

  • GPSspoofing attack attempts to deceive a GPS receiver by broadcasting counterfeit GPS signals, structured to resemble a set of normal GPS signals, or by rebroadcasting genuine signals captured elsewhere or at a different time.  A “proof-of-concept” attack was successfully performed in June, 2013, when the luxury yacht “White Rose” was misdirected with spoofed GPS signals from Monaco to the island of Rhodes by a group of aerospace engineering students from the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas in Austin. The students were aboard the yacht, allowing their spoofing equipment to gradually overpower the signal strengths of the actual GPS constellation satellites, altering the course of the yacht.

 

All of these fascinating new technologies can create great conflicts and plotlines in current literature and other forms of entertainment.  It changes every day, so if you’re a writer, be sure and do your homework.  If you’re a consumer…BEWARE.

Bottom line?  What it is isn’t what it is.

 

What just happened?

We’ve taken the time to refresh the novel blurbs for eight of our most recent books and we wanted to update everyone about this.  They should be up to date on Amazon by early Monday morning and are up to date on our web site at http://www.thethrillofsuspense.com .

Here’s the latest on our New Adult series, Scandals.

Due Dates, book #1 in the Scandals Series

DUE DATES

Killeen Ames is an overachiever.  Beautiful, smart, athletic, and living with the star quarterback of the ASU team, she has it all.

Then, in the blink of an eye, her world implodes.  Her boyfriend graduates and leaves her alone and pregnant which also puts her full-ride scholarship in jeopardy and leaves her homeless.

An unlikely inheritance gives Killeen a do-over and the freedom to choose her next step and what she wants to do about the baby.  But the new life comes with a man she can’t resist who doesn’t know the dark secrets of her past.  She realizes what’s truly important when she has to make a life or death decision.

 

Killer Date, book #2 in the Scandals Series

KILLER DATE FINAL

Reno Marks has never lived by the rules.  After he escaped from his alcoholic mother,  he moved to Vegas to become a professional magician.  Forced to live underground for a while, he sees life at its lowest level.

Reno loves women…as a whole, but he’s never been in love.  In fact, he doesn’t really know what it is.  When Jenny, a beautiful pre-school teacher, comes into his life asking for help, he is struck by an emotion he’s never felt.  Could it be love?

Unfortunately, Jenny realizes he’s a bad boy she doesn’t have time to tame.  It’s going to take Reno stepping way outside his comfort zone to convince her he’s worth saving.

 

Worst Date Ever, book #3 in the Scandals Series

WORST DATE EVER

Tulsa Wiggins was abandoned on a doorstep by her mother.  She has always been alone, whether trying to survive in a foster home or making her way in the world.  Her talent for computer technology has made her an expert in cyber security, which is perfect for a person who doesn’t know how to get along with others.

When she’s forced to move in with Cody, a super-hot fireman, Tulsa discovers how it feels to love and be loved.  But he’s a player who might also be a killer.

Can she handle the challenge of falling in love while her heart is at risk and her life is in danger?

 

Here’s the latest on our Young Adult time travel mystery romance series, Time Shifters

Change The Past, book #1 in the Time Shifters Series

TIME SHIFTERS Change The Past

Kelly Welch’s sixteenth summer was supposed to be the best ever.  Long, lazy days with her friends and her horse in Texas.  But her life changes in an instant.

Her unexpected move to Fort Myers Beach, Florida leaves her lonely and frightened.  Living with a workaholic aunt she barely knows and looking to start a school where she’s the new girl makes her anxious and unhappy.

Until she meets Scott.  He is smart and nerdy, sort of like her, and they hit it off right away.  His best friend, handsome, athletic Austin joins them on a surprise adventure back to the past and adds an unexpected complication.

The summer that began so badly becomes the most exciting and dangerous one of her life when she is faced with the dilemma of risking her own life to save someone she doesn’t even know.  Is she brave enough to risk it all…especially now that she’s felt the first promise of love?

 

TIME SHIFTERS Day At The Beach

Austin Burke lives for football.  He’s the star quarterback at South Beach High School with the bright future in college and maybe professional football.  He isn’t looking for a girlfriend, but then he meets Kelly.  She’s brave and funny and can beat him at their favorite video game.

When Austin and Kelly get together with their friends Scott and Zoey for a fun day at the beach on what they think is a deserted island, it goes wrong from the very beginning.  They are surprised to find a group of people led by a very frightening man.  As they try to find a way off the island, Austin discovers his attraction for Kelly, but he thinks she and Scott are a couple, and he won’t do anything to hurt his best friend.

But then they are attacked by a crazed criminal who is determined to leave no survivors.  The teens must work together, and Austin takes charge to attempt to bring them home safely.

 

TIME SHIFTERS Runaway Lover

Zoey Chandler is popular, beautiful, and rich.  Her most important achievement is that she is on the cheer squad.  That is, until she accidentally is swept along on a crazy adventure with Austin, Kelly, and Scott.  She discovers there is more to life than having a good hair day.

Their newest adventure takes them to a travelling circus where Zoey falls in love with a charming young man named Jesse who trains tigers.  Kelly and Austin get closer as the teens learn new jobs and experience a lifestyle very different than they’ve ever known.  But love is complicated, especially when there is a time change of almost a hundred years and Jesse is the target of a jealous killer.

If they can save him, how can Zoey make the difficult decision of whether to give up the life she knows and loves for a boy in a different time who has stolen her heart?

 

TIME SHIFTERS Forever Love

Kelly and Austin are left alone while everyone else is on vacation trips with their families.  They celebrate the Fourth of July together and grow closer than ever.

But as soon as Scott and Zoey return, the teens take off on an excursion to the past to visit the historic Stanley Hotel.  Their goal is to save a little girl named Emma from a kidnapper, but as they celebrate another Fourth of July, Kelly is swept away by her first real kiss.

The teens experience a new and hard lifestyle, all the while hoping to see if the stories about ghosts are true.  They meet a lot of interesting people, even some very famous ones, but everyone seems normal.

As they face their first defeat, they are caught by surprise when the same danger that takes Emma also threatens the teens when one of their own is captured in a killer’s web.  Will they be able to save Emma?  Or will they join her as permanent guests in the ghostly halls of The Stanley Hotel?

You don’t have to believe in ghosts…until you meet one.

 

Finally, our single title, Life’s What Happens

Life's What Happens Amazon sized

The email about the gathering popped up on Don Williams’s smart phone and he found himself obediently driving back to the small college town where events years ago shook the world and changed his life forever.  A morbid curiosity or a second look from a more mature point of view, he found himself driving up the long fraternity house driveway.  It took him longer than expected as his driving tour of the campus pulled his imagination back in time.

What happened next rocked his belief in the past and present.  The recollections of his past lovers, friends and events raced into focus and quickly overlaid the reality of now.  His ability to change the past and influence the present blurred the lines between what he knew and what he remembered and his trip consumed him.

He relived a college life that spiraled out of control in spite of his best efforts to graduate.  With everyone who mattered to him then, he mourned and celebrated the changes that have occurred since.  For college life then and now more has stayed the same than not.  LIFE’S WHAT HAPPENS is their story, as each is faced with questions much more complicated than any generation past. It is about the year they turned from boys to men, and where their choices took them.

