[authorme] PUBLISHING NEW WRITERS, October, 2004

  • From: "Bruce L. Cook, AuthorMe.com" <cookcomm@xxxxxxx>
  • To: <authorme@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Thu, 30 Sep 2004 21:08:20 -0500

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write the words "no more" in the subject box. Thank you. 
 
In this issue...
 
COPYRIGHT II: COPYRIGHT AND THE PUBLIC DOMAIN, by Jim Colombo
SELF PUBLISHING: THE BEST ADVICE, by Joylynn M. Jossel
BOOK PROPOSAL BASICS: THE RIGHT WAY TO WRITE A BOOK, by Patricia Fry
GETTING READY TO WRITE: ADVICE FOR BEGINNERS, by Sandy Tritt 
THE CASABLANCA CANARY, by Kenneth Mulholland
 
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WARNING: FICTION INCLUDED! In this edition of PNW we have included a story
Robbie Robot demanded we use. (He was threatening to dance on the piano so,
not wanting that to happen, we complied.) And, hey... the story "The
Casablancan Canary" is good medicine for new writers who are taking
themselves too seriously.  Ken plans to include it in a future episode of
another story he is writing. Enjoy!)   (Wait.... what piano? AuthorMe
doesn't have a piano!)
 
============================================================
COPYRIGHT II: COPYRIGHT AND THE PUBLIC DOMAIN, by Jim Colombo
 
The second issue is protection against copying. There is no way to police
the Internet and it has become difficult to protect exclusivity. The
Internet is part of the public domain. For a publisher or an author to be
protected the right of exclusivity needs to be protected. Web sites for
writer's workshops, on line writing courses, and universities must maintain
the privacy of the site with restrictions by registration and password
without fear of venturing onto the World Wide Web. The issue is between
Traditional Print Publishers and those who posted or published on the
Internet. If Traditional Print Publisher and authors can agree to a reduced
payment because of lack of exclusivity and if authors can be recognized by
Traditional Print Publishers, this will pardon the author for electronically
publishing on the Internet. Sites for authors who want to post their work on
the Internet in the hope of a literary agent or publisher discovering the
author can be accomplished by posting a synopsis and the first three
chapters of the story, which is the typical way of query. The exclusivity of
the work is maintained and the author has control and protection.In
conclusion, laws protect copyrights and the owner of the work must police
the market place.
Current copyright laws do not address the controversy of copyrights and the
Internet for electronic publishing by authors and E-Zines. A publication
requires an author to sell his rights of ownership for monetary
consideration and the publisher produces copies for distribution and sale.
When I posted my novel on the Internet I was showcasing for public display
with no intent to sell.My hope is to some day sell "St. Nick's Outlaws" to a
small paperback publisher for a nominal amount to exposes the novel and
possibly sell reprint rights to other sources. The Internet should be an
avenue traveled by all with no restrictions allowing the free exchange of
ideas, creativity, and opinion. The Internet has gone from a neighborhood
bulletin board at the Laundromat to connecting every member of this planet
to one another. We need to understand the ramifications of connecting
globally. I accept the fact that though I have copyrights rights, I do not
have exclusivity because I posted my novel on the Internet. What I have
today is fond memories of what if "St. Nick's Outlaws" was published by a
traditional print publisher and the fantasy of enjoying the smell of the
salty sea breeze on the coast highway while driving my 911 Porsche
convertible.
 
               -Jim Colombo
 
============================================================  
 
BOOK PROPOSAL BASICS: THE RIGHT WAY TO WRITE A BOOK
By Patricia L. Fry
You may be surprised to know that the first step to writing a book for
publication has nothing to do with writing. There is a process involved with
producing a successful book and it all starts with a Book Proposal.
A well-designed Book Proposal is an excellent marketing tool. It gives a
publisher the information he/she needs in order to evaluate your project. A
student of mine in a recent book proposal class landed a contract with a
major publisher mainly because of her book proposal. The editor said, "It
was the detail in your book proposal that prompted us to acquire this book."
It makes your life easier when you use a Book Proposal as a guide to writing
your book. Probably the best thing about writing a Book Proposal is that,
during the process, you'll find out if you truly have a book at all. Another
student changed the whole focus of her book when she was halfway through the
Book Proposal process. This is one reason why I suggest writing a Book
Proposal before you write the book.A nonfiction Book Proposal contains a
Cover Letter, Title Page, Synopsis or Overview, Promotions Page, Market
Analysis, About the Author, Chapter Outline and Sample Chapters.
While each piece of the Book Proposal is important, there is one question in
particular that you must ask while preparing the package. The answer could
change the course of your project. The question is: Who is your target
audience?
What segment of the population will embrace your book? Who cares about what
you have to say? Do they have a problem you can solve? What do they worry
about, care about, want to know? Maybe your target audience just wants to be
entertained.
Targeting your audience can be just about as difficult as finding a good
agent. But it's highly important. You need to identify the segment of people
who are seeking a book like yours or who would be interested in reading it.
If you can't, you don't have a grasp on the scope and focus of your book.I
meet a lot of writers who give little thought to their audience until after
they write their book. They have a book in them and they just want to get it
out. And that's okay. It's when they decide that they also want their book
to be widely read that they run into problems.A Book Proposal is a necessity
in today's publishing climate. So you might as well bite the bullet and
write one for your manuscript. Once you've broken through the mystery of
your first Book Proposal, you'll be surprised how easily the others will go
together and how vital a proposal is to your book projects.Patricia Fry is
the author of 19 books, including a new ebook, "How to Write a Successful
Book Proposal in 8 Days or Less," "The Successful Writer's Handbook," and
"Over 75 Good Ideas for Promoting Your Book." She is the president of SPAWN
(Small Publishers, Artists and Writers Network) www.spawn.org. Order the new
ebook at http://www.spawn.org/ebooks/pfry2/index.html
 
