Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Getting to Know You #Interview with John W. Howell.


Welcome to this week’s interview and today my guest is John W. Howell, author of the thrilling John J. Cannon Trilogy, which I read and enjoyed, as well as Circumstances of Childhood which took us into the world of football and high finance. Just released is The Contract which is a collaboration with author Gwen Plano, and is already receiving great reviews. More about John’s books later, but first the official word about this charming author and blogger.

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon.

The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. John’s fourth book Circumstances of Childhood, launched in October of 2017 tells a thriller story of riches to rags, football, Wall Street, brotherly love, redemption, and inspiration with a touch of paranormal to keep you riveted. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets. And if you click the photos it will take you to John’s latest post about Lucy, Bailey and Twiggy.

.Twiggy, Lucy, Bailey

Time to find out which of the questions John has selected to answer and a look at his wonderful selection of books.

Welcome John and can you describe one most embarrassing moments of your life?

When I was in College I loved to, play practical jokes on my fraternity brothers. One night while they were all having dinner in the lowest level of the house, I took out all the light bulbs of every lamp in every room on the three floors above. Of course, I kept the blubs in a pillow case since I knew I would be returning them. After dinner, they all came up to the upper floors, and it was pitch black. Everyone was yelling and couldn’t figure out what was wrong. I was sneaking up the back stair with the bulbs and was caught. The brothers stripped off my clothes and wrapped me in masking tape. They then carried me across the street and chained and locked me to a sorority house porch pillar. Long story short the police and fire department were called since it required a bolt cutter to undo the chain. My tape was beginning to show places that should not be seen. I was given a warning and had to take a walk of shame back across the street. I never checked to see if the story made the nightly news.

How would you describe your fashion sense?

For forty plus years I dressed in the classic business style. I wore subtle color suits of deep blue, black, or grey with maybe a barely noticeable pinstripe. Summers and winters called for different weights of wool but still wool. Shirts were usually white or blue with white cuffs and collar and always a silk tie. Shoes varied in color from black to black and included cap-toed oxfords, wing-tipped oxfords, and plain toed oxfords. It was easy to dress. I merely pulled out a suit from the left and put it back on the right.

Very dapper suited John.

So if you saw me today, you might ask, “What happened?” You see I never wear dress shoes or socks. In fact, the only shoes I wear are boat shoes with no socks, and I only do that when I dress up. I am usually in board shorts and a t-shirt. I do have some nice fishing shirts that I occasionally wear to the doctors but typically am pretty casual. Flip flops, cotton baseball cap, shorts and a t-shirt are du rigor today.

Sally here: I found this very dapper beach photo of John to show you too.

What do you consider to be the best dish that you prepare – and have you the recipe?

I love to cook and have some favorite dishes. The one that stands out regarding consistency and praise is my pasta Amatriciana. It has an authentic flavor with just a hint of heat and a creamy texture which can be described as melt in your mouth. I have the recipe.

Image Pinterest

Ingredients:

  • I pound penne pasta
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 5 strips of bacon chopped
  • 2oz Pancetta chopped
  • Diced 3/4 cup onion
  • Diced 1 TLBS garlic
  • Diced, I x 28 oz can whole plum tomatoes, drained, chopped with juice reserved,
  • ¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 TLBS freshly ground black pepper (very important)
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese.

Directions:

  1. Cook penne to el dente (9-10 min).
  2. In large pan heat olive oil on medium, add bacon and Pancetta and cook till light brown stirring often.
  3. Add onion and cook until tender.
  4. Add garlic and cook until soften (do not burn).
  5. Add chopped tomatoes (I usually put them in the pan whole and use kitchen shears to cut them up)
  6. Simmer for 10 minutes on low heat.
  7. Add basil, pepper and Parmesan cheese and stir.
  8. As the sauce thickens, add the reserved tomato juice until the desired thickness is achieved.
  9. Add the sauce to the pasta and serve with parmesan cheese.

 If you could get rid of one household chore, what would it be?

