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Interview with fiction characters by fiction characters – Part 41

Click on the book cover to go to amazon.com

Click on the book cover to go to amazon.com

If you will practice being fictional for a while, you will understand that fictional characters are sometimes more real than people with bodies and heartbeats.
– Richard Bach
In last week’s post, Dana Bowman and PC Oliver are just getting ready to leave the Thurston Public Library boardroom to head down to Toronto to Roger Stuart’s place.
The scene shifts as PC Joseph Oliver and Dana Bowman meet Detective Sergeant Donald Fielding and Detective Larry Hutchinson at the Stuart residence in Toronto. Dana doesn’t listen to Fielding’s instructions to wait until the three police officers check out the place, but follows them right in. They find Robbie Stuart, his sister Susan’s spirit and a third spirit sitting around the dining room table, as if involved in a séance.
Hutchinson: Detective Larry Hutchinson, Toronto Police Services.
The three at the table ignore them.
Hutchinson: We received a call there was a commotion going on here.
The three at the table still ignore them.
Fielding: Detective Sergeant Fielding, Cooks Regional Police.
Still no acknowledgement from the table. All three seem to be in a trance.
Dana (whispering): Let me try. (She raises her voice.) Dana Bowman here. Bast Overture’s twin and business partner. Susan and Robbie, we’ve met before and I’m guessing you (she points to the third figure) are Roger Stuart, in spirit of course.
Susan’s Spirit: Very clever Ms Bowman. But don’t think you coming here will help you find your brother or change anything.
Fielding: We just want to ask you some questions.
Susan: Questions, questions. We’ve had too many questions hurled at us and we’ve had enough.
Roger’s Spirit: I haven’t. And I have something to say to all.
Fielding: Very well. In your own words.
Roger’s Spirit: Boo. Hah, hah. Well, isn’t that what ghosts do?
Fielding: Very funny.
Hutchinson: Don, let me try. Now a couple of you are in serious trouble and it is in your best interests to answer our questions.
Susan’s Spirit: And if we don’t you’ll what? Two of us are already dead and you can’t hurt us. Hah. Hah. Hah.
Hutchinson: Robbie Stuart isn’t dead.
Susan’s Spirit: You’re sure of that.
Dana: Oh for Christ’s sake. Let’s stop playing games and put our cards on the table. We are basically looking for my brother Bast and also for Cory Swan. You should be interested in both, especially Swan as he didn’t exactly treat you in your best interests.
Susan: That’s putting it mildly. Nice try, but I can’t see how we can help each other –I gather that’s what you are after.
Dana: Look, Susan and Roger, you probably want some peace and maybe by sorting all this out, you can get that.
Hutchinson, raising his arms: All right. That’s enough dodging around. Fielding and I have some questions and you are all going to answer them.
Susan and Roger: Hah. Hah
Robbie suddenly stands up and glares at his father and sister: Cut it out you two. Let’s get this done for once and for all. Detective Hutchinson and Fielding? Ask your questions. I’m willing to answer anyway.
Hutchinson: Okay, we’ll start with you. What do you know about your father’s and Cory Swan’s dealings?
Robbie: Swan was blackmailing Dad about marrying his secretary while still married to Mom.
Hutchinson: Yes, we know that. But what else?
Robbie, looking over at the two spirits as if for confirmation: Well it was later, when Dad and his secretary returned to Toronto, just before Dad died. He knew he had a heart condition and he wanted to see Susan and I again before he died.
Hutchinson nodding: Yes, go on.
Robbie: Dad found out that Mom had died from cancer and he blamed himself. He wanted to make it up to us. But his second wife was jealous and turned on him. Dad met up with Susan and I – it was when Susan was just starting to make it as an artist and she was getting interviewed by various newspapers. He didn’t tell his second wife this. Dad, well, he seemed afraid of her for some reason.
Dana: Not surprising, considering what she did later.
Fielding: Dana, let Mr. Stuart tell his story.
Robbie: Not much more to tell. Dad told us what happened, but while he did so, that photographer Cory Swan was snooping around outside taking preliminary photos or so he said. But he was inside the house and Susan and I didn’t let him in.
Susan: But you left the damn back door open, Robbie.
Hutchinson: And so Swan heard your dad’s story and something in it got his attention. (He turns to Roger’s spirit). You told Robbie and Susan about the blackmail.
Roger’s spirit: Yes, and that bastard Swan was going to tell the reporter – Bast Overture – and make sure the whole world knew, knew I was back and well the whole sordid story. I couldn’t have that happen, she…she would come after me and my kids if she knew I’d told.
Hutchinson: Who would come after you?
Roger: My second wife.
Hutchinson: And what didn’t you want your second wife to know?
Roger’s spirit: What she was really like.
Hutchinson: And what was that?
Roger: I can’t tell. I can’t
Fielding: So Cory added to the blackmail?
Roger’s spirit: Yes.
Dana: That’s not it, is it? Cory, did tell my brother, didn’t he?
Roger: No, not that I know of.
Susan: Dad… Oh very well; Robbie blabbed Dad’s story to Bast, so your brother knew Dad was alive and back in Toronto.
Dana: And did Bast interview your Dad?
Susan: Yes, and it killed him. Dad had his heart attack and died right after your precious twin brother interviewed him.
Dana: So this is payback? But why now.
Susan: Because my precious brother, Robbie is writing a tell-all memoir about our family and it’s being published this year.

Cheers.
Sharon A. Crawford
You can read more about the characters and their stories in from Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to Sharon A. Crawford’s profile – including book reviews – at http://www.amazon.com. The book is available there in print and Kindle. For Kobo e-book go to http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/beyond-the-tripping-point or go to any bricks and mortar store and order in a print copy. Spread the word.
This Saturday, March 29, 2014,Sharon A. hosts and reads at another Crime Writers of Canada Murder and Mayhem at Du Cafe in east end Toronto, Ontario, Canada.. If you are in Toronto, drop in – the food is to die for and so are the stories read by crime writers Howard Shrier, Lynn Albrecht, Rob Brunet and Rosemary McCracken.
More info on this and Sharon A.’s other upcoming gigs, workshops, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html

 

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Interview with Fiction Characters by Fiction Characters – Part 40

Amazon.com link to Sharon A.'s short story collection

Amazon.com link to Sharon A.’s short story collection

I always have a basic plot outline, but I like to leave some things to be decided while I write.

