Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Guest Post and Excerpt: Savage Summer by Ruth Bainbridge


“When life gives you lemons … be sure to spit the pits out of that lemonade you’re making. Otherwise you’ll choke.” – Curt Savage 

The past year has not been a good one for Curt Savage. Depressed over the death of a loved one, he’s gone into hiding, becoming entirely too comfortable with saying that he’s in the Witness Protection Program. But the urge to find that elusive killer puts his MIA status on hold. With the help of his new buddy Mike, he delves into the murky world of tracking down a killer — and uncovering who poisoned a neighbor’s dog. 

SAVAGE SUMMER is the first in the Curt Savage mystery series. Going from former cop to private dick, he represents a new kind of detective—the reluctant kind. As his best bud Mike puts it, “Private investigation just got Savage.”

The Romance of Writing and the Arabica Bean
by Ruth Bainbridge

If an army travels on its stomach, then a writer surely creates by the ingestion of caffeine. It’s a century’s old tradition, one I gladly carry on. It’s a little known ritual, and one that is “steeped” in secrecy and lore. 

Legend has it that the very first book was written after an arabica bean was unwittingly dropped into hot water. The mixture was targeted to be dumped out, but a clever cat had a go at, lapping it up with impunity. The resulting hijinks convinced his owner to try the strange brew. Before the man knew, a mental clarity descended, prompting him to try his hand at concocting a tale. While he’d never done such a thing before, he found the words came quite easily after several swallows of the magical infusion. His name? Blarney. 

I’m on firm “grounds” in revealing that coffee is a writer’s weapon of choice. The secret was revealed by the big blabbermouth Honore de Balzac. The first recorded incident of a male getting in touch with his feminine side, the 19th century French author decided to share the pain of his addiction in “The Pleasure and Pains of Coffee.” And he should know since he was reputed to have guzzled over 40 cups per day. He wrote that coffee “brutalizes these beautiful stomach linings as a wagon master abuses ponies; the plexus becomes inflamed; sparks shoot all the way up to the brain. From that moment on, everything becomes agitated. Ideas quick-march into motion like battalions of a grand army to its legendary fighting ground, and the battle rages. Memories charge in, bright flags on high; the cavalry of metaphor deploys with a magnificent gallop; the artillery of logic rushes up with clattering wagons and cartridges; on imagination’s orders, sharpshooters sight and fire; forms and shapes and characters rear up; the paper is spread with ink – for the nightly labor begins and ends with torrents of this black water, as a battle opens and concludes with black powder.” 

If someone you know pens words like these, trust me, they’re on a coffee high. Example? 

Me without caffeine in my system: He woke up. He looked in the sky. There was a sunrise. 

Me after downing a mug or two or three: The brilliance of the morning held Bailey captive in the promise of a new day. Streams of gold kissed the sleeping fields of green as a cloud drifted by. There was always a cloud; always something to forget. 

Not convinced? Scattered in this blog, are some pictures of some pretty famous authors caught indulging. There’s Jack Kerouac hauling back a few with Larry Rivers, David Amram, Allen Ginsberg, and Gregory at a coffee shop. And how about the stalwart Ernest Hemingway getting his caffeine on? And why, oh, why, would a proper English lady like Agatha Christie be writing about Black Coffee if not under its spell? 

Now that the case is proven, here’s a chart that Italian illustrator Gianluca Biscalchin created. He used his considerable imagination to depict the types of coffees famous writers would drink— and most likely did/do. If you’re wondering about me, mine would have something to do with a credit card and the word, “overdrawn”. 

In a brilliant new twist worthy of Dashiell Hammett, coffee now provides authors with an activity to while away the hours our muse goes missing. You know the famous quotation about one set of footsteps in the sand being the time God carried you? Well, in the case of muses, one set of footprints is when you’re left on your own because she went line dancing. But no longer do writers have to sit in misery. We can now draw in the foam, churning out masterpieces. 

So to any new writers out there, my first bit of advice is to invest in a good coffee maker. No, I don’t mean a spouse, although it is lovely when a partner turns out to excel at brewing dark roast to your liking. I’m talking Melitta or Keurig and anything else that floats your boat. 

