Monday, July 21, 2014

Prissy Elrod, Far Outside the Ordinary

AUTHOR: Prissy Elrod
BOOK TITLE: Far Outside the Ordinary
GENRE: Memoir
PUBLISHER: Leather Leaf Publishing

Please tell us about yourself.

Well, I’ve been told I’m a cross between Betsy Johnson and Pippy Longstocking. Just an artsy, outgoing southerner, who pretty much says what she thinks and likes just about everybody.

I’ve been asked over and over, "Is Prissy really your name?" Yep, officially, though not legally. It’s all I remember ever being called. Daddy thought I would have a hard time spelling Priscilla, and shortened it to Prissy when I was only six hours old. An artist at heart, I eat organic food and own an excessive amount of skin care products. Anthropology, Starbucks and Whole Foods are all you really need in life. That and my wonderful husband and treasured family all living within four miles of me in beautiful Tallahassee, Florida.

To get this story down on paper was an exercise in courage. It took four years to write, three computers, two espresso machines, 48 how-to writing books, a Florida State University memoir-writing class, 24 blog subscriptions, a half-dozen periodical journals, 14 revised drafts. I didn’t let anybody read it for the first three years. Finally, I sent the manuscript to a Pushcart Prize–winning writer in Texas, and hired him to read it and tell me if it was any good.

Please tell us your latest news.

Far Outside the Ordinary sprouted after seeding for a long time in my head then surfaced at a very slow pace. It was a four-year process and the book launched April 16, 2014. My venues have been small independent bookstores, where I have, or am, scheduled for book signings.  There are nine retail boutique stores also carrying my books. This past week Far Outside the Ordinary was chosen for book clubs in Florida, Georgia and Alabama. Since the book was released seven weeks ago it has 55 five-star reviews on Amazon. I really had no idea my book would be inspirational, and to such a diversified group. It is both wonderful and humbling.

When and why did you begin writing?

When I first decided to write the memoir, I had no idea where or how to begin. Having no real writing experience, or training, I knew I needed to learn the craft of writing. And so I did. It was my birthday; I went out and bought myself a few presents: On Writing by Stephen King; Bird by Bird: Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamott; The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion; You’ve Got a Book in You by Elizabeth Simms and The 90-Day Novel by Alan Watt. I’m still laughing about the last one. My 90 days was so not. I began this self-taught learning on that birthday. There would be 48 books by the end of four years, each of them read more than once, with yellow highlights and dog-ears on each book; they were dressed-up like matching siblings. I had a yearning to tell my story, but only if I could tell it right. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. I spit that out to my daughters all the time when they were growing up.

What inspired you to write your first book?

I was inspired to write it for others really. I knew what I had gone through and how it changed me. And I believe for the better. There are so many kinds of love, so many ways to love, and such a diversified population of people to love. As we all know, a heart can stop beating but with medical help it starts beating again. The same is true of a broken heat. It doesn’t matter the circumstances, a heart doesn’t know the difference between a death, a desertion, loss of a husband or a pet. It is still broken. Sometimes faith, hope and second chances can heal a broken heart. I wanted to share my story for those starved of hope and give them my story of happily-ever-after. I wanted to introduce my charming caregivers to readers and try and give them a front row seat to witness the love, devotion, and tender care bestowed on us through those dark months. It was a lesson in paying it forward. With my loss I also gained.

Did you learn anything from writing your book, and what was it?

Gosh, I learned so much. First, you can never give up on a dream. If you work hard, and then a little harder than hard, you can get there. I am living proof. I am an artist, who majored in speech pathology and not creative writing. I knew nothing about dangling modifiers. I still don’t, but my editor did. Yet here I am, calling myself an author, with a published book, that is SELLING! I still can’t believe it. I am beyond grateful…..and just a bit, well, okay, a big bit, proud of myself.

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.?

Tell me a little about your book.

It is a universal story of love and loss, faith and hope and a different kind of happily-ever-after. One reviewer’s description: “Steel Magnolias meets The Help with some Blind Side.” That sounds pretty good to me,

What gave you the idea for this particular book?

The idea came from the truth and knowing it should be told.

What do you hope readers will take away from your book?

There are many roads with difficult choices. Everyone is different and sometimes there are no right answers, only choices, they aren’t answers at all. Does that make sense?

What is the toughest part about being a non-fiction writer, and how do you get past it?