          J.K. Rowling

Susan Stuart’s spirit has finally manifested and Dana and PC Oliver learn that she is not to be trusted. There is also another spirit involved and the missing Bast has just phoned his fraternal twin, Dana. Dana and Oliver remain in the Thurston Public Library boardroom. All characters, except Cory Swan, are from Beyond the Tripping Point by Sharon A. Crawford (Blue Denim Press, 2012).

Dana (on her cell phone with Bast): Bast, where are you?

Bast: Can’t tell you right now. It’s not safe for you to know.

Dana: But Oliver and I could come and get you.

Bast: It’s better that you don’t know where I am right now.

Dana: Okay, but I’m worried.

Bast: I know you are, but it is also a safety measure for you and David.

Dana: David? Where does he fit into all this? He wasn’t even born when…

Bast: I know, but CS is very cunning and determined and will go after family members if he has to.

Dana: All this just to keep a blackmailing scheme quiet? Bast, the police know and have a document showing that Roger Stuart was illegally married to his secretary while still married to Susan and Robbie’s mom before he and the secretary disappeared.

Bast: I know. But it’s more than this.

Oliver interrupting: Dana, let me speak to Bast.

Dana (covering her cell with her hand). Just a minute Oliver.  (Dana holds her cell out a bit so Oliver can hear the conversation).Yes, Bast you were saying.

Bast: Is Oliver with you?

Dana: Yes.

Bast: Okay, I’ll talk to him in a minute but as I was saying, it’s more than just Roger Stuart’s bigamy.

Dana: I gather that. And Susan Stuart – or rather her spirit is not what she seems. Do you know what she’s up to?

Bast: Partly. That’s what I’m working on and to do so I must remain “undercover.” What I have found out is Susan’s spirit is conspiring with her Dad’s spirit to get revenge on Cory Swan for the blackmail scheme.

Dana: What are they doing?

Bast: That I don’t know. But they must be meeting somewhere but I don’t know where.

Dana: I can answer that. Susan said her Dad’s spirit is tied to their house. So it’s there. And Bast, Roger is living there I think. Is he in danger?

Bast: He might be. That might be the other part of the puzzle. But I don’t know what if anything he had to do with all this. He always seemed to disappear himself.

Dana: Right…

Oliver, interrupting: Bast, Cooks Regional and Toronto Police Services have  some info on where Roger has been living when not in Toronto and you are correct Dana, Roger is living in the house now.

Dana: Can he see his sister’s and father’s spirits?

Bast: I don’t know. Oliver, do you know what Roger’s been up to when away?

Oliver:  Like I said, we have some idea but need more information.

Bast: Then I need to talk to him.

Dana: No, let me. You have to stay safe.

Bast: I also need to get some answers.

Oliver: So do the police. Bast, I need you to tell us where you are.

Bast: Can’t do that – it’s a safety issue.

Oliver: Bast, for your own good and your sister’s, you need to come in. We can give you protection.

Bast: No. It’s better I stay underground for now.

Dana: What did you actually write about Susan Stuart and her painting and where was it published?

Bast: In the Toronto Herald. There’s a print copy in the office where I keep all my published story clips.

A loud noise, like a siren comes over Dana’s cell phone.

Dana: What’s that?

Oliver: Bast, where are you?

Bast (his voice getting weaker). Gotta go. Talk to you lat…

Dana: Bast, are you there?

Silence on the other end.

Oliver pulls out his cell and starts punching in numbers: Fielding, you and Hutchinson better meet with us. Bast has called and…what? Okay…

Dana: Where? I’m coming too.

Oliver into his cell: Did you hear that? Dana’s coming too. She has info. I’ll bring her.

Dana: Where?

Oliver: The Stuart residence. Something’s going on there with Robbie Stuart.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

You can read more about the characters and their stories in from Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to Sharon A. Crawford’s profile – including book reviews – at www.amazon.com. The book is available there in print and Kindle. For Kobo e-book  go to http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/beyond-the-tripping-point or go to any bricks and mortar store and order in a print copy. Spread the word.

Sharon A. Crawford will be returning to Aurora where she lived for 23 years. If you are in the Toronto area (GTA) and in particular just northof Toronto in York Region, join Sharon and four other Crime Writers of Canada authors reading from and talking about their crime books in A Shot in the Dark at the Aurora Public Library, Monday, March 24, 2014 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

More info on this and Sharon A.’s other upcoming gigs, workshops, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html

 

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Interview with Fiction Characters by Fiction Characters – Part 39

Amazon.com link to Sharon A.'s short story collection

Amazon.com link to Sharon A.’s short story collection

An artist is his own fault.

            – John O’Hara

The lights went out and the painting started vibrating in the Thurston Library board room just as PC Joseph Oliver was showing some information to Dana Bowman. Now, one minute later, the lights go back on and the painting is still. But there is a different character sitting at the board room table. All characters except Cory Swan are from short stories in Beyond the Tripping Point  by Sharon A. Crawford (Blue Denim Press, 2012)

Dana, looking around and almost jumping up at the woman sitting in the chair beside her. Susan Stuart? No, it can’t be. You’re dead. I mean…

Susan’s ghost: True, but I did mention that I do get around in spirit. Sometimes I can manifest myself to a few people.

Dana: And that’s why the lights went out – while you were er, manifesting?

PC Oliver: It’s gone.

Dana, turning to Oliver on her left: What’s gone? The paper you were showing me?

Oliver: Yes. I had it right in front of me.

Dana, glaring at Susan’s ghost: You took it. What did you do with it?

Susan: No, I didn’t.

Dana: Well, no one else was here.

Susan: Are you sure. The lights went out.

Dana: But that was you.

Susan: No. I don’t need lights turning out to manifest myself. Just people to believe I am real.

Oliver: Then who took the paper? Who was in here? I didn’t see anyone. Dana, did you?