May the beans be with you! Here’s wishing you good luck in your adventure.  



The phone jarred me out of the fantasy. I awoke suddenly, shielding the light that assaulted my eyes. The odor of Ruthie’s perfume was everywhere. 

“Ruth?” I called out. Disoriented, I reached out to her side of the bed, expecting her to be there. It took me several more seconds to realize that she was dead. 

“Hello,” I started. The gravel in my throat demanded that I clear it once or twice.

“I’m responding to the ad about Ruth Warwick’s murder.” 

Those words officially woke me up. More effective than any cup of coffee, the voice synthesizer disguised the caller’s identity, but the point was that someone had finally phoned. Ever since I’d been dispensed with as a suspect, I’d placed small pennysaver ads in papers published in both Pennsylvania and Ruthie’s home state of Connecticut. Somebody knew something, but I hoped this wasn’t some clown trying to get the reward money from punking my ass. 

“Yes, go ahead. I’m listening,” I replied as I ran for a pen and paper. I wanted to be ready, but all I heard was static and heavy breathing. I guessed that it was “all about the money” time. In a second, they’d be asking for the details of how to collect. I figured I’d beat them to that particular punch. “Look, if you’re worried about the reward, the $10,000 will be released when it leads to the arrest of the person, or persons, responsible.” 

“I don’t care about the money. There are bigger things going on.” 

“What? What do you mean? What things?” 

“In due time, Savage.” 

“You know my name? How—“

“Inconsequential, don’t you think? Right now, all I can say is this—Ruth was having an affair.” 

The click of the receiver on the other end told me the call was concluded. Shocked by the accusation, I stared at the phone, still in my hand. In a million years, I’d never expected a call like that. I collapsed in a chair, trying to think things through. I concluded it had to be a joke perpetrated by someone that thought I hadn’t suffered enough. I slammed the phone back into its stand and took my shower. My stomach was in knots. I was upset that someone was trying to put things in my head about the woman I still loved.

About the author:
Born in the idyllic, sleepy town of Ithaca, NY, Ruth Bainbridge has been a lover of mysteries for her entire life.

Ever since a child, she has consumed detective stories at regular intervals, becoming enamored with all the superstars of crime. She loved nothing more than to match wits with the likes of Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Thomas Pitt, Lord Peter Wimsey, Richard Jury and Edward X Delaney, becoming inspired by their brilliance. Hoping to emulate her writing idol’s achievements in dreaming up such characters, she started composing her own short stories.

However, life interfered with her plans of becoming the next hopeful to try a life of crime—on paper at least. Devoting herself to her marriage and the raising of four children, the empty nest syndrome gave her the impetus to return to her first love—murder.

SAVAGE SUMMER is Ms. Bainbridge’s debut novel. It introduces Curtis Owen Savage into the world of ink and fury. Savage is engaged and about to be married when the brutal murder of his fiancée sends the world crashing down around him. Depressed, he isolates himself to better deal with the pain, but his beloved Ruthie won’t leave him alone. Haunting him with her presence, he becomes obsessed with finding her killer, and making him pay for taking her away.

With the help of a quirky friend and an old colleague, he takes his first steps, but the poisoning of a next door neighbor’s dog lands him his first case—and into a new profession. Hired as a private detective, he navigates through a complex series of clues to discover why someone attempted to kill the black Pomeranian. In the midst of trying to track down the motive, he receives his first anonymous phone call from a phantom who insists he knows secrets about his fiancé’s death. Dubbing the caller Dr. Shadows, the tidbits scattered become the breadcrumbs that lead Savage down a dark rabbit hole that was never meant to be discovered.

Her next planned project is MURDER MOST FOWL. Alex “Trout” Matthews, is a former NYC detective. Now retired, he moves to the town of Portsmith, Idaho so he can focus on his one passion—fishing. But as Ruth puts it, “Murder rarely leaves an inquisitive mind alone for long.” He soon finds himself pulled back in the stream of things and knee-deep in mystery.

Please be sure to join Ms. Bainbridge’s mailing list to keep updated on exclusive deals.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It's a lovely book. I dont't like so much that cover, but the subject it's so beautiful and i want to read this book.