I wrote my last paragraph yesterday on the contemporary novel I've been working on. 101,000+ words. Yes, it turned out longer than expected, but I'm not really surprised. Somehow I can't write short novels. There is always so much I want to put into it and it cannot be done in novels in the 60,000 word range. Now I'm again in a dilemma. Should I make two books out of it? The problem with that is it is one story, if I cut it in half neither book stands on its own. The only solution would be Title, Part One and Title, Part Two.
There is a good reason why I write 'Title'. I don't have one yet. I've been tearing out my hair to find a good one. 'Conspiracy' was only the working title. I actually changed it to 'Tangled Web' but it doesn't have the right feel.
Now, of course, comes the work of editing, which means reading it a few times slowly and with critical eyes, looking for spelling errors, use of wrong words, awkward sentences, inconsistencies and stuff like that. Maybe, when I read it, a title will pop into my mind. It happened before.
Once I'm done with everything and it has been submitted to my publisher, I'll carry on with Book Seven of 'The Xandra', which is already in my head.
By the way, Book Two of 'Web of Conspiracy', Traitors and Patriots will be available from Melange Books LLC August 28th.
Here is a sneak preview of the novel without a title. Part of the first chapter:
Frank Hummer watched the couple coming through the doors into the shopping mall. The man was middle-aged, a little heavier around the middle than he should have been; the woman about ten years younger in appearance, nice figure, her auburn hair falling in gentle waves down to her shoulders, her eyes rimmed with dark eyeliner. She appeared elegant and sure of herself. They stopped in front of a shoe store and walked into the store. He came back out a few minutes later and headed for one of the benches in the mall, looking bored. His eyes met Hummer’s for a quick moment. He nodded, lifted his hands with a shrug of his shoulders and said, “Women! They can never make up their minds.” Then he sat down, crossing his legs. Obviously getting ready for a long wait.
Hummer smiled as he sipped from his coffee. He wasn’t married, but he knew men hated going shopping with their wives at the best of times, and looking for shoes could not classify as one of the most exciting shopping trips.
His eyes wandered to the wide doors again when he saw a couple of burly men in white suits and a woman, also in a white uniform, coming into the mall. They looked around for a moment then headed straight for the man on the bench.
He looked up as the trio approached him. Hummer wasn’t particularly interested in what he saw, but something in the two burly men’s behavior kept him watching.
“Can I help you?” the man on the bench asked.
One of the two men in white suits smiled. “Hello, Harry. It’s time to go home?”
“What?” the man asked, obviously taken by surprise.
“Don’t make a fuss, Harry. Let’s go!” Both of the white-suited men grabbed the man and pulled him up.
The man struggled in their grip and called out, “Let go of me, you morons. What do you think you’re doing?”
“Now, now, Harry,” said the woman. “Be a good boy and come without causing a disturbance. You wouldn’t want me to stick a needle into you, would you? I know how you hate needles.”
“What the hell are you talking about? You must have me confused with someone else. Let go of my arms!”
“Harry, Harry. The same thing happened the last time when you walked away. You remember the last time?” The woman’s voice sounded patronizing.
“There was no such thing as the last time,” the man shouted. He squirmed and looked about for help. “Somebody call the police. These people are molesting me.”
“Shut up!” one of the two orderlies snapped. “We’ll have to subdue you if you don’t behave and it won’t be pleasant.”
Hummer noticed a few people stopping and turning heads, but most people seemed to be more annoyed about the commotion than what was actually happening.
Looks like some lunatic escaped again. He appears quite normal, but appearances can be deceiving. I wonder who that woman is. Maybe they weren’t even together. He may have just assumed in crazy mind she was his wife.
The two men in white dragged the struggling and shouting man toward the doors. They almost reached the doors when the auburn-haired woman came out of the shoe store. Looking around, she saw the four people but didn’t pay any attention, only when the man shouted, “Let go of me!” she stopped walking and turned around.
Then she screamed, “Harry, what’s going on?”
“Call the police, Helen!” the man yelled, struggling to get free from the men who held him.
The woman in the white uniform walked up to the auburn-haired woman and said, “I don’t know who you are or what your connection to that man is, but take my advice…don’t get involved or you’ll be sorry.” She poked her finger into the woman’s chest and then rushed after the three men as they disappeared through the doors.
The auburn-haired woman followed them, struggled with the doors to get outside.
Hummer’s interest was aroused and he got up to see where they were taking the man named Harry. When he arrived at the doors, he saw the two burly men pushing Harry into a white van. It looked like a rescue wagon. It had Happy Acres Sanatorium written on the back doors.
