We are fortunate to have Lockie (Lockard) Young on 4Q this
Friday. Lockie has written a YA novel, Ryan’s Legend, published by Morning Rain
Publishers of Ontario and is happily working on the sequel. He is a familiar
guest on the South Branch Scribbler with several of his entertaining short
stories being featured. Lockie has been showcased on many blogs, recommended
reading sites and most recently in the Times Transcript, Moncton’s major daily.
You can find out more about Lockie, more of his poems and witty ramblings, by
clicking his link below.
4Q: Thanks for being a
part of the Scribbler, Lockie.Sometime
ago you and your wife, Trish, visited South Africa.You brought back many great photos and as
many memories I expect. Did this visit to a foreign country so far away, or the
people, have any influence on your writing or inspirations?
LY: Africa was amazing. I
can’t put my finger on it, and not to sound corny, but Africa had a profound
effect on me, almost like a religious experience. When I stepped off the plane,
it was like coming home, and I am not a person who likes the heat, so this was
confusing for me. The people we met were so friendly, and it really felt like
family when these strangers welcomed us into their homes and their lives. When
I got back to Canada, and things settled down and my wife and I got back to
work and a normal life again, I found I couldn’t stop writing about my other
home, Africa. I have several poems
inspired by the amazing animals we saw there. The traditional animals like
Giraffe and Zebra, which to me were only pictures in National Geographic
magazine before, had been right there, outside our car window. My wife and I
toured South Africa and Swaziland with my father in law and mother in law. My
short story and poem titled Diary of an Orphan was inspired by a visit to an
orphanage in Swaziland.
4Q: What can you tell us
about the sequel to Ryan’s Legend?
LY: The working title is
Ryan’s Legend Returns, and picks up where the first story leaves off.It’s summer break, and the main character,
Ryan, has a few adventures with his best friend Cory. Ryan teaches Cory, a city
boy, about life along the sea shore, all the while anxiously awaiting the
return of his other ‘Legendary’ friend Willie. Parts of the sequel were written
at the same time as Ryan’s Legend, back in 1995, and were in fact all one book
back then. On the advice of a self published Author and Publisher at the time,
I split the original manuscript into two parts, as it was thought to be too
long for a middle grade reader.
After my first book, was picked up by Morning Rain
Publishing I worked on finishing and
adding to the second half, which is more than twice as long as Ryan’s Legend.
It is currently being considered, and I am waiting on word if Morning Rain
wants to publish it. I hope it will get picked up, and maybe be published later
4Q: Please share a
childhood anecdote or memory.
LY: Some of my readers and
fans may know that I am a Plumber by trade, but long before I became a Plumber,
when I was just a boy of maybe seven or eight years of age, I went with my Mom
and Dad to visit relatives in a small community not too far from Moncton,
called Harcourt. While there I asked if I could go to the bathroom, and I was
directed to a small out building in back of the house. I could tell as soon as
I opened the door that I was in the right place. When I returned to where the
adults had gathered in the parlor, I was asked what had taken me so long. And I
answered that I was very sorry, but I had searched that darn building all over
and I just couldn’t find the flush handle for the toilet.
4Q: Please tell us what’s
in store for us in the future; what else you’re working on?
LY:As you know, Allan, I lost my right leg last
year to arterial disease caused by smoking a pack a day for 30 some years, and
during my recovery, and adjustment to a drastic lifestyle change, I’ve been
writing as part of the healing process. I’ve written several short stories and
a couple of, what I’ve discovered are called ‘personal essays’ and I am also
working on a memoir of my personal journey on this new road as an amputee. The
memoir is a step outside of the box for me as I’ve never written a nonfiction
work, and I find it both challenging and therapeutic as I revisit the past 2
years of my life.
So, when I get stuck
with what to write in the next novel in the ‘Legend’ series, and I need a
change of pace or scenery, I pick up where I left off in my memoir, or I change
genres and try my hand at another short story. I may see if my publisher is
interested in a compilation of my short stories. I haven’t written any poetry lately, but I
have to be inspired for that too. The other day, when I was stuck on ‘The
Legend Never Dies’ (working Title) I opened up a new word doc and I just wrote
and wrote all day, missing lunch and almost missing supper, until I wrote The
End at last. The word count on Paradise White is 8000 words, and I hope to
whittle that short story down in edits. So that is how I roll. I took an early
retirement because of my new physical limitations, and now I am fortunate that I
can write whenever I want and I am enjoying the freedom to do what I really
truly love to do.
