Friday, 25 July 2014

4Q Interview with author Lockie Young

We are fortunate to have Lockie (Lockard) Young on 4Q this Friday. Lockie has written a YA novel, Ryan’s Legend, published by Morning Rain Publishers of Ontario and is happily working on the sequel. He is a familiar guest on the South Branch Scribbler with several of his entertaining short stories being featured. Lockie has been showcased on many blogs, recommended reading sites and most recently in the Times Transcript, Moncton’s major daily. You can find out more about Lockie, more of his poems and witty ramblings, by clicking his link below.

4Q: Thanks for being a part of the Scribbler, Lockie.  Sometime ago you and your wife, Trish, visited South Africa.  You brought back many great photos and as many memories I expect. Did this visit to a foreign country so far away, or the people, have any influence on your writing or inspirations?

LY: Africa was amazing. I can’t put my finger on it, and not to sound corny, but Africa had a profound effect on me, almost like a religious experience. When I stepped off the plane, it was like coming home, and I am not a person who likes the heat, so this was confusing for me. The people we met were so friendly, and it really felt like family when these strangers welcomed us into their homes and their lives. When I got back to Canada, and things settled down and my wife and I got back to work and a normal life again, I found I couldn’t stop writing about my other home, Africa.  I have several poems inspired by the amazing animals we saw there. The traditional animals like Giraffe and Zebra, which to me were only pictures in National Geographic magazine before, had been right there, outside our car window. My wife and I toured South Africa and Swaziland with my father in law and mother in law. My short story and poem titled Diary of an Orphan was inspired by a visit to an orphanage in Swaziland. 

4Q: What can you tell us about the sequel to Ryan’s Legend?

LY: The working title is Ryan’s Legend Returns, and picks up where the first story leaves off.  It’s summer break, and the main character, Ryan, has a few adventures with his best friend Cory. Ryan teaches Cory, a city boy, about life along the sea shore, all the while anxiously awaiting the return of his other ‘Legendary’ friend Willie. Parts of the sequel were written at the same time as Ryan’s Legend, back in 1995, and were in fact all one book back then. On the advice of a self published Author and Publisher at the time, I split the original manuscript into two parts, as it was thought to be too long for a middle grade reader.

After my first book, was picked up by Morning Rain Publishing  I worked on finishing and adding to the second half, which is more than twice as long as Ryan’s Legend. It is currently being considered, and I am waiting on word if Morning Rain wants to publish it. I hope it will get picked up, and maybe be published later this year.

4Q: Please share a childhood anecdote or memory.

LY: Some of my readers and fans may know that I am a Plumber by trade, but long before I became a Plumber, when I was just a boy of maybe seven or eight years of age, I went with my Mom and Dad to visit relatives in a small community not too far from Moncton, called Harcourt. While there I asked if I could go to the bathroom, and I was directed to a small out building in back of the house. I could tell as soon as I opened the door that I was in the right place. When I returned to where the adults had gathered in the parlor, I was asked what had taken me so long. And I answered that I was very sorry, but I had searched that darn building all over and I just couldn’t find the flush handle for the toilet. 

4Q: Please tell us what’s in store for us in the future; what else you’re working on?

LY:  As you know, Allan, I lost my right leg last year to arterial disease caused by smoking a pack a day for 30 some years, and during my recovery, and adjustment to a drastic lifestyle change, I’ve been writing as part of the healing process. I’ve written several short stories and a couple of, what I’ve discovered are called ‘personal essays’ and I am also working on a memoir of my personal journey on this new road as an amputee. The memoir is a step outside of the box for me as I’ve never written a nonfiction work, and I find it both challenging and therapeutic as I revisit the past 2 years of my life. 
So, when I get stuck with what to write in the next novel in the ‘Legend’ series, and I need a change of pace or scenery, I pick up where I left off in my memoir, or I change genres and try my hand at another short story. I may see if my publisher is interested in a compilation of my short stories.  I haven’t written any poetry lately, but I have to be inspired for that too. The other day, when I was stuck on ‘The Legend Never Dies’ (working Title) I opened up a new word doc and I just wrote and wrote all day, missing lunch and almost missing supper, until I wrote The End at last. The word count on Paradise White is 8000 words, and I hope to whittle that short story down in edits. So that is how I roll. I took an early retirement because of my new physical limitations, and now I am fortunate that I can write whenever I want and I am enjoying the freedom to do what I really truly love to do. 

