Thursday, May 31, 2012

One, Two Kill a Few by John Achor: Guest Character Post & Excerpt

Struggling to recover from a disastrous marriage and contentious divorce, Casey Fremont would prefer to make ends meet with her paycheck from a temp job; but now her goal of personal and mental renewal, becomes one of staying alive as she solves a riddle of murder and mayhem.

Casey Fremont is on her way to interview for a temp job when a falling body nearly lands on her. Three days later, a second man, this one from her own office, dies in a similar manner and Casey is drawn into the intrigue. She confirms her suspicions. With her friend in the hands of kidnappers, Casey barely escapes being the third body to go over the railing as she solves the mystery.

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Chapter 1

My name’s Casey Fremont. Lots of folks shorten my nickname even further, to KC. I used to go by those initials, but got tired of answering the question, “Does KC stand for somethin’?” Well of course it stands for something, Dimbulb. I even tried “Ms. Fremont,” but that made me sound too old. My mother wasn’t frightened by the Initial Imps, though something must have scared her. I’ve never been able to get her to tell me where she came up with Acacia, which is the long version of Casey.
                                                *          *          *
This morning started out so well, I thought I was on a roll. I hoped the rest of the day would be as great. It wasn’t, but how could I know it would be raining bodies before noon.
I put on one of my best business suits. It’s a dark, dark gray pin stripe. The jacket is double-breasted and the slit skirt doesn’t quite make it down to mid-thigh. I’ve never been turned down during an interview, but it never hurts to flash a bit of leg at a male interviewer. It’s fun to watch where their eyes wander during the discussion. A lot of men have trouble looking a woman in the eye. More often they are gazing at the assets a good bit south of the face.
I was heading for Little Rock’s Midtown Atrium Towers Building, a new expanse of glass and steel in the downtown area. In keeping with the new architecture, an atrium reaches to the top between two buildings. I would be talking to a Wayne Harmon at Cyber-Technology, a computer and internet consulting firm.
At quarter past nine, fifteen minutes before my appointment, I walked through the huge glass doors, which opened for me with an automatic whoosh. The main floor entrance was through a curved glass wall going up all twelve floors. A similar wall of glass faced me from the rear of the lobby and the sign over the far doorway read: Parking Garage. I glanced around the lobby at the large planter areas replete with foliage and flowers. There were even a couple of imported palm trees; far from native to Arkansas. Buildings stretched upward to my left and to my right. The structure smelled like a new building. The faint but pungent aroma left from new carpet glued to the floor drifted past me. I checked the directory and learned Cyber-Technology was in Tower B, the one on the right.
The elevators were glass and brass clinging to the walls of the atrium. It would be an interesting ride — I’m not afraid of heights, but I don’t like looking straight down at nothing between me and a sudden stop at the bottom. I was almost across the lobby when I heard the shout from behind me.
“Damn! Look out!”
The last word was shouted in my ear as something slammed into my back. I hit the polished marble floor with a thud knocking most of the air out of my lungs. Then a crushing weight on my back forced the rest of the air to be expelled. I was gasping for breath. I heard a sickening thud, and a couple of seconds later there was another sound. More of a plop than a thud.
“Are you okay, lady?” said the man lying on my back.
“I will be as soon as you get the hell off me.”
“I’m sorry.” He rolled away, struggled to his feet and offered his hand.
With effort, I managed a sitting position, slapped his hand aside and tugged at my skirt. “What the hell was that all about?” I used my most annoyed voice and scowl.
“The guy took a header off an atrium balcony. He damn near fell on top of you.”
I looked over my shoulder and saw it. It … was a body, sprawled in a grotesque position, about six feet from me. The eyes were open, but they saw nothing. One leg and one arm lay at angles normal limbs are unable to assume. Blood oozed from a flat spot on his head, from his mouth and from the ear turned toward me. The blood spread out on the light-colored marble and seeped into the expansion joints.
That’ll be a bitch to clean up, I thought. I shook my head in disbelief at myself; strange the thoughts that run through a mind under stress.
“I’ve got to get upstairs,” I said. “I’ve got an interview.”
“Better stay here. I think the cops will want to talk to you,” my Good Samaritan said.
“Why me? I didn’t see anything.”
“You are still a witness.” He extended his hand again. This time I took it and let him pull me to my feet. Building security was already milling around the lobby, and I could hear sirens approaching outside.

 End of Chapter One

Character Interview with Casey Fremont

             Hi, my name’s Casey Fremont. I was born in Arizona because John’s brain was living there at the time. He moved me from my birth place, Indiana, to Arkansas where I currently reside. I was working on my own degree when my husband, Jarvis Parnell Sheffield Da Third, needed financial help getting through law school.

             I put my ambitions on hold and paid his way until he got his law degree. After that, and for the eight years we were married, he’s now my ex, he said, “No wife of mine will ever work.” Rather than watching TV and eating bon-bons, I spent my time taking classes, seminars and training in dozens of areas. At the end of eight years, my ex, now known as Jarvis the Rat, dumped me for his young secretary named Bambi. Can you imagine what was going through the heads of her parents?