Dana: No, but it was dark.

Susan: I might be able to answer that. I’m not the only spirit involved.

Dana: Right. So now we have multitudes of spirits running around and interfering.

Susan: No, just one other besides me.

Oliver: Who?

Susan: Can’t you guess? Who is also dead?

Dana: Roger Stuart?

Susan: Bingo.

Oliver: Okay, I’ll bite. What interest would Roger Stuart have in all this?

Susan: If you will remember, when Dad was still alive, just before he disappeared, he was involved in a sort of blackmail scheme with Cory Swan.

Dana: And I suppose you know what that all involves?

Oliver (interrupting): I think I do. The paper I was just going to show you was a document. It was a marriage certificate between Roger Stuart and his secretary.

Dana: But he was still married to Susan and Robbie’s mother.

Oliver: Yes, but the marriage certificate was issued in Mexico.

Dana: But it wouldn’t be valid in Canada? I mean with Roger still married to your mother. (Dana nods at Susan).

Oliver: No, not valid in Canada or the US for that matter.

Dana: How did they get it in Mexico?

Susan: By not giving any info about prior marriages.

Oliver: You could get away with that there.

Dana: So, Roger Stuart was a bigamist and he didn’t want his second marriage known.

Oliver: Or the fact that he had two so-called marriages with no divorce for the first one.

Susan: Exactly, to both. And Cory Swan wheedled this out of Dad and I believe threatened to tell all if Dad didn’t pay him. Which he did, for awhile, until he decided to disappear with the wicked secretary of the well, south.

Dana: And you know this how?

Susan: I just do.

Dana: You’ve connected with your father’s spirit.

Susan: Oh, all right. I’ve been talking to Dad.

Oliver: If this is so, then it has to be his spirit that took the document.

Susan: Actually not. Dad can’t get around like me. He’s stuck in our old house. I have to go to him.

Dana and Oliver: Then it was you. You lied.

Susan: Yup. A girl has to protect herself.

Susan then disappears.

Dana: What was that all about? She’s obviously got her own hidden agenda? Now we don’t have that document.

Oliver: Yes we do. There’s an electronic copy on the police computer and a photocopy at police headquarters. But I better call Fielding to let him know that Susan is not to be trusted.

Dana’s cell phone rings. She picks it up.

Dana: Yes.

Voice on the phone: Dana, it’s Bast. I’m okay. But we need to talk. You and a few others are in danger.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

You can read more about the characters and their stories in from Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to Sharon A. Crawford’s profile – including book reviews – at www.amazon.com. The book is available there in print and Kindle. For Kobo e-book  go to http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/beyond-the-tripping-point or go to any bricks and mortar store and order in a print copy. Spread the word.

Also see more of See Sharon A.’s Upcoming Gigs, workshops, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html

 

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Interview with Fiction Characters by Fiction Characters – Part 38

Amazon.com link to Sharon A.'s short story collection

Amazon.com link to Sharon A.’s short story collection

I never plot out my novels in terms of the tone of the book .Hopefull,y once a story is begun it reveals itself.

          Alice Hoffman

In last week’s post, the woman in the abstract painting was finally revealed as the spirit of the artist, Susan Stuart. Susan says she didn’t kidnap Bast Overture but pulled him into her realm to protect him from Cory Swan the photographer. Bast, however, managed to return to earth and was then kidnapped by Swan. Now he is missing again and Detective Sergeant Fielding and Detective Larry Hutchinson (along with Susan’s spirit) are off to Thurston to find Bast. Dana stays behind with a police constable awaiting Susan’s return with news. Except for Cory Swan, all characters are from stories in Beyond the Tripping Point by Sharon A. Crawford (Blue Denim Press, 2012)

Dana, staring at Constable Joseph Oliver: How did you, head of Records Bureau, wangle coming here? I was expecting a newbie.

Oliver: I convinced Fielding I would be the best choice as I am shall we say close to you and Bast professionally.

Dana: You mean you are our police source.

Oliver chuckles: Glad you can keep your sense of humour.

Dana nods: Yes, well in that vein I would like some more information about my brother’s kidnapping and in particular, why Cory Swan is so upset about that photo of Bast, Susan and Robbie Stuart.

Oliver: You know as much as I do.

Dana: Come on, Oliver.

Oliver shrugs his shoulders: Very well. Swan has a checkered background.

Dana: In what way?

Oliver: He was well connected to the Stuart family.

Dana: What do you mean? Beyond photographing Robbie and Susan for Bast’s story.

Oliver: No, before then…with their father.

Dana: Roger Stuart? The one who disappeared with his secretary years ago?

Oliver: Yes. I shouldn’t be telling you this. But Swan took some photos of Roger and his secretary…

Dana: Yes, but Roger is dead and the secretary is…

Oliver: I know. But for some reason Roger was taken with Swan – it wasn’t only his photography that connected him to people. He was also able to get people to talk about themselves and listen as if it was the most important thing in the world. We think that Swan found out about Roger Stuart ’s impending disappearance with his secretary and Roger paid him some money before he vanished.

Dana: You mean blackmail money?

Oliver shrugs his shoulders. Perhaps.

Dana: All right, say it was blackmail. How does my brother fit in with this? Roger Stuart disappeared before Bast became a crime reporter.

Oliver: We think that Bast uncovered this part of the story and confronted Swan with it – probably outside the interview with Robbie and Susan.

Dana: So, did he include it in his story? Where is that story anyway? Fielding, Hutchinson and I only found the photograph. We don’t know where it was published so can’t check the newspaper morgues.

Oliver shrugs his shoulders.

Dana: Oh, I get it. You did find the story. Come on Oliver, give it up. What did the story say?

Oliver: There was no mention of the connection between Roger Stuart and Cory Swan in the story.

Dana: So, what got Swan riled? Bast isn’t a reporter anymore.

Oliver: This. (Oliver hauls out a piece of paper from his folder.)

