Jan 15

Review of The Case of the Caged Cockers

Sometimes an author gets a review that is both incredibly positive and thoughtful that one feels the need to share it. The following is one of those reviews.

The reviewer was talking about The Case of the Caged Cockers, the third book in my new Thousand Islands Doggy Inn Mystery series, but makes a lot of references to the series as a whole.

I have no idea who the reviewer, Red Wolf, is, but I would like to thank him/her for taking the time to write such a wonderful review and I’m so glad you’re enjoying the new series!

Many of the typical elements of a cozy mystery with food and dogs are present. The medical examiner, the high ranking police officer who cannot quite solve the crimes without assistance from our favorite amateur crime solver(s), said amateur crime solver who somehow always has a job that somehow always allows her to have enough free time and money to investigate whenever, wherever, and however she needs to without interference from said job. Wonderful dogs with the necessary skills and personalities, mouthwatering food above what most of us can afford or find or create on a major special occasion as an everyday occurrence.

All this in spades.

But I do not feel like the author is making fun of any of the characters, neither good guys, bad guys, secondary characters, nor those whose roles are less clear at this point in the series. Nor do I feel that the author is making fun of me as the reader of this rather unlikely tale. The author does an incredibly skillful job of making clear that unlikely is not another name for impossible, by picking a setting and a cast of characters that make the plot just believable because it is such an unlikely thing to actually happen that if it did happen, this is exactly how it would probably have happened, and exactly who it would have happened to.

Real world events happen to unique individuals. No one else is exactly like your third-grade teacher or the first boy you kissed, and no dogs you had before is like your current dogs. So why do so many characters in cozy mysteries seem so similar? It is great to have a chief of police who is competent, loves his job, doesn’t want civilians getting hurt or in over their heads, but does accept that some people will tell someone else things that they would not tell him, or will not do things when he is around that they have no hesitation doing to impress a stunningly beautiful woman.

I have read some cozy mysteries that I like, but not many that impressed me. So far this series is a startling exception, just because all the elements seem so startling that the whole book actually feels as if it could have happened. If any characters could have succeeded the way that the good guys did, it would have been these unlikely good guys. If any bad guys could have made some of the mistakes these bad guys made, it would have been these bad guys. The bad guys are not all evil to the core. The good guys have weaknesses, but ones you could accept in a friend. These are not your typical friends and neighbors, but they do remind you from time to time of someone you knew. To me that makes this a memorable and enjoyable story.

I hope the author can keep this up for twenty-three more letters.

Dec 06

Great New Series from Dianne Harman!

My friend and best-selling author, Dianne Harman, has released the first book in her new Midlife Journey series that is focused on and, as the series progresses, will deal with many of the issues facing those of us who fall in the spectrum of what is considered middle-aged. I just finished the first book, Alexis, and thought it would be a great idea to have a chat with Dianne about her great new series.

BR

Welcome, Dianne. I really enjoyed Alexis. And thanks so much for taking the time to talk about your new series. You continue having enormous success with your books, especially your cozy mysteries, and I’m wondering why you decided to do something a bit different with your Midlife Journey series.

DH

Thanks for the invitation, Bernie. And I have to tell you that I’m really enjoying your new Thousand Islands Doggy Inn cozy series. I decided to write this new series because of the feedback I received from my readers. They told me they love my cozy mystery series because the main characters are people in midlife who have experienced things like the death of a spouse, divorce, health issues, children who have left home, career changes, etc.

BR

You’ve definitely focused on midlife and the issues people face in your other books so you are certainly well-placed to do a series like this. Could you spend a few minutes discussing how you’re approaching it?

DH

The vast majority of novels on the market are geared to a younger market, and there aren’t that many books for people of a certain age. What I intend to do with this series is to have one theme per book that deals with something a person in midlife may experience, and yet, often what people think of as a disaster is really just a chance for a new beginning or a different way of living. My first book, Alexis, deals with a woman whose boss gives her weight loss surgery as her Christmas bonus. It sounds silly on the surface and she’s very angry at first, but she’s forced to take a long look at her life and what really has held her back from relationships. With a significant weight loss and some therapy to help, comes a whole new life, one she never dreamed she’d be a part of.

BR

I have to admit that particular Christmas gift caught me by surprise when I read it, but it definitely grabs the reader’s attention right out of the gate. From an author perspective, I have to say that’s it a great opening hook. What are some of the other big themes you’ll be dealing with as the series progresses?