Based on actual events, this is the unwritten story of what really followed the summer that became the most famous summer ever in song and memories.

 

Please remember, all these books and all the blacklist of classic romance novels are free.  Simply leave a review on Amazon on any book and fill out the form on the first age of our website and you’ll receive your FREE book direct via email.

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BEHIND THE BOOK #2: Life’s What Happens

In our first Thrill Of Suspense Blog we told you about how we’ve undertaken the publishing of a new blog series we’ve titled Behind The Book.  And while it was inspired by the VH1 Behind the Music series that focused on the music industry the Behind The Book Blog is different from Behind the Music in one major aspect.  

It isn’t about the author.  It is about the book.  For our second blog in the series we selected our single title New Adult Romance Life’s What Happens.

BEHIND THE BOOK #2:

Life’s What Happens

BEHIND THE BOOK LIFE

Life’s What Happens is a difficult book to slot into a genre.  It is a contemporary story told in flash back about college age adults who lived through the  anti-war movement in 1969 to 1970.  Is is as new adult as any new adult that takes place today but the angst suffered is way over the top.  A million people were impacted by what happened in  Washington D.C. on December 1, 1969.  The entire country learned of what that one night led to on May 4, 1970.

The story was inspired by Bob, who witnessed Kent State first hand, who asked the question would his life have been different had his draft lottery not been #98.  For that matter would the over 1,000,000 men who had their birth date capsule pulled from the glass box been different with a different lottery number.  The obvious answer unfortunately for several thousands of young men who were drafted and ended up in Nam and died. But there were hundreds of thousands more who made decisions regarding finishing college, going to college, dropping out and moving to Canada or even just changing their major so they had a chance to snare an occupational deferment to avoid the country’s most unpopular war ever.  And oh yeah…the deferments that Nixon stopped.

Life’s What Happens is a love story about everyday college kids who were part of the largest incoming college class in history and who had planned for four years the next step in their life, often times with their first true love.  How do you overlay everyday college angst, love, anti war demonstration and college shootings and military conscription into a single cohesive story?  You write Life’s What Happens. True story on top of true story on top of true story.

Before we tell you about the story here’s a retro activity that pulls on what kids today call classic rock of the mid century.  First, go to our author home page and on the lower left click on the Kent State flower child…and listen to the music that inspired the times.  Click on http://www.thethrillofsuspense.com , find her picture on the lower left of the home page and her picture below will take you there.

Girl with flower

And, assuming you buy the book be sure to listen to the recommended song at the start of every chapter.  The play list includes –

“Try To Remember [The Kind Of September]” – The Sandpipers

“It’s Your Thing” – The Isley Brothers

“Dizzy” – Tommy Roe

“I Got You Babe” – Sonny & Cher

“Mighty Quinn” – Manfred Mann

“Midnight Confessions” – The Grass Roots

“The Monkees Theme” – The Monkees

“Tired Of Waiting” – The Kinks

“Those Were The Days” – Mary Hopkin

“Catch The Wind” – Donovan

“My Way” – Frank Sinatra

“Come Together” – The Beatles

“Time of the Season” – The Zombies

“Leaving on a Jet Plane” – Peter, Paul and Mary

“Everybody’s Talkin’” – Nilsson

“Breaking Up Is Hard to Do” – Neil Sedaka

“Day Tripper” – The Beatles

“It Takes Two” – Kim Weston

“Bottle of Wine” – The Fireballs

“Bad Moon Rising” – Creedance Clearwater Revival

“Kind of a Drag” – The Buckinghams

“Jumping Jack Flash” – The Rolling Stones

“I Heard It Through The Grapevine” – Marvin Gaye

“Always You” – The Sundowners

“Na Na Hey Hey [Kiss Him Goodbye]” – Steam

“Is That All There Is?” – Peggy Lee

“1-2-3 . . .” – Len Barry

“The Cat In The Window [The Bird In The Sky]” Petula Clark

“We Got To Get Out Of This Place” – The Animals

“This Magic Moment” – Jay and the Americans

“You’ve Got Your Troubles” – The Fortunes

“P.S. I Love You” – The Beatles

“It’s My Party” – Lesley Gore

“Both Sides Now” – Judy Collins

“Yesterday’s Gone” – Chad & Jeremy

“Worst That Could Happen” – Brooklyn Bridge

“Reflections Of My Life” – The Marmalade

“The Fool On The Hill” – The Beatles

“He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother” – The Hollies

“For What It’s Worth (Stop, Hey What’s That Sound)” – Buffalo Springfield

“Good Vibrations” – The Beach Boys

“98.6” – Keith

“Up-Up And Away” – The 5th Dimension

“Easy Come, Easy Go” – Bobby Sherman

“Wouldn’t It Be Nice” – The Beach Boys

“Subterranean Homesick Blues” – Bob Dylan

“Bridge Over Troubled Water” – Simon and Garfunkel

“Something’s Burning” – Kenny Rogers and the 1st Edition

“One Tin Soldier” – The Original Caste

“Last Train to Clarksville” – The Monkees

“The Beat Goes On” – Sonny & Cher

“When I Die” – Motherlode

“Things We Said Today” – The Beatles

“In My Life” – The Beatles

As side note, Steam’s song Kiss Him Goodbye was the original working title for the book.

Here’s the blurb for Life’s What Happens.

He is too young to drink (legally) but not too young to die. Don Williams is a senior at Kent State University and lives in an off-campus fraternity house. He and his girlfriend Lisa are making plans for their future after graduation when suddenly, it’s all taken away. His career, his freedom of choice and even his frat brothers who have become his family.

Life’s What Happens when you mix the hormone-fueled emotions of youth who have left home to experience the mind, mood and physical freedoms of college life with the cultural and political changes of the late 1960’s. For the brothers of Phi Psi Kappa fraternity their biggest worries should have been how to pass their classes with the least amount of studying and the greatest amount of partying and girls. Instead, they are faced with the life-and-death decision of whether they should face their fates head-on, change their plans or just run away.

It is about the year they turned from boys to men, and where their choices took them.

There have been so many amazing awesome reviews but here’s a couple from readers who just got the book and the message.

Life’s What Happens does for Kent State students what Derek Robinson’s Piece of Cake did for WWII pilots in 1939. A large cast of characters, often irreverent, teasing, hard-working and hard-playing, comes to life in the first part of the novel where students ponder what the future might bring, and threats of a draft lottery begin to loom large. The photographer, the dissector of dead cats, the poor rich guy and the newly successful poor friend, and more, live out their everyday lives against a backdrop of eateries, drink, tests and dreams. Girlfriends abound, and the relationships have that vivid teenage immediacy of indestructability and rebellion. But destruction looms large.

 

Life’s what happens encompasses the lives of a few students who were present during the Kent State University shooting in 1970. Set up on the backdrop of college campus in Ohio; the story moves further and retraces the ramifications of the Vietnam War and draft on the lives of 9 fraternity brothers and their families.

The book starts off with a prologue. Though it doesn’t capture the readers’ attention for a while, until the characters are introduced in the flashback; it sails once we get past the first few pages. Each character is so realistically portrayed by the author that it brings out life in the book. These fictional characters are in love, they joke, play ball, get angry, fight and most of all they make the readers feel that it’s all real, that they are real.