Dana leans over to look. The abstract painting starts vibrating and there is loud pounding on the door. The lights go out.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

 

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Interview with Fiction Character by Fiction Characters – Part 37

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford's mystery short story collection

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford’s mystery short story collection

In order to have a plot, you have to have a conflict, something bad has to happen.

          Mike Judge

In last week’s post, Dana, Fielding, and Hutchinson were interviewing Robin Stuart, brother of the murdered Susan Stuart. Stuart, the artist who painted the abstract in the Thurston Public Library boardroom was murdered in the story “Missing in Action” in Beyond the Tripping Point by Sharon A. Crawford (Blue Denim Press, Oct. 2012).  Detective Hutchinson arrested her murderer in that story. But now, Susan seems to be “popping up.” Last week Stuart’s picture started vibrating again. This week… read on.

The abstract stops vibrating and a woman’s head appears in the painting. She continues wailing.

Dana covering her ears: Shut up.

Hutchinson, wide-eyed and pale: Susan Stuart? You are dead.

The waiting stops and the woman’s lips switch to a soft feminine voice.

Woman in the picture: My body is dead, but not my soul.

Dana: What have you done with my brother?

Fielding, glaring at Dana: Dana. Let Hutchinson and I ask the questions.

Woman: It’s okay. She has a perfect right to ask. I did not kidnap her brother but shall we say, I extracted him temporarily from this life to protect him. But I wasn’t strong enough and he returned to Thurston and was then kidnapped.

Fielding: Who kidnapped him?

Woman: I thought you had already figured that out.

Hutchinson: Cory Swan?

Woman: Yes. While Sebastian was with me I told him that his story about me and my art was coming back to haunt him (She chuckles a bit) and I was trying to protect him from Cory Swan…

Dana: How did you know all this?

Woman: You mean how would a dead person know this? Well, our spirits can travel freely throughout the universe. And I’ve been keeping tabs on my paintings, where they are exhibited. While doing this I saw Cory Swan had an unusual interest in this painting here. He has made several trips to this room to look at it.

Fielding: We checked with the library’s listing of who used this room and he wasn’t listed.

Woman: He probably snuck in with a group meeting here.

Dana: She’s probably right. Various community groups meet here. Perhaps one was a photographer’s group.

Fielding, pulling out a printed list: Hmm. No photography list here, but the historical society, a ratepayers’ group, a quilting group, and Ms Dana Bowman.

Dana: Well, he certainly didn’t come in when I was here.

Fielding: You haven’t specifically answered why you took an interest in Bast and how did you know he was in danger?

Woman: It was that photo Cory Swan took of my brother, your brother Dana, and me that tipped me off. Like I said, we spirits get around, and I saw Swan packing up his Thurston office. He pulled out a photo – the one I just mentioned – and kept staring at it. He was muttering under his breath something about “that crime reporter, he knows something about her and he’s going to tell me.” At first I was just curious but when I saw him try to break into the Attic Agency and follow Bast around, I knew something bad was up. So because of what happened to me and how Robbie felt afterwards, I decided to try to save Bast. And the only way I knew how was to bring him temporarily into my world. And try to get a message to all of you. But all I could do was play around with my painting. Your son, Dana, caught on that I was here. Children are more receptive and with his situation, he was more so.

Dana: Did it never occur to you that dragging David into this could hurt him?

Woman: I was only trying to help.

Fielding: If what you say is true, why didn’t you try to communicate with us outside this room?

Woman: My spirit powers are limited. While I can move around anywhere, I can’t connect to any of the living except through something of me that remains behind – my painting.

Dana: So where is my brother now?

Woman: I don’t know. He managed to get himself out of my realm and back to earth. Like you, I only found the remains of his presence in Swan’s old Thurston office. But I did see Swan dump an envelope in your Aunt Doris’s mailbox.

Fielding: And the anonymous threatening phone call to Doris Bowman?

Woman: I knew nothing about that until you interviewed her here in this room.

Dana: What about Doris’s next door neighbour.

Woman: Just a nosey neighbour. I checked him out. Look, I’ve told you all I know.

Fielding: Well, I suggest you think harder about why Swan wanted Bast and took that photograph of the three of you while we check out Swan’s new office and residence in Barrie.

Woman: I’m coming with you…in spirit.

Dana: But you can’t communicate with us anywhere but here.

Fielding: That’s why you, Dana will remain here, along with a constable I will assign here.

Dana: But, I need to go to Barrie – it’s my brother; it’s…

Hutchinson: Better listen to Fielding. He and I will go. Keep your cell on and I hate to say this, your eyes on the painting. If…(he points to the face in the painting) she discovers something we don’t see, she can tell you and you can relay it back to us. Let’s go Fielding.

The two police detectives get up and leave. Dana is left staring at the face in the abstract.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

You can read more about the characters and their stories in from Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to Sharon A. Crawford’s profile – including book reviews – at www.amazon.com. The book is available there in print and Kindle. For Kobo e-book  go to http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/beyond-the-tripping-point or go to any bricks and mortar store and order in a print copy. Spread the word.

Also see more of See Sharon A.’s Upcoming Gigs, workshops, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html

 

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Interview with Fiction Character by Fiction Characters – Part 36

Amazon.com link to Sharon A.'s short story collection

Amazon.com link to Sharon A.’s short story collection

A story to me means a plot where there is some surprise. Because that is how life is – full of surprises.

          Isaac Bashevis Singer

As Susan Stuart, the abstract painting’s artist is dead (murdered), Detective Sergeant Fielding and Detective Larry Hutchinson have hauled in her brother Robbie Stuart. Dana Bowman, as usual has wangled her way into this interview held in the boardroom of the Thurston Public Library. The three are sitting around the back of the boardroom table right in front of the abstract painting.

All characters  (excluding Mr. Swan) are from the short story collection Beyond The Tripping Point by Sharon A. Crawford (Blue Denim Press, Oct. 2012)

Stuart (looking down at the trio): What’s this? I thought I was coming to see Detective Hutchinson about some wrap-up stuff to my sister’s death.

Hutchinson (pointing to each): Come this way and sit down Mr. Stuart. This is Dana Bowman, one of the PIs who runs The Attic Investigative Agency. And this is Detective Sergeant Donald Fielding who is in charge of the kidnapping of Sebastian Overture, who is Dana’s business partner and also her fraternal twin.