DH

Certainly, divorce has become commonplace in midlife and I just read a term “grey divorce,” because so many older people are getting divorced. Then what? I believe readers want books that reflect things they are experiencing rather than a twenty-five-year-old being seduced by a billionaire – particularly if you’re in your 50’s. That train left the station awhile ago!

BR

I never even heard the All Aboard call. I always pick up on the theme of how “it’s never too late” in your books. I know that doesn’t happen by accident so could you talk a bit about your perspective on that idea?

DH

In midlife one often has to face the fact that they’re not going to become the president of the company, that where they are and what they have may be as good as it’s going to get. So the question becomes -how does one deal with that? Finally, I want people to know that just because they’re in midlife, it doesn’t mean they still can’t do things. I wrote my first novel when I was 68 and now have over thirty in print, many of which are best sellers. To sum it up, just because there’s a little or maybe a lot of tread on the tires, it doesn’t mean one’s life is finished. Second chances and new beginnings can and do happen!

BR

Dianne, as always it’s been an honor and a privilege chatting with you. Your abilities and work ethic, along your genuine concern for people are an inspiration to me and countless others. I hope to have you back soon as well as celebrate the launch of your 100th book. The way you’re going, I’m pretty sure you’re going to get there.

DH

Thanks, Bernie. One hundred books would be nice. I love round numbers! Take care.

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Alexis
Midlife Journey series #1

When her boss gives Alexis weight loss surgery as an early Christmas bonus, it sets in motion a string of events no one could have foreseen. With the surgery comes the realization that anything is possible from losing weight, working out, a complete makeover, a new wardrobe, to men in her life for the first time. Each step is terrifying as time after time she’s forced to get out of her comfort zone because of all the changes taking place.

As the Alexis package becomes more appealing it brings with it an exotic sports car, a glamorous face and body, and a chance at love. But when the ex-wife of the man she falls in love with wants to reconcile with him, Alexis’ hard fought midlife victory becomes a nightmare, and she resorts to returning to what used to work for her when she didn’t want to deal with her feelings – food. Is she doomed to live a life of unhappiness or is there a happy ever after for her?

You can’t read about Alexis’ trials and tribulations without rooting for her every step of the way. Although her midlife journey forces her to come to terms with a lifetime of being overweight, her struggle of dealing with changes in midlife is one every woman will face in one form or another. This is Alexis’ midlife journey.

Dianne Harman, Author
Amazon: http://ow.ly/s6pN5
Web Site http://www.DianneHarman.com
Blog: http://dianneharman.com/blog/
Twitter: @DianneDHarman

Nov 12

Say Hello to Dianne Harman

Today’s post is a bit different in that I’m featuring Dianne Harman, an author friend who is having remarkable success with her various cozy mystery series. Dianne is rapidly approaching her 30th book and has received numerous awards for her work, including being named by Amazon as one of their most popular authors for the last six months. She’s also a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post.

I first met Dianne through her Coyote Series which includes: Blue Coyote Motel; a quarter finalist in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award contest, a Goodreads Psychological Thriller and e-thriller Book of the Month; Coyote in Provence; and Cornered Coyote. Other awards include being finalists in the prestigious CLUE awards contest. Her love of cooking, food, and mystery led to the Cedar Bay Cozy Mystery Series and the Liz Lucas Cozy Mystery Series. In both series there’s lots of food, recipes, and dogs!

Dianne has a fascinating background she incorporates into her stories and characters. She was the owner of a national antique and art appraisal business for many years. She left that industry and opened two yoga centers, where she taught yoga and certified yoga instructors. She continues to travel extensively throughout the world, and lives in Huntington Beach, California, with her husband, Tom, a former California Senator and their six-month-old puppy, Kelly.

In short, she is definitely an author I recommend you check if you haven’t already done so. Featured today is her latest book which is currently sitting in the Top 1000 of books on Amazon. Considering that there are millions of titles out there, this is no small accomplishment.

So it is with great pleasure that I present Murder at the Polo Club

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Award Winning Author

DIANNE HARMAN

Antiques, polo, and relationships. What do they have in common? Murder!

Why was the Palm Springs polo club owner’s fiancée, Pia, murdered? Things like old relationships, Mafia vendettas, and fighting over inheritances play a part in this cozy mystery. Jack Rutledge, the owner of a world-class polo club in Palm Springs hires Marty Combs, an antique appraiser, to evaluate Jack’s collection of art pottery and Pia’s recently inherited collection of art glass. When Marty and her husband Jeff, a Palm Springs Police Detective, attend a cocktail party at the Rutledge Polo Club, they find themselves in the middle of a murder mystery.

