Recently our family got two members bigger. Enter: Norman and Oliver, the Goldendoodles.
When their owner came unto very unfortunate circumstances, she decided it was time to give these two boys a new home. That’s when my family came in. They loved the dogs, and asked if I would be willing to walk them and invest time in caring for them. Having never met the dogs, but anxious to have another pet since our Akita passed away, I agreed.
Tonight I was meddling in smoothies, and put together one that is the perfect balance of sweet and not too tangy. The flavor is mostly that of pear and apple, with a significant hint of strawberry.
The smoothie is made up of approximately…
5x Strawberries, 5x Carrots, 1x small container of Blueberry Yogurt, 1x Pear, 1x Apple (a sweet one!), a small bowl of ice, one scoop of vanilla ice cream. (Optional to decrease thickness): 1-2 cup/s water.
Serves around four people.
I excluded the water, because I don’t mind the thickness, and I wanted all the flavors at their height. To remedy this however, one could substitute fruit juice, which would add rather than take away any flavor.
Plus, if you or your friends are among the camp who dislike yogurt but would readily eat it for its health benefits if not for the flavor, then this smoothie is prime way to do so as the yogurt isn’t very prominent.
My latest literary endeavor, The Detective Games serialization, has had its first installment published and is now available on the iBookstore, NOOK, and in the EPUB format for computers and other eReaders.
The cover is an altered version of the Notre Dame de Paris photograph I featured on this blog some time ago.
The current edition available is a preview of the beginning of second serial, which introduces the case at hand. It is called “Blackmailing the Great Detective.” The second edition, a much more action-packed teaser, will replace the first through all retail channels quite soon. It’s an excerpt drawn from the second serial as well, albeit further on when the protagonists have found themselves in dangerous circumstances. Thus the name, “Bullet Proof Barrels and Chandeliers.”
It is my hope that this free, first brief look at the series will enthrall readers to such an extent that they will eagerly anticipate the future installments which should be released on a monthly basis once the teaser has had its run.
The idea for the series occurred to me while I was aiding my father with the carpet cleaning division of his business. I had recently finished my first novel, The Labyrinth of Cosa Nostra, and was eager to delve into a new project, and so I mulled over the possibilities. There were so many genres to pick from, and I had numerous past works that could be improved upon. I thought of one which I had called Tête-à-Tête, and wrote in the format of brief entries, presenting them each night to some family of mine which had come into town. I had continued working on the series during my schooling and hoped to see it to completion, but as I grew busier and found other interests, it fell into the pile of old attempts.
The Detective Games takes place after my old story, vaguely hinting at its history while forging a new, deeper and more dynamic path. It has so far proved to be every bit what I had desired in a new tale, with plenty of suspense, lively characters, and a wonderful world for readers to explore.
The story begins with two of our main characters: Joe Holmes and Leor. The latter is a detective unaccustomed to seeking assistance. The former, however, is very much inclined to the opposite. Joe is a detective as well, but has no reservations in seeking others to do that work which he finds overly taxing. Although a fan of Sherlock Holmes, Joe is far from attaining the legacy of a great detective. Leor successfully solved the last cases which had proved too much of a challenge for Holmes, and has now come to discuss a couple loose ends which he suspects Joe might have some knowledge of. He is sorely disappointed when there is little information to be had. As he leaves 221B Baker Street, the home of the fan boy, he is covered in dust, spider webs, and has a sullied disposition to boot. Yet he finds hope in a shard of glass from a bottle of wine. Upon it is an address which may lead him to another, more gentlemanly source of knowledge, and our third detective-protagonist.
Joe, although failing to solve his own cases, also observed the curious threads that Leor discovered. As Leor journeys to France, he makes a trip to Ireland on his own precarious investigation.
With two very different methods, and very different leads, the two men find themselves in very similar circumstances of life and death.
I have included two excerpts. One from each edition of the first serial, and consequently parts of the serial to come.
Excerpt from Serial One (1st Ed.)
When stormy, Baker Street could be quite the foreboding place. When traveling to speak with a man of peculiar habits and unmannerly tendencies, the sense was heightened. So it was when one traveller arrived at the renowned address, and with great trepidation opened the office door. There was no landlord to greet him, or a friendly doctor with which to sympathize. Only dank darkness.
The floor creaked and the door squeaked as the man made his first steps through the entryway. The dust upon the room was so thick as to seem purposeful – dusty everything, from the appliances to the floors. It seemed the home of a rodent, rather than a detective.
“Holmes, are you in here?”
A man sat hunched over his grey desk, in a complimentary grey suit. Vibrant as always. “I know that voice! Leor?” he exclaimed.
“Unfortunately, yes,” Leor answered wearily. His disposition was hopelessly distraught as he proceeded towards the seat reserved for clients.
“Have you finally come to a standstill?” Holmes inquired, with relish. He was very much a foil to the shell of a man who stood before him. “Have you come for my help?”