“The girls rarely lasted long in the games because the guys played for blood, and it took only a broken fingernail or a knock to the floor to discourage all but the most determined young woman.”

One of the laughable sentences giving an insight on author’s ability to create humour and entertain its readers.

“I don’t get how people wake up one day and all their feelings for someone are suddenly gone.”

A sentence I loved. Doesn’t every youngster at one point or the other goes through the same concern?
Hats off to the author for making the characters look as real as they can be in a fiction. Unlike other stories, this one starts off happily but becomes sad in the course of time; still a touching tale. The only issue being too many characters in the beginning makes it hard for the readers to catch up.

The book is a good reminder of a past tragedy which should never be forgotten. I would definitely want to see a movie adaption on it.
Worth it!

 

You can find more information about the series, books and awards through our author website, The Thrill Of Suspense, by clicking HERE.

Here’s how to acquire your own copy of Life’s What Happens or any book by Kathy Clark, a.k.a. Bob Kat, go to their store on Amazon by clicking HERE

When you finish the book please be sure to leave us a review on Amazon by clicking HERE 

Life's What Happens Amazon sized

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I’ve always been a storyteller.  I was four years old when I wrote my first one.  And yes it was self-published and I was way ahead of the trend…decades before eBooks actually. The Little Black Horse That Ran Away was self-illustrated and the entire first print run was completely sold out the day it hit the desk.  Spoiler alert here…my mother, who has since supported my career bought the first and last book in that first edition.

Years later, my first official book, with real customers, was published by Dell.  Since then, I’ve had a total of 23 novels published by Dell, Crown and Harlequin and 9 novels self-published on Amazon.com.

The freedom to be creative and experiment with ideas and genres has made self-publishing an amazing process.  I write a contemporary adult romantic suspense series called Denver After Dark, and with my husband, Bob Wernly, I write a new adult series called Scandals and a young adult series called CUL8R (See You Later).  The books from these series have been honored with numerous awards including Best Indie Book of the Year, Reader’s Favorite Award and Colorado Humanities Awards.  For a complete list of books, publishers, screenplays and awards go to my Wikipedia page by clicking HERE.

To be perfectly honest, I would rather be riding horses, sitting on a white sand beach reading a book or playing golf on a Caribbean Island with my husband than writing, but the characters in my head insist that I tell their stories, just like that little black horse so long ago.

                                             AUTHOR KATHY part way  AUTHOR BOB part way

 

LET’S STAY CONNECTED

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WIKIPEDIAhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathy_Clark_(American_author)

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Getting Ready For March 20th.

So what happens on March 20th?

After one month of building reviews and releasing book #4, RIP in the Teen Time Travel Mystery Series, CUL8R, I am finally ready to launch formal advertising of the book to the world.

To date it has received 17 reviews, almost all 5 stars and there are another dozen or so free copies floating around the planet still to weight in.  This blog is about the press release planned for that date.  I want to also thank the Stanley Hotel for their  support. It is a must see whenever you’re in Colorado.

WEB TILE CUL8R SERIES     THUMBNAIL RIP 021614

Already a top 100 on Amazon Teen & YA time travel…and here’s the Press Release for the formal announcement of RIP’s release on March 20TH.  Here’s the press release as planned today.

Colorado’s Stanley Hotel hosts a new ghost story by Bob Kat titled RIP (Rest in Peace) to be released on February 25, 2014. “While The Stanley Hotel has been featured in TV, movies & books in the past, it is refreshing to see a new twist on the use of the hotel,” Jesse Freitas, Manager of The Stanley Hotel stated.

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado was founded by F.O. Stanley, a wealthy businessman forced to move west for health reasons. The expansive property boasts amazing architecture, a magnificent setting and spectacular views, but it may forever be best known as the inspiration for Stephen King’s spine-tingling novel “The Shining” and the subject of Ghost Hunters, the American paranormal reality television series on several occasions.

“But now The Stanley Hotel is in the news again,” says Kathy Clark, a.k.a. Bob Kat, an American fiction author,https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathy_Clark_(American_author).

Jesse Feitas said, “We are excited that the CUL8R book series has chosen The Stanley Hotel as a destination for RIP, not only to tie in a connection with the paranormal stories but traveling back in time to the first couple of years in The Stanley Hotel’s history brings in a whole new fun element to the story.”

“My co-writer in this series, husband Bob Wernly of Austin, Texas and I chose to set the 4th book in the CUL8R Time Travel Mystery Series at the infamous hotel after several trips and many weeks of guest time over the years. We worked hard to describe the hotel as accurately as possible because it’s such a wonderful place and we wanted to do it justice. Several years ago I was lucky enough to go on a private ghost hunt with Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson of Ghost Hunters, crawling through the basement tunnels not open to the public in total darkness which really added to the authenticity of the story,” Kathy said.

RIP (Rest in Peace) is Kathy’s 31st novel and will be released formally on all the major on-line bookstores on February 25th and is available in both e-book and paperback. Kathy has sold over 3 million books globally and has appeared on the NY Times and USA Today bestsellers’ list for her romance novels where she cut her author teeth on her first 23 books.

“In 2012 we joined the crowd of authors who moved from the traditionally published to the self-published e-book marketplace. This is our eighth novel as Indie-Authors,” said Bob, “including four young adult novels in the CUL8R series, two romantic suspense novels in the DENVER AFTER DARK series and the first book BABY DADDY in the SCANDALS new adult series. All but the CUL8R series are written under Kathy Clark’s pen name.”

“Self-publishing allows writers the freedom to include content that traditional publishers would shy away from. And the publishing process is more than a year quicker, so we can continue to focus on the next book in the series instead of waiting for executive approval,” Kathy explained.

The CUL8R series is about four teens from Fort Myers Beach, Florida. “We had to make the time travel trips to the past in the novels really matter…life and death situations that force the teenagers to depend on their intelligence, ingenuity and friendship so they can change the past to save the future.” Bob explained. “I discovered an October 1920 issue of American Magazine with an article that Thomas Edison was developing an electrical device to speak with the dead. This later became known as his Telephone to the Dead. Since Edison spent much of his life in the Fort Myers area, what if our teenagers found that invention, tucked away in the garage of a distant relative who had worked for Edison? What if our personality survives our passing as Edison believed?”

“In RIP [Rest In Peace] you don’t have to believe in ghosts…until you meet one,” Kathy added.

The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado has a well-deserved reputation for being one of the most haunted places in the U.S. So, when Kelly, Scott, Austin and Zoey travel back to 1911 to try to save a young child who went missing from the busy lobby, they aren’t surprised when ghost children run up and down the halls.

There’s romance in the Rockies as they take jobs with the hotel so they can keep an eye on 4 year old Emma and her family. Kelly struggles with her attraction to Austin while Zoey tries to get over her broken heart. Along the way, they meet some colorful historical characters and experience life among the rich and famous just after the turn of the twentieth century. After three other successful time travel adventures, they assume it’s just a matter of being in the right place at the right time. That almost proves to be a fatal mistake.

Kathy concluded, “But can they save Emma? Or will they join her as permanent guests in the ghostly halls of The Stanley Hotel?”