Bearing your soul for anyone, no everyone, to judge you. Words that form stories are based on interpretation. There are those who will judge you for the worst, no matter. Sadly, I have learned there are actually people who look for the fault in others. They are in the minority though, I really believe that!

What about your book makes it special?

Well, it has resonated with a diversified group of people. Realizing that 85% of readers are women, I have received almost as many glowing reviews from men, young and old. That really surprised me, though it shouldn’t have. It is about a man who has it all and then he doesn’t. A 35 year-old-executive sent me an email. He wrote, “Although it is not typically the type of book most “guys” would read, I can tell you that I will recommend it to every one of my buddies. Life is such a precious gift and we often times forget how it can all change so quickly. As husbands we sometimes forget to take time to appreciate how lucky we are to have such amazing wives and beautiful children.” Wow! What can I say after that review?

Where can people learn more about this topic if they want to pursue it further?

There is an organization for young widows who have lost their husband to cancer.

Fresh New Start is a non-profit organization that provides encouragement and support to young women who have lost their husbands to cancer. I co-launched Far Outside the Ordinary with Fresh New Start at a Book Release party on April 16, 2014 and gifted a portion of my sales that night to Fresh New Start. I also dedicated the last page of my book to this organization to support their cause. You can learn more about it from

What seven words would you use to describe yourself?

Happy, Pollyanna, quirky, romantic, generous, empathetic and kind.

Describe your writing space.

Since I am also an artist, the space is really colorful.  Functional – probably not! The inventory of paints, brushes, and canvases have spilled into my writing territory. Yikes!  Now that I have looked around to describe this space, it is really bothering me. I am going to work on that later.

About Far Outside the Ordinary:

If anybody had told Prissy, a conservative Southern housewife, she would one day be driving around town with a stoned, drunk black man named Willie in her backseat while she begged - no, ordered -him into her house for the night, she would have told them they were nuts. But it happened.

An emotionally honest account, Far Outside the Ordinary chronicles the period in Prissy's life when, during a routine physical, her fifty-year-old husband is given less than a year to live. Never one to take no for an answer, Prissy is determined to save Boone, her beloved husband and the father of their two daughters. She exhausts Western and Eastern lifesaving treatments, from medicine men to an FDA-indicted doctor. Despite all her efforts, Boone's health deteriorates.

Prissy calls in help: black caregivers move into her home in Tallahassee, Florida, and work around the clock to aid her family. Soon, Prissy finds herself a spectator in her own home, observing events far outside the boundaries of her once ordinary life. This is a story of people from different cultures and how love and respect for each other's differences grew from the work of supporting a man at the end of his life.

Far Outside the Ordinary is also a story of happily ever after, a fairy tale, and how a second chance at love can come disguised and when least expected. When her high school boyfriend reappears in her life, Prissy learns love has no expiration date.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Estela Bernal, Can You See ME Now?, plus #giveaway to #teachers and #librarians

AUTHOR:  Estela Bernal
BOOK TITLE: Can You See ME Now?
GENRE:  Contemporary Middle Grade/Fiction
úblico Press

Because I feel strongly about reaching out to diverse populations, I would like to offer a copy of Can You See ME Now? to a teacher or librarian in a community with a large ethnic minority population who responds with the best comment/description of his/her patrons or students and why they would benefit from reading this book.  Please post your comments on this site.  I’ll contact the “winner” and post the comments here and on my website. 

Please tell us about yourself.

I’m a native Texan who, through the military, ended up in California’s high desert.  After living and working in California for many years, I moved to Oregon where I now live and write.  I’m a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), SCBWI-OR, Willamette Writers, and the Rose City Writers.

Please tell us your latest news.

My latest and most exciting news is that my debut novel (Can You See ME Now?) was just released by the University of Houston’s Arte Público Press.  I received my complimentary copies a week later and it was a thrill to finally hold the actual book in my hands.

When and why did you begin writing?

About twenty years ago I attended a concert in Davis, California where a fellow Texan, Tish Hinojosa, played Tejano music, sang traditional Mexican songs, and performed some of her own compositions.  After the concert, I began thinking about how to best express my own creativity.  Until then, I’d never considered writing creatively. 

Since I grew up without books and didn’t learn English until I started first grade, I fell in love with books as soon as I learned to read.  I’ve been trying to make up for lost time ever since, reading everything from picture books to young adult and regular adult fiction and nonfiction. 