============================================================ 
 
SELF PUBLISHING: THE BEST ADVICE
by Joylynn M. Jossel
The best advice from Joylynn M. Jossel, poet and author. Joylynn began her
journey of self-publishing in 1998.  She continued to self-publish several
titles through 2003.  It was then that one of the major publishing houses,
St. Martin's Press, signed her to a three book deal.  
The questions were posed to authors who've been picked up by major
publishing  houses and realize they have to hustle just as hard as they did
when they  were self-published: 
"I want to know your best marketing tools, your  best-ever  literary event,
your favorite stores for signings and the three best tips  you'd  share with
other writers."
When you self-publish, as everyone who has experienced the process already
knows, it is hard work.  It is a twenty-four hour job.  
Even in your sleep  you  are thinking of ways to push your book.  You walk
around wearing the  tee-shirt,  carrying the totes, and giving away the
coffee mugs with your book cover on  them.  You call up the bookstores to
pitch your book.  You call up libraries   and universities. Sometimes you
even contact the prisons.  You come up with  fun  contest to generate
interest in your book.  You do the bookmarks, postcards  and posters.  You
spend a tiny fortune mailing all of this promo stuff out.   
Did  I mention that you contact the book clubs as well?  At the end of the
day,  almost everyone you contact wants a book for review (a free book that
is).   
Like  a crack rock, I hoped that if I gave away the first book for free,
that the  sales would follow.  Giving away books with that mentality, I knew
I was a  bona  fide hustler.   It's tiring, in deed.  The labor, as with a
child, brings you to tears at  times.  
But passion and the good Lord pulls you out of the funk and you keep
moving.  You finally get your largest order ever from a distributor, which
is  usually an order for about 20-50 copies of your book.  Little things
like  this  make you hungrier, so you continue to repeat  the process. 
Finally, some big publishing house notices your self-published work.  By now
you are so worn out that you almost want to pay them to publish your book.
You see them as a bigger entity who can take your book places that you never
dreamed of.  So you sign on the dotted line and think "Finally, now all I
have to  do is just write."   
WRONG!  You don't have to hustle just as hard as you did as a self-published
author once you get with the major publishing house.  YOU HAVE TO HUSTLE
HARDER. 
Publishing houses are just that, publishing houses.  They don't make  phone
calls to store, libraries, prisons, book clubs, etc...  I mean, of course
they  call up their accounts (Barnes & Noble, Borders, etc...) for those
pre-orders, but after that, you are on you own.  
Sure the house publicist  (one of the  three that is spread out among all
the authors) makes a couple of calls to  get  you a mediocre ad or two.  If
this happens, run with that ad because it will   probably be your last
before that publicist is on to the next author.  
Make  your  calls and contacts using the ad as your tag line. "I'm Joylynn
Jossel the  author seen in the August 2004 issue of Sister2Sister Magazine".
Run with a  tag  line for as long as you can.  When people hear something
enough, they'll  remember it.  
Your book is only as good as you make it.  I repeat, your book  is  only as
good as YOU make it, not the publisher.  All the publishing house  says is
"We printed your book.  Here the book is.  It is now for sale."  
Do you know   whose job it is to get it sold??????  YOURS.  So everything
you did as a  self-published author you do ten times fold.  Why?  Because at
the end of  the day,  publishing is a business derived to generate revenue.