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Peace-CUL8R-Travel-Mystery-Romance-ebook/dp/B00IKIML6U/
iBookstore – https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id826260582
Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/410880
Barnes & Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rip-kathy-clark-aka-bob-kat/1118721095?ean=2940148194996&itm=1&usri=2940148194996
Kobo – SCHEDULED FOR MARCH 17, 2014
Sony Reader Store – SCHEDULED FOR MARCH 24, 2014
GoodReads – https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20879728-rip-rest-in-peace?bf=1000&from_search=true
All Romance – https://www.omnilit.com/product-riprestinpeaceacul8rtimetravelmysteryromance-1428505-152.html
GOOGLE Play / Books –https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Bob_Kat_RIP_Rest_In_Peace_a_CUL8R_Time_Travel_Myst?id=is7kAgAAQBAJ&hl=en
Diesel – SCHEDULED FOR MARCH 24, 2014

FOR PAPER BACK CREATE SPACE – http://www.amazon.com/RIP-Rest-Peace-CUL8R-4/dp/1496145968/

WIKIPEDIA: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathy_Clark_(American_author)

AUTHOR SITE:   http://www.nightwriter93.com

BLOGhttps://kathyclarkauthor.wordpress.com/

FACEBOOK:   https://www.facebook.com/kelly.welch.cul8r

TWITTER:   @93nightwriter

PINTEREST:   http://www.pinterest.com/BobKat1993/

JOIN KATHY’S EMAIL LIST FOR ANNOUNCEMENTS, PRE-RELEASE BOOKS AND BARGAIN / FREE BOOKS: http://eepurl.com/N4osT   via MAIL CHIMP

Kathy Clark’s Writing Resolutions and Plans for 2014

The year is 14 days gone and I’m just getting around to telling everyone about my plans for 2014.  Here we go…

First, thanks for stopping in.

Second, thank you all for your support of me and my books.  I’ve had four of my 2013 releases reach the top 10 on Amazon in the past 12 months.  Each one is better written and accepted, more advance reader copies are sent out [see how to get yours below] and sales have improved.  Again, thank you.

This year I have four books planned. 

The Young Adult Mystery Series CUL8R [See you later] will release of book #4, RIP in February.  Fresh from their return from the 1927 circus that saw Zoey fall in love with a guy  for the right reasons but from the wrong era, the four time travelers find themselves even further back in time to 1911 and on the outside of the life of the rich and famous lifestyle at the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park Colorado. And yes this is the same Stanley Hotel that Jack Nicholson helped to make famous in the Shinning and that’s all I’m going to say.  I can assure all my readers that this is a twisted tale that will keep you in the dark.  How do I know?  I’ve crawled through the basemen of the Stanley in the dark with the Ghost Hunters, Jason and Grant.  Trust me, that is not a place you want to be in the dark at but the research first hand was vital to this story.

In March, 2014 the second book in the Scandals New Adult Romantic Suspense series, Tramp Stamp, has Reno front and center and with lives on the line his passion for the client could be the end of him.  The B-plot in this book is amazing and taken out of the fall 2013 headlines and I apologize now to all college football fans.

Later in the year you will find book #3 in the Denver After Dark series titled Graveyard Shift release. The third brother in the family, Chris, is a Denver, Colorado paramedic.  His job has its own issues to deal with and he finds the morality of the job is not as black and white as it is for his brothers, the cop and the fireman, the heroes in books one and two.

Finally, if all goes well, 2014 will see the release of book #3 in the Scandals New Adult Romantic Suspense Series with Worst Blind Date Ever.  In this third book Tulsa will get her own story and while the title sounds humorous the story is at the core of societal issues and early discussions with Tulsa tells me that you will see Tulsa’s passionate side!  It’s in there somewhere I think.

We’ll see some of you in Round Rock at the end of January for the Inside Track To Indie Publishing Workshop.  That will be January 25th and there are a smalls number of available seats.  Then in San Antonio in July at the National RWA Conference we can connect up and we’ll be around in other places.  As always we will be seeking willing readers to read and provide an honest review in support of the book release of these four 2014 books.  Just send me you email address and we’ll make sure you are on the list to participate.

Wishing you a safe, prosperous and healthy 2014…I now have a Wikipedia page and the usual social media sites.

WIKIPEDIA: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kathy_Clark_(American_author)

AUTHOR SITE:   http://www.nightwriter93.com

BLOGhttps://kathyclarkauthor.wordpress.com/

FACEBOOK:   https://www.facebook.com/kelly.welch.cul8r

TWITTER:   @93nightwriter

PINTEREST:   http://www.pinterest.com/BobKat1993/

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/150098.Kathy_Clark

If you haven’t caught all my books released in 2013 here they are.  Throughout the year they will be on sale ahead of the release of the next book in the series and of course you can have the latest release just send me your email address.

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A mental basis for The New Adult Fiction Genre

Is a person an adult at 18? Recently UK psychologists say No! So the questions is, is this the basis for The New Adult Fiction Genre.
With adolescence now ending at 25 to prevent young people getting an inferiority complex what should be included in a New Adult novel?

The BBC report claims that during adolescence, the way everyday situations and data is processed changes significantly from when a person is a child, to when they reach middle age.

Why does an author of Young Adult and New Adult fiction bring this up?  Simple. The elements of a New Adult novel fit certain criteria in the research and article by child psychologist Laverne Antrobus from London’s Tavistock Clinic who told the BBC “We are becoming much more aware and appreciating development beyond [the age of 18] and I think it’s a really good initiative.”

Adolescence no longer ends when people hit 18, according to updated guidelines being given to child psychologists.  The new directive is designed to extend the age range that child psychologists can work with from 18 years old up to 25.

It is hoped the initiative will stop children being ‘rushed’ through their childhood and feeling pressured to achieve key milestones quickly, reports the BBC.

There are now three stages of adolescence, according to the BBC report: early adolescence that ranges from 12 to 14 years, middle adolescence from 15 to 17 years and 18 and over is classed as late adolescence.

Authors have long held that give or take couple of years to allow for differences in upbringing mid-grade usually ends around 14 years old, young adult is in the 14 to 18 years and the new adult genre is in the 18 to 25 year old group.

It has been introduced because research now suggests the brain continues developing through and passed teenage years, well into a person’s mid-twenties and thirties.

The new guidance is also to ensure that over 18s don’t miss out on opportunities, or are forgotten about, in terms of health and education.  New scanning technology has made it possible for psychologists and other doctors to track how the brain changes and processes information.  It adds that as the brain ‘reorganizes itself’, people start to see and think about things differently and the brain becomes more like an adult brain.  Could this be one reason why in a well written new adult story  the character arcs tend to be more pronounced?

In our first New Adult Romance, Life’s What Happens the characters are forced to take bigger arc than you would see in people in their late twenties for example.  This background about being a passive adult will be built into our upcoming New Adult series Scandals, book #1, Baby Daddy.

Passive Adult?  Nice term for book club chatter but an author may need a more specific guide when writing a new adult book.  These criteria make a good list to follow and I explain them in terms of my first New Adult Romance, LIFE’S WHAT HAPPENS.  On Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/LIFES-WHAT-HAPPENS-ebook/dp/B00A14STPS/.

Life's What Happens is a New Adult Romance for ages 18 to 25 and beyond.

Life’s What Happens is a New Adult Romance for ages 18 to 25 and beyond.