It didn’t take long to notice that books written by “authors of color” were pretty rare.  I read those I could find and decided to not only write for a multicultural audience, but to use the author’s proceeds from my writing for two of my favorite causes:  education and animal welfare.

What inspired you to write your first book?

Although Can You See ME Now? is my first published book, it is not the first novel I wrote.  Although a version of that first manuscript won second place in UC Irvine’s Chicano/Latino Literary Prize, it has gone through many revisions and title changes and is still evolving.  I’m currently working on what I hope is the final draft of that particular YA story.

When I go to authors’ readings, I notice that one of the most common questions is “Where did you get the idea for this book?”  I don’t know about other writers, but for me it’s very hard to pinpoint a specific source of an idea.  One of my nephews died accidentally a few years ago.  The accident happened in front of his wife and children and I began to wonder how such a tragic event would affect the family who witnessed it.  Perhaps that was the inspiration for Mandy Silva’s story, although other than the father’s death, there are no similarities between the real story and the fictional one.

Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?

My publisher is the University of Houston’s Arte Público Press.  I first learned about them when I won second place in the above-mentioned contest as they were the press that published the winning novel.   Founded in the late 1970s by Dr. Nicolás Kanellos, a professor of Hispanic literature at the university, they began publishing Hispanic writers like Sandra Cisneros and playwright/filmmaker Luis Váldez along with many others.  In 1994 they added their imprint Piñata Press which is dedicated to the publication of children’s literature.  They continue working to expand their mission through programs such as The Latino Children’s Wellness Program that enables them to distribute books to low-income children in urban and rural areas.

A couple of years ago at a Wordstock event I sat in on a panel discussion by authors whose work had been published by small presses and I decided to submit my own work to Arte which publishes 30 titles each year.  One advantage of working with a small press is that they allowed me to express my ideas on the cover design.  As a result, I was able to work with Gigi Little, a very talented local cover designer.  The model on the cover is a niece of mine who is the same age as the point-of-view character in Can You See ME Now?

What are your current projects?

I have completed a middle-grade novel in which the severely-disabled protagonist, influenced by his adventure-loving grandmother, refuses to let a broken body limit his own adventures.  Through his vivid imagination he’s able to leave behind his disabilities and travel to unique and exciting destinations no one else has ever seen.

In addition to the manuscript I mentioned earlier, I’m also working on a historical fiction YA novel.

How can we find you? 

I may be found at and my Twitter handle is @estelabernal123.  I will be announcing scheduled reading events on my website, Facebook page, and through local media and online publications/blogs.

Tell us about the current book you’re promoting.

Can You See ME Now? was released May 31, 2014 and launched at the Powell’s at Cedar Hills Crossing in Beaverton on June 30th.  Since Kirkus Reviews did such a great job of summarizing it, I’ll use their summary to describe it:

Tragedy strikes on Mandy’s 13th birthday when her father is struck by a drunk driver and killed.  Now grief—both her own and her mother’s—complicates the already confusing landscape of early adolescence. 

With her mother working more and more hours in the wake of her father’s death, Mandy begins spending most of her time living with her grandmother.  Often the target of bullies, loner Mandy approaches Paloma to be her partner for a school project.  Paloma is also a misfit, but she carries herself with a self-assured grace that Mandy finds compelling.  As she becomes closer to Paloma, she learns about the practices of yoga and meditation, which are foundational in Paloma’s family.  An overweight boy in class, Rogelio, is also touched by tragedy when his family’s home burns down and Paloma invites him to join their yoga crew.  As the three continue practicing together, they each begin to cultivate their own peace amid the chaos in their lives.  Though each faces personal challenges, they find friendship and support in one another.  Bernal has succeeded in crafting a story that acknowledges tragedy without wallowing in it, placing her emphasis on resilience and personal growth.  The quick pace and distinctive characters make for a smooth, well-crafted read.

What influences your writing?

I’m influenced by current events that affect kids at the age level that I write for.  I’ve always had a very soft spot in my heart for the “underdog” and tend to gravitate toward characters who face long uphill challenges in their lives.  I also think about the kind of stories I would have liked to read when I was a child and try to develop characters that kids of all backgrounds can relate to.

Also, when I won that second-place prize in the UC Irvine contest, I was approached by a couple of young women (students) who told me how much they’d enjoyed reading the manuscript.  One of them said, “You have to keep writing.  These are stories that need to be told.”  I was very touched by their sentiments and wish I’d asked for their names so that I could personally thank them these many years later.

Why did you choose to write a children’s book?

