Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Crazy In Paradise

Crazy in Paradise by Deborah Brown Media Kit Virtual Book Tour Dates: 11/20/13 – 12/4/13
Link back to the Tour: http://fireandicebooktours.wordpress.com/2013/10/28/book-tour-crazy-in-paradise-by-deborah-brown-mystery-tour-dates-112013-12413/
Genres: Adventure, Mystery, Humor Blurb:
When Madison Westin, the main character, inherits her aunt's beachfront motel in the Florida Keys, or so she thinks. Tarpon Cove is not your typical sleepy beach town: Seduction, drunks, ex-cons and fugitives are not the usual fare for someone looking to start a new chapter in their life. Wrestling control of the property from both the lawyer and the conniving motel manager will be no easy feat. But Madison likes living on the edge so she feels right at home. Bullets fly, a dead body turns up, a kidnapping and blackmail. Madison really has to learn not to leave home without her Glock or it could get her killed.

Direct Link to the book on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12525767-crazy-in-paradise?ac=1

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Tarpon Cove is an unsophisticated beach town situated at the top of the Keys off the Overseas Highway, which begins just north of Key Largo and ends in Key West. Tropical Slumber Funeral Home is located on the main street that runs through town. In a previous life, the building had obviously been a drive-thru fast food restaurant, the kind where you drove through the center of the building to

place your order for a hot dog and fries. The new owners hadn’t even bothered to take down the concrete picnic tables that were on the side of the building. But they had replaced the old metal umbrellas with tropical thatched-style ones. A red carpet ran from the parking lot to the front door and continued to the door of the hearse parked behind the building.

We’d taken our seats on the rock-hard old church pews. I turned to look at my mother. “People are going to hear you laughing,” I whispered. “What’s wrong with you?”
My mother, Madeline Westin, had aged well; she looked younger than her sixty years, her short blonde hair framing her face. She wore a colorful sundress that showed off her long tanned legs.
She put her head on my shoulder. “I think Elizabeth is staring at me,” she whispered back.

Mother was right about one thing: it did appear as though Elizabeth was staring at everyone. They’d propped her up in the casket, and positioned her to sit straight up. She was dressed in a tent-style dress that was bright yellow and flowery, with a wilted corsage pinned to the front; a dress she never would’ve chosen for herself. Yellow was her least favorite color, and here she was surrounded by all white and yellow daisies and carnations, when she loved bold color and exotic blooms.

I tried to speak to Dickie about the arrangements when I first arrived in town. He told me firmly that he only took instructions from Tucker Davis and he wasn’t allowed to discuss any of the final details. I wondered why the secrecy, but he was so nervous I didn’t ask any more questions. He told me not to worry; he had worked hard to make everything memorable.
I appealed to him, “Don’t family members usually participate in the planning?”
But he was very clear; Tucker Davis’ approval was the most important thing to him.
I took a deep breath. Later, our family would create a lasting tribute to Elizabeth showing how much we had loved and respected her, and how we would deeply miss her. But for now, this would have to do, I guess.

I glanced up and saw a man who looked to be in his 60’s walking to the podium. He was well-worn, beer-gutted with dirty looking grey hair, and dressed in jean shorts and a tropical shirt that looked as though he’d worn them for several days.
“Hey, everyone,” he said into the microphone. “My name is…” he paused, “well, all my friends call me Quattro.” He held up both of his hands in a two-handed friendly wave.
He was missing his middle finger on his right hand and his thumb on his left hand. Brad and I glanced at one another and laughed. I mouthed “Quattro” at him and waved four fingers. He turned away, biting his lip.

“I told Dickie I’d speak first because he worried no one would come up and say anything and it wouldn’t look right. I told him don’t worry so much.” Quattro slowly scanned the crowd. “I reassured him there were a few people here who could think of something nice to say.” He ran his fingers through his hair and scratched his scalp.
“Elizabeth was a great old broad. Too damn bad, she died so young. She seemed young to me. Hell, I’m only a few years younger. You know she checked out in her sleep, and in her own bed. How much better does it get than that?”

I looked around. A few people were nodding their heads in agreement.
“Now that she’s kicked the bucket…” He paused. “Well, everyone knows there’s no bucket involved.” He laughed at his own humor. “Have you ever wondered what the reward is?” He waited as though he expected an answer. “Hmm, I’ve no idea either. Damn, it’s hot in here. You’d think a funeral place would turn on the air conditioning.”