I would love to get rid of Vacuum cleaning. (Hoovering in the UK). Our house is all wood and tile flooring, and with three dogs you can imagine the tumbling tumbleweeds that build up if the floor isn’t swept regularly. Although we have a central vacuum system, it is still a chore to do each room. If you try to skip a place for a while, then the tell-tale dust bunnies roll through the door. When we had the house built, we were supposed to have kick plate suction outlets strategically placed throughout the house. This would allow attacking the dust periodically with a broom and merely sweeping into the kick suction place. The contractor thought we were crazy and installed the kind of ports where you have to plug in a hose. By the time we discovered the mistake, it was too late to go back. So now we have this long hose which is a pain to get out and put away. If we had the kick plates, the room would take maybe three minutes to sweep. Also, when my wife and I divided up chores, it was my luck to get the vacuum duty now that the kickplate idea was dead.

Sally here: If I could offer some advice John, use your vacuum chore as an opportunity to entertain and obtain some exercise.

Knowing now, what you didn’t know then, what would you have done differently?

If I knew then that getting a book published need not be a hurried process, I would have taken more time on the first. Once I finished the first manuscript I was hell-bent on getting it published. I sent out queries and lo and behold a publisher wanted my book. I was so thrilled and barely read the contract. Of course, I signed and then came to understand that it would be three long years before I could finally be on my own to continue publishing. You see the publisher had the rights to all my characters. Yes, that’s right. When I wrote to find out when the second book in the Trilogy was going to be published, there was an extended period of no answer followed by information to the point that no one knew when the next book would come out. Now I was in a pickle since I used this time to finish the other two books. I finally asked for and got a waiver on the character question and then published the second book. I allowed the contract to expire without a renewal. Had I not been in such a hurry I think I could have taken my time to find a different publisher with probably less stress.

Now it is time to take a look at the new book written in collaboration with Gwen Plano. The Contract: Between Heaven and Earth

About The Contract

The earth is threatened with a catastrophic political event which could result in international warfare and destroy all life on the planet. In heaven, a divine council decides that extraordinary measures are essential. They call for an intervention that involves two souls returning to earth. The chosen two sign a contract that they will work to avert the disaster.
Brad Channing, a Navy SEAL, and Sarah O’Brien, a teacher, become heaven’s representatives on earth. The story follows them as they individually and then together face overwhelming obstacles and eventually end up on a strategic Air Force base in California. It is there that they discover a conspiracy to assassinate the President of the United States.

The terrorists have a plan for global dominance and they are determined to complete their mission. Although military leadership appears to have the President’s best interests at heart, it is not clear who can be trusted and who should be feared. The action is rough and tumble as Brad and Sarah try to figure out the culprits for the plot that will turn into a worldwide conflagration unless stopped.

If you enjoy thrillers, this is one with enough twists and adventure to keep you riveted and guessing. If you like your thriller along with a good romance, Brad and Sarah’s initial attraction and eventual love will sustain you as they live out their heavenly and earthly desires. A Great summer read.

One of the recent reviews for the book

This story grabbed me from the first word on the first page. Imagine that humans make contracts before returning to Earth to complete lessons or missions? While this book is fiction, many of us believe this is exactly the case. When Teresa and Peter are summoned to an emergency gathering of the Elder Council (in heaven), they have no idea they are about to be chosen for an Earth mission that will not only save lives, but the entire Planet Earth itself.

Enter Brad and Sarah. Both come into bodies and situations that are traumatic and frightening. AND, they have no memory of what they agreed to do in heaven. Sarah is in a dangerously abusive marriage and Brad is a Navy Seal in active battle. As this story unfolds, it is fascinating how the authors brought these two together on Earth and how aptly they depicted their instant attraction to each other. I’m not going to post a spoiler and tell you the outcome of this story. I will only tell you that is the perfect blend of thriller and spiritual – between the yin and yang. It is a fast-paced, riveting and rewarding read. I hope we will see more collaborations from these two authors If you love a good thriller with the stakes so high it makes your pulse pound, while gaining spiritual insights, you will love this book!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Contract-between-heaven-earth/dp/0996911588/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Contract-between-heaven-earth-ebook/dp/B07CZQ8WKH/

Other Books by John Howell


 Read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6C

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6C

Read more reviews and follow John on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell

Connect with John.

