Welcome to our first week of celebrating the fabulous
In today's post, we're going to look at a few of Angel's books, and a list of her favorite things. We'll also have a chance to win - see our raffle below!
First up, we have Uncommonly Tidy Poltergeists:
A poltergeist haunts Taro, dogging his international travels. It washes glasses, puts dishes away, and even dusts. At least he hopes it's a cleaning-obsessed poltergeist and not his own anxieties burbling over into neat freak fits he doesn't remember. When his property manager suggests he call paranormal expert, Jack Montrose, Taro's skeptical but desperate enough to try even a ghost hunter.
Jack's arrival crushes Taro's hopes of a dashing Van Helsing-style hero. Instead of an invincible hunter, he gets Ichabod Crane. As the paranormal puzzles multiply and Jack begins to suggest the entity might not be a ghostly one, Taro adds a budding friendship with Jack to his pile of anxieties. It's a race to see whether Taro's poltergeist or his relationship with the obviously-not-ace Jack will reach maximum strangeness first.
At a quarter to four, fifteen minutes ahead of the scheduled appointment, the doorman called up to say Taro had a Mr. Montrose asking to see him.
"Yes. Of course. Thank you. Um, send him up, please?" Taro wanted to smack himself for sounding so nervous, but he wasn't used to the whole door-security thing yet, and Montrose would be his first real guest. Neither Andel nor the movers really counted. He hurried to put on some coffee, knowing his guest would be delayed by elevator rush hour. Then he paced the living room, rearranging pillows for no good reason, wishing he hadn't agreed to this.
It wasn't that he didn't like people. He did. New people in his space still made him nervous. Sometimes people he knew well still made him nervous. Power-save introvert, that's what Luka called him. He was "on" when he had to be, turned "off" the moment people left him in peace, and occasionally suffered shorts and power outages during which he couldn't interact successfully with people at all.
One of those shorts flipped his extrovert breakers to the off position when he opened the door.
"Mr. Torres?" The scarecrow in the doorway extended a hand in greeting and gave his a perfunctory shake. He patted down several pockets, both shirt and pants, before he found what he wanted with a little sub-vocal aha and handed Taro a business card. When Taro stood there staring at it, the scarecrow eased around him into the apartment. "Would like to poke around a bit. Then have you tell me everything that's been happening. Or we could talk first before examinations. Really doesn't matter. The order that is. Long as I'm set up before dark. But we have time..."
"Phillip." Taro finally found his voice as he stared, shell-shocked, at the business card.
Montrose glanced up from an instrument he'd been running over the sofa, bright gray eyes blinking at Taro as if he'd surfaced from a dark tunnel. "Sorry?"
"We can talk in a moment. Your card says Phillip "Jack" Montrose. Is Jack your middle name?"
"No middle name." Montrose went right back to scanning, free hand ruffling his straw-colored hair into even messier spikes.
"What? Oh. I like Jack. Jack can be anyone. Anything. Pirate. Time traveler. Singer. Giant killer. Pumpkin king. Paranormal researcher." Montrose paused to shoot Taro a crooked grin. Then he twitched a shrug and went back to his readings. "Phillip's an accountant. Or a snooty trust-fund baby. Why are you named after a root vegetable?"
Taro needed three tries to find his voice. "I'm not."
"Taro? Big purple edible root. What poi's made of?"
"Oh. No." Taro finally had the presence of mind to shut the door. "I mean, yes to taro being a plant, but it's short for Lautaro. My name, not the vegetable. And I was an accountant. "
Phillip-who-preferred-Jack-for-reasons straightened. Mostly. Even slouched, his head came precariously close to the top of the kitchen doorframe. "Lautaro. Great name. From where?"
Taro tried to smooth out the frown he knew he was wearing. Here he had been expecting Van Helsing, and Andel had sent him Ichabod Crane. "It's Chilean. Not that we're from Chile. Dad's family is Mexican and Mom's from Germany. They just really admired the historical Lautaro."
"Fine... good..." Jack returned to watching his meter. "Not prying. Sometimes certain phenomena attach to ethnicities. Maybe. Making a study of it, anyway. Floor plan of the place? Though dimensions work if you know. Cubic meter calculations. Ten-foot ceilings?"
Taro's heart started to sink, and its weight pulled him down to sit on the sofa. The man was starting to come off as a crackpot and probably couldn't help at all. "What... I don't mean to sound rude, but what are you doing?"
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Second in today's line-up, Brandywine Investigations: Open For Business, an omnibus version of the first three novels in this series:
When humans forsake the temples, the gods need to find other employment. Hades opens Brandywine Investigations after his divorce and his subsequent move to the modern world. If he was hoping for boring infidelity cases and lost dogs, he’s sorely mistaken as murder and mayhem find his agency and his extended family at an astonishing rate.