Your numbers are all  that matters.  Your numbers determine whether or not
they are going to take  that  second and third book they signed you to.  So
now, not only are you pushing  the book because you are passionate about it
and you want to share your gift  of  written word, now you are pushing it
because your career is at stake.  You  need those numbers. Those numbers
define your success.   
Everything you do in life is a business.  This is something you have to keep
in mind as a published author, an aspiring author, or someone in search of
that book deal.  When I hear folks saying "I don't write to be on the best
sellers list.  I don't write for money, etc...."  then you are in the wrong
business.  
If this is how you feel, just keep writing for yourself, as long  as you
enjoy the book and are comfortable with its sells, then nothing else
matters.   But if you are trying to make writing your career, which
translates into  business, then you have millions of folks who you need to
write for and a  few suits  who are backing you.  
Remember, they are not backing you as an author, yes  they  believe in your
story or they wouldn't have bought it, but more so, they  believe that you
can make them money.  
Making that best sellers list gets  you  noticed.  For that month your name
is on the list is the month you are  supposed to  promote  the hell out of
YOU.  Being on the list alone does not generate  sells.  
Making the best sellers list gives you a tag line.  It may not be  important
to you, but it is important to readers.  Remember, this ain't  about you any
more.   I hear authors say, 'I'm happy and blessed to sell just one book."
Let your   publisher hear you say that.  The game changes.  
The pressure is on.  You  don't see yourself as competing with other authors
because most of us have  the  attitude that there is enough room for
everybody.  Guess what?  It ain't  that  much shelf space out there.  Stores
don't allow your book to sit on the  shelf  until every last one is
purchased.  
When yours doesn't move they are  returned to  your publisher and the next
author takes over that space.  If their book  sells, you don't think that
they'll give you another shot and reorder your  books do  you?  No.  They
reorder the author's books who is moving for them.   I could go on an on.  
I have made so many mistakes.  I had so many  misconceptions.  But now I am
understanding the business of publishing so  that I will  know how to
function in it.   In my opinion, as a self-published author, book tours are
overrated.  
Who  cares that you sold out of books while on tour?  You still spent more
money  on  travel, lodging and food, than you made in book sells.  You were
better off  taking out a $500 ad on cushcity.com for a month, a $200 ad on
mosaic for a  month,  etc....  
I have learned that I generated more sells and got the word out on  my book
better by ad placing versus traveling all over town.  
You'll still  have  those folks who say that it's better to meet your would
be readers face to  face.  Fine, then everybody you strike a conversation up
with, hand them  your  postcard or a bookmark or something.  That type of
promotion isn't costing  you  anything but the paper it was printed on.   
I'm not posting this message for a bunch of folks to start telling me that
I'm right or wrong.  You can take it or leave it.  I'm simply sharing my own
experiences.   
But whether you are self-published or with a major, let me share with you
one  of the most important things I have learned.  And it wasn't until just
a few   months ago that I learned it.  
"Sell yourself first.  Book sells will  follow".   Stop pitching your book
all of the time and pitch yourself.  Get the public  to admire you, not
necessarily admire you, but to REMEMBER you.  Sure, let  them  know that you
are an author and even share quotes from your book as it fits  into the
conversation/interview.  But talk about yourself and the issues you   have
overcome or encountered as a human being.  There are millions of people  out
there who will be able to relate to you.  
What do people want most?  To feel like someone gets their drift...to feel
like someone has been where they  have  been.  Expose yourself as a
person....book sales will follow.  And that's  all  I have to say about that
(for now anyway;-).    
Joylynn M. Jossel  www.JoylynnJossel.com  
 
============================================================
 
GETTING READY TO WRITE: INSPIRATIONS, by Sandy Tritt 
by Sandy Tritt
http://tritt.wirefire.com
 
Well, if I didn't scare you off in the last section, I guess you've made up
your mind. In that case, you're going to need some inspiration. I've printed
some of my favorite inspirations on the back cover and at the end of this
book. Whenever you see a profound statement (or one that seems profound to
you), cut it out or copy it, and hang it where you can see it frequently.
Constantly. 
Writing a novel is a lonely job, and one that has few rewards until it is
finished. Therefore, it is imperative to stay focused and to stay positive.
Surrounding yourself with reminders is one of the easiest ways to do this.
(The other way-paying people to constantly tell you you're doing great and
so forth-becomes costly). 
When I first started submitting material to agents and received my first
rejection letters, I was enthused. Now, some people would think that a
rejection letter is a depressing thing, but not to me (not then, anyway). It
made me feel like a "real" writer, made me feel like I had made contact with
the "real" writing world. So, I taped every rejection letter on the wall. On
top of each rejection, I taped an inspirational quote. I called it my "Wall
of Shame." As I received awards for my writing, I added these to my wall. I
also copied any checks I received for readings or competitions, any
thank-you notes, anything that had to do with writing. Pretty soon, I had
half of one dining room wall "papered." Eventually, my handy husband decided
to remodel and my wall came down, but it had served its purpose when I
needed it: it kept me focused on writing and connected to the writing world.