Blog Fiction Favorites, http://www.johnhowell.com
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241
Twitterhttps://www.twitter.com/HowellWave
Authors dbhttp://www.authorsdb.com/authors-directory/6604-john-w-howell
LinkedInhttp://www.linkedin.com/pub/john-w-howell/48/b59/462/
Google + https://plus.google.com/+JohnHowellAuthor/

 

About Gwen Plano

Gwen M. Plano, aka Gwendolyn M. Plano, grew up in Southern California and spent most of her professional life in higher education. She taught and served as an administrator in colleges in Japan, New York, Connecticut, and California. Gwen’s academic background is in theology and counseling. Recently retired, she now lives in the Midwest with her husband and enjoys writing and travel.

Gwen’s first book is an acclaimed memoir, Letting Go into Perfect Love. Her second book, The Contract between heaven and earth, is a thriller fiction novel, co-authored by John W. Howell. It is available now for pre-order. Author Jan Sikes read the manuscript and wrote that “The Contract is the perfect blending between the physical and unseen world with unbreakable bonds between human and spirit.”

You can find out more about Gwen on her website: http://www.gwenplano.com/

Also by Gwen Plano

Read some of the reviews for the book: https://www.amazon.com/Letting-into-Perfect-Love-Extraordinary-ebook/dp/B00K7WYTW6/

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Letting-into-Perfect-Love-Extraordinary-ebook/dp/B00K7WYTW6/

Read more reviews and follow Gwen on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7341478.Gwendolyn_M_Plano

Thank you for dropping in today and I hope you enjoyed seeing another side to John Howell as I did… please feel free to share.. Thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives – Odd Jobs and Characters – The Steak House


This series shares some of the jobs I have turned my hand to over that fifty years, and some were very odd. Not many have sat at a table between two teams of champion dairy cows, selling bull semen!  Over the years I have accumulated a massive dossier of characters and events that now take centre stage in my short stories.

If you have read my novel Just an Odd Job Girl you will have met some of them but over the next few weeks I hope to bring you some of the others that inspired and stimulated my imagination.

Not all these posts appeared on Smorgasbord as some fantastic blogging friends allowed me to guest post. If that is the case of course I will include their books and links.

You can find the previous odd jobs here: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/short-stories-odd-jobs-and-characters-2018/

This episode was kindly hosted by John W. Howell and you can find out more about John and his books later in the post.

I began my training as an assistant manager in a steak house in Kent in 1974. For the six months, I would rotate around through the two bars and two restaurants that served a simple menu of steak, chicken, and fish. Most dishes came with either French fries (chips) and peas. For the more health conscious there was a jacket potato option, but by the time several pats of butter had been added, it was as fattening as the fries. Dessert options were ice cream with chocolate sauce and sprinkled nuts, or apple pie and cream. The wine menu was short and featured the German white wines so popular at the time, with much touting of the young French red wines with alleged body and clarity.

However, despite not being a Michelin starred establishment, the training was considered to be one of the best in that particular area of the hospitality industry. It was certainly intensive, and when you consider the hours we worked daily, six days a week, the six months training was actually something you would normally complete in twelve months.

The building itself had been built in 1812 and sported the red flocked wallpaper so fashionable in the 1960s and 1970s. Smoking was still in its hey day and the ceiling was a curious shade of tobacco after 150 years of nicotine exhalation. The smell that greeted you in the morning was ‘eau de tabac’ laced with beer overtones. When you had been working until after midnight, had barely six hours sleep, you found yourself declining anything but black coffee until lunchtime.

I have to say that I loved it, despite the hard work and long hours. We had some very interesting regulars, and the locals embraced the concept of the steak house with gusto. It was cheap and cheerful, and as music blared out on a Friday and Saturday night, both downstairs and upstairs bars and restaurants were packed. The waiting list for a table could be an hour or more, but beer and schooners of sherry (lethal), dulled the senses sufficiently for the wait to be quite jovial.

During the day, only the downstairs restaurant was in use and was consistently busy. This offered the assistant managers time to do the usual administrative work needed to run the steak house, such as ordering food and spirits and cleaning the bars after the night before.

In the evenings it was my job to run the upstairs restaurant, with a team of waitresses waiting on the tables, and two bar staff, who alternated between serving pre-dinner drinks and after dinner liqueur coffees with assorted spirits (this is pre-drink-driving laws!).