You have been a tremendous supporter of your fellow authors,
sharing, giving us a pat on the back, being a nice guy so thanks Lockie on
behalf of us all. Keep those stories coming.
Next week I will offer 4 teasers of my short story compilation SHORTS Vol.1. As well as what inspired these stories. The SHORT series is dedicated to my grandchildren with Vol. 1 for my oldest grandson, Matthieu. Vol. 2 will be published in September, with Vol. 3 to follow in November.
Bobby Nash is an award winning author that hails from Bethlehem, Georgia. An exceptionally creative individual that writes novels, comics, graphic novels, short prose, media tie-ins, screenplays and more. When not busy writing, he is an actor that appears in movies and television. His web site is below.
ALEXANDRA HOLZER’S GHOST
GAL: THE WILD HUNT
EXCERPT WRITTEN BY BOBBY
Energy crackled through the halls of the old castle
like a thing alive.
With each whip-snap discharge, loud, thunderous
booms echoed off the thick stone that made up the walls of the castle keep.
Those stones, which had been so meticulously removed from their original home
and shipped over to the New World piece by piece from an Irish castle the
wealthy new owner had recently purchased, were unlike any other. It had taken
months for shipping magnate Conrad Bartlett to disassemble the castle, catalog,
number, and crate each piece, ship it across the Atlantic, and reassemble it on
his families land in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
Under normal circumstances, such an undertaking
would have been a costly endeavor, but tensions in the Atlantic were high as
both Nazi and Allied forces ran their military campaigns in the region almost
non-stop. Soon, the entire planet would be gripped by the hells of war. If not
for Bartlett’s military contract allowing him to cross the ocean at regular
intervals, the yearlong reconstruction of the castle in the United States might
never have been completed.
In hindsight, Conrad Bartlett might have wished that
to be the case.
In addition to the physical attributes of the castle
keep, he also brought with it the castle’s dark secret, a long and bloody
history dating back to the earliest days of Ireland itself, perhaps even before
that, a secret that had been locked away for centuries, hidden from prying
And now that secret had been loosed on an
Unless the specialist he called in could put a stop
Outside, lightning sparked while thunder roared as
the storm grew more and more fierce. Gale force rain pelted everything in its
path with big wet droplets mixed with hail and flying debris tossed about by
violent winds. The turbulent weather outside was like a mirror to the chaos
brewing inside the recently rebuilt castle.
Hans Holzer let out a breath. He had only been on
the scene an hour before things took a turn to the strange. Conrad Barnett’s
telegram about his unique problem had piqued his curiosity, but he hadn’t
expected to find anything more than a minor disturbance. He hadn’t expected to
find much, most likely a displaced spirit long dormant that had been disturbed
when its home had been disassembled and reassembled halfway around the world.
It was enough to throw off anyone’s equilibrium, even if they had been dead for
decades or longer, but as threats go, it was probably minor.
He was wrong.
Once the storm began to strengthen in intensity, he
realized that things were worse than he had first believed.
Hans Holzer held a torch in front of him as he moved
through the darkness. Flames from the torch cast the only light since the
generator succumbed to a lightning strike just a few moments earlier. The torch
had once been the leg of an antique chair, or at least an expensive recreation
of one. A cloth curtain pulled from one of the windows then doused with lighter
fluid and ignited completed the makeshift lantern. It was a quick solution to a
It was the problem that lay ahead that concerned
“These walls are not pure stone,” he said aloud,
running a callused hand across the uneven stone. “Whatever that metal component
we discovered turns out to be, it is highly conductive. The lightning striking
the weather vanes on the roof is not simply redirecting the electricity of the
strikes. The energy is being absorbed through the walls.” He leaned in close
enough to smell the earthy musk of the hand-carved stone. “Incredible. It’s
almost as if the entire castle is alive. I’ve never seen--”
Holzer sighed loudly at the interruption. It was not
the first one of the evening. “Yes. What is it, Jamie?”