You have been a tremendous supporter of your fellow authors, sharing, giving us a pat on the back, being a nice guy so thanks Lockie on behalf of us all. Keep those stories coming.

Please visit Lockie’s Lectern at
Next week I will offer 4 teasers of my short story compilation SHORTS Vol.1. As well as what inspired these stories. The SHORT series is dedicated to my grandchildren with Vol. 1 for my oldest grandson, Matthieu. Vol. 2 will be published in September, with Vol. 3 to follow in November.


Friday, 18 July 2014

Guest Author Bobby Nash. A excerpt from: ALEXANDRA HOLZER’S GHOST GAL: THE WILD HUNT

Bobby Nash is an award winning author that hails from Bethlehem, Georgia. An exceptionally creative individual that writes novels, comics, graphic novels, short prose, media tie-ins, screenplays and more. When not busy writing, he is an actor that appears in movies and television. His web site is below.




Energy crackled through the halls of the old castle like a thing alive.

With each whip-snap discharge, loud, thunderous booms echoed off the thick stone that made up the walls of the castle keep. Those stones, which had been so meticulously removed from their original home and shipped over to the New World piece by piece from an Irish castle the wealthy new owner had recently purchased, were unlike any other. It had taken months for shipping magnate Conrad Bartlett to disassemble the castle, catalog, number, and crate each piece, ship it across the Atlantic, and reassemble it on his families land in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Under normal circumstances, such an undertaking would have been a costly endeavor, but tensions in the Atlantic were high as both Nazi and Allied forces ran their military campaigns in the region almost non-stop. Soon, the entire planet would be gripped by the hells of war. If not for Bartlett’s military contract allowing him to cross the ocean at regular intervals, the yearlong reconstruction of the castle in the United States might never have been completed.

In hindsight, Conrad Bartlett might have wished that to be the case.

In addition to the physical attributes of the castle keep, he also brought with it the castle’s dark secret, a long and bloody history dating back to the earliest days of Ireland itself, perhaps even before that, a secret that had been locked away for centuries, hidden from prying eyes.

And now that secret had been loosed on an unsuspecting world.

Unless the specialist he called in could put a stop to it.

Outside, lightning sparked while thunder roared as the storm grew more and more fierce. Gale force rain pelted everything in its path with big wet droplets mixed with hail and flying debris tossed about by violent winds. The turbulent weather outside was like a mirror to the chaos brewing inside the recently rebuilt castle.

Hans Holzer let out a breath. He had only been on the scene an hour before things took a turn to the strange. Conrad Barnett’s telegram about his unique problem had piqued his curiosity, but he hadn’t expected to find anything more than a minor disturbance. He hadn’t expected to find much, most likely a displaced spirit long dormant that had been disturbed when its home had been disassembled and reassembled halfway around the world. It was enough to throw off anyone’s equilibrium, even if they had been dead for decades or longer, but as threats go, it was probably minor.

He was wrong.

Once the storm began to strengthen in intensity, he realized that things were worse than he had first believed.

Hans Holzer held a torch in front of him as he moved through the darkness. Flames from the torch cast the only light since the generator succumbed to a lightning strike just a few moments earlier. The torch had once been the leg of an antique chair, or at least an expensive recreation of one. A cloth curtain pulled from one of the windows then doused with lighter fluid and ignited completed the makeshift lantern. It was a quick solution to a minor problem.

It was the problem that lay ahead that concerned him.

“These walls are not pure stone,” he said aloud, running a callused hand across the uneven stone. “Whatever that metal component we discovered turns out to be, it is highly conductive. The lightning striking the weather vanes on the roof is not simply redirecting the electricity of the strikes. The energy is being absorbed through the walls.” He leaned in close enough to smell the earthy musk of the hand-carved stone. “Incredible. It’s almost as if the entire castle is alive. I’ve never seen--”


Holzer sighed loudly at the interruption. It was not the first one of the evening. “Yes. What is it, Jamie?”