Don't be embarrassed to do whatever you need to do to bolster your morale.
And quit referring to yourself as "wanting to be a writer" or a "writer
wannabe." Once you actually put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard), you
are a writer. Say that out loud: "I am a writer." Say it again: "I am a
writer." One more time: "I am a writer." Make that your new mantra and
repeat it several times a day. You are a writer. Otherwise, you wouldn't be
reading this book. 
 
I am fond of saying that there are two aspects to writing-the craft and the
art. The craft is that which can be learned-grammar, using active voice, the
basics of dialogue and so forth. The art is the God-given talent that a
writer is either blessed with or isn't. It is the ability to "see" the
details in a setting and relay that in interesting, unique words to make the
reader feel the location. It is the ability to understand human nature and
empathize with even the most dastardly villain. If you have that talent, and
if you have that passion to write no matter what the odds, you are a writer.
And nobody can take that away from you.(from Section 1, Workbook)
Want more great tips and techniques? Our Inspiration for Writers Tips and
Techniques Workbook is now available. Expanded tips, more topics,
reproducible worksheets, exercises to practice what you learn and much
more--check it out! Free shipping anywhere in the United States.
(c) copyright 2002 by Sandy Tritt. All rights reserved, except for those
listed here. October be reproduced for educational purposes (such as for
writer's workshops), as long as this copyright notice and the url:
http://tritt.wirefire.com are distributed with the pages. For use in
conferences or other uses not mentioned here, please contact Sandy Tritt at
tritt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx for permission and additional resources at no or
limited charge.
   Keep writing! 
 

 (from Section 1, Workbook)
Want more great tips and techniques? Our Inspiration for Writers Tips and
Techniques Workbook is now available. Expanded tips, more topics,
reproducible worksheets, exercises to practice what you learn and much
more--check it out! Free shipping anywhere in the United States. 
 
(c) copyright 2002 by Sandy Tritt. All rights reserved, except for those
listed here. October be reproduced for educational purposes (such as for
writer's workshops), as long as this copyright notice and the url:
http://tritt.wirefire.com are distributed with the pages. For use in
conferences or other uses not mentioned here, please contact Sandy Tritt at
tritt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx for permission and additional resources at no or
limited charge.
        Keep writing!
 
Sandy Tritt
Inspiration for Writers tritt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
 

Keep writing!
 