“I need a moment, sir,” Jamie McClenndon said from
somewhere in the dark behind him.
Jamie was the latest in a long line of assistants
who came to him because they wanted to learn the “real truth” of the world.
Most were college students, like Jamie. They rarely lasted long in the position
and Holzer suspected that Jamie would be no different than those who came
before. Like the others before him, his desire to experience a supernatural
moment came from seeing motion pictures featuring scary monsters. He wanted to
see a ghost, to prove that they were real, and that he would be brave enough to
interact with it. The reality of the moment was never what any of them expected
and was rarely like what they saw in the movies. Ghost hunting, for lack of a
better term, was not easy and the professor had little time or patience for
handholding. If Jamie wanted to be coddled in the face of the unknown then he
had come to the wrong place.
As his family was of Irish descent, Holzer had hoped
Jamie would come in handy on this excursion, but sadly his knowledge of the
homeland of his ancestors was severely lacking. He blamed modern education for
the boy’s lack of knowledge.
“Make it quick,” Holzer said, not bothering to hide
his annoyance as he checked his pocket watch. “Our quarry is here. I can feel
“Yes, Professor. I know,” Jamie said softly. There
was an unusual quiver to his voice.
“We must find him before…”
The crash of his equipment hitting the hard stone
floor behind him interrupted his train of thought and Hans Holzer spun around
to face his assistant, ready to give him an earful about responsibility and
taking care of the sensitive equipment left in his care. The equipment he had
been tasked with carrying was not only delicate, it was also very expensive.
“I’ve told you repeatedly to be careful… with…
that…” his voice trailed off when he saw why Jamie had discarded the equipment
in so loud a fashion.
“I–– I think I’ve already found him,” Jamie said
softly, careful not to move lest the sharp blade at his throat draw blood.
“Easy now, Jamie,” Holzer said, taking a tentative
step forward, keeping the torch an arm’s length ahead of him and casting an
orange glow on the intruder who held his young assistant hostage. “Don’t move.”
“Who are you?” Holzer asked the man holding the
“You know my name, laddie,” the intruder said. He
was tall, towering a couple of inches above Jamie’s six foot-two lanky frame.
His arms were thick, muscled, and looked as though they could snap his
assistant like a twig. His face was obscured by the light, his skin dark, but
made darker by the soot and ash that clung to his body, giving him a mottled
gray pallor. Long black hair hung behind him, matching the color of the thick
matted beard he wore.
“I know the man whose body you wear,” Holzer said.
“His name is Duncan. He works for Mr. Bartlett.”
“Very clever, you are,” the entity that had taken
control of Duncan McGrath’s body said. “I see that you are familiar with my
kind. So much the better. Oh, and his name was Duncan. He has no use for a name
“Do not hurt that boy.”
“You’re not in any position to be giving orders,
“You know my name?”
“Oh, yes,” the man said. “I know everything my host
knew. Young Duncan knew who you were. He seemed to think you might save him
somehow, although I think his faith might be a wee bit misplaced myself. You’ve
given me a good laugh watching as you run about the castle with your little
toys and gadgets. You amuse me, Professor.”
“What do you want?”
“Such a leading question.” Duncan smiled. “What do
you think I want?”
“I already have freedom, sir. I am free to roam this
castle at my whim. Look around you, do you see any chains to hold me hither?”
The professor smiled. “Actually, I do.”
“It’s so obvious. Curse me for a fool; I should have
noticed it sooner. This place…” he motioned toward the castle around them. He
rapped a knuckle against the stone wall. “This place is your prison. The
lightning, the stone, the mystery metal, those things aren’t meant to empower
you, are they? This castle is your prison.”
“Oh, sure, this far removed from your ancestral
home, the power that keeps you trapped here has lessened, but not enough for
you to escape. Not completely. You can move about within these walls, but you
can never venture beyond them. You’re trapped here like an animal in a cage.”
“We’ll see about that, laddie,” Duncan said, his
smile widening. “This animal still has teeth.”