“I need a moment, sir,” Jamie McClenndon said from somewhere in the dark behind him.

Jamie was the latest in a long line of assistants who came to him because they wanted to learn the “real truth” of the world. Most were college students, like Jamie. They rarely lasted long in the position and Holzer suspected that Jamie would be no different than those who came before. Like the others before him, his desire to experience a supernatural moment came from seeing motion pictures featuring scary monsters. He wanted to see a ghost, to prove that they were real, and that he would be brave enough to interact with it. The reality of the moment was never what any of them expected and was rarely like what they saw in the movies. Ghost hunting, for lack of a better term, was not easy and the professor had little time or patience for handholding. If Jamie wanted to be coddled in the face of the unknown then he had come to the wrong place.

As his family was of Irish descent, Holzer had hoped Jamie would come in handy on this excursion, but sadly his knowledge of the homeland of his ancestors was severely lacking. He blamed modern education for the boy’s lack of knowledge.

“Make it quick,” Holzer said, not bothering to hide his annoyance as he checked his pocket watch. “Our quarry is here. I can feel it.”

“Yes, Professor. I know,” Jamie said softly. There was an unusual quiver to his voice.

“We must find him before…”

The crash of his equipment hitting the hard stone floor behind him interrupted his train of thought and Hans Holzer spun around to face his assistant, ready to give him an earful about responsibility and taking care of the sensitive equipment left in his care. The equipment he had been tasked with carrying was not only delicate, it was also very expensive.

“I’ve told you repeatedly to be careful… with… that…” his voice trailed off when he saw why Jamie had discarded the equipment in so loud a fashion.

“I­–– I think I’ve already found him,” Jamie said softly, careful not to move lest the sharp blade at his throat draw blood.

“Easy now, Jamie,” Holzer said, taking a tentative step forward, keeping the torch an arm’s length ahead of him and casting an orange glow on the intruder who held his young assistant hostage. “Don’t move.”

“Don’t worry.”

“Who are you?” Holzer asked the man holding the knife.

“You know my name, laddie,” the intruder said. He was tall, towering a couple of inches above Jamie’s six foot-two lanky frame. His arms were thick, muscled, and looked as though they could snap his assistant like a twig. His face was obscured by the light, his skin dark, but made darker by the soot and ash that clung to his body, giving him a mottled gray pallor. Long black hair hung behind him, matching the color of the thick matted beard he wore.

“I know the man whose body you wear,” Holzer said. “His name is Duncan. He works for Mr. Bartlett.”

“Very clever, you are,” the entity that had taken control of Duncan McGrath’s body said. “I see that you are familiar with my kind. So much the better. Oh, and his name was Duncan. He has no use for a name any longer.”

“Do not hurt that boy.”

“You’re not in any position to be giving orders, Hans Holzer.”

“You know my name?”

“Oh, yes,” the man said. “I know everything my host knew. Young Duncan knew who you were. He seemed to think you might save him somehow, although I think his faith might be a wee bit misplaced myself. You’ve given me a good laugh watching as you run about the castle with your little toys and gadgets. You amuse me, Professor.”

“What do you want?”

“Such a leading question.” Duncan smiled. “What do you think I want?”


“I already have freedom, sir. I am free to roam this castle at my whim. Look around you, do you see any chains to hold me hither?”

The professor smiled. “Actually, I do.”


“It’s so obvious. Curse me for a fool; I should have noticed it sooner. This place…” he motioned toward the castle around them. He rapped a knuckle against the stone wall. “This place is your prison. The lightning, the stone, the mystery metal, those things aren’t meant to empower you, are they? This castle is your prison.”


“Oh, sure, this far removed from your ancestral home, the power that keeps you trapped here has lessened, but not enough for you to escape. Not completely. You can move about within these walls, but you can never venture beyond them. You’re trapped here like an animal in a cage.”

“We’ll see about that, laddie,” Duncan said, his smile widening. “This animal still has teeth.”

“Don’t,” Holzer warned, but it was too late.