Stuart: So what’s it to do with me?

Hutchinson: First, sit down here.

Stuart shrugs his shoulders, walks to the other end of the room and sits down.

Fielding: Well, first off, this painting behind me was done by your sister Susan…

Stuart: I know that. She did it a couple of years before her death.

Fielding: …and there is this photo. (He shows the photo of Susan, Bast, and Robbie).

Stuart: Yeah, that reporter. He interviewed Susan and I just before she had her art exhibit here. What of it? Oh, I get it. You think I have something to do with his kidnapping.

Fielding: Right now we just want to find out the circumstances surrounding this photo. What exactly did Mr. Overture interview you about?

Stuart: I told you – my sister’s upcoming art show and her artistic talents.

Dana: Oh come on, Mr. Stuart, my brother used to write crime stories, not art stories. So what was he there for?

Stuart: You’re not police. I don’t have to talk to you.

Fielding: Answer the question, Stuart.

Stuart: He asked me about my father.

Dana: You mean Roger Stuart who also disappeared …

Fielding: Dana. I’ll ask the questions.

Dana: Well, ask the right ones. It’s my brother who’s missing. Surely Mr. Stuart can relate to that with his father’s disappearance.

Stuart: Yeah right. My father disappeared many years ago when I was a teenager. He ran off with his secretary and left my mom, sister and myself. It eventually killed my mom.

Hutchinson: Your mother died of cancer.

Stuart (standing): Damn right. And she wouldn’t have gotten it if Dad had stayed with her. And Suzie would still be alive.

Hutchinson: All right. We’ve already covered all this when your sister was murdered. Just answer Detective Fielding’s questions…and Dana Bowman’s too. We just need to know what happened in that interview you and your sister had with Bast Overture.

Stuart: He just asked about Dad disappearing and how it affected us, particularly if that had anything to do with what Suzie drew?

Fielding: And did it?

Stuart: Well, yeah. She painted abstracts because she said she found life, her life, anything but concrete in what happened, so she chose abstracts to show her feelings.

Dana (pointing to the abstract behind her): So, what feelings did Susan show in this painting?

Stuart: I dunno.

Fielding: Come on, come on, you were there when Mr. Overture interviewed your sister. What did he ask you?

Stuart: Just to tell him about Dad’s disappearance.

Fielding: I see. And what did you say about that?

Stuart shrugs his shoulders.

Dana: What can you tell us about the photographer who took this picture?

Stuart: I dunno. He was a photographer – from the newspaper, I guess. He came in midway and took various photos.

Fielding: Anything unusual about him?

Stuart (shrugging his shoulder): I dunno. He’s a photographer. Oh wait a minute. He seemed very interested in Suzie’s painting – that one now up on the wall.

Fielding: In what way?

Stuart: Just what it meant to her – why she painted it?

Fielding: Okay, can you tell us that now?

Stuart: She said it represented a maze – something she felt she lived in because of Dad’s disappearance. Life to her was a maze where people always had to be on high alert for someone coming in and snatching their lives, destroying their lives. If you could figure how to get out of the maze you were home free.

Fielding: And did she say if she knew how to get home free.

Stuart: She said she was working on it.

Fielding: And was that photographer Cory Swan.

Stuart: Yes, that’s him.

Fielding: Was Mr. Swan present when your sister talked about that abstract and mazes.

Stuart: Yes, he was and he seemed very interested. He even stopped shooting photos to listen.

Dana: And yet the photo here doesn’t even show that abstract painting – doesn’t even show any of your sister’s paintings. And why would he take a photo with my brother, who was doing the story interview. Reporters don’t usually put themselves into the story.

Stuart: I don’t know. I’ve never seen that photo before. All I know is the photographer stopped taking photos when Suzie spoke and…wait a minute, he aimed his camera at us, and I guess that’s when he did take that shot.

Dana: Do you know if that photo was the one included in the newspaper story?

Stuart: I don’t think so. The photo was one of Suzie holding up one of her paintings. I still have a copy of the story.

Fielding: Where was it published?

Stuart: The Toronto Herald.

Fielding: Back to the photo. Do you remember which photo your sister was holding up?

Stuart: No, some abstract obviously?

Dana (pointing): Was it this abstract.

Stuart shrugs his shoulders.

The abstract painting starts to vibrate and a loud wailing is heard. It seems to be coming from the abstract painting.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

You can read more about the characters and their stories in from Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to Sharon A. Crawford’s profile – including book reviews – at www.amazon.com. The book is available there in print and Kindle. For Kobo e-book  go to http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/beyond-the-tripping-point or go to any bricks and mortar store and order in a print copy. Spread the word.

Sharon A. is teaching Getting Your Memoir off the Ground Workshop, Saturday, February 22, 2014 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Details at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/SpeakersBureau.html

Also see more of See Sharon A.’s Upcoming Gigs, workshops, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html

 

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Fiction Characters Interviewing Fiction Characters – Part 35

Amazon.com link to Sharon A.'s short story collection
Amazon.com link to Sharon A.’s short story collection

Storytelling is about two things; it’s about character and plot.

         –  George Lucas

In this post Beyond the Tripping Point by Sharon A. Crawford (Blue Denim Press, 2012) scenario, Detective Sergeant Donald Fielding is back from Barrie where he interviewed Doris Bowman’s next door neighbour, Mr. Crankshaw. Cory Swan the photographer was not in his Barrie home. Detective Larry Hutchinson joined Fielding and Cooks Regional Police backup to check out the premises where Bast and Dana had originally looked for office space for The Attic Investigative Agency. Cory Swan, photographer no longer has offices there and the space is vacant. Dana was allowed to enter the building after police gave it the all clear. The three are now meeting at the actual Agency offices at 10 Maitland in Thurston to check out Bast’s published crime stories for any possible connection to his kidnapping. Dana, as usual, is trying to get “police business” information from the two detectives. Aunt Doris has been placed in a safe house with a constable posted outside.

