Friday, April 24, 2015

It's April...Do You Have a Writing Goal Set for the Year Yet?

Yeah.  It's April.  It's a resolution but just a bit late.  So sue me.  :)

I have a goal and needed to know it was doable before I said I was going to do it.  I've been putting out a book a month since January (actually, I had some last year, too, but this is more 'official.')

These are the books I've published so far this year:




January



February



March



April


That's one book for Kyra's pen name, two for Paige, and one for Eryn.  Andie's up next, and then, we'll see what comes up next.  With April's book, that's 44 books under the SweetTale marketing name.  Who knows...I might get to 50 before the year's up, or if I stay with a book a month, that's eight more books, which gets me to 52 books.

What's your goal?  Even if you only have a goal of a book a year, that's FANTASTIC!  A book a year...if you write a page a day, you'll have that book done by year's end!

So get writing!  Stay tuned to see if I make my goal for the year.  YAY!

Have a great week!
Markee

Friday, April 17, 2015

I write for ME!

Writing is a lonely business.  It also has its ups and many, many downs.  Every time a writer gets a bad review, it's as if someone pierced them in the heart or criticized their baby.  It hurts.  Some reviewers (also known as trolls) love to hurt other writers, for some unknown reason.  I don't get it, because I was taught if you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all.  But times have changed and it seems as if the bad comments get more merit.

I've learned from various traditional authors (published with NY publishers) that you don't HAVE to read the reviews.  You don't HAVE to listen to every critic out there trying to make a name for themselves by belittling others.

I've also learned that I love to write.  Even if I don't have the sales or reviews or can put 'best selling author' behind my pen names (the latest rage, by the way, in case you don't know it, even if it's not true), I love to write.

Thus, I now write for ME.  I write so I can share my stories with whomever wants to read them.  I even can forgive whomever is using Amazon as a lending library with my books.  They buy the book and within 7 days, return it.  This has been happening with every single title I've written.  I'm not the only author it's happening with, either.  But I can forgive that person.

Why?

Because, like I said before, I write for me.  I'm done checking my stats every day to see who's bought my book.  I'm done seeing if I get a bigger paycheck than last month.  I'm done competing with the other authors trying to get ahead.  I want to be happy, not stressed.  So my books are now my babies, not trying to fit into some other person's mold.

If you're an author, are you happy with what you do?  Do you write for you, or do you write for the industry, just to get sales?

If you're a reader, do you only read books that are promoted and heavily reviewed?  And did you realize that some of those reviews are paid reviews, just to get them higher on the Amazon charts?

I'm just stating fact.  I want to be happy.  What else can I ask for?  :)

Have a super week!
Markee

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Book #44 is LIVE!!!

Check out book #44 for SweetTale Books, by Eryn Grace!


Blurb:

*** BASED ON CHRISTIAN MORALS--CHRISTIAN ROMANTIC ADVENTURE ***

When Destiny McNeill asks a secret Christian organization called the Rescuers In Action (RIA) to save her missionary relatives in Indonesia, she doesn't realize she's going to have to tag along.

On the trip to the foreign land, she's trained in the way to rescue someone under the guidance of Dr. Adam Jones.  She's also taught more about her faith and the Bible.

Faced with unusual trials, Destiny's heart changes to embrace her newly-discovered faith.  But because of that faith, she also risks her own life, the lives of her RIA companions, and the lives of the people they were sent to save—her sister, brother-in-law, and their young son.


Here's the first chapter:
A man stood in the front of the small auditorium.  "We welcome our newest members."  He seemed to be the leader.  From where I sat, I couldn't make out his features other than figuring out that he was older.

People clapped all around me, but I had no idea why.  I was just glad to be inside from the cold January Kansas City air.  However, I wasn't feeling that great, so I was still chilled.

As I closed my coat tighter, I pulled my purse up onto my shoulder and turned to Troy, the man sitting beside me.  "What are we doing here?"

"I'm introducing you to my group.  Why?"

"Group?" I whispered.  "But when I met you at the diner, you told me you wanted to take me to a show at your church.  What is this, exactly?"

He grinned and turned back to the speaker, not giving me any answer.

