Monday, May 11, 2015

Ginger DeadMan excerpt by Logan Zachary

GingerDead Man
Bold Stroke Books (January 15, 2015)
  • Phone: (877) BOLD-711
Chapter 1                                                                                                                              “Stacey, I’m going to run across the street and see if Brian Greenway has our order ready for the Thanksgiving dinner.” Paavo Wolfe poked his blond head into his best friend’s store. “Did you want to come with me?” He stepped inside the door of Lotions and Potions, which specialized in herbal remedies, skin care, massages, and all other areas of holistic health care.
            “Is that your subtle way to of asking me to help you carry all the rolls, bread, and stuff back to your store?” Stacey Laitenin asked, grabbing her jacket and purse.
“Is it working?” Paavo puckered up as she met him at the door.
“Since I was the one who asked you to help me feed the homeless, I guess I should come along and help you carry our order of rolls for the Thanksgiving Day meal.”
“Cool.” Paavo kissed her.
“Ben,” Stacey called over her shoulder to Ben Pumala as he was changing the sheets on his massage table, “I’m heading across the street to Icing on the Lake, did you need anything?”
 “No,” Ben said as he smoothed out the white cotton sheet over the table.
“We should be back in fifteen minutes in case anyone calls or needs me.” The overcast November afternoon had been slow, so she doubted it, but at least Ben knew where she was and that she had left him alone in the store.
Light snow fell from the sky as the cold breeze blew across Lake Superior. Icing on the Lake, the “Northland’s Superior Bakery,” was directly across London Road from their strip mall. We’re Wolfe’s Books and Lotions and Potions stood side by side in the center of the complex. Paavo’s bookstore dealt in horror books and movies. He sold nightmares. Everything from action figures to movie posters, any Blu-ray, DVD, or VHS, and every collectible a horror fan could ever want or need.
Despite the cold breeze off Lake Superior, the scent of fresh baking bread hung in the air all day and all night. Many neighbors complained about the smell, since it made everyone hungry.
Stacey locked elbows with Paavo as they crossed the street. The gloomy weather had driven many of their shoppers away, along with all the stress of getting ready for the Thanksgiving holiday later in the week. The excitement of the Halloween film festival and the “werewolf” attacks on London Road were resolved, and their businesses had finally returned to normal.
The best friends pushed the bakery’s heavy glass door open, and the brass bell jingled, welcoming them in. A smoky haze filled the air in Icing on the Lake. “Brian, did you burn a batch of bread?” Stacey called.
No answer.
She looked at Paavo and released his elbow. “Could he have run to the grocery store for something, and it took him longer than he expected?” Paavo read concern in her face as they walked back toward the kitchen.
Suddenly, the fire alarm started its high-pitched shrill, and the warning lights strobed across the brick walls.
“We should get that batch out of the oven before Brian has smoke damage or a fire starts.” Stacey headed around the front counter to where the kitchen was. Large metal baking ovens lined the walls. She waited a second for Paavo, then waved him in. “Hurry up.”
Paavo quickly followed Stacey into the back of the bakery. The back door stood wide open as a cold breeze blew in off the lake, swirling the smoke that came from the ovens.
Stacey grabbed two hot pads and threw a pair at Paavo. She opened one oven and started pulling out a huge sheet of rolls. “Brian owes us big time for saving his buns.”
“He does have the cutest, tight buns.” Paavo slipped his hands into the oversized mitts and headed to the badly smoking oven on the opposite wall. He inhaled, crunching up his nose. “This one smells really bad.” He pulled the oven door open and froze.
Paavo couldn’t understand what he was seeing until the lake breeze blew into the oven and cleared out some of the smoke. The gust of wind added oxygen to the smoldering form, and the blackened shape burst into flames. That’s when he saw it was the burning body of Brian Greenway.
“Stacey!” Paavo yelled.
Holding another heavy sheet of bread, Stacey turned to see what was wrong. When she saw Brian’s burning form, she dropped  it. Loaves and buns rolled in all directions as she jumped away from the hot pan, which hit the floor and echoed through the kitchen. “Close the door,” she said.
Paavo jumped forward and slammed the door shut. He looked for the controls, trying to  figure out how to turn it off.
“We can’t leave him in there.” Stacey stood next to him. Finding the oven controls on her side, she turned it off. She opened the door, and the oxygen restarted the fire again.
“What choice do we have?” Paavo asked, pushing the door closed. “We’re too late.”
“A fire extinguisher?” She pointed at the red one on the brick wall, but didn’t move to get it.
“Should we even take him out of there?” Paavo pulled his cell phone out of his pants pocket and hit 911.
“Yes. We have to. Why would you ask that?” She clutched his arm.
“Because there’s no way he could have crawled into that oven or fallen in. It’s too high.”
“What are you saying? Murder?” Stacey asked.
“Yes, but who would want to bake the baker?”

Writers' Question of the Week: Do you outline your next chapter before writing it?

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