Dana is booting up Bast’s desktop PC. while Fielding and Hutchinson search Bast’s print files of published stories.

Dana: Bast might have this password protected but I’ll see what I can find about his story notes. Meantime, Detective Fielding, I’d like to know what Aunt Doris’ neighbour had to say for himself.

Fielding, rifling through files: Ms Bowman that is police business.

Dana: Oh for Christ’s sake, you let me see that photographer’s former office and I helped you there. I identified the watch on the floor as belonging to Bast so we know he was there and… So now it’s your turn to give me something.

Fielding: We let you into the room. That’s what we gave you.

Dana: Might I remind you that it is my brother, my fraternal twin who is missing. This isn’t the first time somebody in my family was kidnapped. When David was kidnapped, you were shall we say a little moreforthcoming.

Fielding: David is a child.

Dana: So, my brother doesn’t count because he’s an adult?

Fielding: D…Dana that’s not what I’m saying.

Dana: Then why won’t you tell me?

Fielding: Very well. I will tell you this much. Mr. Joseph Crankshaw saw Cory Swan put something into your Aunt Doris’ mailbox within the time frame Doris received that envelop. He also said he doesn’t trust Cory Swan because he’s heard car doors slamming shut at all hours of the night and when he got up he would see a car that wasn’t Swan’s speed out of the driveway.

Dana: Did he actually see a person? And get a licence plate number?

Fielding: No and No. And that’s all I will say.

Dana, gritting her teeth: Fielding …

Hutchinson: I think I found something.

Fielding and Dana join him. Hutchinson holds up a photo of a young man in a hoodie and a young woman sitting at a table on either side of Bast. Bast’s tape recorder rests in front of him. Hutchinson flips the photograph. On the back is stamped Cory Swan Photographer.

Hutchinson: I know the two people with Bast. The fellow in the hoodie is Robbie Stuart. The woman is his sister, Susan Stuart. Susan was murdered and I investigated her homicide.

Dana: Susan Stuart? Isn’t that the name scrawled on that abstract painting in the library boardroom?

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

You can read more about the characters and their stories in from Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to Sharon A. Crawford’s profile – including book reviews – at www.amazon.com. The book is available there in print and Kindle. For Kobo e-book  go to http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/beyond-the-tripping-point or go to any bricks and mortar store and order in a print copy. Spread the word.

Sharon A. is teaching Getting Your Memoir off the Ground Workshop, Saturday, February 22, 2014 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Details at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/SpeakersBureau.html

Also see more of See Sharon A.’s Upcoming Gigs, workshops, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html

 

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Fiction Characters Interviewing Fiction Characters – Part 34

Click on the book cover to go to amazon.com

Click on the book cover to go to amazon.com

A picture is worth a thousand words

          Attributed to various sources from Napoleon Bonaparte to Frederick R. Barnard

Detective Sergeant Donald Fielding has left the Thurston Library boardroom to drive to Barrie to interview Cory Swan the photographer who lives across the road from Aunt Doris and her next-door neighbour, Mr. Crankshaw. Detective Larry Hutchinson remains behind to continue questioning Aunt Doris about the envelope of photos left in her mailbox. Dana hovers nearby trying to get in a word. All but Swan, Crankshaw and Ron Bowman, are characters from Beyond the Tripping Point by Sharon A. Crawford.

 Hutchison: Now, Mrs. Bowman, I want you to look carefully at these three photos and tell me if you recognize anything in them.

Doris: Well, I recognize Dana’s twin, Bast.

Hutchinson: Of course, but anything in the background, does it look familiar?

Doris: Hmm. Give me those photos young man.

Hutchinson: It’s better if you don’t touch them. Fingerprints…

Dana: Oh, stuff it Hutchinson. Fielding already has our fingerprints for elimination. Aunt Doris is an old woman so her eyesight…

Doris: There’s nothing wrong with my eyesight, young lady. I don’t even wear glasses except to drive. And as for calling me an old woman, well, I never.

Dana: But you are and you said so yourself.

Doris: standing up and glaring at Dana: Now listen here… and what Ronald Bowman ever saw in you to marry you I’ll never understand.

Dana: Ron and I are divorced Aunt Doris and he has nothing to do with this.

Hutchinson, raising his hands: Ladies, please. And Mrs. Bowman, will you please sit down. Now I find that interesting about Ronald Bowman, your ex-husband, Ms Bowman. What makes you think he isn’t involved? Wasn’t he arrested for the kidnapping of your son?

Dana: Those charges were never actually laid.

Hutchinson: But he was charged with a B and E and vandalism?

Dana: Yes, but he got off with community service and one year’s probation.

Hutchinson: He still has a record. Do you know where he is?

 Dana: I don’t know. Ask her. (she looks at Doris). He’s her nephew.

Huchinson: Mrs. Bowman, do you know where you nephew is?

Doris: He moved to Orillia Ontario after he finished his probation and community service. He should never have been arrested. Dana, this is all your doing; this is….

Hutchinson: Ladies, we are getting nowhere fast with these photos.

Dana: Fine. Let me look at them. Maybe I can recognize something, besides my brother, of course.

Hutchinson slides the photos over to Dana and she looks from one to the other and to the third. She repeats that a couple of times, looks slyly at Hutchinson, then pushes two away with her fingertips. She keeps the one with Bast sitting in a room.

Dana: I might recognize this room but if it’s where I think it is, it’s not in Barrie, but right here in Thurston.

Doris: What?

Hutchinson, raising his hand at Doris and then looking at Dana: Go on, Ms Bowman.

Dana; Going back a few years when Bast and I were planning to start up our Attic Investigative Agency, we did some looking at places outside the house where we live. One of the places was upstairs over a convenience store on Main Street here in Thurston. The two rooms were bleak looking. The first room which could be used for reception had no windows and the back room, I guess for the office, didn’t have much light, just from a small round window up high. Well, this room Bast is sitting in has the same type of window up high. No, I’d say the same window because the window in the room Bast and I looked at had this big scratch mark embedded in the right top corner. And if you look closely, so does the window in this picture.

Hutchinson and Doris both lean over towards the picture.