“Yeah, I’ve got sweat in my shorts,” I heard someone say. A few others voiced their agreement.
“Keeps the smell down and all,” Quattro continued. “I know when it was a drive-thru the air worked good and sometimes the place was downright freezing.”
I saw a few people sniffing at the air. Were they sad? Or were they disappointed they couldn’t smell hotdogs and fries?

Dickie Vanderbilt stood off to the side, staring at his shoes, and picking at his rather large tie tack in the shape of a flamingo.
“But back to Elizabeth. I called her Betty once and, boy, she got mad.”
Mother sobbed loudly, which I knew was actually laughter. People turned to stare. I wrapped my arm around her shoulder and pulled her close. “Mother, please. This funeral is bad enough.”
Her body shook with laughter. I gripped her tightly. “Oww,” she whispered.
“Behave yourself, or I’ll keep squeezing.” I shifted again on the bench, having a hard time sitting still when my legs kept sticking to the wood.

“Elizabeth was good to a lot of people,” Quattro continued. “Too bad she won’t be around to do any of us any more favors.” He looked around and rubbed the end of his nose.
I stared wide-eyed at him wondering if he was about to pick his nose.
“The truth is, I’ve run out of stuff to say. I know she wouldn’t have wanted to die so soon, but the problem is we all think we’re going to live forever, and we don’t. So, ‘God Bless’.” He waved and walked away from the podium.
Brad and I looked at one another. “Finally,” he mouthed, even though he was enjoying the circus more than I was.

I didn’t have to wait long to see what would happen next. An elderly woman who seemed very familiar approached the podium. Mr. Vanderbilt walked over and helped her up the stairs. Now what?
Brad motioned to me, “Miss January,” he whispered.

“No,” I said, shocked at how drastically her appearance had changed.
Miss January was a frail-looking woman, who appeared to be in her eighties, of average height and no more than ninety pounds. In truth, she was only in her forties. Twenty years ago, her husband had been shot to death in front of her and, after that, she’d dedicated her life to a daily bottle of vodka and chain-smoking. Two years ago, she was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer for which she refused
treatment. Her doctor told her she would die any day, but she just laughed at him. Elizabeth cared about Miss January because she wasn’t capable of caring about herself.

“I liked Elizabeth,” she started. She fiddled with the microphone; she blew into it, thoroughly entertaining herself. “You know, I’m drunk!” she yelled. “I drank more than usual this morning, toasting Elizabeth over and over. What the hell! I drink every morning.”
I covered my face with my hands.

“Elizabeth wasn’t much of a drinker,” Miss January continued. “I like vodka,” she giggled. “She was always,” she paused, “I mean Elizabeth, would pull me out of the bushes and help me home. At least I think it was her. Some of the time, anyway. That young hottie who lives next door to me at The Cottages, sometimes he picks me up and carries me home. I like that a lot.”

Someone let out a loud burp. Another person clapped. I sat motionless, afraid to look around.
“You need a chair up here!” she yelled. “When the guy from before said it’s hot in this place, he was right. Besides, who wants to stand, anyway?” She swayed from side to side, then tried to grab onto the standing flower arrangement next to her. She missed and fell slowly to the floor, pulling a few long-stemmed gladiolas from the vase in a last-ditch effort to recover.

Mr. Vanderbilt, Quattro, and another man raced up the stairs, to the podium and Quattro picked her up. “Don’t worry folks!” Quattro called. “She’ll be all right. She’s just drunk.” He carried her out.
Mr. Vanderbilt moved to the microphone. What was he doing?

“I’m the owner of this funeral home,” he said. “My name is Dickie Vanderbilt, but I prefer Richard. I can honestly say I’ve never had such a tremendous turn out. I want to thank all of you for coming. I’m sorry about the air conditioning, and whichever one of you dies next I promise the unit will be repaired by that time. Think of Tropical Slumber Funeral Home for all your burial needs.”