Sandy Tritt
tritt@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
 
Sandy's website:
http://tritt.wirefire.com
 
============================================================
 
The Casablancan Canary
by Kenneth Mulholland
Istanbul, mysterious city of Turkey, filled with thieves and cut-throats,
just like Timbuktu in French Sudan at the edge of the Sahara desert, or
Shanghai or Cairo, or Port Melbourne in Australia. Well, not really Port
Melbourne, although...
Anyhow, this story isn't in any of them. It's set in Casablanca, chief
sea-link of Morocco in the second World War, during the German occupation.
It begins in a little bar and grill known as the...yeah wait for it... 'Pair
O' Dice', a hangout of thieves and cut-throats (And that's only the staff.)
And watched closely by the German High Command, who were on High Command
lookout for several very nasty people. (Not the staff, they already knew
about them.)
Late one dusty afternoon, inside the almost deserted 'Pair O' Dice', a guy
is sitting at a piano, running his fingers over the owner's bank account and
humming a grin to himself.
Suddenly a soft, vaguely familiar, female voice breaks his tallying trance.
'Hello Sonny. It's been a long time. While you're fingering the cashbook,
maybe you could play it, one more time for me. Play it again, Sonny.'
'My name ain't Thonny. It'hs Thyril. An' I don't do requesths when I'm
counting.'
'I can make it worth your while. Let me dance for you.' The tall, shapely
blonde leapt lightly onto the piano in her string-net stockings and six inch
stilettos and began to sway in a wanton manner. (She was wanton him to belt
out that old familiar tune of long ago when she and his boss had played
footsies together.') Cyril, sorry, Thyril, began to tickle the ivories.
Just at that moment, her old flame was watching the scene below from a
curtained window above the gaming floor. He cursed, spluttering over his
iced cocoa and nutmeg. 'Of all the pizza-parlour, kebob house, Game-boy,
Nintendo joints in all da woild, she has ta walk inta mine. After she beats
it, I gotta have a woid wid Thyril. (Damn teeth!)
'Ohh-ee, ohh-ha-ha, ting tang, walla walla, bing bang. Ohh-ee, ohh-ha-ha,
ting tang, walla walla...'
'What's that yer playin'?'
'Oh nothin' Bosth, just a little sthumphin I wrote...'
'Well stop it! You know what I wanna hear!'
'No I don't Bosth...'
'You played it for her, now play it for me. Play it!'
'O.K. Bosth. You asked for it. Well...I thaw this thing coming outta the
sky, it had one big horn and one big eye, I think I might have peed as I
thaid "Oowee", it lookth like a Purple People Eater to...'
'Alright, alright, shut it! I need time ta think. What the hell would Legs
Akimbo be comin' to the Pair O' Dice for? A dance on the grand piano? I
don't think so.'
'Legth Akimbo? Aint thshe the exhotic danther?'
'I think yer pushing the lisp. Bring it back a little, or I wont be able to
get away with saying Cashablanca.'
'Thorry Bosth...'
'That's better. Now, let's get our heads together...'
'Ith's cosy like this...'
'Yer breathin' down my shirt-collar Thyril, and unless you want a knuckle
sandwich, you'll back off!'
Later that same night, at the Pair O' Dice gaming tables, Rick O'Shea, owner
of this den of inig...inicwi... iniqewt... very nasty place where lots of
baddies gathered, was cruising the floor, picking up chips, kicking out
girls and tickling bums...Or was that, picking up girls, kicking out bums
and ti...or maybe it was...Aw! He was there anyway!
Suddenly a man shouted! 'Meester Rickhh, Meester Rickhh! They're coming for
meee! Quickly, you must hide mee!'
'Take it easy, little swarthy, slightly sweaty, foreign looking pershon.
Shay? Do I know you?'
'Sure you do, Meester Rick, I come to the gaming tables often, twice on
Sundays. You must save me! They are coming and...they are going to take me
away and...and drill me!'
'Hmm, Dentists huh? Well don't stress out, they'll give you a shot to deaden
the pain. Now what's your name?'
'Hugo Furst.'
'Don't get cute with me shweetheart, you already know my name, now c'mon,
give!'
'Excuse me, Mister O'Shea,' said a man dressed in the uniform of a German
officer. ' That iss his name. He iss Hugo Furst, a
double-dealing-double-agent-dealing-in-double-
indemnity-und-double-trouble-on-zee-double!'
'Aw yeah! And who might you be?'
'I am Major Hans Kuft of the Hitler Boys Movement, and boy! have ve been
shaking und moving lately!'
'Hans Kuft huh? Catchy. So what gives? And why have you got that rod pointed
at Furst?'
'I hev ziz gun pointed at first him, und now you, Herr O'Shea.'
'More than you'll ever have by the way your cap keeps slipping off your
head. G'wan beat it. Run along or I'll have Thyril throw ya out.'
'Do not be so hasty to try my patience O'Shea. I want to know where it is,
und if I have to shoot you both to find out I will.'
'I think your logic is a little cuckoo, Kuft.'
'Mh, um, umjh, ho-ho, or a little Canary, Suh!'
'That guy behind you got somethin' caught in his throat?'
'Don't try me with zat old chestnut, Herr O'Shea. If zere was somebody
behind me I would feel the barrel of a revolver in the small of my back,
just like...oh! Gotterdammerung!'
'Indeed Suh! And I assure you that Wendy will not hesitate to use it if I
tell him. I think it best if we all sit down and have a little tate-a-tate.'
'Nein, I am on a diet. No starch for me, just a small portion of salad.'