“No, Joe Holmes, I have not come for your help.” Leor said, taking a step into the aura of light which surrounded the detective’s desk, and consequently colliding with a few spiders’ webs. Leor vigorously wiped off the lot of them, and flicked away the spiders whose abode had been ruined.
“Well you seem antsy enough,” Joe observed, straightening up to get a proper look at his companion.
“What gentleman wouldn’t be, covered in this filth and infestation?” Leor protested, rubbing off the last bit from his face.
“This gentleman,” Joe replied. “I like the spiders. They’re interesting to observe.”
“Oh quit it already!” Leor demanded, slamming his hands on Joe’s desk, then quickly moving back in repulsion as his hands were coated in grime. “You’re no gentleman,” Leor continued, wiping his hands on his jacket. He would wash it later.
“And you’re no… man, either.” Joe countered, albeit slow to the punch line.
“Profound,” Leor retorted, lowering his brows in contentment. “I am a man, and a gentleman, as I have already pointed out. My tidy nature isn’t bane to manliness. Though it may be to you. I’d rather retain my professionalism, than make a sty my place of business.”
“So you came here to be an Aedus then?” Joe said with a smile.
In the course of a few minutes, Leor had transitioned from a dread to a frazzle. “That’s the most clever you’ve been thus far. No, I’m not here to crack jokes or engage in repartee, as our Irish friend has done for his living. I’m here for your testimony. And, before you make another obscure reference to the Great Detective, which is not a reference at all because you’ve interpreted his character rather poorly, you are not him. Just because you’re a Holmes, doesn’t make you a Sherlock. You’re a fan boy.”
Joe was aghast. “A fan boy? You’re a pretty boy!”
“Thank-you, I think myself rather handsome. Now, about that testimony,” Leor said, drawing a notepad from his pocket and a pen from atop his ear. “You had an encounter at Hantée Mansion a few years ago. You came to my office, left quite a mess, but also paid quite a sum. I solved your murder, larceny, and kidnapping cases. I essentially did your job, though I actually made progress. Now, however, one point which I observed in that case, something that had never quite cleared itself up, has surfaced from the collective puddles of despair that were those cases. It has surfaced in the form a man named Jean Rusé. You know him, and you know of his cryptic occupation. I would like to share in that knowledge.”
“No,” Joe said bluntly. “Sorry, can’t do that.”
Excerpt from Serial One (2nd Ed.)
Two men stood at the entrance of the château, a third was in pursuit of their man – a fellow whose shaven head provided a stark contrast for his unkempt, stubbly face. All they had was a description, and that was all they required. A name was of no use to a corpse. The two men at the entrance had the easy job. If the third man got shot down, they would move in and carry out the job in his stead. If the target somehow managed to navigate around the third man, they were there to block the entrance. Their strategy was fool proof, but it wasn’t Joe proof.
• • •
Joe was the target, and an unusually delighted one at that. He gripped his gun with a smile, knowing his prissy detective friend would never have had the guts to pull through in a firefight. Leor had a knack for cases, but he didn’t know his way around a bullet. It was pure bliss when you had your niche.
• • •
Leor stumbled past the barrels, gripping his arm. The bullet had narrowly missed him, but the burning sensation on his arm gave him the impression that it hadn’t. He grimaced, both in pain and aggravation. He had been spotted again, and this time there was little chance of escape. Unless wine barrels were suddenly bulletproof. With a piece of glass for his clue, Joe never would’ve found his way to the winery, but he certainly could’ve done better in this fight.
© Text and Cover 2013 Zechariah Barrett
All Rights Reserved
On November 8th, 2009 I made one of my first posts, and it was about a Cuban Sandwich. Yet I had never thought to take a picture!
The remedy for my terrible grievance is finally here:
…dark chocolate, whipped cream, and vanilla bean maple syrup.
Not only did the pancakes taste great, they also were very quick to make. The pancakes were the freezer variation (made from scratch would have been the best option), which was the most efficient option, time-wise.
It’s a writer’s breakfast! At least for this author.
It’s been quite some time since my last DP Photo Challenge entry. Today it’s the full version of a photograph which I posted sometime last year.
No, I did not eat it all… just a majority.
As this photograph was merely displayed as eye-candy for my Make That A Triple Stacker: Manuscript Completion post, I thought it might deserve a slightly better introduction than “Not quite like writing, though much more delectable.”
As I was equipped with a Kodak Easyshare, and aboard a rickety canoe, I wasn’t able to capture as clear images as I had desired. I utilized the GIMP sharpen mask to try and get things back into shape.
As the others, this photograph was taken using the Kodak Easyshare M341, with a focal length of 6mm, and settings at 1/400s, f/3.1, ISO 80. Thank-you WordPress.
Derived from the post “Point de la Mort: World War II,” I developed artistically rendered this photograph to alter its tone and pave the way for a future use, perhaps as a book or short story cover (War at Our Doorstep, for example). The iMac’s Preview application has been invaluable for such tweaking.