2,000 year-old relic kills all who possess it … The Mask of Minos

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — Sunbury Press has released Robert Walton’s The Mask of Minos: Bruno’s Inferno, a satirical action-adventure akin to Raiders of the Lost Ark.

About the Book:
Only coercion, and a beautiful government agent, could force Harry Thursday out of retirement. This time to find the mythical Mask worn by the Minotaur over 2 thousand years ago. A mask worth millions, a mask that kills any who possess it, a mask that might just have started WWII.

tmom_fcExcerpt:
1941 December Somewhere in Russia

The Captain trudged steadily through waist high snow and the frozen earth, fighting fatigue from not hours but mere minutes in the freezing temperatures, fear of the uncertain more than actual exposure. The wheat fields and grazing pastures were stripped of any value before the enemy could arrive, nothing was left for the invading Germans to use or benefit from. Homesteads and barns lay empty, livestock long gone. Nothing of value, no bucket or broom, post or fence. But the imperious army was late in arriving. They found out the hard way that Russian winters won more battles than the soldiers fighting them.

The biting wind blew at his back as he walked away from the SAZ-3 he left on the side of the field after it had run out of gas. He glanced back once more to look at the rusty old car, its tires already hastily covered with a heavy snow and he walked the last leg to the farm house and pulled his collar up as high as it would go and tucked his scarf down and went on.

“What the hell am I doing here for God’s sake,” he asked himself, his teeth chattering, his hands nearly frozen. For what? He knew; it was the same thing that took many souls before him to their early graves; avarice walked haughtily among the likes of men who would challenge the very depths of their souls for personal gain so much so that it has become almost an honorable characteristic, at least among thieves. He cursed it with every step as he neared his destination.

As the snow crunched under his feet, as he cursed and mumbled, he could hear the sporadic pounding of the German cannon clearing the way into the Motherland. Three hours ago the last of the military columns hurried by to defend Russia from the Nazis. Truck after truck filled with young boys barely out of school, carrying with them their mothers’ milk still fat in their bellies, were followed by more trucks filled with old gaffers some of whom remember fighting in the revolution. It was a way of life.

Dagon cared nothing for their problems. All he wanted was to get out of this God-forsaken shit hole. It was all part of doing business. As he neared the house, he saw a large German limousine sitting in front. A tall man with an unsmiling face greeted him.

“My car broke down,” he said in German. The man said nothing, but ran his hands briskly over his body and found a Colt .45 in his pocket and took it. More frisking. “Do you speak fucking Russian?” he said in English. Still no response. Finally he was allowed to go inside.

He was greeted at the door by a tall, thin man with wire glasses and thinning hair. “Welcome Dagon. I’m glad to see you join our little organization.”

Dagon stepped in the house and shook involuntarily from the sudden adjustment to the warm air. A fire burned in an iron stove in one corner of the kitchen where the meeting was to take place. The rooms he saw were dry and brown, empty save for a few pieces of stick furniture.

“I haven’t decided anything yet Skinny,” he said looking around the room, the rustic Spartan fixtures, the ice box, and wood stove, the windows with no curtains had frozen over with a thick coating of crystalized ice that cast everything in a blueish hue.

He saw the unimpressive man, the Russian he was told would be there sitting at a table holding a glass of vodka in his hands.

“You can call me Alex. Your being here, buddy is decision enough. You don’t make a trip across this crap without commitment.”

P1000602About the Author:
Robert Walton, grew up in the small multi-cultural village of Narberth in the Main Line region of Philadelphia Pennsylvania. Armed with a degree in Archaeology from Penn State University, Bob has worked tirelessly over the years to live up to his father’s expectations. Having failed at that, he has traveled the world in search of the true meaning of life. Still, this has not stopped him from pursuing a career in writing that began in 2007 when he joined Pennwriters and The International Thriller Writers.

Robert sold his restaurant after twenty years in business selling bagels to a hungry citizenry, and is now selling houses for Century 21 Realty Services in Camp Hill. He lives in New Cumberland with his family.

His second novel The Mask of Minos: Bruno’s Inferno, extends the story of Harry Thursday in a quest to solve the riddle of the Mask of Minos. Still more Harry Thursday stories are forthcoming. He is also working on a science fiction novel that more directly questions the meaning of life.

The Mask of Minos: Bruno’s Inferno
Authored by Robert Walton
List Price: $16.95
5″ x 8″ (12.7 x 20.32 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
320 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620066836
ISBN-10: 1620066831
BISAC: Fiction / Action & Adventure

Also available on Kindle

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/The-Mask-of-Minos-978162…

Navigating a SleuthFest

by Shelly Frome

totd_webHow do you assess what’s being offered at a sunny Florida SleuthFest, especially if you may be receiving some mixed messages?

For example, in SleuthFest 2014 there were three keynote speakers: Laura Lippman, Ace Atkins and Hank Phillippi Ryan. Let’s start with the renowned Laura Lippman who, in her inspiring talk, declared that crime writers don’t occupy a formulaic niche as Isabel Allende claimed but have created some of the most enduring works of literature.

Segue to a small panel discussion where three out of four “successful” authors tell how much fun they’re having. One lady, in fact, disclosed that her heroine is a much younger, beautiful, intrepid version of herself, able to embark on all the hair-raising adventures the author herself wished she could still have and survive without a scratch.

Best-selling writer Hank Phillippi Ryan exhorts everyone to take their time and concentrate solely on the quality of the work till it’s fully polished and receives a stamp of professional approval. At the same time, at another small panel focused on cross-promotion, the objective seems to be a continual flow of material while garnering enough followers so that a group will let you in on their joint commercial venture.

There’s no problem with Ace Atkins advice on the dais and around the pool. As long as you accept his theory that former crime reporters have an edge. That is, they know the value of a great hook up front, appreciate writers like Robert B. Parker (Atkins was selected by Parker’s estate to continue the adventures of P.I. Spencer) and are perfectly willing to toss out passages and chapters that don’t work and slow up the action.

Back to the panelists. On one devoted to editors’ demands, a publisher blatantly put down what he called M.F.A. writing because it smacks of a love of words and no clue what it takes to write a good story. At the same time, around a table at lunch, a pleasant lady from San Francisco was happy with her M.F.A. from Goddard. She also disclosed she was doing quite well as a crime novelist at Minotaur.

On the other hand, there was a panel devoted to plot springboards, especially geared to those writing a series about an amateur detective. Here you could find tips if you find yourself stuck for ideas and/or want to avoid the same old, same old motivation ploys.

Skipping now to the auctions. A duo of auctioneers claim if you win the bidding on, say, a thirty-page manuscript critique by Lee Child, you’re well on your way to climbing the proverbial ladder. But, then again, after plunking down some 600 to 1,000 dollars, this former British advertising executive may be the last person whose advice a writer should follow. He’s on record insisting his Jack Reacher character can’t evolve or even have a humanizing back story because that would ruin the brand.

Moreover, haven’t we heard over and over that any story, be it crime fiction or what-have-you, deals with at least one flawed character forced to change due to pressure and provocative unforeseen circumstances?

In short, maybe like everything else, it takes a critical eye to know exactly what you’re doing. So that you have a sense that whatever notes you’ve taken during your stay may help take you where you want to go.

TinseltownFINAL.inddShelly Frome

Crime fiction author at Sunbury Press

Mystery Writers America

Playwriting and screenwriting feature writer for Southern Writers Magazine

Shellyfrome.com