  • College life – Life’s What Happens is told in flashback and the flashback is 100% the senior year for nine fraternity brothers and  their friends.  It’s all college all the time.
  • Moving out of your parents’ house and living alone for the first time – Most of  the characters in the Life’s What Happens story live on campus or in town and not at home and all for the first time.  What’s interesting is the character arc of those that maintain a weekend tie to their families and those that are immersed into the on-campus life.
  • First jobs – By senior year they have studied and majored in the classes necessary for their first real job as an adult.  This criteria is part of the angst that some of the characters go through. What happens if you’re not allowed to start your career?  What will you do about it?
  • Deciding who you want to be, career-wise, and in general. Identity issues. Existential issues. – By senior year they have made these decisions and are actively trying to make their decisions come true.
  • First serious relationships, finding love – Anyone who has gone through college knows that it was very rare that anyone retained any opposite sex relationships by the time they reached their senior year.  In Life’s What Happens one of the nine fraternity brothers set out in their senior year to accomplish this.
  • Sex – It’s less important that it be a “first time” as it is in YA. But the character should still be figuring stuff out. Since our readers can watch R rated movies, we can also be a little more explicit here without as much controversy. –  Because this is all about New Adults in 1969 and 1970 and despite the publicity or history of the sex in the sixties, sex then was different than sex in the 21st century especially compared to the beliefs and actions of the millennial generation, the target market to a degree of the New Adult genre.
  • Experimentation – Sex, drugs, alcohol. Of course, not all new adults engage in experimentation, but the phrase, “I experimented with “x” in college,” is a phrase for a reason. –  Drugs were relatively segregated to some of the class of 1970 but wine, beer and hard liquor were center stage.  Even states were confused back then with the application of blue laws and 3.2 beer.  Fake IDs were a cottage industry for one purpose and that wasn’t to outsmart and outwit the TSA.
  • Isolation – Living alone for the first time can be difficult –  Most of the characters in Life’s What Happens lived in the fraternity house where living there was more difficult to living alone.
  • Single life – New adults often do not have life partners and families yet, so their main relationships may be with friends and boyfriends/girlfriends. –  Many stories centered around the characters living their life with their brothers and girlfriends on campus and no longer at home with family.
  • A struggle to “find yourself” – This was the mantra of the 1960’s.  No further comment needed.  Yes there is actually.  The major plot point in the book is what happens when everyone finally is on the path to finding themselves when national circumstances totally blocks the path.
  • Change – Moving out, going to college, finding a job…it’s a lot of transition. –  Triple check and then add the draft road block thrown at them with a last minute Thanksgiving Eve congressional vote.   You never can say enough about Nixon.
  • Money challenges –  Goes without saying.  In some cases in the story a temporary shortage of money and the decisions made can lead to a life time change in goals.

A Victim’s Advocate Story; Who save’s the hero?

My release this week of book #2 in my DENVER AFTER DARK Suspense Series, CRIES IN THE NIGHT, followed several years of plotting and character development in my mind.  This is my 29th book overall and was easily took longest in my thought process.  Literally a dozen books and several film screenplays came to mind and got written since I first experienced the situations described in this compelling and provocative novel.  Chapter one is at the end of this blog.  The entire book is now available on Amazon at  http://www.amazon.com/CRIES-NIGHT-DENVER-AFTER-ebook/dp/B00FDRYCIQ/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top
In the 1990’s I volunteered to become a Victim’s Advocate for the Northglenn / Thornton Colorado Police Departments.  Victim advocates are professionals trained to support victims of crime or calamity in their greatest time of need.  Sometimes the perpetrator was still not captured or the traffic accident still blocking the road.  Advocates offer victims information, emotional support, and help finding resources.  Clothes, food and even a safe place to stay were all part of the routine.  When I did this vital task my time was on the front lines in your neighborhood where citizens learned of the death of a loved one, a spouse, usually a wife and even girlfriends who had received yet another beating by their lover and family members learn someone close to them had been shot, maybe even killed.  It was a gutsy raw and tough environment.  Victims learned they did have a place to turn.
That experience caused me to put some of these stories to paper in CRIES IN THE NIGHT.  The back story of the relationship between the heroine and hero is what happens when two people are thrust into high risk hard work situations.  I think the reason why the story took so long be written is that the characters took a long time to step up and unveil their feelings, aspirations and goals.  They have spoken.
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Julie Lawrence is a Victim’s Advocate for the Denver PD.  Her job is to respond to domestic violence incidents, fires, car accidents and other tragic events where people need help dealing with their darkest moments.   She has had her own share of tragedies in the past which gives her empathy and a unique insight into victims and what they need to heal and move on with their lives.  But she is better at giving advice than taking it and has closed herself off from sharing her life with anyone or anything except a stray tiger-striped gray cat.

Rusty Wilson is a firefighter with a reputation for working hard and playing harder.  He meets Julie while he is trying to save a burning house and she is protecting a battered wife and an unborn child.  He is attracted to her, but not ready to settle down.  To his surprise, she resists even his most platonic attempts at developing a relationship.  One day a typical call turns into a hostage situation, and Julie rushes to the scene, partly in her role of Victim’s Advocate and partly because Rusty is involved.
She finally accepts his offer of friendship, and as they get to know each other better, they realize they have a lot in common.  When a stalker starts playing a cat-and-mouse game with Julie, she and Rusty work together, trying to figure out which of her past domestic violence cases has created a psycho who wants revenge.  In her line of work, there are a lot of people who want her dead.
Julie has no idea who is trying to kill her.  The warnings had started out as just creepy, but gradually turn into genuine threats on her life.  Rusty provides the emotional and moral support she hadn’t realized she needed until the danger increases.  Their love affair starts in the heat of passion and ends when he finds out her secrets.
Someone is watching . . . and waiting.  Julie has dedicated herself to saving other people.  Who’s going to save her?  Find out on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/CRIES-NIGHT-DENVER-AFTER-ebook/dp/B00FDRYCIQ/
AFTER MIDNIGHT REVISED
CRIES IN THE NIGHT is Book #2 in the Denver After Dark series.  AFTER MIDNIGHT is Book #1 of the series and –
  • Won 1st place in The Best Indie Suspense Novel of 2013 and
  • 3rd place in the Readers’ Favorite Suspense Novel Award of 2013.

Kathy Clark also is writing a New Adult Romantic Suspense series (Scandals) and Young Adult Romantic Mystery series with the CUL8R series under the pen name of Bob Kat.

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Find out more about Kathy’s 29 books on her website at http://www.nightwriter93.com

CAUTION: Beta Reviewers have advised this chapter is hard to read but even harder to put down.

CRIES IN THE NIGHT

 CHAPTER ONE

 

The back door slammed with such force that the small house shuddered.  In the back bedroom the woman froze in front of the ironing board, the iron paused in mid-air.  Steam poured out of the holes with a hiss, but she didn’t notice.  Instead, her gaze raced across the room and met the wide eyes of her son who had been playing with a boxful of Matchbox cars.

He dropped the tiny red Ferrari he had been holding and scuttled backward, disappearing under the bed.  No words had been spoken, but he knew the drill.  This wasn’t his first rodeo.  He had learned early that out of sight also meant out of the line of fire.

The woman wasn’t so lucky.