“Don’t,” Holzer warned, but it was too late.
With a powerful shove, Duncan threw Jamie McClenndon
at the ghost hunter. The student crashed into his teacher and they fell to the
floor in a tangle of arms and legs, the torch falling from Holzer’s hand and
There was just enough light to see Duncan run past
them down the hallway.
GHOST GAL: THE WILD HUNT--
Holzer is just your average young paranormal investigator out to show an early
1960s New York City she knows a thing or two about ghosts. Join Alex's alter
ego, GHOST GAL, and her fiancé, Joshua Demerest as they do battle with a very
ancient ghost and his pals who have a score to settle with her famed father,
ghost hunter, Hans Holzer.
Holzer's Ghost Gal: The Wild Hunt by Bobby Nash is the first book in a series
of new horror/adventures novels from Raven's Head Press.
Mitzi Szereto lives in the United Kingdom. She is an author, blogger, Mitzi TV creator/presenter, literary mischief-maker and mother to Teddy Tedaloo, celebrity bear. . She also has a number of books and short fiction available for Kindle, Nook, Kobo and iTunes. She has pioneered erotic writing workshops in the UK and mainland Europe, teaching them from the Cheltenham Festival of Literature to the Greek islands. She’s also lectured in creative writing at several British universities.Her website is listed below.
Norfolk (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles) by Mitzi
Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo
Thelonious T. Bear, ursine photojournalist, leaves behind the big
city life of London to take an assignment in the Norfolk countryside, where he
hopes to find therealEngland. Instead he stumbles upon gastro-pubs, crazed Audi drivers
and murder. As the hapless Thelonious keeps ending up in the wrong place at the
wrong time, he attracts the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Horatio
Sidebottom of Norfolk Constabulary CID, who’s determined to tie Thelonious to
the crimes. Add in a pair of hoods from London’s East End, celebrity TV chef
Paolo Louis Black, and plenty of oddball local characters and it all adds up to
a madcap journey through England’s most quirky county, whereeverythingis normal for
Little Acre was all abuzz with news about the murder of
one of their native sons. Derrick Pickles, long-time proprietor of The Black
Stag public house in the adjacent village of Kelton Market, had been found
bludgeoned to death. Pickles had lived in the village since the day he was
born, the pub having been in his family for generations. He’d taken it over
from his father, who’d taken it over from his father, and so on and so on. The
Pickles were a Norfolk institution, and Derrick was well-liked and respected in
the community. Not even the taint of his only son going off to work in The City
rather than positioning himself to one day take over the reins of the family
business could dampen the locals’ affection for the family, though forgiveness
wasn’t always as easy to come by. Feelings and memories ran deep in this part
of the world, despite young Pickles defection to London taking place nearly two
decades before, which, at least to the locals, might as well have been
yesterday. Not even the death of his mother many years later could bring young
Pickles back in line. But old Derrick stubbornly clung on, running the pub long
after most publicans would have sold up and retired to Spain or
Portugal—especially a widower with no one to stay behind for.
Being the only pub in the village, The Black Stag was a
magnet for the locals, not to mention tourists in search of some local colour.
Kelton Market was conveniently situated in the county, what with the ruins of
an old castle located just outside the village and a bustling crafts and
antiques market taking place on weekends, so it was a rare day, indeed, when
the pub wasn’t busy. The fact that a murder had been committed was not
something the residents of this part of Norfolk were accustomed to. The most
crime they ever got was of the sort involving the theft of a cockerel from a
farm or some youths out joyriding on a tractor. But murder? No. Murders
happened in London and Birmingham and Glasgow. They did not happen in Kelton Market.
Therefore when Thelonious heaved open the heavy glass
door of Little Acre’s one and only newsagents in his quest to buy a copy of the
local newspaper (or as local as he could get), he discovered quite a crowd
gathered inside the cramped little shop. A trio of men representing three
generations and an elderly woman who had to have been pushing the century mark
were gathered in front of the till, talking animatedly and all at the same
time, the garrulous din being added to by a frumpy sixty-something woman behind
the counter. She appeared to be refereeing the conversation, her heavy arms
flapping and waving about as if she were attempting to direct a newly landed
plane to an airport gate.