I studied the rest of the people in the room, filled with men and women mostly dressed in conservative outfits.  The women wore long skirts with bonnets on their heads while the men were dressed in suits and ties. 

Two men sat in the back, who didn't really fit in.  They seemed to be observers, dressed in white polo shirts and blue jeans.  Very odd, for sure.  I wanted to go talk to them, because they seemed more normal.

The man standing at the front of the auditorium caught my attention once again.  "We'd like to bring our newest members into the fold," he said.  "They'll be joining our clan, living with us, and becoming part of the chosen."

The people in the congregation hooted and hollered, then danced around the room while forming a circle on the perimeter.  They all joined arms.

The men dressed in the white polo shirts and jeans remained seated in the back with their arms crossed in irritation.

Troy pulled me to my feet and dragged me to the front of the stage.  Others ushered their guests to the front as well, all appearing as if they'd been drugged.  I felt kind of woozy, but kept my balance.  When I got closer to the stage, I smelled something like incense, making me sick to my stomach.

"I don't feel very well," I said.  "What do you think it is?"

He leaned toward my ear.  "Something to make you compliant.  Don't worry, it's safe."

"Compliant?"  I couldn't believe my ears.  "You slipped me something?"

He ignored me as we stepped onto the stage.  He addressed the man in the front, but I still stared at Troy.  I still couldn't get over the fact that he'd drugged me.  I had to think fast, but my brain was a bit fuzzy.

"This is Destiny McNeill," Troy said to the leader.  "She's my date.  I'd like to make her my wife."

Uh-oh.  Red flags filled my head.  "But I just met you.  I was out talking to your sister at a diner and you just happened to show up.  I'm not your date—I'm dating someone else."

He thrust his hand over my mouth then turned his grinning face toward me.  "She's compliant."

There was that word again.  Compliant.  I suddenly hated him and everything he stood for.

I tried to remove his hand from my mouth, but my arms felt heavy.  He grabbed both of my wrists with his other hand and held them down in front of me.

"And a virgin," Troy said.

I tried to bite his hand.  He knew nothing about my past and had no right to tell anyone that I hadn't found someone worthwhile yet—not even my current boyfriend.

Troy laughed.  "Once she knows our ways, she'll produce many babies for our clan.  She can join my other wives and make my life fuller."

Babies?  Other wives?  My eyes must've been as big as saucers.  This was a cult group?  My brain raced.  I'd been set up by his sister, Lori.  I was in over my head.  I was raised a Christian, not a cultist.

I gathered all my energy and struggled to get free, but Troy held onto my arms, joined by three other huge men who stood behind me.  I wasn't getting out of this warehouse anytime soon.  But I also wasn't about to let myself become a member of their clan.  I was caught between a rock and a hard place.  Besides, wasn't this considered kidnapping and against the law?

The leader stood in front of me where I could get a better look.  However, as soon as I stared at the guy, I wished I hadn't seen him.  Scary was an understatement for how this guy looked.  I knew his face would haunt my dreams.  He had dark wavy hair with eyes as black as coal.  I couldn't turn away from him because his stare pierced through me, seeming to make me agree with him.

However, that was the furthest thing from my mind.

"I'm Pastor Jacob," he said.  "I'm the leader of the November Order of the Stars Clan.  With our brothers and sisters, we'll protect you and save your soul.  Only our groups around the world will be recognized as true believers.  We will prevail as the chosen few.  Do you agree?"

I tried to shake my head to disagree, but someone grabbed the hair on the back of my head and made me nod.  What was happening?  How could I make it known that I wasn't part of this group?  Troy's hand still covered my mouth, so I couldn't even yell.  Struggling got me nowhere.  With all the men holding onto me, it wasn't going to be easy to get away.  Besides, I didn't feel well.  I was stuck.

The crowd broke out in cheers and my coat was yanked off.

I bit down on Troy's hand, hard, making him let go.  I yelled for all I was worth.  "No!  I won't agree to this!  Leave me alone!"

The sound of a gunshot rang out behind me and I heard a shuffle in the back of the auditorium.  "This is a raid.  Everyone on the floor!"