As I suspected. An escaped lunatic.
He watched as the van pulled away. The woman the man had called Helen ran after it but she gave up the chase when the vehicle left the parking lot and disappeared into the traffic. She stood among the parked cars, her arms hanging on her sides. Then she turned around and headed back toward the mall, stumbling like a drunk. She appeared scared and shaken. When she walked through the door, Hummer could hear her sobbing. He shrugged and went back to his cup of coffee.
Looking around the mall like a lost child, the woman seemed to notice Hummer watching her and rushed up to him. “Do you have a cell phone?” she asked between loud sobs.
“Yes, I do,” he said. “Can you tell me what happened?”
“Please, please, phone the police for me. My husband has been abducted.”
“That was your husband?”
She nodded, tears streaking her cheeks dark with mascara. “Did you see what happened?”
“Yes, I did. Who were those men?”
“I don’t know.” She sounded hysterical.
“They looked like orderlies from a Sanatorium. They said they were taking him…your husband…back home. Is your husband by any chance a patient in the Happy Acres Sanatorium?”
“Of course not. I’ve never heard of that place. My husband is a professor doing research for Globe Labs Institute. He is a sane as anybody and has no reason to even visit a Sanatorium.”
“They called him Harry.”
“That’s his name. Harry Middler. I’m Helen Middler…his wife.” She sobbed again. “Please, call the police.”
Hummer reached for his cell phone, hesitating. “You know, it may not be a smart idea to involve the police…not yet anyway. Kidnappers usually call within hours demanding some kind of ransom. They always stress not to get the police involved. I would suggest you wait at least twenty-four hours before going to the police.”
She sank into the chair across from him. “How do you know so much about what kidnappers do?” Suddenly she seemed wary.
“Because it is not the first time I’ve dealt with this kind of problem.” He took out his wallet and removed a card, handing it to her. “My name is Frank Hummer. I’m an investigator.”
He nodded. “A private detective.”
“I don’t have money to hire an investigator. In fact, I have no idea why anyone would want to kidnap my husband for money. We are not rich. We’re just a regular couple with a house and a mortgage.”
Hummer gave her a reassuring smile. “Don’t worry about money, Missis Middler. I’m not in this for the money.”
“Then why would you help me?”
He shrugged. “Out of curiosity.”
She shook her head, not quite sure what to do. She eyed him with suspicion. “Nobody does anything without getting something for it. What are you hoping to get out of this?”
“The satisfaction that I’ve helped someone in distress. I do this out of boredom, Missis Middler. Call it my hobby. You see, I have all the money I’ll ever need…and more.”
“Let’s say I’ll ask you to help me, what guarantee do I have that you won’t give up because you’ll get bored with the case? I mean, without asking for money you don’t really have an incentive to finish it.”
“It’s not only boredom that motivates me. I have a strong sense of justice and I hate criminals. Once I’m on a trail, I’m like a bloodhound. I never give up until I’ve brought the guilty to justice.”
“Then, please, help me.”
Hummer was about to ask her for more information, but before he got the chance a man approached their table and said, “Hey, Rose, I’m glad I caught up with you.”
The woman gave him an astonished look. “Pardon me? You must have me confused with someone else. My name isn’t Rose.”
The man laughed. “Come on, Hot Thighs, I’d recognize you and your red hair anywhere. And I’ll never forget the night we spent a couple of weeks ago. You certainly delivered, babe.” He made cooling motions with his hand. “Wow, you were hot and worth the couple hundred I paid you.”
“What are you talking about? I’ve never seen you before in my life. And one more time…my name is not Rose.” She fairly screamed the last few words.
The man lifted his hands as if defending himself and chuckled. “Whoa. That temper of yours…it got you into trouble before. By the way, here is your handbag.” He handed her a leather bag.
The woman ripped it from his hands. “Where the hell did you get my handbag from?”
“You forgot it in that shoe-store.” The man looked at Hummer, as if noticing him for the first time. “You’d better watch her. Don’t believe everything she tells you.” He grinned. “And hang on to your wallet, buddy."
Welcome to my blog
Hello visitors. On my blog I'm talking about my books, but also about what I'm currently working on and, maybe, some other stuff. Browse through my posts and don't forget to check out my older posts in the archives. If you are interested in my books, please, visit my website Fictitious Tales for more information and a few excerpts. You'll find more excerpts in my old website Herbert's World. Also, take a look at my second blog Herbert Grosshans, where I talk about fun-stuff and things that concern me.