With a powerful shove, Duncan threw Jamie McClenndon at the ghost hunter. The student crashed into his teacher and they fell to the floor in a tangle of arms and legs, the torch falling from Holzer’s hand and rolling away.

There was just enough light to see Duncan run past them down the hallway.




Alexandra Holzer is just your average young paranormal investigator out to show an early 1960s New York City she knows a thing or two about ghosts. Join Alex's alter ego, GHOST GAL, and her fiancé, Joshua Demerest as they do battle with a very ancient ghost and his pals who have a score to settle with her famed father, ghost hunter, Hans Holzer.


Alexandra Holzer's Ghost Gal: The Wild Hunt by Bobby Nash is the first book in a series of new horror/adventures novels from Raven's Head Press.

Thank you Bobby for sharing your work here at the South Branch Scribbler.

Next week 4Q will be interviewing Lockie Young, an author living in Albert County, New Brunswick. Lockie has been a guest author several times and we look forward to reading his answers at 4Q

Friday, 11 July 2014

Guest author Mitzi Szereto. An excerpt from Normal for Norfolk

Mitzi Szereto lives in the United Kingdom. She is an author, blogger, Mitzi TV creator/presenter, literary mischief-maker and mother to Teddy Tedaloo, celebrity bear. . She also has a number of books and short fiction available for Kindle, Nook, Kobo and iTunes. She has pioneered erotic writing workshops in the UK and mainland Europe, teaching them from the Cheltenham Festival of Literature to the Greek islands. She’s also lectured in creative writing at several British universities.  Her website is listed below.

Normal for Norfolk (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles) by Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo 

Thelonious T. Bear, ursine photojournalist, leaves behind the big city life of London to take an assignment in the Norfolk countryside, where he hopes to find the real England. Instead he stumbles upon gastro-pubs, crazed Audi drivers and murder. As the hapless Thelonious keeps ending up in the wrong place at the wrong time, he attracts the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Horatio Sidebottom of Norfolk Constabulary CID, who’s determined to tie Thelonious to the crimes. Add in a pair of hoods from London’s East End, celebrity TV chef Paolo Louis Black, and plenty of oddball local characters and it all adds up to a madcap journey through England’s most quirky county, where everything is normal for Norfolk! 



Little Acre was all abuzz with news about the murder of one of their native sons. Derrick Pickles, long-time proprietor of The Black Stag public house in the adjacent village of Kelton Market, had been found bludgeoned to death. Pickles had lived in the village since the day he was born, the pub having been in his family for generations. He’d taken it over from his father, who’d taken it over from his father, and so on and so on. The Pickles were a Norfolk institution, and Derrick was well-liked and respected in the community. Not even the taint of his only son going off to work in The City rather than positioning himself to one day take over the reins of the family business could dampen the locals’ affection for the family, though forgiveness wasn’t always as easy to come by. Feelings and memories ran deep in this part of the world, despite young Pickles defection to London taking place nearly two decades before, which, at least to the locals, might as well have been yesterday. Not even the death of his mother many years later could bring young Pickles back in line. But old Derrick stubbornly clung on, running the pub long after most publicans would have sold up and retired to Spain or Portugal—especially a widower with no one to stay behind for.

Being the only pub in the village, The Black Stag was a magnet for the locals, not to mention tourists in search of some local colour. Kelton Market was conveniently situated in the county, what with the ruins of an old castle located just outside the village and a bustling crafts and antiques market taking place on weekends, so it was a rare day, indeed, when the pub wasn’t busy. The fact that a murder had been committed was not something the residents of this part of Norfolk were accustomed to. The most crime they ever got was of the sort involving the theft of a cockerel from a farm or some youths out joyriding on a tractor. But murder? No. Murders happened in London and Birmingham and Glasgow. They did not happen in Kelton Market.

Therefore when Thelonious heaved open the heavy glass door of Little Acre’s one and only newsagents in his quest to buy a copy of the local newspaper (or as local as he could get), he discovered quite a crowd gathered inside the cramped little shop. A trio of men representing three generations and an elderly woman who had to have been pushing the century mark were gathered in front of the till, talking animatedly and all at the same time, the garrulous din being added to by a frumpy sixty-something woman behind the counter. She appeared to be refereeing the conversation, her heavy arms flapping and waving about as if she were attempting to direct a newly landed plane to an airport gate.

