“The Singular Affair of the Assassin’s Knife” A New Episode of The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

I am going through an old radio kick. A few weeks ago, I wrote an episode of the Jack Benny Program as if it was still on the air today (you can check it out here); now I am doing probably my favorite old-time radio show, The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. (I wrote about my love of the show here and here). Honestly, I’m really happy with how both of these little creative “time capsules” turned out.

It is Monday night on the Mutual Broadcasting System, time for…

The Singular Affair of the Assassin’s Knife

OPENING CREDITS

HARRY BARTELL: Petri Wine Brings you…

MUSIC: Dramatic organ sound!

BARTELL: (Quickly) Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce in The New Adventures of Sherlock Holmes.

MUSIC: Organ plays the theme

ACT ONE

BARTELL: Now, let’s visit the good friend of Sherlock Holmes, our own beloved Doctor Watson in his California cottage. Dr. Watson? Hello? Are you in?

WATSON: Oh, come in my boy. Why Mr. Bartell it has been quite a long time since you have visited my home. It is lovely to see you.

BARTELL: It’s good to see you too. How are the puppies?

WATSON:  When you are a man of a certain age, like myself, you need to think of your health. I’ve been doing what the young people are calling “counting their steps.” I decided to take the puppies with me today on one of my longer walks. While I feel great, the puppies are right now fast asleep on my bed.

BARTELL: (Light laugh), Well, I hope you still have the energy to share an adventure of Sherlock Holmes with us tonight. We’ve been waiting for quite a long time for this.

WATSON: Of course, and I am very ready for you. Sit down and make yourself comfortable. That’s it. I named this adventure “The Singular Affair of the Assassin’s Knife” and there are few tales I know that were more dangerous for Holmes and myself.

BARTELL: Assassin’s knife? I would say get to the point, but I wouldn’t recommend that with a knife like that. It certainly sounds exciting.

WATSON: Our story begins in the summer of 1881. It was an unpleasant time to be in London with a heatwave that seemed to be never ending. Most of London, those who could not escape for the coasts or countryside, were hiding in their homes; and it was rare you saw a soul on the streets when the sun was still blazing. I was married at the time and living away from Baker Street and very busy in my medical practice which was starting to actually draw some much-needed financial attention. I was only occasionally seeing my friend, the great detective, but I did take part in his adventure of the Red-Headed League.

BARTELL: I remember that one. That was the mystery with the secret tunnel into the bank vault and you and Sherlock Holmes captured the culprit right at the scene of the crime.

WATSON: Yes, Mr. Bartell, that crime was orchestrated by the wicked Professor Moriarty. Before that escapade, it could be said that Sherlock Holmes was merely a nuisance to Moriarty, but with the loss of that fortune, Moriarty finally saw Holmes for the arch-nemesis he was. He had his focus now set on my good friend, but I did not know any of this at the time. My part in this adventure began when Inspector Lestrade from Scotland Yard appeared at my Doctor’s office. Continue reading

Advertisements

“Jack Tries to Buy an Electric Car!” A new episode of the Jack Benny Program

Have you ever had a day when you just wanted to write an episode of the Jack Benny Program, as if the radio show was still on the air? (Or is that just me?) What would they be talking about today? Enjoy!

“Jack Tries to Buy an Electric Car”

OPENING CREDITS

MUSIC: Fast-paced “Yankee Doodle Dandy”

DON WILSON: (Quickly) It’s the Jack Benny Program! Starring Mary Livingston, Phil Harris, Dennis Day, and yours truly, Don Wilson.

SOUND: Audience applauds.

MUSIC: Fades out.

ACT ONE

SOUND: Nature, quiet Sunday. Birds chirping. Cars quiet in the distance.

DON: Quiet Sunday afternoons can make any man contemplative, even Jack Benny. Today we find our esteemed host walking through his neighborhood deep in thought.

JACK BENNY: (Thoughtful) Well, this neighborhood certainly has changed over the years… Neighbors have come and gone. Some have died, some have moved. I only sued a few of them…

SOUND: Laughter

JACK: Fifties… Sixties… I was here for the Beatles. Now two of them are deceased and the other two are in their 70s. (Pause) I’m still 39.