The waitresses were rushed off their feet as they juggled three or four large plates laden with steak, chicken, and sides. My job to help in reducing the waiting list was to clear the tables as soon as the diners had paid, and re-equip with cutlery, glasses, and napkins as rapidly as possible. I would then dash back to the bar and announce the name of the lucky party over the tannoy system, who could now stagger after me into the restaurant.

One Saturday night in the middle of a very busy service, I had to handle a potentially difficult situation that could have ended up in the papers (thank goodness there were no mobile phones in those days). As you will remember this building was old, and there were dark recesses within the walls and ceilings, that you would have been wise to avoid for what might reside there.

I was checking the state of play on progress at a number of tables where the patrons were wiping away the evidence of their chocolate sundae. I noticed a man at a table with a party of six, bend down to retrieve his napkin. Instead, he came up with something smaller and definitely furrier than the paper serviette. I suspect that as a natural reflex, he stood with his arm held straight out from his body, clearly amazed at his catch. From my vantage point at the entrance to the restaurant, I identified the rotating body of a dead mouse.

There is a split second between shocked discovery and the public announcement of the find. Although never great at school at the 100 metre dash, I now excelled myself. Dropping the waiting list on the bar, I rushed through the restaurant and snatched the unfortunate deceased rodent from its captor, continuing on to the kitchen at warp speed. I deposited the mouse in the bin and turned and raced back the other way to find the patron staring at his hand and looking around in confusion.

Lighting in the restaurants was provided by dim wall lights in order to provide a romantic and intimate feel to the experience. It also served to conceal the tobacco infused ceiling and rather dodgy carpet. It also thankfully managed to befuddle the diner, who thankfully had not only consumed four pints of beer in the bar beforehand, but also a bottle of our best Liebfraumilch. I added to the befuddlement, by handing him his fallen napkin, and asking if the party would be interested in some liqueur coffees on the house, to compensate them for their long wait before dining.

An exterminator was called the next day and traps were hidden in all the usual haunts. But there was a postscript to this story.

One of the waitresses was a bit of a madam and was always giving the chef grief. As part of the staff’s pay, supper was included before the restaurants opened in the evening. The day after the incident, this particular waitress retrieved her indicated supper from the hot plate, and on sitting down, removed the cover. She issued a piercing scream that probably cleared the rodents from the building far more effectively than the traps. I came over to find out what the problem was, to discover her staring at her plate of battered mouse, French fries, and peas.

©Sally Cronin – 2017

 Next week – The Steak House Part Two – originally hosted by Sue Vincent.

Short story anthologies.

You can find all my books at these links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Sally-Cronin/e/B0096REZM2

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sally-Georgina-Cronin/e/B003B7O0T6

Smashwords for Epub: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SallyGCronin

More reviews can be found on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin

About John Howell

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

Books by John W. Howell.

One of the recent reviews for the first book in the series – My GRL.

My GRL pulled me in from abrupt murder at the start of the story and didn’t let go until the spectacular unexpected ending.

I enjoyed the writing style and humor. The plot had enough twists to keep me guessing and engaged in the story.

If you are looking for an unpredictable thriller to get lost in for a day or two, I’d recommend you giving this book a try. I’ll be picking up the other books in the series

You can read the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6C

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6C

Read more reviews and follow John on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell

Connect to John.

Blog: http://www.johnhowell.com
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HowellWave
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241

Thanks for dropping in today and I hope you have enjoyed finding out about the background to some of my characters.

Smorgasbord – Sally’s Book Reviews – Circumstances of Childhood by John W. Howell.


 

I am catching up with my reviews from before Christmas and the first is for Circumstances of Childhood by John. W. Howell. This is the fourth book of John’s that I have read and reviewed and a departure from the mystery thrilller series about John Cannon.

About Circumstances of Childhood.

When a former pro football star and broadcaster, now a Wall Street maven is accused of insider trading, will he be able to prove his innocence and expose those who are guilty?

Greg and his boyhood pal dreamed of big success in professional football and then later in business. Greg was the only one to live the dream. Now the founder of an investment fund Greg is faced with a routine audit finding by the SEC. The audit points to irregularities and all the tracks lead to Greg. The justice department hits him with an indictment of 23 counts of fraud, money laundering, and insider trading. His firm goes bust, and Greg is on his own.

