Age Group: Adult
Release Date: December 3, 2012
In a world ruled by committees of wizards, and packed with every creature imagined, or un, at least in the sleazy back streets of Central City you can always count on Randolf C. Aloysius to solve your problems, for a price. That is, assuming his trusty girl Friday, (a Banshee actually, name of Bertha Wildwater) can track him down and steer him on to the case. Randy is a sucker for a pair of long legs, and that is what the Elf displayed when she came into the office, in need of assistance to locate a missing boyfriend. Sounds like a simple case, right?
Of course, nothing is ever simple in Randy's life, what with avoiding commitments to his long-suffering lady friend, an attempted murder, an actual murder, stolen baubles, and another damsel in distress, what's a private eye supposed to do?
Simple really, follow the clues off-world, avoid demons, vampires and other assorted miscreants, and hope that he comes home with enough coin left over to meet Bertha's back wages.
I don’t like Elves, never have. I sat tilting back in my chair counting the stains on the ceiling when she walked through the open door of my inner office unannounced . Unannounced because I’d just given Bertha the afternoon off to visit her sick brother. Bertha’s half Banshee, thin as a lamppost with long straight dark hair and big brown eyes. She’s always got a relative down with the Black Death or some obscure curse; I think she has twelve brothers, but I digress.
The Elf arrived in my office wrapped in a full-length gold lame coat with a large hood covering her head and hiding most of her features, but I could tell she was pure Elf. Those yellow eyes are a dead giveaway even if you can’t spot the pointed ears. I’m a student of nature, have to be; the breed often determines character, or motive, or veracity. In my business you have to stay two jumps ahead or you’re squashed like a scarab. I’m a Mongrel myself. You can never tell about Mongrels, and there are more of us around now ever since the Goldilocks affair. Now there was a real witch, not the kind with just a warty nose, but she married that Wolf back in the days before they gave femmes the vote. Then they went overboard and made it all legal in the Intermarriage Act of 1812, and everything has tumbled Jack over Jill downhill ever since.
The Elf glanced about the room nervously, then in a single fluid motion crossed her long legs and slid into the battered chair opposite me like maple syrup poured from a mason jar. I sighed deep inside, rocked forward to rest my elbows on the scratched oak desk, painted a smile across my ugly mug and waited. I had all day; it had been two weeks since my last case. She fidgeted for a minute and I matched her, stare for stare, until my eyeballs screamed for mercy. The Elf had the kind of face you see perched high on a mantelpiece, thin bone china, pale, delicate, and carved by a master.
A reader of genre fiction since a very early age, got down to serious attempts at writing over thirty years ago, although employment kept getting in the way.
I did write a considerable amount of non-fiction during my business career, enough to be listed as a professional writer by the Canadian Authors Association.
Hobbies include trying to keep on the good side of my wife, keeping track of my children and grandchildren, and wrestling the blasted cat off of the keyboard. In my diminishing spare time I sail on Lake Winnipeg and try not to get lost.
My writing history includes:
Winning first prize in a National Canadian Authors short story contest (a romantic ghost story) and having that published in an anthology, and having a modern vampire tale published in an anthology that seems to be doing quite well.
A current member of three writing organizations, for several years I was in charge of the judging for a national Canadian history book contest, and chaired a writer’s workshop in Winnipeg that self-published an anthology, including three of my pieces: a sci fi piece, an attempt at an epic poem, and a true tale of how I almost drowned my brother and his wife in a storm the first year I owned a sailboat.
I currently review science fiction and fantasy genre novels and anthologies for an on-line magazine aimed primarily at school libraries. I’m losing track, but I have done somewhere over 60 reviews so far.
In 20I0 co-authored a non fiction history: “The Rotary Club of Winnipeg-100 Years of Service”.
Through BURST Books, writing as R.J.Hore, I have a medieval fantasy tale of murder and intrigue entitled “The Dark Lady” that came out in February 2012 and a fantasy detective story scheduled for December 2012 called “Housetrap”. Housetrap is designed as the first in a series of novellas; I have three others in the set already completed, but not scheduled, as of this date: “Dial M for Mudder,” “The House on Hollow Hill,” and “Hounds of Basalt Ville.” Already scheduled for publication, I have a novella “Knight’s Bridge” another medieval tale arriving in March 2013, and a full length novel, again a medieval fantasy, working title “Pawn, Queen, Checkmate,” coming out in April 2013.
And of course, I also have a large stack of completed manuscripts in various stages ranging from a “What If” — the North Americans discovered Europe first, set in 1215AD – to a contemporary bickering married couple swept away to an alterative universe, or a futuristic tale of a lady archeologist set in outer space.