A fight broke out in the warehouse as I struggled to get away.  The men held me with such force, I couldn't move.  The evil bad guys pulled me toward Pastor Jacob, who took my arm and dragged me with him.  I kicked him in the legs with all my might, making him fall to his knees.  If only I wasn't so tired, I'd have this guy on the floor.

"Satan is among us!" he screamed, trying to get to his feet.  "We have to cleanse her of her evil sins!"

Cleanse me?  Look who was talking, Mr. Evil.

The men dressed in the white polo shirts and jeans ran to the stage and grabbed Pastor Jacob and the other men surrounding me.  Cops followed behind them.  The cops and the white polo shirt guys took the evil bad guys into custody, with handcuffs and all.

But I could only watch.  My head hurt and I fell down, sitting on the stage with a thud.  I was so tired.

"You would've been my special one."  Troy's voice was quiet as two men handcuffed him behind his back.  He continued speaking to me anyway, even though he did have the right to remain silent.  "You have the most spunk and would've given me the best children."

I wished he would've remained silent, actually.

"Shouldn't it be my choice?"  I looked up at him with one eye shut from the glare of the lights.

He chuckled.  "Women aren't allowed to choose."

I lowered my head.  "Lori's going to hear about this one."

"She's already gone elsewhere to find me another wife." 

The cops took him out the back door.

A touch on my shoulder made me stand up and spin around.  For some reason, I got a second wind.  I punched and blocked, fighting for my life once again.  I had the guy in a headlock before he spoke.

"No, Destiny," he managed to say.  "I'm one of the good guys.  I'm here to rescue you."

"Doesn't look like it from my viewpoint," I said into his ear.  I didn't even care that I felt awful.  I had to fight for my life, and my sickness had to take a back seat.  "Looks like I'm the winner and I'm not going to let you touch me."

"I have a gun.  Check my pocket.  These people don't carry guns to their services."

I pulled up on his neck even more, staring into his bright blue eyes while he winced.  "How do you know they don't carry guns?" I asked.

He was very handsome, with medium blond hair, very blue eyes, high cheekbones and the softest looking skin.  Because he wore a white polo and jeans, he definitely wasn't part of this group.  But since he was so handsome, I had to keep reminding myself I was taken.

The man didn't fight back.  "We've infiltrated this group and were working to take it down, with the help of the local cops and the FBI.  How do you think we knew they were having a harvest today?"

"A harvest?"

He sighed.  "When they add people to their group."

I thought it over for a bit, found the gun in his pocket, and let the man go.

He straightened up and dusted off his white polo.  "I'm glad you did that.  It shows they haven't given you the drug yet."

"Do you care to explain this to me?"  I looked around the room.  "I can't even believe I'm here."

He took my hand with a grin.  "Want to get out of here?"

"What's your name?"

"Adam Jones.  I'm a leader in the RIA."

I must've looked confused because he almost laughed at me.  "RIA?  What's the RIA?"

"Rescuers in Action.  We save persecuted or bullied people around the world.  Think CIA, but with an 'R.'"

I didn't take his hand, but sat back on the stage and lowered my head to stop the room from spinning.  "I don't feel that great."

Adam knelt beside me, lifted my chin, and stared into my eyes.  "I see that."  He nodded to someone in the back.  "Barry, we have a victim here."

A big man with a dark military haircut, wearing a white polo shirt and jeans, ran to the front with a medical bag in his hand and a stethoscope around his neck.  As soon as he got to where I sat, he checked my heart and pulse, and then turned to Adam.  "We'll take her in and check her over.  Something's not right."

"I'll meet you at the hospital," Adam said.  "Check all her vitals along the way.  I think we might need to talk privately."

Barry chuckled.  "We need more recruits."  He searched in his bag, pulled out a flashlight, and directed the light into my eyes.  "Did they hurt you?"

"No.  You guys stopped them from kidnapping me.  Thank you."  I looked up at Adam.  "I'm sorry I thought you were one of them."

"No problem."

Barry put his flashlight away.  "They would've married you to the man beside you with some weird ritual.  Be thankful it didn't happen."  He paused.  "Now, can you walk to the ambulance?"