Who killed Pia? Was it Kevin, the has-been polo player jealous of Jack’s success? Roberto, the reputed second-in-command of the West Coast Mafia who loved Pia? Gerta, Pia’s sister, who feels the art glass collection that was willed to Pia should be hers? Pia’s ex-husband, a felon newly released from prison? Jensen, Jack’s son, who’d been promised he would inherit Jack’s very valuable art pottery collection, or even Lupe, the polo club owner’s maid?

Join the group of friends who live in a high desert compound outside Palm Springs with Duke, Marty’s pink bootie wearing Labrador retriever, as they try to figure out who the murderer is before Marty becomes the next victim.

Another fast-paced mystery exploring money and relationships. As always, there’s plenty of food and recipes from Dianne Harman, a seven-time Amazon All-Star author.

Dianne Harman, Author
Amazon: http://ow.ly/s6pN5
Web Site http://www.DianneHarman.com
Blog: http://dianneharman.com/blog/
Twitter: @DianneDHarman

On a final note, I want to thank all of you for making yesterday’s launch of my new book,The Case of the Abandoned Aussie, such a success. It’s off to a strong start and I truly appreciate all your ongoing support.

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http://amzn.to/2fDuX9u

Nov 08

My New Mystery Series Launches Friday!

Hi folks,

I hope everyone is doing well and has survived the marathon campaign season. I know I’m glad it’s over!

Thanks again for all your support with the launch of The Duplicates. And I’m sorry I’ve been quiet since then but I’ve been working on the development of a new series; The Thousand Islands Doggy Inn Mysteries and I’m pleased to announce that I’ve finished the first three books in the series.

The new series is different from my other books and I hope I don’t confuse too many of my current readers as I venture into this new genre for a while. 🙂 My other books are probably best described as adult crime thrillers and deal with a lot of themes that lend themselves to more of a global setting. And after seven books, I decided I wanted to take a bit of a break from that genre and do a wholesome series with a small town setting focusing on the characteristics and values of the people who enjoy living in a close-knit community.

As you know, I spend a lot of time on my characters and use a lot of comedy in my books. I thought my idea for the Thousand Islands Doggy Inn series would enable me to maintain my writing style while expanding into the mystery genre. Also, I’ve wanted to pay tribute to the Thousand Islands, the area where I grew up, for quite a while now. And I’m doing my best to highlight aspects of what it’s like to live there in a way so that the area almost becomes another character in the series. After I had decided to do a cozy mystery series that would pay tribute to the Thousand Islands, I wanted to include two other things I love; dogs and good food.

And soon the idea of having two female main characters with a love for the same three things was born. In short, Suzy Chandler, along with her best friend and business partner, Josie, own and operate the Thousand Islands Doggy Inn, a place they created to provide dogs with the things they deserve; which is the best of everything. As best friends, they share a lot of common interests, constantly bounce ideas off each other, and sometimes gets cranky with each other and bicker. I love writing Suzy and Josie’s characters and I think their relationship and reactions to the things that unfold around them is what makes the series so special. The Doggy Inn they own and operate is a combination full-service veterinary operation, boarding service, and a large dog rescue program. Since Suzy and Josie have a strict No Kill policy, the Doggy Inn is usually overflowing with rescue dogs, along with boarders and other dogs they consider part of their family.

The Thousand Islands Doggy Inn mysteries is an alphabet series, and one specific breed is featured in each book, and I’m pleased to announce that the first two books in the series are available for Pre-Order on Amazon. Book three will be launching around Christmas.

I think you’re going to enjoy the new series! And as always, I’d love to hear from you if you have any feedback or questions. And, of course, Amazon reviews are always greatly appreciated.

The Case of the Abandoned Aussie – Launches November 11th (Now available for Pre-Order)

The Case of the Brokenhearted Bulldog – Launches November 29th (Now available for Pre-Order)

The Case of the Caged Cockers – Launches Christmas

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The Case of the Abandoned Aussiehttp://amzn.to/2fk90Np

Suzy Chandler, along with her best friend and business partner, Josie, own and operate the Thousand Islands Doggy Inn, a place they created to provide dogs with the things they deserve; which is the best of everything. One morning while fishing, they hook a really big one; the dead body of a rich candy magnate who owns an island in the area. They also find Chloe, an Australian Shepherd puppy, swimming nearby and frantically trying to survive the trauma of being thrown overboard in the middle of the night.

A fast-paced and funny mystery unfolds that affectionately focuses on dogs, food, and the natural beauty of the Thousand Islands region as Suzy and Josie embark on a mission to protect Chloe as well as figure out who killed the candy magnate. And as the list of suspects grows, and the victims pile up, they find themselves dealing with a unique cast of characters and wondering if they just might be the next target.

