Tag Archives: mystery writers

I’m Number 1! I’m Number 1!

Hey 3.5 readers.

Just a fun note. Thanks to a Freebooksy feature, my short story, Freefall is as of this post:

1 in 90-Minute Literature & Fiction Short Reads

1 in 90-Minute Mystery, Thriller & Suspense Short Reads

2 in Single Authors Short Stories

Sorry, I didn’t know it would make the text that big when I cut and pasted it. Also, it is number 91 Free in the kindle store, which if my memory serves, I believe that is the first time I ever cracked the top 100 free.

In total, I was able to give away 1,055 free copies in one day of this fine book about a man who guys skydiving only to discover his primary and backup ripcords have been sabotaged.

As a bonus, 6 copies of my other books were sold. The proceeds were big enough that I can supersize my next taco. I know, sometimes it is frustrating…you give away 1,000 books and only sell 6…but I’ve noticed that when you do a promo like this, the reviews and ratings tend to trickle in over the next few months, which I assume means people grab up a free copy, then let it sit on their virtual shelf until they get around to reading it. At any rate, at least 1,000 copies are out there.

BTW, as some free self publishing advice, it really is all about the cover. I have done 2 freebooksy features for most of my books (a few I have only done 1). For all, I noticed a good return the first time, and a declining return the next time, which I assume a lot of people who use freebooksy grabbed it before and weren’t as interested the second time around (though the returns were still enough to make it worth buying a second feature.)

But this second go around for Freefall, the returns were still high, which tells me people see this poor schmuck holding his cut ripcord and want to find out what happens. Do you want to find out what happens? Grab your free copy!

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Pop Culture Mysteries – Case File #005 – Smeller vs. Denier – (Part 6)


“There I was, naked as the day I was born, strung up by my toes, flapping in the breeze over a pot of boiling
water.  The local primitives were restless, dancing about in a circle and preparing to boil me alive for their supper!”

Lord Alistair Blackburn was a corpulent fellow.  A charter member of Her Majesty’s Society of Royal Adventurers, he wore a khaki colored shirt and shorts and a pit helmet to top it all off.  He was a bit of a bombastic blowhard, offering up tall tales and exaggerated yarns to anyone who would listen.

I hate it when people do that.

Muffy and I smiled politely.

“How’d you escape, Al?”  I asked.

“Luckily I’d studied that particular tribe’s dialect and told them I taste terrible.  They set me free but I had to walk for an entire day in my all together until I found an outpost.”

I felt sorry for every animal who had to witness that.  Blackburn was definitely not skipping any meals.  In fact, if his story was true, then those bushmen must have had some extra strength rope.

The great game hunter was just one of the people who’d received an invitation to the Count’s dinner party that evening.

Count and Countess Rickard were famous all over Monaco for their dinner parties.  They collected people like a hobbyist might gather up rare coins.  They loved entertaining and they threw a top notch soiree.

We were all gathered in the Rickards’ sitting room, an expanse that was greater than the average person’s home.  It was fancy cigars, premium brandy, and good conversation until dinner was ready.

“Now then,”  Blackburn continued.  “Halfway through this most treacherous trek, I had the misfortune of coming face to face with a pack of unruly hyenas…”

Change that to mediocre conversation.  The Muffster and I were bored out of our gourds.  I tuned out Lord Blackburn and perked my ears toward the conversation happening on the couch opposite the one I was sitting on.

Signora Bellavenuti was whirling her brandy sifter and doing her best to ignore the ramblings of noted philosophy professor Arthur Fremont.  A fellow American, Fremont was a twitchy little fella with a mop of curly hair and a lazy eye.

“A true nihilist would argue that life has no meaning but if a lack of meaning brings meaning to a nihilist’s existence, then can there really ever be a true nihilist?”

The Signora was not as good as Muffy and I were at nodding politely in the face of less than stellar chitter chatter.

“Ugh, darling, please,”  Signora Bellavenuti said as she flapped her fingers up and down toward her palm, waving goodbye, “I have spoken to burros with more interesting things to say.  Shoo!  Shoo!  Away with you!”

Crestfallen, Fremont marched off to the back corner, where he nursed his drink.  Yakubovich was already there, still licking his wounds from the drubbing I’d given him earlier at the poker table.  The Count decided it would be sporting to invite the loser to break bread and it wasn’t mi casa so who was I to argue?