'Foolish German person! Wendy, escort these people to one of those alcoves
where we will not be interrupted.'
'I don't know who you are,' said O'Shea, checking a hip pocket for his
butt... of the gun he always kept there, 'but you'll never get away with it
here. Not in my plache!'
'Ah, there now Suh! As you will observe, we are getting away with it, umm,
ah, ah, jahaa, mumph.'
'Is it a chicken bone? I'll have my chef sacked...'
'No Meester Rick,' said Hogo Furst, his eyes so wide that they were bugging
out of his head, 'you do not understand. That is the laugh of...THE FAT
MAN!'
'Shut your mouth Furst! Or I'll shut it for yah,' said Wendy, waving his
snub-nose automatic under Hugo Furst's snivelling snub-nose, which he wiped,
automatically.
'This is the Fat Man?' Rick O'Shea's eyebrows lifted. 'This skinny little
wimp in the baggy suit?'
'Ummph, ahh, ererch, erm, eckher, ack ack, urmph! Suh, you think you have
the better of me, yes indeed, but I am simply in a cunning disguise so that
I could get past the authorities. Now allow me to pull this rip cord
attached to my belly-button.'
'Holy Moses! He's like The Michelin Man on shteroids!' said O'Shea aghast,
as clothing stretched to its maximum limit before his shocked eyes.
Suddenly Kasper Gutman stood before them in all his humungousness.
'Greetings, Mister O'Shea, um, ah, he ho, ahh, from your old friend Sam
Spade in the U.S.A. Suh!'
'Shpade? Yeah, an alright guy. So what? And Shay! I think we've bumped into
each other before, Gutman. Was it in Warshaw?'
'No Suh!'
'Ishstanbul?'
'Try again Suh,' said The Fat Man, a playful smile stretching across his
moon-face.
'Yugoslavia?'
'I go where ever I must Suh, in order to secure the object of my desire. Mmm
mmuph! But enough of this guessing game! I shall tell you later where we
encountered each other, after you furnish us with some answers. Now take a
seat Suh! Ah how charming, you have named each booth.'
'Yeah, this is the Abraham Lincoln, the one behind is more private. It's the
John Wilkes...'
'Very good Suh, Wendy will make sure that we are not interrupted whilst we
have our little chat.'
Yeah, Wendy huh,' said O'Shea, ushering the others forward. 'You go first,'
he indicated to Hans Kuft, who was immediately pushed out of the way by the
swarthy, little double agent. O'Shea gave a knowing grin, checking that his
false teeth were still in plache as he slid in next to Kuft and Furst. 'This
here little gun-totin' creep in the trenchcoat and turned-down hat looks
familiar. What's your last name Wendy?'
'Darling.'
'Don't play the wiseguy with me shweetheart, answer the question!'
'Indeed Suh, you are a card that is for certain, yes indeed, umm, ah, ho
hoh! That is his name, Wendy Darling, umm, eh a ha. Now to business Suh!
Where is it!?'
'Search me, What exactly is it that you're looking for?'
The Fat Man's face crinkled into a sneer. 'Suh, now it is you who are
playing the fool. Don't waste my time. I want it, and I want it now! One of
you in this booth has it, or knows where it is. Now speak up! If you want to
see the main course, produce The Bird!'
'Well, chicken's on the menu, but you'd better duck right now or your
goose's cooked!' O'Shea warned, seeing the flash of gunmetel blue behind
Gutman.
There was a sound like a rubber mallet hitting a vat of custard and
something viciously whipping past THE FAT MAN'S rather bloated thigh. A
bullet smacked into the woodwork just to the left of Hans Kuft's head.
'Silencer!' snarled O'Shea, 'Get down on the floor! Take cover!'
Immediately, at the cry of "silencer", all the patron's and croupiers around
the gaming tables emitted frantic whispers of panic and tip-toed out of the
Pair-O'-Dice.
'Where'd that shot come from?' said Wendy Darling, his beady little eyes
scanning the now deserted room.
'The piano,' answered O'Shea, who had dived out of the booth and was now
stretched full-length on the floor between two...
BANG! BANG! BANG! Wendy fired off three rounds in rapid succession. PLING,
PLANG, PLONGG! jangled the piano.
'Best its ever shounded,' muttered O'Shea grimly. Then, looking up, he
realised that he was between two very shapely female legs. 'Holy shmoke! Gay
Abandon!' He was peering into the barrel of a revolver pointed directly at
his face by the woman who stood over him.
'Better call off your watchdogs Lover, or this thing might go off,' said the
tall red head. 'And don't bother to wonder whether your pals are of any use.
Their all taken care of. Take it easy, give me the gun and then you can
stand up and join the boys. There, that's better,' she said as she relieved
O'Shea of his weapon and he regained his feet. 'Alright girls, you can come
out now.'
Legs Akimbo stepped from behind the John Wilkes, a revolver levelled at
Wendy's head, and a third woman emerged from the shadows, shoving Thyril in
front of her, a gun at his back.
'Fraulien Anna Conda!' gasped Hans Kuft, 'but how can this be?'
'It can be any way you want it, my liebling, as in vertical or horizontal.
Depending on what happens next.' The brunette, her hair blowing in a soft
cloud about her beautiful features, ambled up to the group and laid her hand
upon O'Shea's shoulder. 'Too bad for us Rick, all those years ago in Paris
when we...'
'Yeah sure, when we walked out together! I remember. But this isn't about
then, it's about now. You're lookin' at me, and I'm lookin' at you. Well?'