With Suzy and Josie, The Thousand Islands Doggy Inn Mysteries features two of the smartest and funniest lead female protagonists to hit the cozy mystery scene in a very long time, and their affection for food and boundless love and devotion to their dogs puts this new series in the Don’t Miss category. The Case of the Abandoned Aussie gets this fresh alphabet series off to a great start, and B.R. Snow promises that readers are in for a long, wild, and highly entertaining ride as the series moves forward.

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The Case of the Brokenhearted Bulldoghttp://amzn.to/2eiozIE

Suzy and Josie, owners of the Thousand Islands Doggy Inn, are attending an end-of-summer party and about to receive a sizeable charitable gift from one of their good friends, a local businessman with a love of dogs and a reputation with the ladies. A newly built yacht about to embark on a trip to Florida via the Inland Waterway is one of the party highlights, but when the engineer is killed, and Jackson, the Clay Bay Chief of Police, ends up in critical condition, the yacht becomes the focal point of the ensuing murder investigation.

In addition to trying to solve the murder, Suzy and Josie are forced to deal with a variety of other problems and distractions. Jackson’s bulldog, Sluggo, is despondent and not eating. And as Jackson fights for his life and attempts to recover from the attack, Suzy’s mom begins a new relationship she believes has the potential to go the distance. And if that weren’t enough, when Chef Claire threatens to take a new job out of state, putting a serious damper on the quality of food served at the house, Suzy and Josie are pushed to their limits.

The Thousand Islands Doggy Inn Mysteries features two of the smartest and funniest lead female protagonists to hit the cozy mystery scene in a very long time, and Suzy and Josie’s affection for food and their boundless love and devotion to their dogs puts this new series in the Don’t Miss category. The Case of the Brokenhearted Bulldog is another fast-paced and funny cozy mystery installment in this series that affectionately focuses on dogs, food, and the natural beauty of the Thousand Islands region.

Aug 21

The Duplicates – Launch Date – August 31

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As a special thank you to all of you who generously supported my recent Amazon campaign, between now and when the book launches on August 31st, I’m offering The Duplicates for the extremely low price of $0.99. Yes, you read that right. For the next 10 days, The Duplicates will be available to you for ninety-nine cents. All you need to do is click the link below, Pre-Order the book, and on the 31st it will be automatically downloaded to you.

The Duplicateshttp://amzn.to/2bGsg6a

I will also be sharing the results of my recent campaign with you shortly. Thanks to you the campaign produced some amazing results, and I have to admit that I’m still surprised that Amazon didn’t pick the book up. But the good news for you is that you will have it by the end of the month instead of later in the fall.

Again, I want to thank each and every one of you for your ongoing support. I truly appreciate it, and I hope you enjoy reading The Duplicates as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Be well, my friends.

Happy reading.

Bernie

Jul 10

The Duplicates – Amazon Public Campaign

DUPLICATE COVER SWIRL 7-6-16 copy

Good morning!

I hope you’re doing well.

I’m doing this post because I need to ask you for a small favor. And I promise it will only take a few moments of your valuable time.

My new book, The Duplicates, the 5th in my Damaged Po$$e series, is already generating a lot of interest. Amazon is considering it for one of their publishing subsidiaries, and I think it’s an opportunity I just can’t pass up.

In addition to the book itself, one of the things they consider when making their decision is the interest readers have in the book. As such, starting today and for the next thirty days, The Duplicates will be in a public campaign where people will have the opportunity to Nominate the book.

If you could take the time to click the link below and nominate The Duplicates, I will be eternally grateful for your support.

https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/1RQV30RDEOB90

The good news for you is, if the book is selected, you will receive a free copy just for participating in the nomination process.

Again, I hope you’re doing well, and I look forward to catching up soon.

Be well.

Bernie

DUPLICATE COVER SWIRL 7-6-16 copy

Jul 07

The DuplicatesAnatomy of a Novel – Installment 1

The Question Before Us

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I get the question all the time.

“How do you write a book?”

My initial response always seems to confuse the person asking the question.

“One word at a time.”

Invariably, they think I’m making a joke, or worse, not taking them seriously.

But it’s the truth. That’s how it’s done.

And it’s a brutal, exhilarating process that isn’t for the faint of heart.

As all my colleagues know, if you’re an author, you better love the process.

But since I get the how do you do it question a lot, I decided to keep a journal and a tracking log as I wrote my new book, The Duplicates, Book #5 in my Damaged Po$$e series.

In a way, it was almost like writing two books at the same time.