I got our condo on the west side of Little Rock in the divorce settlement along with healthy alimony. Jarvis the Rat is always late with the support in the hopes I’ll default on the condo payments, so he can pick it up on the cheap. To make ends meet, I work temp jobs to get to the end of the month. Needless to say, all those classes I took give me a wide range of jobs I can qualify for.

I have two roommates, Effie Tremayne and Aaron Kincaid ― he’s another whole story ― who help me with the condo payments. The only downside of the temp jobs seems to be that I am forever finding myself knee deep in manure and mayhem. We’ve become a trio of intrepid sleuths along the way. But, enough about me, I’ll let John get back to writing.

Oops, before I do that, John says he needs assistance naming the third of my adventures. Help him come up with the title, and you’ll become a character in the book. Details are located on his blog site.

Who is your favorite author?

          I’m going to give you two. I enjoy reading Lee Child because he tells a great tale and his protagonist, Jack Reacher, is such a commanding personality. The fact that he is 6’ 5” and weighs around 250 pounds has a lot to do with that. My other favorite is Jeffrey Deaver and his series character Lincoln Rhyme. In the beginning I thought I would have a problem relating to Rhyme, a forensic expert who is a quadriplegic ― turned out not to be true. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting both these men and found them congenial and gracious. My biggest surprise was Deaver. In all his photos, he appears dour and brooding. As an after dinner speaker, he is one of the most entertaining and amusing people I’ve ever listened to.

Where do you research for your book?

          If money was no object, I would love to travel to locations. Since it is a problem for most of us, I set my current series in Little Rock, Arkansas which is only an hour’s drive for me. I also think the internet has been a boon for writers. When I’m researching a subject, I locate information, copy and paste into a Word file. As a header for the entry, I paste in the URL for the site I’m using. Don’t depend on just one site for your research; especially if you use something for Wikipedia, which is an open source web site where anyone in the world can post new and changed data. Don’t forget experts you know; example: for my latest book I needed information about an animal dying. My vet spent a good deal of time on the phone going over the information so I don’t look like a dunce.

 Does your significant other read your stuff?

She is a voracious reader and actually reads for a small press in Arizona. With that, one would think she should be an excellent sounding board. I once read, “don’t ever show a work in progress to anyone you sleep with or call honey.” She will read a finished product and I appreciate her input.

What do you think makes a good story?

          A good story begins with a great plot that has a beginning, a middle and an end. Many of us fall off the wagon somewhere in the middle and don’t spend enough time developing the ending the story. Beyond the story line, the characters must be compelling enough to hold the reader’s attention and carry the storyline.

What was the scariest moment of your life?

           It was half past midnight on January 13, 1969 and the scariest part came afterward when the adrenaline stopped pumping. I was flying a four-engine jet aircraft and when I landed on a small island in the Aleutian Island chain the airplane slid off the end of the end of the runway and over a forty-five foot cliff. If you would like more detail, log onto my web site ( and look for the link at the bottom of the home page.

Describe what it’s like to be an author in three words.

          Tough – Lonely – Rewarding

 Use no more than two sentences. Why should we read your book?

          I patterned my female amateur sleuth, Casey Fremont, somewhere between the characters created by Janet Evanovich and Sue Grafton. I believe I have blended the sassy side of Stephanie Plum with Kinsey Millhone’s professionalism.

What do you find most rewarding about writing?

          Many talk about the the journey being more important than the destination. While I agree with that mantra much of the time while writing; the most satisfying part of writing to me and getting to the last page and typing “The End.”

John Achor's writing assignments have appeared in a variety of local, national and international publications such as Good Old Days, Computer Pilot, The Storyteller and Writers’ Journal. He enjoys writing about, “The subjects I know best: the military, flying and people I've known.” After that, John says he lets a vivid imagination take over.

The first of his three careers spanned twenty years as a U.S. Air Force pilot. After the military, he entered the real estate industry. John joined a national real estate franchise as a management consultant working at the regional and national levels. Those positions led him to Phoenix, Arizona, and an affiliation with a major Savings & Loan institution.

In John's words, “When the Savings and Loan industry melted away like a lump of sugar in hot coffee, I knew it was time to develop a third career.” He became a freelance computer instructor, user-developer, consultant, writer and Community College instructor.

In mid 1999, John moved to Hot Springs Village, Arkansas, where he resides in the piney woods with his wife Pat and their two cats, Lexus and Betsy Ross. Since moving to Arkansas, John has written dozens of articles and short stories as well as several novels. He is working on the third mystery in the Casey Fremont series; “One, Two – Kill a Few” and “Three, Four – Kill Some More” are both available as eBooks for the Kindle and Nook.
Contact Information
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John’s Website  *  |   Blog *  
* These sites contain direct links to the Amazon and Barnes and Noble sale pages where you can find my books.

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