'Well Suh! Miss Conda is wanting what we are all wanting. The Bird! Produce
it! And perhaps then Suh, we will see what might come of it!' The Fat Man
laughed, and for a moment everybody else thought he was having a heart
attack, or starting a small earth quake.
O'Shea shook his head, 'Beats me, I dunno what you're on about...'
'Wait a minute Bosth,' said Thyril, 'somethingth coming to me, err, you must
remember this, a kissth ith shtill...no! Ith's probably the package that
arrived thith morning. The one labelled "Flowerth" '.
'Did it say which florist?' asked Hugo Furst timidly.
Thyril thought a momenth. 'Umm, Gumpth, I think. Anyway, I used it to prop
upth the piano leg...'
'Flowers?' said Hans Kuft, puzzled.
Thyril sthcarthed his head, 'Oh thorry, I meant flowerth, like in a thack of
flowerth, it was heavy as, and the piano being lopsthided all thesth
years...'
'You mean that dirty, newspaper covered package over there under the grand
is it?' said Legs Akimbo, her eyes resting upon a dirty...
There was a frantic scramble. A cloud of dust arose: several heads, arms,
legs and other bits, were dragged back into and popped out of it.
Eventually, Hugo Furst emerged clutching the prize. 'Mine, mine, all mine!'
he screeched insanely, until Hans Kuft ripped it out of his grasp. 'Nein,
nein, all mine!' he shouted gleefully.
A gun exploded and a shot whizzed into the ceiling. 'Just put the thing on
top of the piano and let's all calm down,' said Anna Conda, coolly.
'Boy you're shome dame, Anna. If only we had our time again...'
'Yeah, sure Rick, we could have done a lot of walking out together, but it's
too late for that now. Gay, unwrap the package and let's take a look at it.'
With trembling fingers, Gay Abandon began to undo the string, which was
actually a newly invented high tensile material that would later become
invaluable in textile manufacture, then she pulled away the outer layer with
the 1856 British Guiana one cent Black on Magenta stamp attached, to reveal
a canvas with the painting of a woman sitting with her hands crossed on her
lap and a sticker that read M. Lisa. By L. Da Vinci.
'C'mon, c'mon, hurry up! Let's see it!' said Hugo Furst, as Gay Abandon's
shaking hands carefully tore away the painting to reveal a copy of Lee
Falk's Phantom comic number one, volume one, which she tossed aside, (
though it was to be noted that Hans Kuft picked it up and slid it beneath
his tunic, for a little light reading later no doubt ) and then there was a
loud, dramatic chord from the piano as Thyril knelt on the keyboard to get a
better look.
'His knees never played it better,' muttered Rick, beads of sweat standing
out on his curled lisp.
The last fragment of a rare manuscript by Shakespeare was torn asunder by
Legs and Gay... And there it lay, the treasure that many had died for over
the years, The Casablancan Canary! With knocking knees the two girls stood
it upright on its final covering, an ancient parchment from beneath the
Sphinx.
'Look at it!' exclaimed Major Kuft, his eyes glittering with greed. 'It is
beautiful, it is a work of indescribable wonderbar, worth more than a
Kaiser's ransom!'
'Looks like a canary sitting on a tree stump ta me,' muttered O'Shea,
unmoved.
'No, no! don't you see the wonder, the symmetry of line, the technique of
the sculpture?' hissed Hugo agog. (Or is that Hugo agogo?) 'This is poetry,
this is sublime...'
'Aw shaddup!' said Wendy, slapping Furst over the head. 'What do we do now
Boss?'
'Muh! Eh, heh! Erm, och, er, goc pthuh!' said The Fat Man. 'Well my boy, to
begin with, I will take over from this point on. Oh yes Suh! Because, as you
may all observe, I now hold the whip hand.'
The others, so engrossed in their examination of the Bird, suddenly turned
to find Gutman covering them with two extremely dangerous looking German
luger pistols. 'Mmm, ah oh, allow me to assure you that there are more than
enough bullets here for everyone, Ladies and Gentlemen. Now! To business!
Wendy! Do you still have that pen knife that you stole from a boy scout?'
'Sure Boss,' Wendy Darling answered in a surly tone, noticing that he also
was being covered by the two mausers in Gutman's hands.
'Good, then take it out, my boy, and scratch at the surface of The Bird. I
want to see what lies beneath that cheap imitation gilt. Do it, Wendy, or
you'll have mugged your last little old lady!'
Wendy began to scrape away at the Canary, but after a few minutes nothing
happened. The yellow surface showed no sign of anything else beneath.
'Bah! Suh! Humbug! Another forgery! I was at least hoping for a little
obsidian, or agate, cornelian, chrysoprase, sard or onyx, even a tad of
malachite! And all we have here is a fake! The real Casablancan Canary is
still somewhere out there! Wendy, I think we had better pay a visit to that
florist fellow. After all, life is like a box of chocolates.'
'Whatdaya mean Boss, is it like ya never know what yer gonna get next?'
'No Suh, like some people always get the soft centres, and we always get the
hard ones. Come Suh! And bring along that German fellow, he may still be of
use to us. You go first Suh!'
Immediately, the swarthy little man darted to the door and hurried out,
followed by Hans Kuft and Wendy.
'And now, if you don't mind everybody, I shall bid you adieu, ah, ec, ahem,
hem ka! Wish me luck as you wave me goodbye!'
'Yeah, yeah, cheerio, here you go on yer way,' sneered O'Shea, as The Fat