SOUND: Laughter

JACK: Don’t know how I do it. Yet, even at this age, I still see the tripping of time… Maturity that is what you get with the days. You can’t be young and foolish forever.

DENNIS DAY: Excuse me, Mr. Benny have you seen my little red wagon?

SOUND: Audience cheers and laughs

JACK: Dennis!

SOUND: Laughter

JACK: (Holding back his own laughter) What did you say, Dennis?

DENNIS: My little red wagon. Yes, my little red wagon. (sing-song style) Oh where, oh where can it be?

SOUND: Laugh

JACK: Dennis, I have known you for so many years, how are you still so incredibly ridiculous?

DENNIS: A daily regimen of pushups, vitamins, hijinks and tomfoolery.

SOUND: Laughter

JACK: Dennis, have you noticed how much the world has changed? How the world has begun to embrace multiculturalism, and different voices and talents seem to rise every day. Oh, some fight against the changes, but they can’t stop the tide of change. They will lose in the end, you can’t stop positive change. It is definitely not the privileged world we knew back when our radio show first aired.

DENNIS: (Frustrated) Have you seen my red wagon or not?

SOUND: Laughter Continue reading

Just got my copy! #HappyAuthor #JaneAustenIsBack

Did you get your copy yet?

A Jane Austen Daydream is Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Book Tour, Day 2: “Highly Recommended” Book Review and Spotlight

Hi everyone and welcome to day 2 of the book tour for the fifth anniversary edition of A Jane Austen Daydream. There are two different sites to check out today!

First, A Jane Austen Daydream was reviewed by Kate Braithwaite, author of The Road to Newgate. Here is my favorite paragraph from her fun review:

Serious bravery is required to take on Jane Austen and mess with her in fiction. Janeites know their stuff. Even non-Janeites (like me) know quite a bit. I’ve read all the books. Some of them several times. And I’ve a sketchy knowledge about Jane Austen’s life, at least in terms of her death and love life. But I’m confident that fans of Austen who open this book in the right spirit – ready to be entertained and enjoy a Jane that might not quite match up to their own preconceptions – will thoroughly enjoy their trip to a well-written, witty Regency England, full of references to those six wonderful books. Highly recommended.

You can read the rest of her review here.

Also, A Jane Austen Daydream is being spotlighted on Before the Second Sleep. In the spotlight, I write a bit about my writing process on this novel. Here is an excerpt:

…I needed to write a book that felt like an Austen novel, but at the same time, new. Two, I needed to tell a story in the voice of Austen, but yet, I wanted it to be a “friendly” voice for the casual reader. So, everything had to be a recognizable (plot and characters) … and surprising and different and witty and charming and emotional and passionate and unpredictable. Whew!

You can read more from me and discover more about the book here.

A Jane Austen Daydream is Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

 

 

Book Tour, Day 1: Book Spotlight on The Writing Desk

Today begins the Book Tour for the fifth anniversary edition of A Jane Austen Daydream!

Tony Riches is a historical fiction author and oversees The Writing Desk. (You should check out some of his writing!)

On the site he shares some information on my novel and I share some of my thoughts on how A Jane Austen Daydream is not your typical historical fiction novel. A lot of sharing going around. Here is an excerpt from my talk:

It is not a normal historical fiction, it could almost be considered experimental literary fiction because of some of the twists I put in it (which I won’t discuss here, more fun to discover them for yourself). This is my daydream for Jane. It is her, living in one of her tales (a new one, with new surprises).

You can read the rest of the discussion, as well as learn about my novel and this edition, at The Writing Desk here. I hope you will check it out!

A Jane Austen Daydream is Available on Amazon UK and Amazon US

Cassandra on the Island: Xeranthemums

The following is the last section of my novel Cassandra on the Island. You can read the previous sections here. Thank you for reading my novel.

xeranthemums

On the Street

“To continue with my drama,” Alisha sighed. “There I was soaking wet and humiliated with Vicki staring down at me. The client is furious and all I can think is…”

“Hush,” Cassandra whispered. It was not a typical whisper. It was the type of whisper used in churches and on sacred events.

Alisha didn’t take the hint; well, not right at first. “What? Did I already tell you this story?”