One; the actual book.

The other; a chronicle of my activities as I went through the entire writing and editing process.

From the initial idea, through character development, into the Outline process, the writing of the first draft, and finishing with a detailed description of my four-round editing process.

So, 68 days after I started writing the first draft on April 5th, on June 10th, I put the final touches on the finished manuscript that is now with my editor and a select group of trusted early readers.

And here’s what I know:

The Duplicates is a thriller that deals with End of Days prophecies and near-future technologies colliding.

The final word count is 87,778.

The writing and editing process totaled 290 hours.

That translates into an average of 1,290 words per day; 303 per hour; five words a minute.

Yeah, I know, weird to look at it that way, huh?

And that’s not counting all the hours I spent on the couch wondering how the hell I was going to transition my Damaged Po$$e series into more of the traditional thriller genre without losing a lot of the elements that made the series popular in the first place.

How does one write a book that includes near-future technology without veering off into science fiction; a genre I respect a great deal but have no experience with or interest in writing?

How do I incorporate the End of Days prophecies of major religions without coming across as either preachy or disrespectful of other people’s opinions and beliefs?

How do I create a memorable villain who’s got the chops to pull the role off?

And wait until you see who I picked for that.

How could I even consider the possibility of killing off any of the Po$$e series beloved characters?

Uh, oh. Spoiler alert.

All these questions and more tormented me for months as I stretched out on the couch and tried to figure out what the hell I was going to do. My wife, Laurie, although she loves the book, still isn’t convinced that all my couch time met the definition of work.

And don’t even get me started on the Outline and what an arduous task that was. But both the couch-time and the pain and suffering I experienced getting the Outline right ended up being well worth the effort.

I love this book.

In my Not At All Humble Opinion; it’s my best book.

And since my personal goal is to make each book better than the last, I’m a happy man. Don’t get me wrong. I think my last book, Either Ore, was pretty frigging good.

I repeat; in my Not At All Humble Opinion.

The Duplicates is a timely page-turner; and readers will think and learn, laugh, maybe even cry.

And while the book does test the boundaries of where we’re at right now with the advancement of technology and as a global community, the themes I deal with in the book are a lot closer to being realized than all of us might believe possible.

So between now and when The Duplicates launches, I’ll be posting a six-installment review of the process I went through writing the book.

I think other authors will find it interesting and, at times, helpful. If it does give you a few useful ideas, please let me know.

And I think readers will enjoy taking a peek behind the curtain to see how one of these things gets made.

The process is nowhere near as disgusting as watching sausage or management decisions get made, but it does get ugly from time to time.

Don’t worry. I won’t be giving away too much of the story. I want you to read the damn thing, right?

But by the end of the installments, you’ll have a good understanding of how I went from 0 to 87,778 words in 68 days.

Stay tuned, the second installment, The Idea, is coming soon.

And if you’d like to receive each installment automatically, just Subscribe here on the site.

Be well, my friends.

Jan 27

(No title)

Dec 31

Happy New Year!

new years copyI’d like to wish all of you a fantastic New Year.

I hope 2015 brings you nothing but peace, prosperity, and joy!

Thanks, as always, for all your kindness and support this year!

Be well, my friends.

Bernie

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Dec 14

Either Ore is Available for Pre-Order

Either Ore cover final 12-5-14 copy

I’m sure you’ve all had days like this.

About four months ago, I had one of those mornings when – with full deference to Harry Potter – the Muggles were winning big. And on days like that, I’ll often head to an Indian restaurant near my office to get away from the noise, clear my head, and enjoy an extra-hot Vindaloo. On those days, I bring along my notebook just in case…

And on that extra-hot Austin day in August, as I was nibbling a piece of naan, a thought just popped into my mind: What would happen if two jewelry thieves met while they were robbing the same house?

One hour later I left the restaurant, very full, with a complete outline of my new book, Either Ore. The idea was so good, and the storyline so clear and fully-fleshed, that it simply pushed every other writing project I was working on aside. Fully-formulated stories and characters rarely emerge from the subconscious, and when they do, I tend to get focused in a hurry.

So it is with considerable pride, and a healthy dose of fatigue, that I present to you the first book in my new series; The Cautionary Tales of Either Ore. I already have the next two books in the series sketched out, and I know that, before too long, the characters from the Either Ore series and the Damaged Po$$e gang will be meeting head on. But I’m getting ahead of the story…

Either Ore is launching on January 1st but, as a special thanks to all of you, I’m offering the book via Amazon’s Pre-Order process for $0.99. Click the link below to reserve your copy for ninety-cents and, on New Year’s Day, it will magically appear on your e-book reader. For those of you who prefer paperback, you will have that option available from the same link.