His best friend knows he is innocent but has been ordered under penalty of eternal damnation not to help.

If you enjoy stories of riches to rags, redemption, brotherly love, and a little of the paranormal, Circumstance of Childhood will keep you riveted.

My review for Circumstances of Childhood.

For me Circumstances of Childhood was a story in  three phases that are brought together with the common thread of a lifelong friendship that transcends time and space.

Greg Petros and his friend Keith have known each other since they were four years old, and whilst Greg struggled with personal tragedy, Keith was always there by his side. Eventually, Greg moves in with Keith’s family and they truly become brothers in name.

This brotherhood extends to the football pitch where the two design plays that outfox the defence and propel them both into the top college team. I am not even going to pretend to understand the plays, but even I can admire the sleight of hand and ball that made them a winning team.

However their paths deviate in their late teens, and eventually Greg becomes a highly regarded player, amassing a fortune. This leads to a successful broadcast career and then to a stable and well regarded financial enterprise. Unfortunately, with every success there is a risk that someone will make an effort to bring you down. Despite creating some solid plays that are a reflection of those on the football field, Greg finds himself in a very difficult situation as his financial empire begins to implode.

In the third phase of the story, Keith and Greg are reunited and work together to find out the reasons and the culprits behind the financial disaster. It is clear that their friendship is as strong as ever, and joined by Greg’s daughter Constance the mystery is unravelled. This attracts danger and violence to their doorstep that brings the story to a close with a thrilling encounter.

This book is a departure from John Howell’s previous books and the focus is definitely on the power of friendship and love. The paranormal elements are dealt with gently so that you have no problem in believing in their inclusion in the story. I would recommend to anyone who enjoys a combination of American Football, High Finance and justice served.

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Circumstances-Childhood-John-W-Howell-ebook/dp/B075SKWHCR

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Circumstances-Childhood-John-W-Howell-ebook/dp/B075SKWHCR/

Also by John W. Howell.

Buy all of the John Cannon Series and find our more about John W. Howell: https://www.amazon.com/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6C

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6C

Read more reviews and follow John on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell

Connect to John via his website: http://www.johnhowell.com

Thank you very much for dropping in today and I would be grateful if you could share the post.. Thanks Sally

 

Smorgasbord Christmas Posts from Your Archives – Christmas Greetings and Music from John Howell.


A Christmas greeting and some favourite music from John Howell, from his 2015 archives.

Christmas Greetings and Music from John Howell.

We want to wish all of you Happy Holidays. It is Christmas eve at our house and the tree is all ready for Santa to finish the decorations with colorful packages. The packages will be there tomorrow providing we have all been good. I think it is a safe bet.

All the best from our house to yours.

©JohnHowell 2015

About John W. Howell

John began his writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive business career. His specialty is thriller fiction novels, but John also writes poetry and short stories. His first book, My GRL, introduces the exciting adventures of the book’s central character, John J. Cannon. The second Cannon novel, His Revenge, continues the adventure, while the final book in the trilogy, Our Justice, launched in September 2016. John’s fourth book Circumstances of Childhood, launched in October of 2017 tells a family life story of riches to rags, football, Wall Street, brotherly love, redemption, and inspiration with a touch of paranormal to keep you riveted. All books are available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle editions.

John lives in Port Aransas, Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.
John’s latest book Circumstances of Childhood.

About Circumstances of Childhood.

When a former pro football star and broadcaster, now a Wall Street maven is accused of insider trading, will he be able to prove his innocence and expose those who are guilty?

Greg and his boyhood pal dreamed of big success in professional football and then later in business. Greg was the only one to live the dream. Now the founder of an investment fund Greg is faced with a routine audit finding by the SEC. The audit points to irregularities and all the tracks lead to Greg. The justice department hits him with an indictment of 23 counts of fraud, money laundering, and insider trading. His firm goes bust, and Greg is on his own.

His best friend knows he is innocent but has been ordered under penalty of eternal damnation not to help.

If you enjoy stories of riches to rags, redemption, brotherly love, and a little of the paranormal, Circumstance of Childhood will keep you riveted.