Heavy, quick footsteps signaled the man’s approach down the hallway.  Her heart pounded in her chest, and she realized she hadn’t taken a breath since he had entered the house.  She exhaled slowly, trying to calm her nerves and steel herself for the battle ahead.  Even before she saw his face, she knew he was angry . . . at her, at his son, at his boss, at his life.  It didn’t really matter.  He always came home to share his dissatisfaction with her.

“Where the hell is he?”  The man wasn’t large, but when he was in one of his moods, he seemed to expand in size until his presence filled the doorway.

“Who?” she managed to ask, struggling to keep her expression under control.  For some reason, it made him angrier if she showed fear even though her legs were trembling.

He threw his car keys at her.  She tried to dodge, but the unexpected movement and her own swollen bulk slowed her.  The keys smashed into her left cheek, then fell to the floor with a clatter.

“You know who.  That piece of shit kid.  He left his goddamn sled in the driveway and I ran over it.  Twenty bucks.  Trashed.  I work hard and get paid shit.  And he just throws his toys around like they were nothing.”

“He’s usually really careful . . .”

He cut her off.   “Didn’t he go to school today?”

“They had a teacher’s workday.”

“Then he has no excuse for not bringing in the garbage cans.”

“It was snowing too hard.”

“Not too hard for him to play.”  He kicked the basket of laundry against the wall.  “You fuckin’ baby him too much.”

“He’s only six.”  She knew that arguing only made him angrier, but her motherly instinct was to defend her young.

The man’s dark gaze raked the room before focusing on the abandoned Matchbox cars.  His nostrils flared and he moved toward the bed, knowing it was the most likely hiding place.

“No!” the woman cried.  “Leave him alone.”  She reached out to grab him, but he swung his arm to fend her off as if he was swatting away an annoying insect.  She reacted by striking back.  Unfortunately, the iron was still clenched in her hand.  The hot surface landed flat against his forearm and the back of his hand.  Steam oozed out of the holes as the skin sizzled.

With a guttural roar, he jerked back as quickly as possible and looked down at the arced-shaped blisters that had already bubbled up.  Like an enraged bull in the ring distracted by the matador’s cape, he turned his attention back to her.

“What the fuck?”  He knocked the iron out of her hand, grabbed the front of her sweater in his meaty fist and pulled her forward, over the ironing board which clattered to the floor.  Her feet scrambled to keep upright as he dragged her over the metal legs.

“I . . . I’m . . . sorry, Carlos.  I didn’t mean to . . .”

He silenced her with a punch so hard that her teeth rattled.  Momentarily dazed, she didn’t struggle as he slammed her back against the door frame.  Her head cracked against the wood and she could feel the sharp edges biting into her shoulders.  She didn’t fight back as he hit her again and again.  She knew she deserved this.  If she hadn’t hit him with the iron, he wouldn’t have come at her like this.  The skin over her eye slit under his knuckles, and she could feel the warm flow of blood pour down her face.  But as bad as it hurt, she knew it was nothing like the pain he was feeling from the burn.  So she let him take it out on her.  She owed him that.

It wasn’t until his blows moved lower that her defense mechanism got its second wind.  His fist buried into her breast.  Swollen from the imminent birth of her baby, the pain shot through her like a lightning bolt.  He drew back and would have landed a blow in her expanded abdomen, but she collapsed, trying in the only way she knew how to defend her unborn baby.  He released his hold on her sweater, but instead of stepping away, he kicked her.

She curled her body in a protective shell, putting all the flesh and bone she could between his steel-toed boot and her stomach.  He kicked her again and again, cursing her with words that burned her soul as much as her ears.  Finally, she blacked out.

A child’s scream woke her.  She struggled to open her eyes, but one was swollen shut.

“Mama, mama!” the little boy cried.

Her hands slid in the puddles of blood on the floor as she struggled to push into a sitting position.  Her blood.  She could see it staining the white yarn of her sweater.  In the back of her mind came the random thought that that was her favorite sweater, and now it was probably ruined.  She had so few clothes that still fit.

Her son’s small hands wrapped around her wrist and she stifled a scream as he pulled.   Pains shot up and down her arm telling her it was probably either broken or badly bruised.  Her brain struggled through the fog as she tried to remember where she was and why she was bleeding and aching all over.

Carlos!  She straightened and tried to look around.  Was he hurting Danny?  Her son seemed to sense her fears and with a maturity well beyond his years, he comforted her.

“He’s gone.  But he hurt you,” Danny told her.

“I’m okay,” she lied, trying, as always, to protect him from the truth.  But this was worse than the last time which had been worse than the time before that which had been worse than the time before.  She could remember them all.  In a twisted measure of days, months and years, each marked a new ending and a new beginning of sorts.  She had never doubted that she had done something wrong to deserve his anger, and she had never doubted she would survive.  This time, she wasn’t so sure.

A searing pain, much deeper than all the others pierced through her, starting deep in her stomach and radiating out.  She heard another scream and was surprised that it had come from her mouth.

“Mama . . .?”  Danny’s voice was terrified.

The room began to swirl around her, and her vision blurred.  Another pain doubled her over and she slid back to the floor.

 

 

Julie’s cell phone began ringing as she juggled a bag of groceries in one arm and inserted the key into her backdoor lock.

“Hold on, hold on, hold on . . .,” she chanted as she hurried inside, dropped the bag on the table and pulled her phone out of her purse.

“This is Julie,” she spoke into the small receiver.

“We’ve got a domestic and fire at 238 W. Maple Ave.,” the voice recited crisply.

“I heard it on my scanner.”  As she spoke, Julie held the phone against her ear with her shoulder and jotted down the address on a piece of unopened mail.  “I’m on my way.”

“I’ll notify the officers on-scene.  What’s your ETA?” 

“I’m pretty close.  I’ll be there in ten.”

The line clicked off and Julie let the phone slide off her shoulder and into her hand.  She grabbed the perishable items out of the bag and tossed them into the freezer or onto a shelf in the refrigerator and left the rest of the items to be put away later.   She picked up her keys, checked to make sure her thin billfold was still in her pocket and left without bothering to take the address with her.  She knew it by heart.  She had been there before.

Less than ten minutes later, she found a parking space.  It had been snowing off and on all day, and it had picked up again just before she arrived.  Julie looped her scarf around her neck, buttoned her coat up, pulled on her gloves and got out of her car.  A white ladder truck and an engine with the familiar DPD logo painted on it were parked directly in front of the house, their hoses snaked across the snow.  The generators rumbled, spotlights focused their harsh beams on the action, radios crackled with sporadic chatter and firefighters shouted back and forth to each other as they focused a steady stream of water on the blaze that had gobbled up the left side of the house.

Julie quickened her pace as much as she dared on the icy sidewalk made worse by the steady flow of water that was draining from the house.   An ambulance was at the end of the driveway.  The backdoors were open and the stretcher was out.

“Hey Julie.  Sorry to get you out on a night like this,” one of the cops said as he approached her.  He flipped his little spiral notebook closed and tucked it into the breast pocket of his jacket.

“Is she alive?”  Julie held her breath, afraid of the answer.

“Barely.  He beat the shit out of her . . . again.”

“No surprise there.  Why can’t you guys put him away for good?”

The cop shrugged.  “She always bails him out.”

“I thought she had a restraining order against him.”

“She does.  But an RO is only paper.  It doesn’t stop fists.”