The youngest of the men was dressed in a white beekeeper’s suit, the hood of which had been pushed back behind his head. Hair the shade and texture of the round bales of hay Thelonious had seen in the fields of the surrounding landscape kept falling down over his eyes, causing him to reach up to swipe it away, whereupon the same thing happened all over again. He had the open and guileless mien of someone who’d grown up in the country and had little to no experience with big city life. The oldest of the trio had a pickled and world-weary look about him that could only have been achieved from a lifetime of heavy drinking. His deeply creased face was the colour of cured tobacco leaves, his overall appearance untidy and unwashed. He clutched an unlighted cigarette between the fingers of his right hand, the skin and nails stained a sickly yellow-orange from nicotine. Had it not been for his expensive-looking leather jacket, Thelonious might have mistaken him for a homeless man. The third fellow was aged somewhere between the two and, judging by his collar, appeared to be a vicar. He kept trying to get the group to quiet down, his pale palms making circles in the air as if he were washing invisible windows. Instead of having the desired effect, the group became even more animated, as if seeking to exorcise the vicar’s fruitless attempts at calm.

The elderly woman to whom no one paid any mind bashed the rubber-tipped feet of her Zimmer frame against the worn linoleum floor until she was in danger of toppling over. Nevertheless, the accompanying staccato of protestations coming from her shrivelled maw continued to fall on deaf ears. Her hunched form looked as if it might crumple into a heap of ancient bones as she slammed the rattling frame of steel to the lino again and again, her grey head bobbing up and down on her withered neck like a nodding dashboard dog. But no matter how much she crashed and banged and spluttered, she could not be heard above her village compatriots, who were determined to get their points across despite the fact no one was listening to anyone.

It didn’t take long for Thelonious to determine that something was definitely up—and the headline shouting at him from the front page of the Walsham Courier pretty much confirmed it. He pulled a copy out from the news rack and waddled over to the side of the counter, stretching upward on his short legs to hold out some coins to the sour-faced shopkeeper, who abruptly ceased her refereeing to gawp at him. Not that this was unusual—Thelonious got gawped at a lot, especially by people who’d never encountered his sort before. You would think she’d be a bit more discreet when it came to paying customers, he grumbled inwardly, biting back the urge to tell her to get a new front door fitted. The one she had weighed as much as a London bus. His right shoulder was beginning to ache something awful from the impact of it against the glass when he’d pushed it open. He hoped the B&B his publisher’s UK office had booked him into had a bathtub and decent hot water system so he could have a long soak later, because he didn’t fancy looking elsewhere for accommodation, especially at the beginning of the summer tourist season. For him to be able to work, he needed a home base, a sense of order. Chaos was not Thelonious’ style.

With newspaper in hand, he made his way out of the newsagent’s, only to pause outside to examine the cards and notices that had been placed in the shop window (which apparently cost each poster the princely sum of five pounds a week to display). He was curious as to what kinds of items and services people put on offer in these Norfolk villages and expected to see advertisements of either an agrarian nature or for church jumble sales. Not surprisingly, they were positioned too high up for him to read properly, but he did manage to make out a card for an electrician slash handyman as well as a flyer for a beekeeping school before his neck threatened to join his shoulder in protest.

Thelonious trundled back to where he’d left the Mini, climbed up onto the driver’s seat with the usual fanfare and aggro, then set off down the little high street with its requisite tea shop/cafĂ©, gift shop, post office (closed due to government cutbacks), and pub, which went by the rather portentous name The Drowned Duck. Within moments he’d reached the Norman church that marked the end of the village high street. It was also the turnoff for Baxter House Bed and Breakfast. Home at last!

Thank you Mitzi for sharing an excerpt of Normal for Norfolk. A story I am looking forward to reading. Discover more about Mitzi at - you'll like what you discover.

Next week The South Branch Scribbler will feature guest author Bobby Nash of Georgia USA