Saturday, May 23, 2020

The Gift

The story was a gift. A literal knock at my door. I opened up. A young woman stood wrapped in a trench coat. London Fog, I think. She wore a fedora pulled over her eyes.

"Honey," I called to my wife. "Some dame from the 1940s is here."

The woman looked at me like I was crazy. No one ever gets my humor. I invited her in anyway.

"What'll it be, toots?" I said in my best Humphry Bogart. I whipped a washcloth over my shoulder. It wrapped around me like a tight hug. "The name's Christamar, see. And who might you be?"

I winced. Bogey would never rhyme.

Instead of answering like a civilized person, she strode around me and led the way down the hallway to my living room. Along the way, she reached into a large red leather handbag and pulled out a manuscript.

Oh no, I thought, horrified. She's going to want me to read that.

Sure enough, after balancing the manuscript on her knees as she squatted in front of my coffee table moving toys and magazines out of the way so she could the could (eventually) slap the material against the Formica tabletop in the most dramatic way possible.

"Read this," she said.

"Can't you just tell me your name and state your business." I said. "Young dames don't just get to push their way into my home and order me around. Come to think of it, neither do dames of other ages. And what's the opposite of a dame? A doughboy? They don't get to push me around either. Things were turning around in a bad way.

She stood with her arms crossed in front of her. Her wavy brown hair was starting to pull loose from her ponytail. I put her age at between twenty-eight and thirty-two but there was a weathered look to her face, as if she'd been beaten up by years of worry and maybe something more. She was very serious, and her hands shook as she held them out in front of her and started to tell her story.

"You know the story of the Reverend and you know about her connection to [AUTHOR'S NAME REDACTED]."

Sure I did. I wrote a book about it didn't me. I'm cited by name in that book by the New Yorker writer and that contributor to Vanity Fair, used my research as the basis for a long article he published in Scribd. 

The Reverend, of course, was the voodoo preacher, alleged to have killed off at least five members of his family for insurance money he split with a charismatic country lawyer. I knew as much about that story as anybody, and I told he so. "I know the story."

"And you know how to publish a book."

"It's not very hard these days."

"It can't be me that does it. You can have my half. The other half goes to charity as stipulated under contract."

"A contract with who?"

"That's the thing," she said. "I'm not allowed to say."  

I pikced up that pages and started to thumb through them. It was the book within a book that jumped out to me..The title. The Author's name. The copyright date. I read the first page just to be sure. Could it be?"

I looked at the woman. This stranger who had dropped into my house unannounced. "This is the lost manuscript."

"It's mine," She said. "I own the rights fair and square."

"But how?" 

"Read the book," she said. "It's all in there." And so I did. And now so can you:

Saturday, June 22, 2019

Order Your Copy of Blood Cries by Chris Hope

Forty-two years ago, [FAMOUS AUTHOR'S NAME REDACTED] traveled to [REDACTED], Alabama to learn the true story of the so-called voodoo preacher. Every year, it seemed, Reverend [Will Baxter] killed off another member of his immediate family, but always managed to beat the charges with the help of a charismatic country lawyer and some voodoo magic. 

[FAMOUS AUTHOR'S NAME REDACTED] was obsessed with the story and worked on it for years, but her book, The Reverend, was never published. What happened to the manuscript has always been a mystery. Until now.

Thanks to the efforts of Chris Hope—Louella's number one fan—the book has been discovered and the Reverend's darkest secrets will be revealed for the first time

Fifty percent of the author's profits will be donated to Alexander City's Feast of Sharing

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Who is Louella Harper?

In 1977, a certain national treasure went down to Alexander City, Alabama to research a book about the Reverend Will Maxwell, the so-called voodoo preacher. She never produced the book. Or did she?

This new book, Blood Cries, combines the work of the ostensive author, Chris Hope, and a book-within-a-book written by a woman called Louella Harper. Me thinks this Louella resembles a certain real-life legendary author. The book-within-a-book even bears the same title, The Reverend, as her famous lost manuscript. 

Check out the description for yourself at