Surviving Ragnorak in Revolutionary Style

In case you missed it, last Saturday was supposed to be Ragnorak, the Viking apocalypse. You can read about it here. We (being the hubs and I) chose to spend the last day of life as we know it at the launch for Josh Langston’s newest book Treason, Treason! I talked about that last Friday. If you missed it, the post is here. Our trip was way too short, and we didn’t have time to do much. We flew stand-by (a first for me) and arrived in Atlanta late Friday night, having caught the last available plane out of Milwaukee. Saturday morning Josh and Annie took us to Kennesaw Mountain  National Battlefield Park for a short tour. Josh is just a wealth of information and made an excellent tour guide. We’re definitely going to have to spend more time on our next visit. What was that? Did I just hear Josh and Annie packing up and leaving?!!? C’mon, I thought you enjoyed our company?

Anyhow, the launch was a great success, and obviously due to that event we managed to avoid Ragnorak altogether. Amazing, but true. The proof being that we’re still here. I have to say, one of the highlights of the weekend for me was being able to talk writing, in person, to another writer. Seriously. I don’t get that otherwise. It was great, even when Dave started snoring.

Josh and Annie were incredible hosts, and we met a wonderful group of people who exemplified the meaning of southern hospitality–even to a couple of Yankees. At dinner, I received some private tutelage in speaking ‘suthrin’ from my “sister from another mother”, or so the irrepressible Faye proclaimed us to be. Apparently, I didn’t do too badly, mastering several choice expletives, and putting together complete sentences with only occasional corrections. Early Sunday we were back on a plane heading home. Just to be clear, I would have gladly risked the afternoon flight, but the hubs was anxious about not getting home. Um…nearly 60 degrees in GA and a balmy 9 in WI and he was anxious to get home?!!? Go figure.

cake

Now this is the right way to do a launch cake. Yeah, I helped arrange the troops. Okay…I took over and arranged the troops cause I’m just a wee bit of a control freak. But those are some damn nice troops!

JoshAnnie

Best Selling Author Josh Langston and his wonderful wife Annie, all decked out for the launch. A more superb pair of hosts you will not find anywhere.

group

Every general needs a support staff. Pam and Faye were indispensable. Yes, that lady on the far right is the same Faye mentioned above. Yes, I may have tried to get her arrested, but she has a severe problem with frosting so I felt I was within my rights.

signing

The General signing the Declaration of Independ–um…wait…nope, sorry, signing a copy of his awesome book for an adoring fan.

reading

Josh capped off a great night with a reading from TREASON, TREASON! Which I’m sharing with you below (it just happens to be one of my favorite parts of the book). Enjoy!

Treason, Treason! Excerpt by Josh Langston

“Welcome back, Dawkins,” said Sergeant Billings, a ramrod-spined veteran of three decades with the constabulary. Though responsibility for the unit remained with the Superintendent, Billings oversaw day-to-day operations of the precinct offices from which Joel worked. At nearly seven feet tall, the Sergeant towered over everyone and used his great height to intimidate troublemakers–in uniform or out. He nodded toward an interview room. “She’s in there, waiting for you.”
“Anything I should know about her?”
Billings shrugged. “Claims she’s lost a loved one. My guess? ‘E got tired of ‘er and ran for it. But, in her mind, he’s a missing person. That’s still your bailiwick, isn’t it?”
“It pays the bills.” In point of fact, Joel was the missing persons department. Any and all such cases landed on his desk. He had a modest success rate despite the handicap of working alone. A half-dozen Joels could have made real progress. But except for the rare cases involving notables, the upper echelon paid little attention to him or his inquiries. The job paid reasonably well, and his skills had improved dramatically over the years. Special Branch would be hard pressed to find anyone able to match his productivity.
Joel popped a breath freshener in his mouth, chewed, and then opened the door to the interview room.