Canines, Crosshairs & Corpses: Brandywine Investigations #1
No Enemy But Time: Brandywine Investigations #2
Dragons, Diamonds & Discord: Brandywine Investigations #3
"I truly need one?" Hades squinted at the intimidating selection Charon had brought him.
"My lord, you can't house the Night Horses here and I don't believe chariot driving is legal on the highways. No matter what speed."
"Huh." His understanding of his new occupation suggested that he would require something powerful, something with a potential for superior speed, and perhaps if it impressed humans aesthetically, it might help business.
Business. What an odd thought.
Charon sighed. "You're not taking this seriously, my lord."
Oh, but he was. The issue was that assimilation into this world was not a matter of slow absorption. It was being hurled at him like a boulder barrage from attacking hundred handed Hecatonchires.
He pointed to a low-slung, ferocious-faced possibility. It's not a face. It's a grill. "I rather like this breed. Er, model."
"Ah. Very you, my lord, the Viper. Fierce and powerful." Charon leaned over his shoulder to view the brochure. "Perhaps Hephaestus would go with you when you make your final choice. To ensure its sound construction and such."
Footsteps pounded down the staircase all too close to Charon's studio apartment. Yet another siren sent its tormented-soul wail up from the street. Both hands clutched in his hair, he tried to stave off headache number twelve since he had left home.
"Char," Hades choked out. "I don't like your new home."
"I'll admit it's a bit on the modest side, my lord—"
"No. Not your apartment." He gazed around at the shabby austerity. "Though surely you could have done better."
"Not in New York. Then what?"
"This city. The psychic noise is deafening. The physical noise almost more so. There is simply too much with no peace between. I'll soon have screaming, raving fits if I'm here much longer."
Charon cocked his head. "Potentially interesting." At Hades's snort, he waved a hand as if to negate his previous statement. "Pardon, my lord. Not the time. We needn't stay here. There are several cities nearby where you may feel more comfortable."
"Comfortable. Yes." He waited until Charon had brought him that infernal machine, the laptop, though why it was called such a thing when it always sat on a table was beyond him. "I'd like a quieter city. Something not so unceasingly animated but where the humans would still need our services. A place by a contemplative river. Will this thing tell me all of that?"
That ironic quirk had returned to Charon's bloodless lips. "I'm sure if you ask it politely, my lord. I'll help you."
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Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens… Um, no, I don't think that's what was meant to go here. I'm really bad at favorite things lists since in so many categories I like All The Things, but here's a list I can do:
- Dinosaurs. I mean seriously, how are dinosaurs not cool? From the smallest Compsognathus to the largest Argentinasaurus, these guys once were once the dominant life forms. One of the things that really captures my imagination, though, is how much more we know about them now than we did when I was leafing through dino books as a child. Now that we know more about them, we also know they didn't all suddenly vanish. Look. Out in the yard. See those birds? You've got dinosaurs.
- Tardigrades. These microscopic animals are the original immortals. Forget vampires and lich-king mummies, these little dudes can live through pressures that would kill humans, survive complete dehydration, and even revive after being in the vacuum of space. There've even been suggestions that they might have arrived here on asteroids. Aliens among us.
- Trees. Trees are just everyday things, right? There's nothing special about trees. Ha! Trees are amazing evolutionary successes. The ways in which they breathe, eat, grow, and reproduce are amazing enough. But they also communicate. They talk to each other through root and fungal networks. A mother tree knows which seedlings are hers and gives them preferential treatment.
- Cephalopods. An ancient class of animals whose surviving members include the octopus, the cuttlefish, the nautilus and the squid. More than just tentacles and a mouth, cephalopods have amazing thinky skills. Octopuses build using whatever material is available, sometimes miniature caves, sometimes tools to help carry things or to escape aquariums. Cuttlefish have complex communication systems of light and color. Someday will most likely rule the Earth. Release the Kraken!
- Monotremes. There are only five living monotreme species. Five. They're mammals by definition and share a lot of mammalian charactersitics (high metabolic rates, hair, three middle earbones, milk for the babies) but they refused to evolve in one very specific way. They. Lay. Eggs. Seriously. Can you imagine puppies coming from eggs? Actually, that would be kind of cool.
About Angel Martinez:
Angel Martinez currently lives part time in the hectic sprawl of northern Delaware and full time inside her head. She has one husband, one son, two cats, a love of all things beautiful and a terrible addiction to the consumption of both knowledge and chocolate.
Thanks for joining us today. Come back next week for more of Angel's book, five little-known facts, and another chance to win. Until then, happy reading!!