Cassandra pulled her car over to the side of the road. It was not as easy a maneuver as you might think for Cassandra. She had not driven in years and she was not the best driver to begin with. To add to the difficulty, this was her first time driving the vehicle. As per her instructions to the dealer, it was waiting for her in the parking lot of the airport. Just like any normal person’s car. That simple and minor point was a big deal for Cassandra. Normalcy was a goal to work for.

Cassandra turned in her seat to look at Alisha.

“What is it?” Alisha asked.

“Hush,” Cassandra said again. She slowly placed her finger to her lips to emphasize the point. “My house is on this street.”

This news excited Alisha and her attention was quickly turned to the street in front of her and the series of cottages. “Which one is it? Is that it, there?” For some reason, she thought for sure there was a sign in front of it or some kind of other man-made symbol to emphasize, ‘Here is the spot. This spot with the X.’

“Hush,” Cassandra whispered again.

“I barely said anything,” Alisha was annoyed. “You’re shushing me again? All I said was which was is it and is it there or something like that and I get scolded like a child.”

“Please, please,” Cassandra said with a brief smile. This was the first, the first in a series of events and dreams that had kept her alive while in Amsterdam. “Just give me this moment in silence. This one moment.”

Alisha nodded.

Cassandra replied with her own nod of thanks and returned her car to the driving lane…and slowly… and quietly they drove down the road to Cassandra’s house.

Alisha rolled down her window and the seagulls could be heard over the ocean. They were close to it and the waves could even be heard from time to time (if they were large enough). For Cassandra, it was hard to concentrate on the road. Continue reading

Everything comes to an end. The novel Cassandra on the Island ends this Friday!

This Friday I will be sharing the final section of my novel Cassandra on the Island.

For those that have been following this journey, I want to say thank you. I am proud of the book and it is a wonderful feeling to finally have readers discovering this novel.

For those only now discovering the book, you can still catch up. You can find the previous sections on the site here. Here is how I introduce the tale on the page:

Cassandra on the Island is the story of second, third and fourth chances. These are the experiences that resonate for Cassandra, a young retiree from a dangerous past hoping to escape her memories and spend her remaining time reading books in a gazebo by the beach. Royal Carlton Island and its eccentric inhabitants though have other plans for her. A boat race, pirate treasure, glowing grave, recluse billionaire, fake vampire, and an opera-singing child are waiting…

Surprising, witty, romantic and unique, Cassandra on the Island is filled with the important days for Cassandra, and together each piece is one part of the picture that makes up her life.

If you enjoy the writing, please share.  Likes and sharing help writers (and their stories) grow. I would love to see this in print sometime in the future. I plan to have it up on the site for a little while, but it won’t be forever.

Thank you for visiting the island and I hope you enjoy the ending this Friday!

 

Cassandra on the Island: Wisterias

The following is the second to last section of my novel Cassandra on the Island. You can read the previous sections here.

Wisterias

Lesson #1 – Find Beauty in the Smallest Things

Cassandra loved her granddaughter’s smile. Granted, if put under the gun, she would praise all of her grandchildren’s smiles, but there was something about young Toni Lyn’s smile that Cassandra found comfort in.

So when Toni Lyn called to ask if she could spend the summer with her on the Island, Cassandra immediately said yes. Toni Lyn’s parents however were less than amused with the idea when they found out. They feared that Cassandra would be a bad influence on their eighteen-year-old daughter’s perspective of the world. It wasn’t because of Cassandra’s past (they never truly knew about her time in Europe. Even for Cassandra most of it had slipped from memory and would only return as dark images in nightmares that left her strangely humming Mozart songs), but what Cassandra had become.

Cassandra had become a rascally old woman.

Cassandra loved to give her opinion about everything under the sun. Her opinions were always unique (and most of the time too unique). It was amazing to her children the change that occurred. It was almost as if Cassandra found a switch or a button that changed everything. Spending time with their mother soon became a chore of having to smile and nod to many strange and unique points.

Peter (the father of Toni Lyn) claimed the change in her personality arrived after her husband’s death. That was not the case. She was like this for at least three years before the good Reverend disappeared from her side. Living with her during that time could sometimes be uncomfortable for him. Where he seemed to fall back on his conservative upbringing and beliefs (and his questions pushed back into the shadows), she went to the other extreme.