The youngest of the men was dressed in a white
beekeeper’s suit, the hood of which had been pushed back behind his head. Hair
the shade and texture of the round bales of hay Thelonious had seen in the
fields of the surrounding landscape kept falling down over his eyes, causing
him to reach up to swipe it away, whereupon the same thing happened all over
again. He had the open and guileless mien of someone who’d grown up in the
country and had little to no experience with big city life. The oldest of the
trio had a pickled and world-weary look about him that could only have been
achieved from a lifetime of heavy drinking. His deeply creased face was the
colour of cured tobacco leaves, his overall appearance untidy and unwashed. He
clutched an unlighted cigarette between the fingers of his right hand, the skin
and nails stained a sickly yellow-orange from nicotine. Had it not been for his
expensive-looking leather jacket, Thelonious might have mistaken him for a
homeless man. The third fellow was aged somewhere between the two and, judging
by his collar, appeared to be a vicar. He kept trying to get the group to quiet
down, his pale palms making circles in the air as if he were washing invisible
windows. Instead of having the desired effect, the group became even more
animated, as if seeking to exorcise the vicar’s fruitless attempts at calm.
The elderly woman to whom no one paid any mind bashed the
rubber-tipped feet of her Zimmer frame against the worn linoleum floor until
she was in danger of toppling over. Nevertheless, the accompanying staccato of
protestations coming from her shrivelled maw continued to fall on deaf ears.
Her hunched form looked as if it might crumple into a heap of ancient bones as
she slammed the rattling frame of steel to the lino again and again, her grey
head bobbing up and down on her withered neck like a nodding dashboard dog. But
no matter how much she crashed and banged and spluttered, she could not be
heard above her village compatriots, who were determined to get their points
across despite the fact no one was listening to anyone.
It didn’t take long for Thelonious to determine that something
was definitely up—and the headline shouting at him from the front page of the Walsham Courier pretty much confirmed
it. He pulled a copy out from the news rack and waddled over to the side of the
counter, stretching upward on his short legs to hold out some coins to the
sour-faced shopkeeper, who abruptly ceased her refereeing to gawp at him. Not
that this was unusual—Thelonious got gawped at a lot, especially by people
who’d never encountered his sort before. You would think she’d be a bit more
discreet when it came to paying customers, he grumbled inwardly, biting back
the urge to tell her to get a new front door fitted. The one she had weighed as
much as a London bus. His right shoulder was beginning to ache something awful
from the impact of it against the glass when he’d pushed it open. He hoped the
B&B his publisher’s UK office had booked him into had a bathtub and decent
hot water system so he could have a long soak later, because he didn’t fancy
looking elsewhere for accommodation, especially at the beginning of the summer
tourist season. For him to be able to work, he needed a home base, a sense of
order. Chaos was not Thelonious’ style.
With newspaper in hand, he made his way out of the
newsagent’s, only to pause outside to examine the cards and notices that had
been placed in the shop window (which apparently cost each poster the princely
sum of five pounds a week to display). He was curious as to what kinds of items
and services people put on offer in these Norfolk villages and expected to see
advertisements of either an agrarian nature or for church jumble sales. Not
surprisingly, they were positioned too high up for him to read properly, but he
did manage to make out a card for an electrician slash handyman as well as a
flyer for a beekeeping school before his neck threatened to join his shoulder
Thelonious trundled back to where he’d left the Mini,
climbed up onto the driver’s seat with the usual fanfare and aggro, then set
off down the little high street with its requisite tea shop/café, gift shop,
post office (closed due to government cutbacks), and pub, which went by the
rather portentous name The Drowned Duck. Within moments he’d reached the Norman
church that marked the end of the village high street. It was also the turnoff
for Baxter House Bed and Breakfast. Home
Thank you Mitzi for sharing an excerpt of Normal for Norfolk. A story I am looking forward to reading. Discover more about Mitzi at www.mitziszereto.com - you'll like what you discover.
Next week The South Branch Scribbler will feature guest author Bobby Nash of Georgia USA