“Out of Place” started with an inside joke – the opening “Bunnies!” line is something I shout (but softly) every time I see one in our North Dallas neighborhood. We’re being overrun with all sorts of creatures – rabbits, raccoons, hawks, coyotes, buzzards, bobcats, etc.. I thought it would be fun to take the neighborhood incursion to an extreme where reality seems to be fraying.
Here’s the blurb:
So many things out of place. Wildlife. Tribesmen. Husbands…
Wildlife seems to be overrunning Sue’s neighborhood. At first Sue thinks that’s all it is, just local fauna run amuck, but her world is changing; an uncomfortable situation for someone who expects everything to stay where it belongs. Who knows where it will all end up?
And here’s this week’s excerpt:
The mountain lion would be comical if it wasn’t so big – or so close.
I’m out jogging first thing in the morning, because Tom likes me to stay in shape. I’m wearing a pair of pink short-shorts and a tank top just like Nancy wears. He hasn’t seen me in it yet, and I’m running along, thinking about how he’ll react when I turn the corner, and there’s this big mountain lion standing in the middle of the street, just staring at me. At least I think it’s a mountain lion – I’d be surer if it wasn’t this cartoon-orange, like Tony the Tiger without the stripes. I’m ready to freak out, and between that and being short of breath, my vision blurs so it looks like it’s staring back with four eyes.
It’s not like I haven’t seen wildlife before when I’m out running, but it’s the kind of thing you expect to see around North Dallas – rabbits, squirrels, skunks, dogs, feral cats, maybe even an occasional coyote. They’ve gotten a couple of the smaller neighborhood pets – I was glad we only had Timmy’s turtle to worry about, and that stayed in his room.
I expect the big orange cat to come after me, so I start running backwards, just so I can keep an eye on it, but it doesn’t move – just stares at me. When I think I’m far enough from it, I turn around and don’t stop running until I reach our house. I jog up to our back door and let myself in. I’m sweated from my run, so I grab a water bottle from the fridge and pace around the kitchen trying to slow down the pounding in my chest. I don’t know how long Tom’s been ogling me; he’s leaning against the door jamb with his suit jacket over his shoulder when I finally notice him
“Looking good!” he grins.
That’s why I bought it, and it’s nice to hear him say it, even if I don’t fill things out as nicely as Nancy does. He puts his jacket on the counter, then stands in front of me and kisses me, his hands cupped under my not so perfect butt. He’s wearing a cologne that I don’t recognize.
“You smell good – where did that come from?” I ask.
“Don’t remember. Free sample, I think,” he says.
He gives me a last squeeze, and then gets himself some coffee.
“How was your run?” he asks.
“I saw a mountain lion,” I say.
“A mountain lion? You sure it wasn’t a bobcat just trying to look big?” Tom says.
“No, it was weird looking, but really big,” I say. “I thought it was going to attack, but it just kept staring at me.”
“Who wouldn’t?” Tom asks, and he winks at me.
“Mommy! Daddy! Big cat!” Timmy calls from the living room.
We hear his little hands jiggling the doorknob. Both of us run to the front room, and I scoop Timmy up before he can get the door open, but Tom stands looking out the living room window.
“I’m not sure that’s a mountain lion, but that’s definitely no bobcat,” he says. “I wonder how it got here.”
Whatever it is, the big cat saunters away across the Nancy’s lawn. We watch it until it disappears around the corner of her house.
“I don’t think I’m taking Timmy to the park today,” I say. “I’ll call Animal Control.”
“I have to get going – let me know how it works out,” Tom says.
“You’re not going out there?” I ask.
“Don’t worry – I’ll get in the car before I open the garage,” he says.
I wait by the front window with Timmy and watch while Tom drives past in his Corvette. Timmy waves at him until he turns the corner by Nancy’s and disappears behind her house. I put Timmy down and call Animal Control.
“A mountain lion? I don’t think so, ma’am. Maybe a bobcat,” the bored officer on the phone says.
“That’s what my husband thought until he saw it,” I say. “Could you just send someone down here to check it out?”
“I’ll put you on the list.”
Large, strange-looking cats aren’t the only thing coming and going from Sue’s neighborhood – and her life. “Out of Place” is available at many online retailers, including, but not limited to:
“Out of Place” is also included in the collection Goddesses, Sleep with the Snowmen, and Other Fantasies. (The next ten people who purchase the collection on Smashwords with coupon code NQ72T will receive a 67% discount – that’s only 99-cents for TEN stories – such a deal!):
Cats of War II is a collection of stories 4-7 of my Herc Tom, Champion of the Empire series. Here’s the blurb for the collection:
Hercules Tom is a popular cat; Minister Tong, Inga Quin, the Rotter Dame, Empress Isabella, Lord Phylo and his Canine Armada – they all want a piece of him. See how our hero saves the Empire at least three more times in this collection of Herc Tom Champion of the Empire stories 4-7. Includes the stories “Baastard’s Revenge,” “Imperial Purrogative,” “Cats Out of the Bag,” and “Reining Cats and Dogs.”
These tales follow the stories “Purr Mission,” “Nipped in the Butt,” and “Cat and Mouse,” which can be found in the collection Cats of War I.
Cats of War II is available at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:
AND there’s a paperback, too! https://www.amazon.com/dp/1704627494
You might want to read about Herc Tom’s earlier adventures if you haven’t already – these are also available in a collection (strangely called Cats of War I.) There is a coupon available for the next ten people who purchase Cats of War I on Smashwords – use coupon code MZ95U to receive a 67% discount – that’s only 99-cents for three Herc Tom, Champion of the Empire stories – such a deal!)
(BETTER HURRY – COUPON EXPIRES TOMORROW!):
Swordsmaster – my first novel (which only took me forty-some years to write) is ready for reading.
Fate is neither something to run away from, nor something to run towards.
The first bright-eye to be seen on the mountain in living memory, Sandrik didn’t want anyone to think of him as they did the ominous Aurae of legend, so he had worked hard to keep his special abilities hidden. But there was more to Sandrik than even he knew. Now that it was time for him to enter the ancient ruins of Taernfeld and be declared a man, what other changes might he be forced into?
Swordsmaster is available at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:
(there is also a paperback on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/dp/1691904910 )
William Mangieri’s writing can be found at several online retailers, including, but not limited to:
• Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/NoTimeToThink
• His Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B008O8CBDY
• Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/william-mangieri?store=book&keyword=william+mangieri
To CONNECT WITH HIM (and LIKE and FOLLOW), go to
• His site on WordPress: https://williammangieri.wordpress.com
• “William Mangieri’s Writing Page” on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/NoTimeToThink
• His Goodreads author page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6893616.William_Mangieri
• Or on twitter: @WilliaMangieri