Man pocketed his two colt forty-five revolvers and took his leave.
'Abyssinia!'
'Not if I shee you first,' chuckled O'Shea.
'Rick! How can you be so calm at a time like this?' asked Gay, staring
absently at the ancient Book Of Kells, which had been included instead of
the steak knives in the packaging of the bird.
'Easy baby!' said O'Shea, adjusting his teeth, 'They always scratch at it,
but nobody ever thinks ta do anything else!'
'What? With this useless fake?' said Legs Akimbo, stroking the bird and
looking at Thyril dreamily.
'It ain't that useless,' O'Shea answered, peering closely at the statue.
'See that? That hole in its beak, and the other one in the tree branch?
What's the bet that if you poured some water in there and blew inta the
bottom hole it'd play Yankee Doodle, just dandy?'
'Yeah fine, we can all join in the singing,' muttered Gay. 'Meantime The Fat
Man and those others are beating it and no one's stopping them!'
'Oh, I wouldn't shay that,' beamed Rick, a grin spreading across his
gleaming dentures. 'Right about now a friend of mine, Captain Claude Boules
of the French Police, will be arresting the whole bunch and bundling them
into a van. They'll cool their heels for a while in some damp cell until the
Authorities get the entire mess sorted out. Now that could take months,
maybe even years... '
'And how can you be so sure that your French police Captain is waiting
outside?' asked Anna Conda.
'He's always waiting outside. My guess is that he's got a thing for
Thyril... '
'Well, Thyril doesn't want his thing, no thur!' thaid Thyril emphatically,
as his eyes met Gay's.
'That's good to know Thyril,' she cooed.
'As I was shaying,' Rick continued, 'They always scratch, they never do
anything else...'
'Like what would you suggest?' asked Anna. 'Do you want to chemically
analyse it? Dip it in a bath of salts? Weigh it? X-ray it?'
'There'll be no need for that,' answered O'Shea evenly. 'Thyril, take yer
eyes off the dame, and wrap yer kisser around the bird.'
'Do what Bosth?'
'You hoid me, take a slurp at it. G'wan! Do it!'
Somewhat reluctantly, Thyril took a little nibble at the log the canary was
perched on. 'Mmm... tastes like... er... nougath?'
'That's what I thought it might be,' said Rick, nodding his head and
flashing a toothy grin. Anna noticed one of his gold fillings blinking in
the light.
'Nougat?' said Legs Akimbo, licking a finger and tracing it over the Canary,
then inserting it (her finger, not the bird) into her mouth. 'Mmm, sure it's
nougat! Best I ever tasted!'
'You better believe it shweetheart! This stuff's even finer than Montelimar.
This is...' He waited for the dramatic pause, but when it didn't come, he
continued, 'This is Xavier Nougat! Rarest and most precious of all. This
bird is worth more than we could spend in five lifetimes, and there's more,
(apart from the shteak knives) when we get some D.N.A. testing we'll be able
to deduce the location of the mine...'
'Wish you wouldn't spell Bosth, it makes me dithhy,' said Thyril, his eyes
crossing.
'What mine?' asked Legs, crossing her... fingers.
'Why the mine where they mined this. The Nougat mine, ya dumb...'
'D.N.A. testing hasn't been invented yet,' interrupted Gay.
'O.K. Then we'll get forensics to check it out... No? How about an
archaeologist? Indiana Jones, yeah!'
'And you could play the lead in the film,' said Anna, brightening.
'Nah! Brad Pitt'd be better,' said Rick, shaking his head.
'Brad Pitt hasn't even been born yet Bosth,' said Thyril thoftly.
'He will be! Anyway stop putting up obstacles, this is cause for a little
celebration. We're all gonna be rich as Rockafeller!' O'Shea's bowtie
twirled as he swept Anna Conda into his arms. 'From now on it's gonna be you
and me shister!' He looked over to Legs, Gay and Thyril, who all seemed well
pleased with the night's work. 'Shay Gay! why don'tcha whip up a few o' them
cocktails you always used to do when you were behind the bar. Anna and me'll
have Tequila Mockingbirds in honour of The Canary. What'll you have Thyril?'
Thyril drew his arms shyly around the shoulders of the two girls. 'Me Bosth?
I'll thettle for Legth Akimbo with Gay Abandon.'
Rick grinned, 'Kinda thought you might shay that. I guess you better shing
the shong Thyril. You can accompany yerself on the piano, wid yer knees.'
'If you thay tho Bosth,' thaid Thyril, thettling comfortably at the
keyboard, with a girl on the lid perched either side, long legs akim... er,
dangling. Trilling a tiny arpeggio, he launched into, 'You musth remember
this, a kiss is still a kiss, a thigh is sthill a thigh. The fundamental
thingth apply, asth time goeth...'
'Here's lookin' at you Kid,' thaid Rick, torn between Anna Conda and the
magnificent, nougat bust of The Casablancan Canary.
'Asth time... goeth... bye bye!'
 
(Steak knives not included. Conditions apply. Judges decision is final,
Suh!)
 
============================================================ 
 
NEW AUTHOR-ME PAPERBACK - GOD CREATED YOU: A GUIDE TO TEMPERAMENT THERAPY
 
By Dr. Rick Martin
 
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decisions they have made or not made, conclusions they have drawn about
right and wrong, their relationship with God or the lack thereof..."
 
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Publishing New Writers,  October, 2004 (No. 510)
 
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