One of the recent reviews

Impeccable! on October 28, 2017

For me, this book is impeccable on a number of fronts… First and foremost, John Howell knows how to reach a reader’s emotions, how to build a character with whom one can really identify, how to recognize on occasion some parts of yourself, how to bring smiles, how to bring tears; Mr. Howell enlivens the pages of this book with events that make one believe he is actually re-living some of his own life.

I liked everything about this book, the football, the friendship, the treatment of death of someone close, the alleged business illegality, the blackmail… I took a break from reading a book of titillating short stories (review coming) and started “Circumstances of Childhood’ — long and short of it, I could not stop reading until late in the night (plus, I’m a slow reader because I love words and how they’re put together). I’m thinking the book touched some parts of my life, and, that made it all the more enjoyable for me… Treat yourself to a great read!

Read the reviews and buy the book: https://www.amazon.com/Circumstances-Childhood-John-W-Howell-ebook/dp/B075SKWHCR

And on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Circumstances-Childhood-John-W-Howell-ebook/dp/B075SKWHCR/

Also by John W. Howell.

Buy all of the John Cannon Series and find our more about John W. Howell: https://www.amazon.com/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6C

and on Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6C

Read more reviews and follow John on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell

Connect to John.

Blog/website: https://johnwhowell.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HowellWave

My thanks to John for sharing his beautiful tree and one of the classic pieces of festive music… I am sure that you join me in wishing John and his family a Merry Christmas. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Short Story Festival – 9th – 12th June – The World Darkly by John W. Howell.


I am delighted to welcome John Howell to the festival with his short story The World Darkly.

The World Darkly
By John W. Howell © 2017

Frank is cycling on the beach and sees something shining in the sand. He hopes it might be of value, but is disappointed since it is only a pair of sunglasses. He gets off the bike and picks them up. He turns them over and notices they are finely made not like the usual junk people throw away. He finally opens them and on the inside of one of the ear pieces are the words The World Darkly in gold. Must be the slogan, he thinks. Frank looks around to see if anyone has noticed him pick them off the beach. There is only an old couple pretty far away walking in his direction. He wonders if they are coming back to get them. Frank is worried. He stuffs them into his parka pocket and continues the ride. Before he gets home; he is having second thoughts, and maybe he should turn the glasses into the police. He decides against it. “Finder’s keeper’s loser’s weepers;” he tells himself.

After a hot dog dinner, Frank suddenly remembers the glasses in the pocket of his parka in the closet. He gets them and puts them on in front of his mirror in his bedroom. To his surprise, he cannot see himself through the lenses and whips them off to make sure it is not he who has disappeared. This is strange; he thinks and puts the glasses on again. Although he cannot see himself, he is able to see some unusual symbols crawling around the inside of the lens. They are moving quickly, and Frank touches the top of the frame since he thinks it might be a good idea to take these things off.

As his finger meets the frame, the symbols stop moving. Removing his finger causes the symbols to begin crawling again. “I can control them,” he says. Then he repeatedly touches the frame and then not. He is convinced this is the movement that controls the movement of the symbols. He also experiments and sees that a light touch slows the symbols and a heavy touch stops them. Frank does not know what the symbols mean, but he is glad that they are under his control.

Frank takes the glasses off and reaches for his phone. His parents gave him an iPhone, so he decides he is going to look up one of the symbols on Google to see if there is an answer. He touches Safari and types in the symbol that he remembers which is a T. The answer comes back quickly that T stands for AT&T and it is the symbol for the New York Stock exchange information on the company. He sees that the stock is priced at thirty-three dollars and twenty-one cents. He does not understand any more of the information but is satisfied that the found out what the symbols mean. He will test others later, but for now, he is satisfied he has broken the code.

Frank puts the glasses back on and sees that the symbols are crawling past again. He slows them down until he comes to T once more and stops. Underneath T, there is what looks like a price and a fraction. The price below T is thirty-five and seven eights. In high school, he learned that seven eights are almost one so he is assuming the stock is priced at almost thirty-six dollars. That can’t be right, he thinks. I just looked on Google, and the price was Thirty-three dollars and twenty-one cents. Maybe these numbers on the glasses aren’t prices.