As I said earlier, I grew up in a home without books and, unfortunately, this is still the case for many children whose parents are unable to read to them for some reason or other.  I love all books, but I especially love children’s books and hope to write stories that will touch children in such a way that will help them fall in love with reading and learning.

What do you hope your readers will take away from this book?

I hope this book will encourage readers to pause to consider how their words and actions affect others and to reflect on how they would feel if they were on the receiving end of angry words and hurtful actions.  I also hope they understand there are alternatives to violence and that when we’re going through difficult times we should not hesitate to seek help.

Do you have any tips for writers who are new to children’s literature?

I would encourage them to join organizations like SCBWI and Willamette Writers and make use of their many resources, to attend conferences where they can connect with writers, agents and editors in order to learn what is currently happening or is expected to happen in the world of books and the publishing business.  I’d also encourage them to attend events such as book festivals (Wordstock for example).

One very important habit for writers to develop early on is to read, Read, READ.  When I decided to write, I began by reading.  I read as many books as I could from the greatest books and award winners lists and am still making my way through such lists and new releases.  I also read books on craft and refer to some of my favorites whenever I need to. 

What books are you currently reading?

I just finished Read Like a Writer by Francine Prose and am reading some of her suggestions like The Man Who Loved Children by Christina Stead.  I’m making my way through a list of greatest children’s books and reading Pam Muñoz Ryan’s Becoming Naomi León while also reading my latest issue of Glimmer Train.

What books have most influenced your life?

My degrees are in Spanish, so I read a lot of Spanish novels in college.  I love Don Quijote and Cien Años de Soledad.  A Wrinkle in Time, Bridge to Terabithia, To Kill a Mockingbird and The House on Mango Street among others have also impressed me greatly and serve as inspirations and models of great writing.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Madeleine McLaughlin, Beggar Charlie

AUTHOR: Madeleine McLaughlin
BOOK TITLE: Beggar Charlie
GENRE: Tween Adventure
PUBLISHER: MuseItUp Publishing

Please tell us about yourself.

I'm in my fifties, getting older all the time as we all are, but I think I've learned a lot from life and that I'm happier now than I was when I was younger and nothing was settled in my life. I have no pets because I live in an apartment, and it's not big enough for an animal. I have a room mate. I've known him for 35 years. He's the best guy there is. My only work is writing.

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?

At the moment, I'm only a part-time writer. I work a couple of hours a day. I hope someday to work full-time on my writing but at this time, it's not possible. I usually get to writing about one o'clock in the afternoon and work until three. Or until I hit 1000 words.

When and why did you begin writing?

I was in my early thirties when I began to write and the profession seemed attractive to me because it is something I could do at home. I had grown tired of going out every day to a job and dealing with bosses who had their own problems and sometimes took it out on their workers and then there was the time constraints. Having to do your shopping on Saturday because you were busy all the other days. I can shop when I want now and go out any time I feel like  it, and also, I can postpone my work hours if I need to. It's great. Besides, I felt I had something to say.

Do you ever have writer’s block? If so, how do you get through it?

I've never had writer's block per se but I have been stuck. What usually helps is to put everything down for a couple of weeks and do 'free thinking' where you just let ideas roam where they will. Don't direct them or anything. Just let them fly and eventually you will hit on a solution to your troubles. Another way is just to start writing until the ideas gel.

Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?

I'm published by MuseItUp, and I first heard about them on a website called Critique Circle. This is where aspiring writers post their work and others critique it so they can improve. I got on the brag thread and several of the writers on that thread were bragging about how their books were being published by this new site MuseItUp Publishing, so I googled it, and when I read the submission requirements I decided to send in my story which became The Mountain City Bronzes. I was ecstatic when I was accepted. The only jarring point was that my father had died just two months before I got accepted and I would have like him to know that I was going to be published. He always supported my efforts.
What are your current projects?

I'm going back to horror for my next piece. I work on it every day and hope to have it done in a couple of months. My timeline for it isn't set in stone, though, if it takes longer, it takes longer. Right now it's entitled, The Devil's Witches, although that may change.

What do you plan for the future?

I just want to keep writing and hope that I have some success with it. I hope people enjoy my productions because if nobody enjoys it, you're wasting your time.
Tell us about the current book you’re promoting.

Beggar Charlie is inspired by Victorian fiction. The orphan character and the boy's adventure tale. I wanted to try and capture the genre without copying it. I'm happy with my production and hope young people and adults will enjoy the story of Beggar Charlie, Hickory Dick and Tang as they make their way across China.