“The first seven hyenas I was able to take out with a stick I’d managed to chew to a point with my teeth, but the eighth I had to strangle with my bare hands.  And do you know it continued to laugh until its very last breath?”

The Lord’s chubby face grew grim.

“The image of my hands wrapped around that beast’s throat as it giggled like a school girl haunts my nightmares to this very day.”

“Whoa,”  I said.  “What a predicament.”

“Indeed.  Now, let me tell you about the rhino I stabbed in the face in Botswana.  It was charging at me, you see, and…”

Lord Blackburn’s rant was being drawn out by a conversation happening to my left.  Two men sat in oversized comfy chairs, wrapped up in a heated debate.

One of them was Sir Rupert Roundtree.  I considered him a friend.  The first time I met him was in North Africa during World War Two.  He was a tank commander then and saved me from a band of angry, sword swinging locals.  The second time was in Hong Kong not long after the war.  By that time, he’d been appointed as Chief of Police in the then British controlled city state, and he and his men stopped a band of thugs who wanted to slice and dice me.

Since then, Rupert had worked his way up in the world.  He’d gotten himself elected to parliament and was currently serving as the British Secretary of State.

As you can imagine, I had a lot of respect for him.  Roundtree was physically fit, an athletic type.  He had a thick handlebar mustache that took up half his face and long sideburns.

Charbonneau had a poor excuse for a toupee.  It looked like a damn chinchilla taking a nap on his head.  The coloring was off.  The hair on his sides was silver but the toupee a deep black.  You’d think someone at the rug factory could have peppered it up a little.

The man chewing Roundtree’s ear off was Patrice Charbonneau, the French Ambassador to England.

“Patrice, old boy,”  Roundtree said.  “Must we dampen the evening with talk of politics?”

“Yes monsieur.  French merchants simply cannot operate with the outrageous tariffs imposed on goods exported to your country.  Something must be done.  There is no precedent for the current rates and if you consult the treaty that was signed in 1949, you’ll see clearly that…”

Roundtree spaced out of the lecture he was getting and looked around the room only to do a double take when he spied my kisser.

“Pardon me, Patrice, I have to go see a ghost from my past.”

“But the hardliners are calling for action and I cannot hold them back any longer!”

“Yes,”  Rupert said as he stood up and patted Charbonneau on the back.  “Let’s put a pin in this conversation for later, shall we?  I swear I’ll return and listen to all your problems posthaste.”

The MP strolled over to me and I stood up to greet him.

Lord Blackburn didn’t even notice.

“That beast came close to goring me but I managed to dodge its thrust at the last minute and smash it right between the eyes with my machete.”

“Lord Blackburn!”  Rupert said.  “Might I steal Hatcher away from you for a moment?”

Copyright (c) 2015 Bookshelf Q. Battler 2015

All Rights Reserved.

Image courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

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Pop Culture Mysteries – Case File #002 – Who Shot First? (Part 3)


PART 1 – Hatcher recalls a gun fight with mobster Tips Malone.  He was never able to figure out who shot first in that case.

PART 2 – BQB’s Attorney, Delilah K. Donnelly, delivers a bag containing two action figures.  BQB claims these are necessary for Hatcher’s research but let’s face it.  That nerd just wants them.


“All right,” I said as I pushed a toy laser gun into a tiny Han Solo’s hand.  “Now if Solo was over here and then Greedo walks in…”

Hatcher checks for typos.

Hatcher checks for typos.

Delilah looked as bored as a sinner in church.  She stared at the toy Greedo in her hand as if someone had dropped a pile of horse manure all over her delicate fingers.

“Ms. Donnelly,” I said.  “That’s your cue to make your green space man enter the room.”

Delilah rolled her eyes and expelled an exasperated sigh.

“Mr. Hatcher,” the sultry siren said.  “This is most undignified.  I already had to endure standing in line at a bargain store behind various rapscallions who find it be perfectly acceptable to be out in public whilst clad in pajama bottoms.  I was even forced to endure a lecture from Mr. Battler to be sure to return these quote unquote ‘collector’s items’ to him with their original packaging intact.  Must I endure the nonsense of pretending to be a green space man as well?”

“What?”  I asked.  “You expect me to play with myself?”

I knew that came out wrong but it was too late to pull the words back into my mouth.

Delilah raised a quizzical eyebrow.

“I suspect you do that often, Mr. Hatcher.”

That dame’s poker face was impeccable.  I never knew if she was serious or joking.  I’ve seen brick walls that displayed more emotion.