Hutchinson: Son of a gun, so it does. Ms Bowman, do you happen to know who or what did move into this room?

Dana: Well, it was awhile ago. Let me think. Wait… I seem to remember Bast mentioning a photographer who the newspaper he used to write for sometimes hired on a freelance basis. I think Bast said the photographer sometimes did the photos for some of his stories.

Hutchinson: And your brother was a crime reporter before he started this private detective business.

Dana: I see where you’re going with this and I have to agree. It could be connected to a story Bast wrote.

Hutchinson: Does your brother keep copies of his published stories?

Dana: Yes, in our office and he has the stories on his computer too.

Hutchinson: Well, Ms. Bowman, I think we better get over to your place and check out these stories.

Doris: What about me? I don’t want to be left alone. Someone sent me anonymous photos and threatened me on the phone.

Hutchinson: Where are you staying now?

Doris: In a hotel, but I’ve been looking over my shoulder, locking my door and putting a heavy chair up against it.

Hutchinson: Well, I’m a Toronto detective; Thurston is out of my jurisdiction except when working with Fielding, but we’ll see what we can do. Let me give Fielding a call.

Hutchinson calls Fielding on his cell. Dana continues looking at the photo.

Dana: Oh for Christ’s sake. The photographer who moved into that room over the convenience store in Thurston? I remember seeing the sign outside that upstairs window blowing in the wind. Detective Hutchinson, I think we have our connection. The sign read C. Swan Photographer – weddings, funerals – which I thought odd – parties and celebrations. I never met the man but I bet Bast did.

A noise came from the other end of the room. All three looked to the far wall as the abstract painting fell to the floor.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

You can read more about the characters and their stories in from Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to Sharon A. Crawford’s profile – including book reviews – at www.amazon.com. The book is available there in print and Kindle. For Kobo e-book  go to http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/beyond-the-tripping-point or go to any bricks and mortar store and order in a print copy. Spread the word.

Sharon A. is teaching Getting Your Memoir off the Ground Workshop, Saturday, February 22, 2014 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Details at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/SpeakersBureau.html

Also see more of See Sharon A.’s Upcoming Gigs, workshops, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html

 

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Fiction Characters Interviewing Fiction Characters – Part 33

Amazon.com link to Sharon A.'s short  story collection

Amazon.com link to Sharon A.’s short story collection

If in doubt, have two guys come through the door with guns

                         RAYMOND CHANDLER

Detective Sergeant Donald Fielding, Detective Larry Hutchinson, Doris Bowman, and Dana Bowman (all from various stories in Beyond the Tripping Point by Sharon A. Crawford) sit and huddle around the end of the Thurston library boardroom table. They are staring at the photos and list that Aunt Doris dumped out of an envelope.

Fielding and Hutchinson are wearing latex gloves.

Dana: Where did these come from?

Doris: I told you I don’t know. They just arrived in the mail.

Fielding: Give me the envelope.

Doris hands it over. Fielding and Hutchinson scrutinize it. Dana tries to horn in and when she can’t see it she stands up and leans over Fielding’s shoulder.

Hutchinson:  The stamp isn’t cancelled and there is nothing to indicate it was put in the mail. Mrs. Bowman he turns to Aunt Doris), was this with the regular mail in your mailbox?

Doris: Yes, I think so. I remember the phone bill came the same day and some junk mail.

Fielding: What time does your mail arrive?

Doris: anytime between 10 a.m. and noon.

Fielding: Do you remember what time it arrived that day and what day was it?

Doris: Three days ago, same day I received that phone call on my land line. I brought in the mail just before noon, right after that phone call which came through about 11.40, 11.45 a.m.

Hutchinson: Did you hear anyone at your mailbox?

Doris: I suppose so; I don’t remember.

Dana: Think, Aunt Doris. This is important.

Hutchinson: Ms Bowman, the police are conducting this interview.

Dana: It’s my brother who is missing and unless my eyes are mistaken that is him in those photographs.

Fielding: Very well. Mrs. Bowman, please answer the question.

Doris: What was the question?

Dana: Aunt Doris, don’t be coy. Did you hear anyone at your mailbox that morning? And don’t ask what morning?

Doris: I know what morning it was. And…wait a minute. I was getting another cup of coffee  around 11. 30 or so and was just heading for the kitchen when I did hear something at the mailbox. And I remember thinking that’s funny because I had heard the mailman drop something in just after 10. And I know it was the mailman that time because I looked out the kitchen window and saw him walking down the driveway.

Fielding: And you didn’t check the mail then.

Doris: No. My neighbour was banging on my back door.

Fielding: You didn’t mention her before, Mrs. Bowman.

Doris: It slipped my mind. I am an old woman. And it wasn’t a she, but Mr. Crankshaw, come over to find out if I had seen his cat, Merde.

Dana: Merde? That’s French for…

Doris: I know what it means. But that’s his cat’s name and very appropriate. The little rascal is always in my flower garden leaving little deposits and spraying around.

Hutchison, smiling: It’s called marking their territory. My wife’s cat does the same, but fortunately in our backyard. Now how long did Mr. Crankshaw stay at your door?

Doris: Just a few minutes. Once I told him I hadn’t seen his cat and I better not or it would be sorry, and he started ranting at me about being a bad neighbour, I slammed the door in his face.

Hutchinson: And he left right then.

Doris: Of course. He knows better than to mess with me.

Hutchinson: Did you see him leave?

Doris: I heard his footsteps but when I looked out my kitchen window I saw him heading around the side so I guess he was going back to his place.

Hutchinson, turning to Fielding: Are you thinking what I’m thinking?

Fielding: Yes. Now Mrs. Bowman, how long has Mr. Crankshaw lived there, how old is he and…

Dana: Just a minute, Fielding. What about these photos of my brother?  Don’t they show that he is still alive?

Fielding: Ms Bowman, we have to cover all the angles.

Dana; I know that. But let’s look at what we have here and then you can deal with Mr. Crankshaw. Hey, you can even go up to Barrie and work with their police department to question him. Maybe he saw something.

Fielding, looks at Hutchinson, who nods. Very well Ms Bowman, let’s look at the photos.