I looked down at my feet.  "I hope so.  Troy said he drugged me to make me compliant but I'm not sure what it was.  I'm ready to pummel him for it, too."  I looked up at the two men in front of me.  "How dare he?  Who does he think he is, anyway?  Can I have a gun to take care of him right now?"

Barry glanced over at Adam.  "You're right.  We do need to have that discussion."

As soon as I grabbed my purse, Barry put his arm around me and helped me toward the front door, talking the whole time.  "You're very lucky we'd been watching the N-O for a while."

I leaned against him for support.  "The N-O?"

"November Order.  If we'd have waited a minute more, they'd have brainwashed you and you wouldn't be the same person you are now."

I looked up at him.  "How can they brainwash someone that fast?"

"They shoot you with a drug from behind to make you believe what you're being told.  It takes months to get the victim back to normal, then months after that to make their fear disappear."

"How do you know that?"

He was silent for a moment while taking me out the door.  "My wife was kidnapped and forced into their slavery in New Mexico."

"But we're in Missouri.  They kidnapped her and took her across state lines?  Why wasn't the FBI contacted?"

"We didn't know where she was," he said.  "We found her body a year later, after she'd given birth to a child who died at birth.  They killed her for a stillbirth, according to our investigation.  That's how I learned all about their ways."

"I'm so sorry."  I lowered my head to make sure I wouldn't pass out.  "What's being done about this?"  I looked up, feeling the cold night air on my face.  It helped a little bit, but whatever I'd been given wasn't nice.  I was ready to sue Troy for damages.

Barry looked over at me as we approached the ambulance.  "We're working on it and we've done internal investigations."  He glanced into the back of the vehicle.  "Can you step up?"

"I'll try."  I climbed into the ambulance and sat on the gurney, lowering my head.  "What can I do to help?"



Barry joined me.  "I'm so glad you asked."   

Webpage for this book:  http://eryngrace.com/thelordiswithme.html
Buy links:
   Smashwords
   Amazon
   Barnes & Noble

(See the webpage for more, updated as they go live.)

YAY!!!

Have a wonderful week!  I certainly am!
Markee/Eryn

Friday, April 10, 2015

Can't Fix Stupid, But They Make GREAT characters!

Being a closet curmudgeon, I have this new mantra--can't fix stupid.  I know too many people who just make stupid mistakes, because they have no idea what it'll do to others.  They care only about themselves.  I could give you example after example, but here are a few generic situations that fit the 'can't fix stupid' mantra.

* 'I can't get a job because I won't make enough money.  So I'm not going to work at all.'  Well, duh...now you won't make ANY money.  That makes total sense.  NOT.

* 'I'm bored with my marriage, so I'm going to date someone else.  My kids will handle it.'  No, they won't.  Boredom in a marriage means you're half to blame.  The kids will forever be affected by this.

*  'He abuses me, but I can't leave him.  I love him.'  Are you kidding me?  Look up 'Stockholm syndrome' and let's chat.

These are just hypothetical situations, because for every one of these examples, there's always a second side, and there are usually extenuating circumstances.

But these types of people make GREAT characters.  They have flaws.  They're broken.  They come to the story with lots of emotions, unable to flee from the past.

Without conflict, there is no story.  These people bring a lot of conflict and drama to every plot.

So here's some homework for you.  In your life, find ten people who are making stupid decisions.  Take their flaws and put them into your next book, but mask who those people are.  I could come up with more than ten, but ten would be a wonderful start.

Have a wonderful week!
Markee

Friday, April 3, 2015

What is Deus Ex Machina?

My son said this phrase to me about a year ago, and I thought he was was saying 'do sex machina,' which made me wonder if it was a kinky teenage thing or something (and I REALLY didn't want any explanation whatsoever of any type of machine thing).  Seriously.  I'd never heard of it before.

Even though I had my hands over my ears, he finally explained.

Here's a great explanation, from literarydevices.net:

The term deus ex machina refers to the circumstance where an implausible concept or a divine character is introduced into a storyline for the purpose of resolving its conflict and procuring an interesting outcome.