He sees a day and date in the upper right-hand corner. The day is Thursday, and the date is February fourteenth, twenty-seventeen. Frank quickly removes the glasses. Today is Wednesday, February thirteenth and he suddenly realizes these glasses are telling him information about tomorrow. He puts them back on and finds T again. “Sure enough,” he says. “This number is the price tomorrow.” He scans for more information, and in addition to stock prices, he also sees there are news headlines.

The headline jumping out at him contains the information about one winning ticket sold for the Mega Millions jackpot. Further, the story identifies the prize as five hundred million dollars. He is able to scroll down like he did with the stock symbols and comes to the winning numbers. He picks up a pencil and writes the numbers on the back of a paper bag found on his dresser; 3-4-5-18-22-31. Frank is about ready to bust knowing these are the winning numbers for tonight’s drawing. Although he doesn’t know how he has the winning numbers. He looks at his watch and knows he must hurry in order to get to the convenience store to enter the drawing. He curses taking so long to look at the glasses until so late.

He jumps into his car and heads to the convenience store cursing the whole way at the slowness of other drivers. He finally slides to a stop at the store, rushes in and grabs a ticket to fill out. “Where’s a pencil?” he says. The girl behind the counter points to one on a chain. He writes the numbers and hands the slip and a dollar to the girl.

“It is after eight o’clock. Drawings close at eight.”

“Damn. Can’t you make an exception? I will make it worth your while.”

“I’m sorry the machine locks up at eight, and no more tickets can be issued.”

“Wait,” he thinks. I can still use the glasses to score some cheap stocks next week and the Texas Lotto on Tuesday. Frank tells the girl she will be sorry when she reads about him in the newspaper. She gives him a puzzled look, and he leaves the store deep in thought. Frank is not paying attention and steps in front of a car whose driver does not see him in the glare of the lights. He is hit and rolls into the bushes in front of the store and smashes his head on the brick facade. Frank is no longer of this world

After the police and EMS leave, a car pulls up to the front of the store. The driver gets out and sees something shining in the bushes. He goes to investigate and picks up a pair of sunglasses. He looks at them and runs his finger on the gold embossed words The World Darkly on the earpiece. He looks around to see if anyone is watching and then stuffs them into his jacket pocket. He wonders if he should turn them in, but decides he should not.

“Finder’s keepers, loser’s weepers,” he says. He thinks no one heard him.

©Johnwhowell 2017

About John W. Howell.

John’s main interests are reading and writing. He turned to writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive career in business. John writes thriller fiction novels and has a number of short stories published in various on-line magazines. One of his short stories has been recognized by Writers Digest in the Popular Fiction Writing contest.

His novel, My GRL published by Martin Sisters Publishing and is the first of many exciting adventures of the book’s central character John J. Cannon. The second, His Revenge published by Keewaydin Lane Books is now available in Paperback and Kindle formats. He has recently published the third book in the series, Our Justice.

John has a wonderful blog where he entertains with short stories and also shares the changing face of his world along the coast of Texas.

John’s books

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/John-W.-Howell/e/B00HMRWO6C

Read more reviews on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell

My thanks to John for contributing this great story to keep you entertained while I am away.

Connect with John.

Blog Fiction Favorites, http://www.johnhowell.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241
Twitter – https://www.twitter.com/HowellWave
Authors db – http://www.authorsdb.com/authors-directory/6604-john-w-howell
LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/pub/john-w-howell/48/b59/462/
Google + https://plus.google.com/+JohnHowellAuthor/

I would be grateful if you would share John’s short story on your own networks and thank you for dropping in today. Thanks Sally

Smorgasbord Christmas Party – Guest John W. Howell with A Christmas Story


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I have been collecting guest posts and stories for the last few weeks and have brought them all together as part of the Smorgasbord Christmas Party. There will be humour, short stories, stories about family and friends, music, humour and some food of course. The posts are scheduled right up to Christmas, but if you would still like to promote your blog, books or other creative work there are some other opportunities to be found here.

https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/christmas-2016-smorgasbord-promotions-blogs-books-gifts-short-stories/

For my first guest…. who better to kick the party off than author John. W. Howell whose short stories are edgy, humourous and always leave you wanting more. Here is a story that John has written especially for the Smorgasbord Christmas Party.