“Come now, Ms. Donnelly,”  I said.  “It’ll all be worth it when we crack this caper.”

“Bah, very well,” Delilah said as she made Greedo walk across the desk.

It was a surreal site, kind of like watching a young Queen of England playing with an action figure.

“Do his voice,” I commanded.

Delilah shot me a look that caused me to deduce that she wanted to strangle me with my own neck tie.

Delilah and action figures don't mix.

Dames and action figures don’t mix.

“Mr. Hatcher, I hesitate to say this as we are work colleagues but I must make it known that when you say such foolish things I’m forced to fight back a strong urge to put my cigarette out in your eyeball.”

Joke?  Serious?  Again, I had no clue.

“Point taken, Ms. Donnelly, point taken.”

Delilah pulled a silver pocket watch out of her clutch and checked the time.

“I apologize for having to cut this soiree short but there’s a seat at the opera waiting for me.”

The opera.  A classy place for a classy gal.  You’d never catch this shamus dead in a joint like that and alas, I was once again reminded that my chances of making Delilah the fourth Mrs. Hatcher were slim and none and slim had just packed a bag and run off like a thief in the night.

“Sounds like a real hoot and a half,” I said. “I must say though, Ma Hatcher would frown upon me allowing a lady to wander about the streets on her own without an escort.”

“I’m meeting someone,”  Delilah said as she stubbed her cigarette out in my ashtray.  “A fine gentleman will be picking me up momentarily.”

A fine gentleman.  Whoever he was, I’d of gladly bareknuckle boxed a thousand ornery wolverines just to trade places with him.

Delilah stood up and I followed suit.  Ma Hatcher taught me well.  I opened the door and showed my guest out.

“Which show are you taking in?”  I asked as I led the way downstairs.

“A Mozart piece,”  Delilah said as we cut across Ms. Tsang’s restaurant floor.  “I doubt you’ve ever heard of it, Mr. Hatcher.  It’s a rather complicated title. ‘Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail.’

“Ahh,”  I replied.  “‘The Abduction from the Seraglio.‘  A fine show, though a bit drab for my taste.”

Delilah’s money maker looked as if it had just lost a few bucks.

“I picked up a little German while I was giving the Nazis what-for.”

“Of course,” Delilah said with her lips curled up ever so slightly in her version of a smile.

I opened the front door and led the blonde outside.

“Thank you Mr. Hatcher,”  Delilah said.  “I appreciate your chivalry but you may take your leave.  I expect my gentleman caller any minute.”

“If it’s all the same, Ms. Donnelly,” I said as I lit up a stogie, “I’ll stick around for a bit longer. The criminal element runs thick through this neighborhood and I dare say I’d have to fling myself off the Golden Gate Bridge if any harm were to come to your person while I was in the general vicinity.”


Delilah paused for a moment then started again.

“That’s oddly sweet, Mr. Hatcher.”

“I’m an oddly sweet kind of guy, Ms. Donnelly.”

A few minutes passed.  We shot the breeze about days gone by and before we knew it, a stretch limousine pulled up to the curb.

A chauffeur stepped out, opened the door, and helped the lady into the vehicle.

“Have fun playing with yourself, Mr. Hatcher.”

Those were the last words she said to me just before the chauffeur got back behind the wheel and drove the dame I desired away.

Joke?  Serious?  I didn’t care.  She felt the need to turn around and say one last thing to me and that’s all that mattered.

Susan Tsang, Proprietor of Tsang's China Palace, Hatcher's Landlady

Susan Tsang, Proprietor of Tsang’s China Palace, Hatcher’s Landlady

Like a bloodhound with its tail between its legs, I walked back inside Tsang’s China Palace empty handed, but not for long.

My landlady, Ms. Tsang, greeted me with a steaming hot plate of moo goo gai pan.

My favorite.

“Holy Crap, Jake,”  Ms. Tsang said.  “Who is this woman that keeps coming to see you?”

“Who?”  I asked.  “Ms. Donnelly?  She’s just a work acquaintance.”

“Work acquaintance my ass.  She’s beautiful.  You need to lock that shit up.”

Ms. Tsang always had a way with words.

“Some fella already beat me to the punch,”  I said as I headed upstairs.

“Who?!”  Ms. Tsang asked.

“I dunno,”  I answered.  “Someone who made better life choices than I did I suppose.”

Copyright (c) Bookshelf Q. Battler 2015.  All Rights Reserved.

Images courtesy of a shutterstock.com license.

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