Based on the Sergeant’s remarks, he expected to find someone shrewish and unpleasant, but the woman who sat waiting for him seemed quite normal in spite of her efforts to control her emotions. Plain, and soft-featured, she could have been a school teacher. Early grades, he thought.
Smiling, he introduced himself and took a seat opposite her at the wooden table in the center of the otherwise empty room. Extracting a pre-printed form from a drawer in the table, he filled in the date and the time. “All right then, let’s start with your name.”
“Sharon Doyle,” she said, her voice shaky and too soft for a classroom.
He coaxed the usual personal information from her and entered it all on the form. With the preliminaries done, he sat back in his chair and gave her what he thought was a reassuring smile. “Now, who’s gone missing?”
“My fiancé,” she said. “William Smithers.” She handed him a wrinkled and slightly faded snapshot then put herself back to work twisting a damp handkerchief into cordage. “I call him Billy, but to everyone else, he’s William.”
Joel glanced at the photo of a paunchy, slightly balding man in his early thirties sporting a wispy Van Dyke. The expression on his face could have been either a smile or a smirk. Joel doubted he’d like the bloke if he ever met him. “How long has he been missing?”
She glanced at her watch. “Almost two hours.”
Joel fought the urge to close his eyes and shake his head. What had Billings been thinking? The 48-hour rule had been in effect since before Joel made it to Special Branch, and that meant a person wasn’t technically “missing” until they’d been gone for at least two full days.
“Miss Doyle,” he said, “I don’t understand why you weren’t informed when you first came in, but we have a policy–”
“My Billy disappeared into thin air,” she wailed.
Of course. Didn’t they all? “I don’t mean to seem rude, Miss Doyle, but we–”
“He was right in front of me,” she said, suddenly blushing. “Well, above me, actually. And then he was just… gone!”
“Above you? Like on another floor in your building?”
“No. I mean directly above me.”
“Where you could see him?”
“Well, yes. Of course. Although I didn’t have my eyes open the whole time.” The distraught woman’s complexion shifted from rose to radish. She lowered her voice to a barely audible whisper. “I believe it’s called the missionary position.”
Joel had spent nearly ten years investigating missing persons and assumed he’d heard just about everything, but this claim left him speechless.
“Please,” she said, “swear to me that detail won’t be included in the official report. If my mother ever saw it, I’d die.”
Joel cleared his throat. “We often find it prudent to hide certain facts we uncover during an investigation. This one certainly fits that category. We needn’t mention anything about it to anyone not directly connected to the case.”
“Thank you.” Miss Doyle’s face gradually shed much of its color.
He shrugged. “Now then, let’s go through this again, shall we? In, uhm, detail.”
The blush returned with a vengeance, and Joel instantly regretted his word choice.
“Forgive me! That’s not– I didn’t mean–”
“I understand you have to do your job, Inspector.” She gamely cleared her throat. “I’m– I’m prepared to provide any details you think will help. But please, you must find Billy. I can’t possibly go on without him.”
“A little clarification, then, if you don’t mind,” Joel said, striving to be tactful. “Is it possible Mr. uh–” he checked the form “–Smithers merely left the room afterwards, say while you were–uhm–recovering from… you know.”
“No. It’s like I told you, he disappeared during our… activities.”
“During?”
“Yes.”
“In the uh–I’m trying to be delicate here–middle?”
“I think the proper term is in flagrante delicto.”
Joel coughed. “You were actually, sort of, that is to say, intertwined?”
“Inter-connected,” she whispered.
He sat back and looked at her with a mixture of shock and admiration. It took a moment to collect his wits before he could continue. “I don’t suppose Mr. Smithers is a magician by trade, is he?”
“Certainly not! He’s a chemist, not some tawdry stage charlatan. And, I might add, a third cousin by marriage to Lord Middlebury.”
“Middlebury, yes, I see. But he actually works, you say. In a laboratory?”
“A pharmacy.”
“Of course. Has he ever done this before? Disappear, I mean.”
She shook her head. “He’s a very cautious, conservative, methodical man. He never does anything unusual. He doesn’t like surprises. He positively thrives on routine.”
“And yet, you’re saying he disappeared.” Joel snapped his fingers. “Just like that?”
“Well, no,” she said. “It wasn’t that sudden. He sort of just… faded away. He had a funny look on his face, but I suppose that could’ve been from–” Another furious blush. “–uh… Well, I think you can imagine.”
“Right,” Joel said. “He just faded away.”
“That’s about the size of it.”
“Into nothing.”
“Yes.”
He squinted at her. “How on Earth could that be possible?”
She blinked at him. “Isn’t it your job to figure that out?”

TT-and-JL

chapflourish

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10 responses

  1. I MUST read this book immediately! [Chuckle]

    You know you’re welcome back *any* time. Except for a tendency to get warm in the summer, Georgia’s got a great deal going for it. We’d love to show y’all some more!

    February 28, 2014 at 6:12 am

  2. Well, I never. What a teaser. Hard not to run right out to read the book because we need to know what happened. Oh my. 😀

    February 28, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    • I suggest you do just that. 🙂

      March 1, 2014 at 8:12 am

      • You can probably sell snow to Eskimos. 😀 😀 😀

        March 1, 2014 at 8:57 am

      • And right now, I have plenty of it to sell!

        March 4, 2014 at 7:14 am

      • Ha ha. Your humor is delicious.

        March 4, 2014 at 10:17 am

  3. Wow. That looks like such an awesome launch party. Definitely one worth flying in for! Glad you got to meet an author friend in person and have such a wonderful weekend. And that Ragnorak didn’t happen.

    March 1, 2014 at 2:30 pm

    • It was incredibly cool. I’m a bit worried about his next book launch…the book is set in the stone age. Can you imagine the costumes for that?!!?

      March 4, 2014 at 7:14 am

  4. Cool, yet another apocalypse survived! 🙂

    March 3, 2014 at 4:14 pm

    • I think it was touch-and-go there for a while. I’m really hoping for the dreaded Zombie Apocalypse so I can trick my truck out and go do some zombie slaying.

      March 4, 2014 at 7:13 am

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