Buy Links: 

Amazon    http://www.amazon.com/Crazy-in-Paradise-ebook/dp/B0059AJ8V8

Author Bio:

Crazy in Paradise, is Deborah Brown’s debut novel, a Florida Keys mystery, which makes the reader laugh, cry and cheer... My personal ad would read: Since all great journeys start with a single step, I’ll have on a cute pair of shoes. Crazy. Redhead. 5’2”, long legs. As an avid exerciser, I get to the gym every five years or so. I hate being tricked by that stinking raisin in the oatmeal cookie when my heart is set on chocolate. And it’s totally acceptable for me to be mildly annoying when it makes me laugh. South Florida is my home, with my ungrateful rescue animals, where Mother Nature takes out her bad attitude in the form of hurricanes.
Author Links:
Twitter https://twitter.com/debbrownbooks
Facebook ~ https://www.facebook.com/deborahbrownbooks

First Date 

Frank Wright was an odd sort of fellow. He spent his days providing on-line technical service for a large software company and spent most nights engrossed in some type of fictional, on-line, role playing game. It is safe to say that Frank was an online junkie and it was quite apparent to his small group of on-line friends, why he was still single.

A few things that Frank has going for him is that he is not ugly and he at least showered every day. One night, during a marathon gaming session, one of his friends suggested he get out of the house and go on a date. After a lot of encouragement from all the other people who joined in to encourage Frank, he reluctantly agreed.  

Since Frank was an on-line junkie, he was skeptical about all these “compatibility” dating sites since they require so much personal information. He decided to get on Craigslist to find the love of his life. Frank spent 30 minutes each day looking for love as he was microwaving and eating his gourmet dinners. It was tough digging through all of the ads from people who were looking for one night stands or who were just simply looking for a different love than what he was looking for. 

It was a Wednesday evening when Frank came across Judy’s advertisement looking for the same type of love that Frank was looking for. The ad simply read, “I am a single 30 year old sane woman who is now disease free. I love animals, especially cats and I am looking for Mr. Wright.” Frank was very impressed that Judy was confident with herself, enough to declare to the world that she is “sane”. Frank chatted with hundreds of people each day that he thought were absolutely crazy, and this woman said that she wasn’t. It was music to his ears. He also liked the fact that she was disease free. He unfortunately missed the key word “now” from her ad. He too loved cats. Watching those crazy cat videos was one of his favorite things to do on-line while he was waiting for his games to load. And let’s not overlook the end of the ad which brought it all together; she was looking for him, his last name was “Wright”. He missed the probable fact that it was probably a typo. He read the ad over and over again; this woman had spelled out his perfect girl in only 2 short sentences. Since Frank was conversationally awkward and rarely spoke to people face to face, it took him a few days to build up enough courage to contact Judy.

Frank finally sent his dream girl an invitation to chat on-line. His invitation said, “I love cats too and I am not weird. Do you want to talk?” Finally after hundreds of lame responses from her ad, she had gotten a response that spoke to her inner soul. Judy replied by saying “Meow”. I guess in cat speak, that means “Yes” because they started corresponding back and forth. After a couple weeks, the next thing you know Frank and Judy were sending at least 1,000 messages to each-other each night. They talked about everything from the new, upcoming on-line role playing games to the cutting edge kitty litter technology that was changing the world. The day finally came when Judy wanted to meet Frank face-to-face. The date was set; they were going to meet Friday evening at the “Cat and Mouse”, a cat friendly internet café.

Friday afternoon, they were both nervous and spent hours getting ready. Frank dug through his closet and found his favorite dress shirt. It was one of those black t-shirts with a tie printed on it. It was also one of just a couple shirts that didn’t have stains or holes in it. Frank shaved and pulled his hair up into a pony tail and splashed on some of his father’s 30 year old after shave. He was ready for a night with the love of his life. Across town, Judy was getting ready as well. She pulled out her favorite sweater; it had a picture of her favorite cat Jingles. Since Jingles had died a couple years earlier from Kitty Obesity, this was one of the ways she could keep Jingles memory alive. The other way was the stuffed version of Jingles that sat on a shelf above Judy’s bed. After she cleaned off the cat hair from her sweater, plucked out her mustache and beard whiskers, changed the 12 litter boxes in her apartment and puts Jingles #3 in her purse cat carrier, she was ready.

Judy arrived first and found the perfect table, right in the middle of the café, where she could wait for Frank. As Frank walked in the door, he saw Judy from across the room and started to sweat profusely and became gassy. When Frank came out of the bathroom 15 minutes later, he was met at the door by Judy who had apparently been waiting for him. Without saying a word, Judy walked up to him and licked his face and rubbed all around him. Frank could hear a subtle “purring” coming from someplace, he realized it was Judy.  

I don’t know how it worked out, but my mom and dad are still together today. 

Written by Jingles #4

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