We were watching Dodgeball for the umpteenth time, the other week (that movie's hilarious).  SPOILER ALERT:  If you haven't seen it, don't read the following.

At the very end, they wheeled out a big treasure box filled with money, because the main guy bet on his team to win, thus taking control of Average Joe's and getting the bad guy out of the way.  We had no idea that was coming, but it gave us the happy ending.  On the treasure box, it said, 'Deus Ex Machina.'  No kidding.  I'd never seen that on there before, and I've watched that movie so many times.

According to literarydevices.net, again, the term means 'god in the machine':
The term is Latin for “god out of the machine” and has its origins in ancient Greek theatre. It denotes scenes in which a crane (machine) was used to lower actors or statues playing a god or gods (deus) onto the stage to set things right, usually near the end of the play.
Do you have any of these things in your books, or have you seen this in a book before?  Interesting concept, and not always easy to spot.  But I'm told it's a bad thing.  However, if done like Dodgeball, where it's actually part of a joke, that's hilarious.  I want to do that sometime, in one of my books, just for fun!

Have a great week!
Markee





Wednesday, April 1, 2015

April Newsletter

Wahoo!  It's April Fool's Day!


So how what do you do for April Fool's?  Have you ever pulled a joke on someone?  I have...and it's hilarious!  I told my kids once that they had to hurry and get dressed because we were going to DisneyWorld or something (I forget all the details).  They fell for it!  They got dressed in a flash and were ready to go.  So I took them...to school.  BWAHAHAH!  They weren't happy, but we got out the door in a flash that day.  Gotta love April Fool's!

Have a you ever been the victim of an April Fool's joke?  Not me...but the day is young.  LOL!

Have a wonderful month!
SweetTale Books





What Happened 
At SweetTale Books
in March?


This past month, I put out a book by Paige Ryter for St. Patrick's Day:



Blurb:
Rick and Lyra have a new client who demands they find the leprechaun linked to a psycho golden shamrock that is a time machine, or she'll kill them all. The team travels to Ireland in search of the end of the rainbow so they don't lose their lives. 