A Christmas Story

 by John W. Howell   ©2016 

Who’s there?”
“Where?”
“In the living room. I can hear you stomping around.”
“There’s no one here.”
“If there is no one there how come you are answering my questions?”
“Would be rude not to answer wouldn’t you say?”
“What do you want?”
“I don’t want anything. I’m Santa Claus, filling your stockings and putting gifts under your tree.”
“Come on now. There’s no such thing as Santa Claus.”
“Okay. Have it your way. I’ll need a few minutes to put all this stuff back.”
“Okay. I’m coming in there, and I’m warning you I have a gun.”
“I can always tell I’m in Texas.”
“What?”
“Nothing. Just talking to myself.”
“I’m going to turn on the light. Don’t make any moves.”
“Fine. I’m standing here as still as I can be.”
“Hey. You don’t look like Santa Claus.”
“What is Santa supposed to look like?”
“You know. Big belly, red suit, white beard, mouth drawn up in a bow.”
“Well, the PR firm was in charge of that image. I didn’t necessarily go along with it.”
“PR firm?”
“Yeah. You know those guys who give the public an image. Those Coke commercials pretty much started it all. I’m more of a Brooks Brothers type. Besides the red outfit is a bear when sliding down chimneys.”
“So you do slide down chimneys?”
“Mostly through the wall. It is much easier.”
“Wait. You can go through walls?”
“I can see you have a tough time with faith don’t you Ferd?”
“Name’s Frank. Hey, hold on. If you were Santa, you would know that.”
“Sure I would. Let’s see how many Franks would you say there are in this world. Come on Frank. Give me a break. I used “Ferd” as a term of endearment.”
“You’re confusing me.”
“Not hard to do I might add. So, should I gather up all this stuff and see you next year or what?”
“W-well. I can see some pretty nice stuff.”
“You were laid off weren’t you Frank?”
“Y-yes.”
“Don’t you think little Jimmy would like this bike?”
“S-sure. Sure he would. My wife would like that coat too.”
“So what do you say? I leave all the stuff, and you have a Merry Christmas.”
“How will I ever repay you?”
“Only one way to do that Frank.”
“How’s that? I don’t have any money.’
“Won’t take money, Frank.”
“What then.”
“Do you your best this year to foster peace on Earth and goodwill to humankind. Can you do that?”
“I-I will try very hard Santa.”
“You’re a good man, Frank. Bless you. Now where did you hide the cookies and milk?”

About John W. Howell

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John’s main interests are reading and writing. He turned to writing as a full-time occupation after an extensive career in business. John writes thriller fiction novels and has a number of short stories published in various on-line magazines. One of his short stories has been recognized by Writers Digest in the Popular Fiction Writing contest. His novel, My GRL published by Martin Sisters Publishing and is the first of many exciting adventures of the book’s central character John J. Cannon. The second, His Revenge published by Keewaydin Lane Books is now available in Paperback and Kindle formats. He has recently published the third book in the series, Our Justice.

my-grl-resizedhis-revenge-resized51bypm1jgll-_uy250_

Buy John’s Books: Amazon Author’s pagehttps://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell

John lives on Mustang Island in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of south Texas with his wife and their spoiled rescue pets.

You will find some great articles and photographs on John’s website with a different perspective of the same spot each week

Connect with John.

Blog Fiction Favorites, http://www.johnhowell.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/john.howell.98229241
Twitter – https://www.twitter.com/HowellWave
Authors db – http://www.authorsdb.com/authors-directory/6604-john-w-howell
LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/pub/john-w-howell/48/b59/462/
Google + https://plus.google.com/+JohnHowellAuthor/
Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7751796.John_W_Howell
Shelfari – http://www.shelfari.com/johnwhowell
Amazon Author’s page – https://www.amazon.com/author/johnwhowell
Martin Sisters Publishing – Http://www.martinsisterspublishing.com

My thanks to John for writing this story especially for the blog and I hope that if you are not already connected to him that you will head over and introduce yourselves.

Lots more guests with their special contributions to come and also festive recipes and music. Thanks for dropping in and please help yourself to a mince pie.. If it is your first of the season you have to make a wish.. I hope it comes true.

mince pies