What is your experience working or being around children or teens?

They're very aware of anyone being a phony and they don't like or respect it. Plus they want to know that you like them before they commit to liking you. As far as work, I've never worked around young people but many youngsters live in my building so I'm somewhat familiar with their likes and dislikes.

 Is this your first published children’s work? What other types of writing have you done?

Beggar Charlie is actually a tween novella, and it is my first for that age group. Well, some have suggested my first book was also a young person's book because the main character is ten, but I saw it as an adult book because of the subject matter. I've also done flash fiction but nothing for youngsters in that type of writing. Adult stories there but not erotica so a mature youngster could read them.

What do you hope your readers will take away from this book?

Since it's a historical fiction, I'm hoping that they would become interested in history of other places and broaden their learning. I find that Canadians, in general, don't know much history. Not like English schoolkids who know a lot.

Did your book require a lot of research? If so, what kind?

I've read about China for a long time so I already had come background, but I did use Victorian travelers reports and the internet to help me. I found some good drawings of Victorian Shanghai with it's wall. Chinese cities were enclosed in a wall back then. So that helps the reader understand we're dealing with a foreign and older place. Not like what you would say when you write about modern China.

What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun?

Good writing, good story. Sometimes the writing is not too good but the story pulls you along. It ruins it when I can predict what's going to happen, I love being surprised. And of course, I like historical writing. I love to read about other times and  how people coped.

What books have most influenced your life?

Wuthering Hearts, This Thing Of Darkness. The one by Harry Thompson, there is another one with the same title. I've recently read an extraordinary book A Curable Romantic by Joseph Skibell. These are all books that have the power to stay with me. I also like adventure books like Shooting The Boh by Tracy Jonson.


Beggar Charlie is an orphan. He is press-ganged onto a naval ship, then sold to a merchant ship where the captain treats him kindly. But he hates the open sea so when they land in China the captain allows 
him to go ashore with another boy, Hickory Dick.

While onshore, a rebellion begins, and the two boys are trapped. They see their ship burned and sink and find they must hatch a plan to survive in a strange land.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Cheryl B. Dale, Losing David, #giveaway, #MondayBlogs

Cheryl is offering a print copy of her book to one commenter (from the United States only), so be sure to leave your contact information if you're interested in winning!

AUTHOR: Cheryl B. Dale
BOOK TITLE: Losing David

Please tell us your latest news. I’ve just put out my vintage mystery, Losing David. This particular story is a favorite of mine, so that probably means no one else will like it. But I’ve worked on it for so long, I’m excited just to get it out there!

What inspired you to write your first book? A neighbor kid noticed how often I went to the library and told me I ought to write a book. Then someone gave me a typewriter and... See how long ago that was?

What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing? I’ve recently started taking bridge lessons, but they aren’t going very well. I’m also battling squirrels in our bird feeder. And we have two cats who are quite demanding. I have to feed them and clean their litter boxes several times a day, take naps with them, brush them out, protect them from birds flying into our sliding patio doors, figure out what they’re meowing about... Very tiring.

What are your thoughts about promotion? Hate it.

What was the toughest criticism given to you? A total rewriting of my words by a critique partner. It was upsetting at the time, and later I realized she was putting her voice into my writing. It did teach me to separate unjustified criticism from helpful criticism. What was the biggest compliment? Editors saying they loved my writing. Did those change how or what you did in your next novel? I think any criticism helps because it spurs you to improve. And compliments always boost your confidence. At least for a while!

Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them? Silhouette, MuseItUp, and Five Star. I’m also self-publishing.

What is your marketing plan? To put more books out there. Hopefully, when readers like one of them, they’ll buy the others.

What do you plan for the future? To still be here and writing!

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.?

Emails are always welcome at

I’m also on Spotify, where I have a playlist for the songs in Losing David.

What genre do you write in and why? Romantic mystery and mystery.

Tell us about the current book you’re promoting.

GENRE: Vintage mystery with romantic elements

Losing David is a vintage mystery with romantic elements, set on the Georgia coast in 1963.

Setting: Even with its inequities, this was still a polite era. Men tipped hats; women wore gloves. Men worked hard and ran communities; women married and raised families. This was the period after World War II when peacetime prosperity was about to give way to turbulent change.