Rick Shilling to the Rescue Story 3 -- NOVELLA LENGTH 

~~~~~
Chapter 1:

A beautiful blonde woman sauntered into Rick's home office with a sway to her step. Rick glanced up from his work, seeing Neville standing behind the dame. Her angled black wide-brimmed hat partially covered her short 1940s hairdo. She wore a black skirt with a white paisley design, accentuating her hips on her tiny frame. The matching blouse was more like a long-sleeved jacket, with frill of some sort around the plunging neckline. A tiny purse hung on her forearm, while her small black gloves rose to meet the handle of the clutch. Her makeup was flawless, from the red lipstick to the rouge and understated mascara.

Overall, the woman looked as if she'd just stepped out of a 1940s catalogue. Since Rick had been studying fashion to get Lyra up with the times, he knew class when he saw it. And this lady overflowed with finesse from her fashionable hat to her pencil skirt.

Rick stood up and lowered his eyes down over the woman one more time, not quite sure he'd gotten enough input for his dreams that night. "May I help you?"

"You Rick Shilling?" She pulled on the fingers of each glove to remove it while he stared. It was mesmerizing to watch her undress, even if it was just her black gloves.

"Yes." He returned his gaze to her very blue eyes.

"I'd like to discuss a business transaction with you."

"Certainly." He pointed to the chair on the other side of the desk. "Have a seat."

The woman sat down and crossed her legs in the tight skirt, revealing only her shapely calf and the slit up the back of the material. She wore black slightly open-toed pumps, with about a two-inch square heel, and a strap on the ankle. Very stylish, but not in fashion for today. It made him wonder where she shopped--or when.

"Want me in on this?" Neville asked. He'd been standing in the background, also watching the woman dressed in black, but Rick had forgotten about him.

"Uh..." Rick glanced at Neville, but his eyes kept going back to the woman in black. "Sure." He might need someone else around so they'd remember what the lady said. His mind was that captivated by this woman.

Neville pulled a chair up right beside the woman and sat down.

Rick sat as well, and leaned up, crossing his arms on the desk. "What's the problem?"

The woman pulled a white dainty handkerchief from her purse and dabbed at her eyes. The handkerchief had a monogram on it, with the initials EMT on it. She had a medical background? Good, because he thought he was going to have a heart attack, just from watching her.

"It all started two weeks ago," she said. "I was married to Albert, and things were going great. We were rich, with a pool in the backyard of our mansion, butlers, and even a limousine with a driver."

"So you didn't live around here?" No one in this area was that rich.

She glanced up at him. "No. We lived in South Africa, so Albert could be closer to his job. He was the CEO of a diamond mine there and we were very well off." She dabbed her eyes again, but her makeup stayed perfect.

Rick was taking mental notes for Lyra, since she was at her home, cleaning, yet again.

"Anyway," the woman said. "Two weeks ago today, my uncle Oliver died and I went to Cincinnati for the funeral. My aunt Agnes gave me a small cigar box that Oliver wanted me to have. It was his one treasure in his life. Inside were things that Oliver and I'd used when I was a kid."

"You used things with your uncle?" Neville asked. "Why would you deal with your uncle?"

"Oh. Let me go back a bit. My name's Emily Tinkerton. I was born Emily Rochet, in Patterson, New Jersey."

Come to think of it, she did have a slight Jersey accent.

Emily continued. "My father was a member of the mob. When I was eight, my parents were both gunned down in cold blood inside our home. I was at school at the time. I rode the bus home and when I got there, I found them both dead with blood everywhere. I called the cops and they put me in a foster home until my Aunt Agnes and Uncle Oliver could drive from Ohio to New Jersey to get me. They adopted me and we were great friends. Uncle Oliver was a jeweler and had to make trips to South Africa for his job. I went with him one summer, right after my senior year in college. That's when I met Albert. We dated long distance for a year, and then we got married in Ohio. We moved to South Africa for his job, and I kept in touch with Aunt Agnes and Uncle Oliver. We were all friends, and they traveled to Africa many times, just to see Albert and me."

"No kids?" Rick asked.

Emily shook her head. "No. It wasn't to be. It wasn't that we didn't try, but for some reason, we had no children." She paused. "Anyway, I came alone to the funeral, because Albert was closing a huge deal for the mine. They'd just purchased more land and were expanding. He also was dealing with the mineworkers union, who wanted to negotiate more money. They treat their workers very well, unlike some of the mines, but they were only making triple U.S. minimum wage and they didn't think that was enough. They got greedy, so Albert had to deal with that and their contract. Thus, I flew back here alone. After the funeral, Aunt Agnes gave me the cigar box. I found my old jacks that Aunt Agnes and I used to play with, a key to a piggy bank that broke a long time ago, and ten bucks in silver dollars, along with many notes Uncle Oliver and I had written to each other. I laughed at most of it. But when I lifted all the notes, I found a little black pouch like you'd see for diamonds. I figured it must be something we'd saved years ago, as a dowry for my wedding or something. I opened it and this is what I found." She opened her purse and brought out the black pouch, and then laid it gingerly it on the desk as if it might explode or something. "Be careful when you handle it and don't wish for anything." She nodded. "Take it. I want it out of my life."