By the “Summer of Poetry,” it had been four years since Jonathan’s death and Cassandra felt more alone each day. Her life seemed to follow a simple pattern. Continue reading

Cassandra on the Island: Clovers

The following is the seventh section of my novel Cassandra on the Island. You can read the previous sections here.

Clovers

Cassandra pretended to like fishing for Jonathan’s sake. She pretended to like getting up early (“At the crack of dawn, family! That is five AM!”) She pretended to like touching worms and baiting them and waiting. She pretended to like waiting a lot.

“Can’t we go home yet?” Lucy whined.

God, Cassandra thought, why can’t I be more straightforward like Lucy?

“No, honey,” the Reverend sighed. “You’ve got to give it some time. You’ll catch something sooner or later, I promise. I’m actually sure of it. Peter and I dug up these worms late last night. Right Peter?”

Peter didn’t answer. It was obvious to Cassandra Peter didn’t want to relive that memory. Peter turned away from his dad, then looked down at his line, and then back out to the ocean.

Well, he’s a little bit more like me, Cassandra thought, Now where the heck did Lucy’s personality come from?

Lucy sighed again loudly. The Reverend didn’t notice the sigh (he was too busy whistling), but Cassandra knew exactly what the sigh meant. Cassandra leaned forward and tapped her daughter on the knee. They made eye contact. Cassandra smiled. It was her patented, ‘Get through this and I’ll get you some ice cream later’ smile. Lucy and Cassandra had this quiet exchange of knowledge down to a science. That was mostly thanks to all the stuff the boys made them sit through (from Peter’s little league baseball games to events at Jonathan’s church). This was just another one of those moments…. Just a great, great deal longer.

Cassandra looked out and away towards the ocean. It was almost seven and the sky had an eerie color to it. And the air… The air felt too calm… She shrugged it off. I’m just not used to being up and on the ocean this early in the morning, she told herself, it’s probably always like this. Over a thousand mornings she let slip by without even considering to rise and watch. She promised herself that when she was old and the children were grown, she would study the dawn more. The colors were beautiful.

Jonathan noticed her gaze and turned to the clouds. “That is odd.” Continue reading

Cassandra on the Island: Eglantines

The following is the sixth section of my novel Cassandra on the Island. You can read the previous sections here.

Eglantines

This was not a day Cassandra was looking forward to. Peter and Lucy had been gone for two weeks and, in her opinion, it was time she got up and did something. Doing this was at least something. God knows, it had to be done.

“Are you sure you don’t want my help,” Alisha asked earlier that morning on the phone. “The dust up there and your allergies.”

“I’ll be fine,” Cassandra said. “I don’t need the help.” What she couldn’t say was how much she wanted to have this moment alone, even though she wasn’t looking forward to the experience. “And you have Duke, Jr. to take care of.”

Alisha knew Cassandra was just making excuses now. Having a two-year-old following them never bothered them before. “Duke, Jr. #3 is not a problem. And Duke, Jr. #1 and #2 won’t be back from school until three, so I do have time if you need me.”

Cassandra had to fight back from letting out a laugh. Duke, Jr. #1 was almost 9 and the names still made her laugh. Granted, Alisha was almost ten years younger than Cassandra, but that fact still did not explain some of the odd things she did. “Alisha, you know you can still change their names if you want to.”

“Why would I want to do that?”Alisha had lost count how times Cassandra had brought up this issue. Yes, it was unique to name all your children Duke, Jr., but Duke liked it and Alisha liked being unique. Of course, whenever Cassandra brought up this debate it was usually her way of saying “give me some space” in the nicest way possible. “Fine, I get the hint,” Alisha said.

“Don’t take it personally, Alisha,” Cassandra said softly. “I want this moment alone. Jonathan is at work. It’s the first time both my children have been gone.” Children? Was it even fair to still call them children? Lucy was 17, almost 18, and Peter was 22… 22? That idea was still hard for her to grasp. A senior in college and it felt just like yesterday when she last played hide-and-seek with him in the yard. Continue reading