Get Either Ore here:
http://amzn.to/1vOy2mX

I think you’re really going to enjoy Either Ore. If you have half as much fun reading it as I did writing it, you’re in for a real treat.

As always, thanks so much for your ongoing support. I’ll be in touch soon.

Here’s the synopsis and first chapter to get you started.

Be well, my friends.

Bernie

Either Ore cover final 12-5-14 copy

Either Ore and Casper Dupree, two of the best jewelry thieves to ever work the circuit, first meet during a chance encounter when they realize they’re inadvertently robbing the same house. They meet for the second time three years later after Either has been released from prison and Casper has launched a fledgling career as an author of romance novels. And now Either has come up with the perfect way for them to pull off the ultimate road trip caper, as well as help Casper sell a few books in the process.

Hitting the road in a leased Winnebago, Either and Casper embark on the next chapter in their career in crime as coconspirators of Casper Dupree’s Endless Book Tour. Along the way they partner with Coco, a femme fatale with a penchant for classic noir and creative crime. They also manage to attract the attention of an FBI agent who has a history with Either and is determined to do everything in his power to make sure that the bad guys don’t win.

 

 

Either Ore further reinforces B.R. Snow’s position as one of the funniest writers working today and the book is the latest example of Snow’s ability to produce great characters and write dialogue that pops off the page while keeping readers turning the pages to find out what happens next. But beyond the humor, Either Ore is a terrific narrative about friendship and choices and the consequences that follow.

Chapter 1

Casper had strolled out of the second floor master bathroom, drying his hands with a monogrammed towel, when he saw the guy for the first time. Only ten minutes earlier, Casper had been cursing his inability to decipher the wall safe. But this guy already had it open, making Casper feel like a fucking amateur.

Casper had needed a break when his stomach, always touchy during B&E’s, began fighting back against the extra-spicy, mega bean burrito he’d scarfed down earlier in the car. His stomach now settled into a slow roil, Casper leaned against the door and studied the guy taking items from the safe and sliding them into a large cloth sack. Casper snapped on a fresh pair of work gloves, then reached into his jacket pocket.

Upon hearing the snap, the guy emptying the safe turned and the small flashlight in his left hand lit the gun extending from Casper’s right. Casper’s first impression was that he was impressed by how the guy managed to stay so cool. Here he was, caught red-handed with a Glock pointed at his chest from eight feet, and the fucking guy just smiled and tossed another piece of jewelry in the bag. The room was dark, but Casper had seen enough sparkling to know that whatever it was, it was made out of diamonds. The guy glanced down into the bag, then back at Casper. The smile never left his face.

“Find what you were looking for?”

The guy focused on the Glock, probably deciding at that exact moment if Casper was going to shoot him, he’d have already done it.

The guy flashed that smile again.

“I guess. I was hoping for a bit more cash since, every time I have to fence jewelry, I always end up getting screwed on the exchange. But, yeah, I can make this work.”

“I’m impressed,” Casper said, nodding at the safe. “How’d you get it open? I was starting to think I was going to have to blast my way in.”

“I can open anything.” He shrugged. “Don’t know why. It’s just always been that way. When I was a kid, the neighbors were always stopping by the house when they had a pickle jar or some shit they couldn’t open.” He nodded at Casper’s hand. “Triumph brand, right?”

Casper, still impressed by how in control the guy was, nodded and said, “You know, it’s funny. I’m holding a gun that can turn you into hamburger, but you want to talk about gloves.”

“Hey, every two bit thug out there carries a gun, but only a total pro would understand the importance of good gloves. Those the Triumph Micros?”

“Yeah, only ones I use,” Casper said, starting to warm up to the guy.

“Me too,” he said. “The Micros are super thin. And all the neurosurgeons and cardiologists swear by them. I’ve worn condoms that weren’t as sensitive as these things.”

“I’ll remember that the next time I want to practice safe wanking.” Casper pointed the Glock at the bag. “You want to put that down on the table next to the bed?”

“Not really,” he said. “Whatever happened to possession is nine tenths of the law?”

“Nothing. But you’re possessing a bag.” Casper waggled the gun. “I’m possessing this.”

“Is that the Glock 19?”

“Yeah.”

“Shit, man. I’ve got the same model, right here in my pocket.” The guy patted the right side of his jacket.

Casper fully extended the arm holding the gun. “You think you can get it out before I blow a hole the size of that safe in your chest?”