Rick didn't know what to think. But he reached over, grabbed the velvety bag, and dumped the contents on the desk. There, before him, was a piece of old parchment paper and a golden shamrock, about the size of a quarter.

"What's this?" He pointed at the shamrock.

She reached out and slapped his hand away. "Don't touch it with your hand!"

Rick backed off. "Why?"

"It's possessed," she whispered. "The thing has magical powers. It's psycho!"

Psycho? Weird. He wondered about her sanity and if she was the psycho one. "But it's only a piece of gold metal." It probably wasn't even real gold, but gold plated steel. "How can a golden shamrock be psycho?"

"Read the parchment and you tell me." She sat back and blew out a breath.

Rick stared at her for an extra moment, wondering if she really was crazy. No one looking that good could ever be crazy, so he lifted the yellowed parchment into his hands and began to read aloud.

"This be the shamrock from the old country. A magical leprechaun cast a darlin' spell on its gold, that'll transport the holder to any time or dimension of their choice. One trip to and fro per customer is all it takes, and all worldly goods will be transformed as well."

Rick lifted his eyes to Emily. "A time or dimension?" He glanced down at the golden shamrock. "This is a time machine?"

She nodded. "Yes." She motioned toward her outfit. "These are now my clothes. I wished to go back to 1947, when a rival diamond company came out with a slogan that would change the face of engagement rings everywhere. The De Beers Company wisely educated the public about the 4 C's on diamonds--cut, carats, color, and clarity, and had the winning slogan, 'A Diamond is Forever.' They made buyers think that every woman had to have a diamond engagement ring. They made a fortune, because ever since that time every woman longed for that diamond. I wanted to see it happen. My husband worked for Carated Diamond Company, and I really wanted him to go to De Beers because they had a monopoly on the diamond industry at one time. They were giants. Granted, Carated did really well, but Albert would've done better at the competitor." She pointed at the shamrock. "When I found that item, two weeks ago, I thought it over for a week, wondering what would have happened if Albert had gone to work for De Beers. Then one evening about two nights ago, I had a revelation. I'd go back to 1947, right before the slogan came out, and invest in De Beers, since it was before Albert was born. If I did that, I'd have the money from the investment and be able to tell Albert that I was a shareholder. That way, he'd want to go to work there, and he'd be more famous and we'd be richer. He'd also help them with various other issues." She sighed, and tears made her eyes glisten. "Going back in time was the worst decision of my life."

"What happened?" Rick asked.

"Well, I went back to 1947, to South Africa. I took a thousand dollars with me, thinking I'd invest. When I got there, all my clothes had turned into the fashion of that day." She moved her hands down over her to show off her outfit. "Also, that thousand dollars became thirty thousand dollars of the cash used in that day. My purse was really heavy. So the first thing I did was to get a place to stay. I was only going to stay for a short time, so I went to a boarding home, run by a little old woman with the last name Antonio. I found out later that she was hiding out from the mob. I had no idea that the mob had fingered her and the bad guys were ready to make a raid on her home. They killed everyone inside when I went out that first day to invest in De Beers. When I returned, I found three dead bodies, just like finding my parents so many years ago. I also saw the murderer run out the back of the home, and they're on the lookout for me. I think they gave up after I left, but they're hot on my tail again now, since I went back to our home in South Africa." She motioned toward her clothes again. "I look just like when they saw me witness the murder, so now they know who I am and what I look like."

"Wow," Neville said. "That was bad timing."

She nodded. "You know it. I did invest in De Beers that day. But when I got back, our house had been bulldozed, and I found out we'd moved back to the States, to New Jersey. We had a big home in the Princeton area, thanks to my investment back in 1947. However, about two months ago in the new timeline, Albert died, leaving me with more debt than I knew we had. Turns out, after we bought the house, he gambled all that money away that I'd made with that one investment. He also had quit the job in South Africa and became a blackjack dealer at a casino." She sucked in a breath and her face grimaced as she tried not to cry. "Because I went back to 1947, I not only lost Albert, but our home and all my belongings except my 1940s outfits. I'm also dirt poor. Not only that, but the mob saw me and tracked me back to New Jersey. Because they've been searching for me as their witness for all these years, I'm on their hit list for cement shoes in the Atlantic Ocean."

Rick wasn't getting this. Why would someone wear cement shoes and go near the ocean with them? "Huh?"

Neville leaned closer. "It's said that the mob puts the victim's feet in cement, waits for it to harden, and then throws them into the ocean to kill them."

"Oh. Murder." Now Rick got it. He turned his attention to Emily. "So what would you like us to do for you?"

"You can't fix my situation, so I want you to take that rotten shamrock and deliver it to the original maker." She pointed at the golden shamrock lying on the desk. "I don't want anyone else to get hurt." She sobbed a slight cry. "I'm not the only one who's suffered at the hands of that ornament."

Rick sat up, even more interested in her story. "Why is that?"

"Both my aunt and uncle used it, and it changed all of our lives forever. If they hadn't gone back in time, my parents would both be alive."

She could've bowled him over with a feather.

~~~~~
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