Monday, November 4, 2013

Java Man by Harris Gray: Spotlight and Excerpt


What do you do when a nightmare threatens your dream? In the disturbingly funny new novel from the authors of Vampire Vic, Brian Lawson receives a dread diagnosis: cancer. But he won’t spare a moment from saving his struggling coffeeshop, even if success comes with his dying breath.

Divorced and ostracized in the rural community, Andrea Goldine sets her sights on the charismatic java man. Brian’s doctors ravage him with chemo and radiation, yet the tumor on his shin grows. Brian drafts Andrea into his battle with a competing coffeeshop, desperate to tap the college campus’s retail gold mine. But Andrea yearns for a different partnership…

Passions simmer below the surface of the tight-lipped community. Fresh from prison, North Dakota’s legendary basketball goddess dangles a ticket to Brian’s campus coffee dreams, and a disgraced scientist’s toxin treatment tantalizes. Two miracles for two maladies—with one cure more deadly than the next.

Java Man: Goodreads

Book Links: Amazon | Nook

I intended to show up early for Testimonial #3 for the McEwens’ deceased son Brent. Because for one thing, like my dad taught me, it’s just as easy to be early as it is to be late. For another, I was hoping Mike would put me behind the bar. Not for the tips. It’s where I’m most comfortable. An extra-introvert? That’s not just a stupid phrase I made up to irk Nurse Nancy. It’s the truth. I love being around hordes of people, as long as we’re separated by a couple feet of stainless steel or solid mahogany. I’m at home as the center of attention, but I don’t like to be exposed. I think of it as my presidential complex; whenever I have to leave the shop mid-morning, when the place is full, I make Charlotte take me by the elbow and whisk me out the door.
En route to the McEwens I saw Terrence making a left off Main in front of Hardees. Pull into Hardees, I tele-mentally commanded him. Be hungry for a Thickburger, damn you. But he kept on driving. My heart sank. Terrence didn’t know anyone in this part of town (I was sure). There could be only one reason for his presence here. Dreading what I was about to see, I followed him.
Terrence parked across the street from the strip mall where Bill Hernandes preyed upon the innocent. He sprang from his car, a spring in his step that I had never witnessed, and marched into the Beads! shop. Just around the corner, idling in someone’s driveway, I waited. For quite some time. Terrence finally emerged, a big bag of beads in his hand, that spring still in his step. He jumped in his car and drove away.  This was clearly misdirection, to dupe whoever might be surveilling him. I decided to wait for  him in Hernandes’s coffeeshop lot. Although Terrence never did show, my time wasn’t wasted, I recognized two other customers’ vehicles and wrote Swill lover! in the late-May grime encrusting their doors.
So of course in the end I was right on time for Testimonial #3.
“Right on time as usual,” Mike welcomed me at the door wearing a dark blue sportcoat over a slightly lighter blue pullover. “That’s one of the many things I love about you, Brian. Swear to God.”
“I love the way you love me, Mike.”
“Nice job today,” said Mike. “Great warm-up for the real thing.”
Although the foundation for Mike’s retail center, the Bluffs, had been laid before winter set in, the groundbreaking ceremony had been put off until spring. I served the crowd in my javamobile. Have I fully described my coffeeshop on wheels? It was a honey, retro-fitted by Mike’s special needs nephew with a generator, water tanks for brewing, a coffee machine, and a swing-out counter, so we could serve our customers at ground level instead of looking down on them like from a county fair concession stand.
Charlotte told me I was too proud of that sweet ride. Maybe she was right, maybe it was another vanity, like renting an apartment instead of living out of the storage room behind the shop. As my credit card balances grew and the past-due notices piled up, fiscal prudence no doubt dictated that I sell the javamobile before firing employees. Luckily Craig hadn’t drawn that comparison when I let him go, two months prior. What can I say, Craig did things I could do myself, like roasting coffee and delivering beans to wholesale accounts. And the javamobile treated my customers a lot better than Craig did.
Mike gave me a strong hug. “I’m glad you’re here. I’ve got a surprise,” he said in a husky voice while rocking me to and fro. “Guess who else is here? Nancy.”
Oh I knew that. I had received a text from her that morning. Honestly I would have gone to the testimonial anyway, but, it had been three months.
“Pretty special gal, huh?” said Valerie McEwen, patting her husband’s shoulder as he turned away to dry his tears.
I nodded, at her black dress. “I guess I’m not dressed appropriately.”
“Floral shirts and shorts are never inappropriate for you, Brian,” said Valerie. “It’s not what you wear that counts. It’s that you’re here.”
“Thanks Mrs. McEwen.”
“Listen to him,” said Valerie, owner of one sexy senior neck, smooth skin and ropy muscles feeding into a velvety crescent of collarbone exposed by the broad necklines she favored. I fantasized about that neck. Her bobbed brown hair was thin; her eyes and mouth heavily creased; her breasts, until proven otherwise, presumed wrinkled. So, just the neck. She kissed my cheek. “Brian’s not even a local and he’s one of the few people in this town who pronounces our name right.”
They pronounced it “McCune”. I wanted to call her Val or V or even Mrs. Robinson, but Valerie just loved it when I called her Mrs. McEwen. “I’m just one of the few who’s willing to mispronounce it the way you like,” I said.
Valerie beamed. “Oh you.”
“It shows respect,” said Mike. “A rare commodity these days.”
Made me feel guilty for the Mrs. Robinson thing.

The Story of Harris Gray
In the nook seat of Jason Gray’s coffee shop, Allan Harris wrote. And eavesdropped, as Jason told stories. One day Allan found waiting for him a little yellow notepad, crammed to the margins with Jason’s tales. Allan typed them, touched them up, and called it good. Jason had other ideas.

A collaboration began. The writer and the storyteller. As their tales converged and became inseparable, as they were fused by the stories they told…all the king’s horses & men can’t un-make Harris Gray again.

Author Links: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon

One grand prize winner will receive a KindleFire HD with $50 Amazon Gift Card, a signed copy of JAVA MAN, and 1 pound of Crowfoot Coffee. Five second prize winners will receive an ebook copy of JAVA MAN. Contest is open INTERNATIONALLY!

***Any contestant that uses dummy or contest only accounts to enter will be disqualified.***


November 5 – BooksNerd
November 6 – Reader Girls
November 7 – Rumpled Sheets Blog
November 8 – Mary’s Cup of Tea

November 11 – My Cozie Corner
November 12 – Mythical Books
November 13 – Inside BJ’s Head
November 14 – Book Him Danno
November 15 – The Top Shelf


1 comment:

Harris Gray said...

Laurie, this is Harris Gray. We are very grateful for the promo on your site, and looking forward to interacting with your followers. Maybe we can be your first paranormal cross-over with the second book in our Vampire Vic trilogy due out this spring.