“Hey, relax, will ya? Don’t go losing your fucking mind. I was just trying to make a point.”

“And what would that be?”

“The point is that we got stuff in common. Same gloves, a smart business decision on both our parts that can’t be underestimated. Same gun, lightweight but powerful. And reliable. When you need it, you damn well want to be sure it’s gonna do the trick, right? Same kind of shoes, ones that are both quiet and comfortable. Shit, we even picked the same house to rob. Shows we have good taste and a sense of style.”

“So?”

“So the point is, maybe it’s a sign.”

“A sign.”

“Yeah, a sign that maybe the two of us should be working together. At a minimum, we could probably get a discount on gloves. You know, buying in bulk and all.”

Casper laughed. Definitely the coolest crook he’d ever met. Guy staring down the barrel of a Glock but still able to find the funny and improvise on the fly. Casper shook his head.

“Sorry, I work alone.”

“I got a ton of ideas, man. Really good ideas, but I’d need a partner to make some of them work. What do they say? Many hands make light work, or some shit like that.”

“No, you got it right. So why don’t you just hand it over and I’ll be on my way. But feel free to help yourself to what’s in the fridge before you go. That way your night won’t be a total loss.”

“Real funny. It ain’t fair. Wasn’t for me, you’d still be scratching your balls, wondering how to open that safe without waking up the whole neighborhood. Aren’t you the least bit interested in what I’ve got to say? Or learning about my skill set?”

“Actually, what I’m interested in is what’s in that bag.” Casper wagged the gun at the small table next to the bed.”

The guy held one hand up as a sign for Casper not to shoot him and inched his way toward he table. He slowly emptied the bag and trained the flashlight on the contents. “Earrings, necklaces, couple of bracelets…all diamond. Six Rolexes; three men’s, three women’s, if you can believe that. All those watches, and these rich pricks are probably so out of touch they don’t even know what month it is, much less the time. Couple bundles of cash, looks like twenty K each. Not bad for fifteen minutes work…would have been less than that, if you hadn’t felt the need to threaten me with a gun and slow down my progress.” He stopped and cocked his head. “What the hell was that?”

“I didn’t hear anything.”

“Car door. Two of them…but soft, like somebody didn’t want anybody to hear them close.”

The guy crossed to the window and peered out through the side of the curtain. “Damn.” He stepped back from the window, the smile gone.

“What is it?” Casper said, approaching the window. “Cops?”

“Worse. Security company. At least cops will give you a chance to give yourself up. The rent-a-cops the security companies hire are so bored most of the time, they’ll shoot you just for something to do.” He peered back through the curtain. “Goddamn it.”

“What?”

“They’re coming up the driveway. Two of them. A silent alarm must have gone off.”

“That’s not possible,” Casper said. “I turned the security system off before I came in.”

“Yeah, me too,” he said. He paused and stared at Casper. “Shit.”

“You must have turned it back on.”

“Son of a bitch. How the hell did I do that?”

“Nice going, Mr. I Can Open Anything.”

“I can,” he said. “But I have a problem with computer shit.”

“Ya think?”

They heard the front door click open and muffled voices downstairs in the foyer.

The guy turned the flashlight off.

“Well, how do you want to play it?” Casper whispered.

“Well, I sure don’t want to stick around here and shoot it out with a couple of nine dollar an hour cowboys. I guess we’ll need to go out the window.”

The guy snuck another peek through the curtain then slowly slid the window open. He stuck his head out and looked both ways along the edge of the roofline.  “There’s a small ledge I think we can get to. We can climb out and work our way over to the garage. We should be able to jump down from there.”

Casper poked his head through the window and did a quick assessment. “Okay, let’s do it.” Casper put his gun back in his pocket and started to climb through the window. The guy grabbed his shoulder.

“Hang on. One more thing,” he whispered.

“What’s that?”

“The stuff. How we gonna divide it up?”

Casper glanced at the table, then back at the guy. “Focused little prick, aren’t you?”

“Hey, man,” he said. “I’m trying to make a living here. This is business, not personal.” He crossed to the table and refilled the bag. “Tell you what…you take the forty thousand in cash, I’ll take the jewelry. By the time I get it fenced, I’ll be lucky if I get anywhere near forty for all of it.”

“Bullshit,” Casper whispered. “My three-year-old nephew could get forty for all that.”

“Be that as it may,” the guy said. “I’m still getting the short end of the stick, but it ain’t like either one of us is in much of a position to stand here and haggle.”

Casper thought for a moment, then nodded and stuffed the two bundles of cash into his pocket. “Okay, let’s go.”

