Hip, hip, hurrah! An anthology titled “Island Fever” (I came up with the title 😊) is slated to be published on September 1, 2022. Eleven of us authors each agreed to write a mystery short story set in Hawai’i that includes some sort of fever. Several wrote about Covid, one about Dengue, and I wrote Love Fever, and Second Chances, my second short story featuring my real-life husband Barry in a fictional story about a chiropractic detective who solves a murder.
The idea for the anthology came from best-selling author and delightful friend AJ Llewelyn. This generous lady is teaching us writers how to promote our writing more effectively. Her suggestions included that we each put together a package of information about the anthology, including the logline of our story, and a short excerpt (no more than 300 words) for a promo. Here’s my logline:
Shark finners, and near drownings threaten a compassionate chiropractor
investigating his patient’s murder
Two questions for you, gentle reader. Did you know that shark finners cut the fins off sharks and sell them for up to $10,000 a pop, then dump the shark back into the ocean where it dies a horrible death? Would reading my thirteen word logline make you want to read my story?
AJ also suggested that each author post the book details plus the cover on their Facebook pages when the title becomes available. (My author page is called Angel Hero, and my personal page is under my name, Lizbeth Hartz.) We’re trading links to social media sites so we can tag participating authors on their social media sites.
AJ also advised us to include a 500-word excerpt from, and links to, the favorite book we wrote. Since I, like Margaret Mitchell (author of Gone with the Wind) have written one book only, my memoir Angel Hero, Murder in Hawai’i, A True Story, I extracted my excerpt from there. Like Margaret, I think I have only one book in me, though I’ve written many essays, poems, blog posts, a radio play and a screenplay (adapted from my memoir.) I’ve written a song as well, also titled Angel Hero, available on Amazon music and iTunes. My publisher at Kwill Books created a fabulous, one-minute-long book trailer using my song as background; you can take a listen below.
I include both excerpts below, the first one taken from my newly written short story Love Fever and Second Chances. Please tell me if the excerpt below would make you want to read it:
“There’s something I need to tell you, Barry. Something I just found out after hearing back from Maile’s estate. Maybe Bruno killed her for money…”
“I’m listening, Sabrina.”
“Maile’s mom died recently, and she and her sister Iolana each came into nearly a half million-dollar inheritance. Maile had already done the paperwork to donate a big chunk of her portion to Save The Sharks, a non-profit ecological group. She especially hated finners, those cruel, money-grubbing criminals who cut the fins off living sharks and throw the animals back in the water to suffocate or bleed to death. Then they sell the fins for up to $10,000 on the black market for items like shark fin soup, a delicacy in China.”
“So I’ve heard,” Barry replied grimly.
“Anyway, a woman from Save The Sharks called me today, since she couldn’t reach Maile, and asked me why Maile had cancelled her future donation to Save the Sharks. When I looked into it—I have the Financial Power of Attorney for Maile—I discovered she changed her trust yesterday. She’d arranged for most of her money to go to Bruno, with the stipulation that, in the event of his death, it would revert back to Save The Sharks Foundation and to her. She left information—which must remain sealed unless Bruno goes missing—about the locker where that money might be found.”
“In the event of his death!” Barry said. “She thought Bruno might die? Is that money still in her account, or has it already transferred to Bruno?”
“It’s no longer in her account because she withdrew it in cash. I have no idea where it is.”
“Thank you for sharing this, Sabrina. I’ll tell the homicide detective and let you know what he says. Finners sound cruel, ruthless, inhumane.”
The second excerpt is taken from my memoir, Angel Hero, Murder in Hawai’i, A True Story. The most compelling 500 word excerpt I could find was taken from the day of the murder, Valentine’s Day, 1985; the day my life shattered like a china cup on a concrete floor:
Angel Hero: Murder in Hawai’i:
A True Story by Lizbeth Hartz
Tony’s muffled voice came through an open window in the living room, “Wake up, Liz!”
I scrambled out of bed, pulling on shorts and T-shirt as I hurried to the door and flung it open. “What’s happening?” I squinted at him through morning sun, raindrops in his blond hair reflecting the light.
“May I come in?” Tony’s hazel eyes looked like emeralds in his pale, drawn face.
I motioned him inside. He plopped down on my threadbare couch and crossed his long arms over his aloha shirt. “Jaku’s place is crawling with cops,” he said, “and Vic’s truck is parked sideways, inside of the police tape.”
“Are you kidding me?” My sleepy mind struggled to understand Tony’s words.
“I wish.” He swallowed hard. “I didn’t want to go over there by myself.”
Fully awake now, I asked, “What do you think it could be?”
Tony shook his head and ran bony fingers through his hair, again and again. “I was driving east on Mill when I spotted crime scene tape blocking off Jaku’s garage.” His voice broke. “Jaku lives just around the corner, did you know?”
“Yes.” I shoved my feet into tennis shoes. “Do you want to drive?”
Tony shook his head. “No parking. Let’s hoof it.”
We bolted down the stairs leading from my second story apartment, and ran down the sidewalk, taking care not to slip on the wet concrete.
“What do you think, a drug bust?” Panting, I tried to keep up with Tony’s long-legged stride. The grapevine said Jaku was a druggie, often high or low on something, and a dealer, unloading poor quality pot for primo prices at the fire station.
“But why the police barrier?” Tony scowled. “Why the God-damned barrier?” His voice shook.
Fear crept into me.
We rounded the corner onto Aluki Avenue. Across the street from a police-taped, four-car, open garage, a crowd gathered in the shade of a monkey pod tree. Everyone strained to see what the uniformed cops and men wearing black jackets and slacks were doing in the garage, but Vic’s red truck, parked sideways in front of Jaku’s black Toyota, blocked the view.
I asked a woman, “What happened?”
“I heard it was a suicide,” she said.
“What!? No way!” I didn’t realize I was yelling until I noticed people staring at me.
Tony grabbed my arm. We hurried across the street to where a tall, muscular Samoan police lieutenant stood street-side of Vic’s truck.
“They’re firemen,” I said. “Vic Lazzarini and Jaku Cardoza. We work with them.”
He narrowed his eyes at us and remained silent.
Desperately, I persisted, “Tony here’s a firefighter. I’m a dispatcher.”
After a long pause, the lieutenant said, “There was an argument.”
Unable to speak, I stared. The sun slipped behind a cloud. I slipped deeper into fear. The rain stopped.
The cop continued to squint at us. After another pause, he said, “One of them was shot. Dead.”
“Which one?” I tried to squelch the voice in my mind that already knew.
Some links to my media sites:
Lizbeth Hartz Amazon Author Page