Two paramedics pushed the stretcher down the driveway from the house.  A thin blanket covered the woman’s prone body.  Her young son walked beside it, his hand on his mom’s arm, a gesture that was probably reassuring for both of them.  It wasn’t until she got closer that Julie noticed the rounded mound showing the woman was pregnant.

“Oh my God,” Julie cried and hurried over to the stretcher.

The woman looked up at her . . . or tried to.  Her swollen and battered eyes clearly hampered her vision, but she was able to recognize Julie.  An expression flashed across her face, one that was part embarrassment and part happiness to see someone she knew.  “Julie . . . I know what you’re thinking . . . don’t be mad at me,” she said in a voice that shook with pain.

“Gloria, you don’t have to apologize to me . . . or to him,” Julie rushed to calm her.  She gently took the woman’s hand and walked next to the stretcher as the two paramedics struggled pushing it through several inches of unshoveled snow and over the shattered remains of a sled.

“He didn’t mean to hurt me,” the woman told her.

Like hell he didn’t, Julie thought, but aloud she said, “How do you feel?”

Gloria lifted her other hand that already had an IV attached and rubbed her belly.  “Not so good, but I’m most worried about my baby.”

Julie looked up at one of the paramedics and he shrugged.  “They’re going to do everything they can to help you both,” she told the woman.

“I burned him with the iron.  That’s why he got so mad,” Gloria continued, anxious that Julie know why the event had happened.

“You need to focus on yourself and your baby,” Julie spoke soothingly.  “I’ll stay with Danny until someone comes.  Have you called your mother?”

Gloria turned her head as if afraid of being overheard.  “No, would you do that for me?  Her number is in my phone . . . you know, the one you gave me.  It’s hidden in the laundry room.  Danny will show you.”  She tried to give her son a smile, but she could manage only a stiff grimace.

The little boy looked at Julie and nodded shyly.

“We’ve got to go,” the female paramedic said as the stretcher reached the ambulance.  She and her partner prepared the stretcher for loading and Julie reached out for Danny’s hand.

“Only my mother,” Gloria pleaded, twisting around and leaning toward Julie.  “Don’t let him go with anyone else.  Promise me.”

“Don’t worry about him.  I promise I won’t leave him until your mother comes for him,” Julie assured her, and Gloria relaxed back against the cushion.  The two women weren’t long-time friends or even acquaintances.  Their relationship had started almost two years ago when Julie had responded to a domestic call.  That one hadn’t resulted in hospitalization.  But it had been the first in several similar events that had created a trust great enough that Gloria knew she could leave Danny in Julie’s care.

Danny trembled but didn’t pull his hand away as he watched his mother being loaded into the ambulance.  The red and blue lights bounced off the surrounding trees and houses, magnified by the stark whiteness of the snow and turning the still-falling snowflakes into confetti.  Julie looked down at the little boy whose gaze followed the twinkling lights as they disappeared down the street.  She realized he wasn’t wearing a coat.  She unbuttoned her own, took it off and knelt down in front of Danny.  Even though it was much too large and drug on the ground, he burrowed gratefully into the warmth of the wool.  Shivers of cold and lingering fear shook his tiny body.  “They’re going to take good care of your mama.  But right now we need to call your grandma.  Can you tell me your mom’s secret hiding place?”

“It’s in the house,” he told her, then lowered his voice to a conspiratorial whisper.  “In the smelly things.”

Smelly things?  Her mind scrambled for what that might mean.  “Dirty clothes?” she asked.

“No, the good smelly things.  You know, the ones with the little bear on the box,” he whispered back.

“Dryer sheets?”

He nodded.

Good choice.  Men like Carlos never did laundry, so it would be unlikely he would stumble on it there.  Julie looked around.  Apparently the fire was out.  Smoke no longer billowed from the roof, and the firefighters were straightening out the hoses in preparation of rolling them back up.  One of the firefighters walked out of the house with an axe swung over his shoulder.  She lifted her hand and waved at him.  She recognized him from several other fires she had been called out to.

He noticed and walked toward them.  He was tall, well over six feet.  Dressed in full firefighting uniform, he looked big and menacing, sort of like an urban alien.  Steam radiated from his long black coat with its yellow reflective stripe and the top of his red helmet.  He had an air canister strapped on his back, but he had unfastened his respirator and it hung off to one side.  His face was smudged with a layer of carbon, marked with paths where sweat and water had streaked down.  After giving Julie a crooked grin, he swung the axe to the ground and knelt in front of Danny, as if he knew what an imposing sight he must be.

“You must be Daniel,” he said to him.  “I saw some amazing drawings on the refrigerator.  I was hoping I would get to meet the artist.  Were those yours?”

Danny nodded solemnly, but Julie could see that he was flattered.

“And that must have been your room with the race car posters.”

Again Danny nodded.  “Did my room burn up?”

“No, we were able to stop the fire before it got to your room.  But I’m afraid some of your things got a little wet and are going to smell like smoke.”

“How about my baseball cap?  The doctor people made me and my mom leave so fast I didn’t get it.”

The firefighter said, “Oh yeah, I remember seeing a couple caps in there.  They’ll be fine.”  He took off his helmet and held it out to Danny.  “Maybe you’d like to wear my hat.”

Danny’s brown eyes stretched wide.  “Oh yes, sir.”

The man set the hat on the boy’s much smaller head and it settled down to cover his ears and his face all the way down to his nose.  Instead of taking it off, Danny lifted his chin and looked out from underneath it.  But most noticeable was the twitch of a smile that had softened his tense lips.

The firefighter stood and turned his attention to Julie.  He pushed the heavy cloth hood off his head, revealing rumpled dark brown hair.  As he looked at her, she was struck by the clarity of his bright blue eyes.

“You’re Julie, aren’t you?” he asked.

She was a little surprised that he knew her name because they had never actually spoken.  But she wasn’t exactly a stranger to any of the public responders because she or one of her volunteers showed up at all of the more serious crime, fire or accident scenes.  “Yes, I am.  And you’re . . .?”

“Rusty,” he answered and pointed toward his last name that was printed on his jacket as he added, “Wilson.  I’m sure you know my younger brothers.”

“Oh, so you’re that Wilson,” Julie teased.  She was very well acquainted with his brothers.  Sam was a Denver cop who she worked with often, and Chris, the youngest, was a paramedic out of Denver Health.  He wasn’t one of the ones on scene tonight, but their paths had crossed often in the course of their jobs.

Rusty held up his hands.  “Whoa, you can’t believe everything you hear about me.”

“Why do you assume it’s all bad?” she asked.

“Because some of it is true.  I’m the first to admit that I enjoy life.  But my brothers like to exaggerate my . . .,” he grinned, “. . . transgressions.”

Julie shrugged.  This was not a point she wanted to debate in the middle of a snowy night when she was without a coat.  “I was just wondering if someone could take me inside for a minute.  I need to get Danny’s things and . . . well, something else.”

“Sure, I’ll take you in, but he needs to stay out here.”  Rusty called over one of the other firefighters.  “Jackson, would you hang with my friend Daniel for a few minutes?”

Jackson, a middle-aged black firefighter who had just finished shutting off the hydrant and screwing the cap back on, nodded and knelt down next to Danny.  “Hey buddy.  My name is Jackson.  Do you mind keeping me company while they go get some of your clothes?”