Story: When an elderly attorney asks an actor to impersonate a boy who vanished at sea years before, he says it’s to flush out a killer. He says the boy was heir to a fortune but was murdered by a man now about to inherit everything.

But there's a lot of money at stake and the attorney has been sole trustee of the estate for years. Though suspicious, the actor agrees to act as bait. He never intends to fall for the only woman who can expose him, a woman who soon realizes he’s an imposter.

Now he has to persuade her to keep quiet while he waits for the murderer’s next move. And hope he'll survive to make it up to her.

Do you outline before you write? No. If not, what’s your initial process? I usually see a scene in my head and then I have to figure out what led up to it and what happens afterward.

What comes first: the plot or characters? For me, they’re pretty intertwined. As I said, I see a scene. Then I have to develop the characters to find out why they were in that scene.

What was the process of creating this book from the first idea to the final published book? You don’t want to know!

I wrote it in first person, rewrote it in third person, changed it back to first person, finally ended up doing a complete rewrite in third person when I realized the story needed more than one viewpoint.

It started as a contemporary story set on a north Georgia lake, but a visit to Sapelo Island convinced me it needed to be set in the early sixties on the south Georgia coast. I went through several critique partners and used several editors and readers before getting it close to what I wanted.

How long does it take to write a book, and what is your process? I’m very slow. The fastest book I’ve written has been my two tax mysteries, maybe a year or so on each. I’m trying to figure out the plot in the third one right now.

What are your current books out right now, and what are the books coming up for release?
Romantic suspense:
Treacherous Beauties (updated revision of my first book made into a TV movie)
Set Up
The Man in the Boat

The Warwicks of Slumber Mountain

Taxed to the Max
Overtaxed and Underappreciated
Losing David (Just out; vintage mystery with strong romantic elements)

What advice would you give a new writer starting out? Keep honing your craft. No matter how great a story you have, if the craft isn’t there, no one will want to read it.

Oh, and definitely develop a thick skin! There’s always someone who will criticize your work. Don’t take it personally. Look at the criticism when you’ve cooled off and decide if it’s valid. This goes back to trying to improve your craft. Valid criticism helps a writer progress more than meaningless compliments.

What do you do when you’re not writing? Read, what else? Several books a week. Also, I’m learning to play bridge. My guy and I go for walks on the beach. And I have two cats who demand attention.

What, if anything, bugs you when you read a novel? Misuse of soundalike words like: you’re for your, they’re or their for there, compliment for complement, peak for peek, discrete for discreet, et cetera.

Describe your writing space. A corner facing the wall!


THREE DAYS AFTER THEIR first meeting and the morning after his proposition was accepted, Lawrence ushered a drooping, weak-eyed Nick Downing into his bed-sitter.
Humph. Hung over. “Looks like you were out on the town last night.”
Downing grunted before sitting on the bed and plumping a pillow.
My bed! He’s lying on my bed!
Reprimands were not a good way to start a relationship, but really! A good tongue-lashing might bring the fellow to heel.
No. Not the time. “Watch the shoes. Ahem. I’ve given your story some thought.”
Half-reclining, Downing dragged out his cigar case and lighter.
Lawrence’s chest tightened. The fumes would permeate his pillows and sheets like last time, but perhaps the maid would give him fresh linen again.
“The only way we can convincingly turn Nick Downing into David Harmony is to have the two switch identities right after David’s death. Your own origins are too easily traceable for any other plan to work.”
Nick’s lids closed halfway. “Sensible. I’m a believer in sticking to the truth whenever possible. A firm believer.”
Confound the man. He wouldn’t know the truth if it knocked him down. He was not taking this seriously. “Are you fit enough to do this?”
“I’m fine. Do you have any aspirin?”
“What about whiskey?”
“It’s ten in the morning.”
“That’s the problem. I don’t usually get up till noon. Never mind. I’ll be better directly.”
Lawrence bit back a tart response. “Ahem. Your story. When you got out of the hospital, you flew to Acapulco. What if you met David there?”
“Acapulco. Ah, such fond memories of Acapulco. I made some less-than-honest money working for a few heavies. I delivered their—but you don’t need to know all that, do you?”
Indeed not. He didn’t want to hear about any illegal jobs Nick Downing had undertaken.
“Never mind, Lawrence. I won’t make you an accomplice in crime. Acapulco is the perfect place for me to change identities with David. I met a lot of people there.” Guileless gray eyes opened. “Such a varied lot of people.”
He sucked on his cigar.
Lawrence distrusted the guilelessness.