The guy folded the bag and placed it inside his jacket, then zipped it tight. He watched Casper swing his legs out the window, then heard a soft thud as he landed on the ledge below. He looked down. Casper, through the moonlight, gave him a thumbs up. He swung his legs out the window and joined Casper on the ledge. Facing the house, they inched along the ledge shuffling sideways.

“By the way,” Casper said. “I’m Casper Dupree.”

“Good to meet you. I’m Either Ore.”

“Either or what?”

“Either or fucking nothing. That’s my name.”

Casper continued to shuffle along the ledge heading towards the garage roof. “Either? Your name is Either?”

“Yeah. Either Ore. That’s O.R.E. You got a problem with that, Casper?”

“No. No problem. Your parents must have a sense of humor.”

“They liked to think so.”

“Pretty unusual. Be a hard name to forget,” Casper said, slowing a bit as they approached the garage.

“Yeah, well, if you end up getting pulled in by the cops, just make sure it manages to slip your mind.”

“No problem. I’ve never divulged anything to the cops in my life, and I’m not about to start. And I’m safe assuming you’ll extend me the same courtesy?”

“Man, do you ever listen to yourself? Sometimes you sound like you’re trying to come across as some kind of professor.”

“Fine. How’s this…can you keep your fucking mouth shut if you get arrested?”

“No worries there. I already forgot your name, Casper.”

They reached the point where the ledge met the garage roof, jumped, and each landed with a soft thud. They walked to the edge of the garage roof and looked down.

“It’s only about ten feet,” Casper said, staring down at the concrete driveway. “If we tuck and roll, we shouldn’t break anything.”

“That’s very comforting,” Either said, looking down for a landing spot.

Casper checked that the two bundles of cash were secure, then inched his way to the edge of the garage room. “See you on the other side.”

Either came to a stop.

“Wait, I heard something.”

“Man, you got good ears,” Casper said. “What is it?”

“Sounded like a growl.”

Casper peered down through the darkness.

“Shit, you’re right. Dog.”

“Dog? Fuck.”

“Big dog…cop dog.”

“Rottweiler?”

“No. German Shepherd. Where’d you ever see a Rottweiler that was a cop dog?”

“I’m telling you, I’ve seen it.” Either started walking in small circles. “Damn. I hate dogs. Especially cop dogs.”

“How can anybody hate dogs? What the hell is the matter with you?”

“Let’s just say I’m scared of them and leave it at that.”

“Well, suck it up,” Casper said. “Let’s go.”

“Not with that dog down there.”

“You’d rather stay here and get shot?”

“Hey, I raise my arms up here, I don’t get shot. I raise my arms down there, the only thing I do is make it easier for that dog to bite my balls off.”

Casper glanced back towards the house. Lights were coming on one room at a time as the security guards conducted their search. Casper reached down and removed his shoes. He whistled softly, then threw one into a large shrub off to one side of the garage. He heard a growl and the sound of the dog’s nails scratching on the concrete. Silence. Then they both heard a throaty growl directly underneath them on the ground below.

“Jesus Christ,” Casper said. “Listen to that.”

“I’m trying not to,” Either said.

Casper threw his second shoe deeper into the shrub. The dog barked and scrambled off towards the bush.

“Okay, it’s now or never,” Casper said.

Either, paralyzed with fear, shook his head. “Never.”

“You’re joking, right? You’d rather get arrested than take your chances with a dog?”

“You ever see how much damage a pissed off cop dog can do?”

“Okay, it’s your funeral.” Casper jumped off the garage, landed and tumbled, managing to only bang his knee and roll an ankle. He scrambled to his feet and looked up. “You coming or not?”

“Where’s the dog?” Either said.

“He’s in the bushes, but I’m sure he’ll be back soon. C’mon.”

“No. I can’t do it.”

“Don’t be such a pussy,” Casper said, shaking his head.

Either stayed right where he was.

“Well, at least toss down the bag.”

“Are you out of your fucking mind?”

“You want to give it back? Or get arrested holding it?”

“Shit.” Either unzipped his jacket and tossed the bag down to Casper, who caught it, then started running up the driveway with a limping gait.

“And I want it back. You hear me?”

Either’s voice, well above a whisper, caught the dog’s attention. It returned to the driveway and sat growling directly below the fear-stricken Either. Casper paused halfway up the driveway and watched the two security guards climb out a bedroom window onto the garage roof.

“Freeze, asshole!”

Either slowly raised his hands and turned to face them as they slowly worked their way across the roof.

“Don’t fucking move!”

“Relax cowboy,” Casper heard Either say. “I know the drill.”

 

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