Danny nodded, solemn again.  He stayed, but his gaze moved back to Julie.

“Don’t let anyone take him away, okay?” she asked Jackson.

“Got cha,” Jackson confirmed.

After giving Danny a reassuring pat on the head, she turned to follow Rusty.

“Don’t forget my cap,” Danny called after her.

“I won’t,” she called back.

“Watch your step,” Rusty cautioned.  He took a flashlight out of his utility belt and turned it on.

Apparently, the electricity was off and the spotlights didn’t penetrate past the front door.  The dark house took on a sinister spook-house sort of feeling as they stepped over the threshold and into the smoldering interior.

“The fire didn’t make it to this part of the house, but the back two bedrooms are pretty much gone,” he added as they made their way around pieces of furniture that had been knocked over or tossed out of the way.

“Any idea what caused it?” she asked as she followed directly behind him, keeping her hand on his back because she couldn’t see anything outside the beam of his light.

“Looks like an iron on the carpet.  But the investigators will find out for sure.”

They picked their way along the soggy carpet of the hallway.  Even though the flames hadn’t made it into the hallway, the sheetrock was damp and there was a heavy, acrid smell that burned her lungs.  When they arrived at Danny’s room, she hurried to collect his jacket and a few items of clothing, including his Little League baseball cap that was sitting on his chest of drawers.  She also scooped up the stuffed monkey that held an obvious position of importance on his pillow and stuffed it all into his Cars backpack.

“We need to get out of here,” Rusty reminded her.

“I have one more thing,” she told him.  “Did you happen to notice a laundry room?”

“Not in this part of the house.  Maybe off the kitchen?”  He led the way back down the hall and across the small living room to the kitchen.  Sure enough, in the mud room that led outside was a small stackable washer and dryer that had probably been one of Gloria’s prized possessions.  But Julie had eyes only for the box of Snuggle dryer sheets on the shelf next to it.

“Really?” Rusty asked when he saw her pick it up.

She didn’t answer, but pulled out the sheets until she reached the bottom of the box.  Nestled there, just as Danny had told her was the emergency cell phone she had given Gloria the last time Julie had been called out to this house.  It was something she often gave to victims of domestic abuse because their controlling spouse or partner often refused to let them have any contact with the outside world.  She was glad to see that Gloria had listened to her cautions to hide the phone in a safe place where Carlos wouldn’t find it because Gloria clearly hadn’t paid any attention to Julie’s other advice to not let him back in her life.  Julie held up the phone so Rusty could see it, then followed him out the backdoor and to the driveway.

Once back outside, she took deep, cleansing breathes of the crisp cold air.  “I don’t know how you guys do it,” she admitted to Rusty.

He flashed her a grin, his teeth looking incredibly white against his soot-blackened face.  “Are you kidding?  I’d do this even if they didn’t pay me.  But don’t tell anyone.”

Julie flipped open the phone, turned it on and watched as it booted up.  “Hey thanks,” she told him.

“No problem.”  His expression sobered.  “You do good work, you know.  They need someone like you to help them after all this.”  He motioned around them at the devastation.  Yes, they had saved most of the house, but the smoke and the water had ruined much of what the flames hadn’t consumed.  These people had lost a lot, if not everything, and they would need all the help they could get.

“Hey Wilson.  We’re ready to roll,” the captain called and gave Julie a wave of acknowledgement.

She and Rusty walked back to where Danny and Jackson waited.  Rusty reached down and lifted his heavy helmet off of the boy’s head.  “Thank you for taking care of my helmet for me.  It looks good on you, but I’m going to need it in case I have to go to another fire tonight.”

“Sure,” Danny said with pride at having accomplished something so apparently important.

“Maybe you can get your mom to bring you by the fire station sometime when she feels better,” Rusty suggested.  “I’ll give you a tour and let you sit in a fire truck.”

“Really?  Wow, okay,” Danny agreed.

Rusty looked back at Julie.  “And I’ll see you around.”

“Yeah, we seem to hang out at the same places.”  She smiled.  “Thanks again.”  She nodded her head toward Danny, indicating that his kindness toward the little boy hadn’t gone unnoticed.

Rusty dismissed it with a shrug, but he gave her another grin as he put his helmet back on and headed toward the waiting fire truck.

“Julie, we’re finished, too,” the police officer who had been standing nearby talking to the captain told her.

“We can sit in my car and wait for his grandmother,” she suggested, but the officer shook his head.

“I can’t leave you here.  It’s still a hot scene.”

Julie glanced around, suddenly nervous.  “You mean he’s not in custody?” she asked while being careful to keep the conversation as neutral as possible.

“He was gone when we arrived, but you can bet he’ll come back.”

She shivered, not just because of the cold that was penetrating her heavy sweater.  She had never actually met Carlos, but she had seen his handiwork on at least three occasions.  “Let me make a quick call to Danny’s grandmother so she can be on her way.”  She went to the Contacts’ list.  There were only two numbers in it.  Gloria’s mother and Julie’s cell phone.  Even though she had encouraged Gloria to call her if Carlos came back, it was now clear that that hadn’t happened.  She clicked on the word “Mom” and put the phone to her ear.

It rang five times before a sleepy voice answered, “Hello.”

Julie turned away so Danny couldn’t hear the conversation as she gave Gloria’s mother a quick summary of the evening’s events.  “I’m taking Danny to the police station.  We’ll wait for you there.”  She gave the woman the address, and after getting her confirmation, Julie hung up.

“Okay, Danny, we’re going to get to ride in a police car.  Have you ever done that before?”

He shook his head, but there was a spark of excitement in his eyes.

“But first, I’m going to trade you coats,” she told him.  She released his parka from his backpack where she had clipped it and handed it to him.  He took off her coat, and they exchanged outerwear.  She welcomed the warmth as she slipped her arms into the sleeves and buttoned it up.  Danny had a little trouble with his zipper, so she helped him get it started, then reached into the backpack and pulled out his cap.  The first genuine smile of the night spread across his face as he put it on and tugged it into position.  She didn’t even need a voiced “thanks” because his expression said it all.

The police officer unlocked the doors of his cruiser and opened the backdoor for them.  Julie glanced back at her white Kia that was parked down the street.  She knew it was city policy that she couldn’t carry civilians in her personal vehicle and she had promised not to leave Danny’s side until his grandmother arrived.  That left her no choice but to ride with him in the patrol car to the station.  She would worry about getting a ride back to pick it up later.  Since Danny’s grandmother lived in Fort Collins, it would take her several hours to get dressed and drive to the station.

The spotlights that had illuminated the scene switched off as the fire trucks prepared to leave.  With only the red and blue emergency lights still flashing, the night seemed darker and the shadows deeper.  Julie glanced around.  She had the uncomfortable feeling that Carlos was there, out of sight, but watching as she took his son away from him, hopefully forever.  She shivered again and silently urged Danny to hurry up.  She wanted to be inside the safety of the cruiser.

As soon as he was inside, she climbed in after him and tried not to notice the telltale smell of urine and vomit that usually clung in the air of the back seats of all the patrol cars.  It had been a long day and was turning out to be a long night.  But she, like Rusty, loved her job and would rather be here than any place she’d ever been.  Only she knew how desperate she was to never go back.