Hutchinson: Try not to touch them, although we’ll have to eliminate your fingerprints.

Doris: Well, you have them already back when Dana’s house was broken into.

Dana: Can you move over Fielding, so I can sit in between the two of you and see the photos?

Doris: And what about me?

Dana: You’ve seen them already.

Doris: But I might have something valuable to say about them.

Hutchinson: Ladies, please. We can all look at them, just not touch.

Fielding picks up the first photo of the three.

Dana: That’s Bast all right. But what is he doing. He just seems to be sitting there staring at the camera.

Fielding: It would appear he is in a room, perhaps where he is being held.

Dana: Oh, so you now figure he has been kidnapped. But there has been no ransom note.

Fielding: No.

Dana: He doesn’t look well, like he’s sleep-deprived. Fielding, you have to do something. Can’t you trace these photos?

Fielding, turning over the photo: There is a photographer listed here – a C.W. Swan Photographer, Barrie, Ontario. No phone number though.

Dana hauls out a piece of paper and pen from her purse and starts scribbling: Good, that’s a start. We can check 411 and…

Hutchinson, waving his arms around: Just a minute, Ms. Bowman. This is police business.

Dana: It’s my brother who is missing. Do I have to keep reminding you of that?

Fielding and Hutchinson: Ms Bowman…

Doris: Quiet. I may have something. There’s a Cory Swan who lives across the street from me and I believe he is a photographer.

You can read more about the characters and their stories in from Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to Sharon A. Crawford’s profile – including book reviews – at www.amazon.com. The book is available there in print and Kindle. For Kobo e-book  go to http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/beyond-the-tripping-point or go to any bricks and mortar store and order in a print copy. Spread the word.

Sharon A. is teaching Getting Your Memoir off the Ground Workshop, Saturday, February 22, 2014 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Details at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/SpeakersBureau.html

Also see more of See Sharon A.’s Upcoming Gigs, workshops, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html

 

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Fiction Character Interviewing Fiction Character – Part 32

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford's mystery short story collection

Cover of Sharon A. Crawford’s mystery short story collection

A story to me means a plot where there is some surprise because that is how life is – full of surprises

          Isaac Bashevis Singer

         

Since Fielding’s startling news about Aunt Doris’ disappearance, Dana Bowman has kept her son David close to her where possible and arranged with Fielding to have a police car parked outside her house. David appears to be the only family member besides herself who is still around and Dana is worried. However, this morning she received a pay phone call from one of the missing family members, requesting a meeting in the library boardroom. Dana persuaded the constable in the car to come inside to keep watch on David as she didn’t trust what might happen to him if she brought him with her because of that abstract painting on the wall. So, Dana now sits in the boardroom waiting for someone from Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, Oct. 2023), Sharon A. Crawford’s mystery short story collection.

The door opens. Dana swings around from her seat at the table.

Dana: Good. You made it okay. Were you followed? And where have you been?

Aunt Doris sits down: One thing at a time, please. I’m an old woman. I don’t think I was followed. Look, you know I’m not a fan of your brother, but when things affect Ronald’s (Note: Dana’s ex-husband) son, I have to do something.

Dana: Like disappear for a few days? Where were you?

Doris, lowering her voice: I hid out in a hotel – I’m not saying where.

Dana: Why? And how does this all affect David?

Aunt Doris, scowling her face into its gargoyle look: Things haven’t been normal lately.

Dana sighs: Tell me about it. Now, David.

Aunt Doris waves a hand: Let me tell this. First there were all those calls supposedly from your brother on my cell. But when I picked up there was no one there.

Dana: Fielding did mention that and that your cell is missing.

Aunt Doris: Still is. But now they’ve gotten into my land line? And that’s why I disappeared – so they wouldn’t find me and to think.

Dana: And you didn’t think to call me or the police at least?

Doris: I thought they would get to David. They said not to call the police.

Dana: Who are they, Aunt Doris?

Aunt Doris shrugs: I don’t know. But this time they left a message about David.

Dana, leaning towards Doris: What message? What did they say?

Aunt Doris: That David is next. Don’t call the police or David will be sorry.

Dana, her heart starting to beat fast: And?

Aunt Doris: That’s it. Is David going to disappear too? I don’t want him to go through all that again. You’re his mother so you need to do something.

Dana: I need more information than that. Did you recognize the voice? Man or woman?

Aunt Doris: I don’t know. It was muffled.

Dana: Have you told Fielding?

Aunt Doris: I did decide to call from a pay phone just before I came here. He wasn’t there so I had to leave a detailed message for him in his voice mail. I kept his number that you gave me last year when David went missing…  But I am here now.

Dana: Hm. What aren’t you telling me Aunt Doris? You are being too co-operative with me and I don’t think it’s just concern for David.

Aunt Doris hems and haws.

Dana: Aunt Doris. As you pointed out, David’s security is at risk. Now spit it out.

Aunt Doris: Well, I never. You don’t need to be rude. Very well.

Aunt Doris opens her purse and hauls out an envelope which appears to be stuffed to its limits.

Dana: What’s this?

Aunt Doris: I’m coming to it. This came in the mail the same day as they called about David.

Aunt Doris dumps out the envelope. The contents appear to be some photos and a typed sheet of what looks like some list. Dana leans over to get a better look.

Dana: What is all this?

The door bursts open. Detective Sergeant Donald Fielding and Detective Larry Hutchinson rush in.

Fielding: We’d like to know too. Hand it over.

Cheers.

Sharon A. Crawford

You can read more about the characters and their stories in from Beyond the Tripping Point (Blue Denim Press, 2012). Click on the book at the top and it takes you to my profile – including book reviews – at www.amazon.com. The book is available there in print and Kindle. For Kobo e-book  go to http://store.kobobooks.com/en-CA/ebook/beyond-the-tripping-point or go to any bricks and mortar store and order in a print copy. Spread the word.

See Sharon A.’s Upcoming Gigs, workshops, guest blog posts, etc. at http://www.samcraw.com/Articles/BeyondtheTrippingPoint.html  

 

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