Product Launch: Tip of the Iceberg

August 12, 2010

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Officer Graham Watkins grabbed the stale coffee, tossed the paper cup into the metal basket in the corner of the room, and turned to face the witness.  He plopped down a fresh cup of brew in front of him and took a seat.

“Good morning, Mr. Mills,” he started, reading the name from the page in front of him, “We believe that you may have information pertinent to an ongoing criminal investigation.  We – “

The other man cut off Watkins in mid sentence.  “I confess, I killed her.  Lock me up.”  Spencer Mills buried his head in his hands and began to weep uncontrollably.

The rookie officer was fortunate that Mills wasn’t able to see him as Watkins’ jaw dropped completely to the floor.  What the hell?  This was supposed to be a cookie cutter interview regarding an embezzlement case against one of Mills’ co-workers.  Now we were talking about murder.  Watkins hadn’t the slightest clue what killing Mills might be talking about.

Watkins wondered if it might be best to get a more seasoned investigator into the room to finish the interview.  Watkins decided against it, preferring to strike while the iron was hot.  By the time he tracked down a detective, Mills might stop talking.  Better to keep the ball rolling.

“Thank you for your cooperation, Mr. Mills.  Your confession will undoubtedly bring some closure to the family of the victim.  Before I go further, I should advise you that you have certain rights.”  Watkins pulled out his pocket copy of the Miranda rights and made sure that he recited them clearly and correctly.

“Now, do I understand that you wish to waive these rights and speak freely about this crime?”

Mills wiped tears from his face and nodded in agreement.

Watkins pulled a sheet of paper from one of the folders in front of him.  “This form is a waiver of your Miranda rights.  If you wish to waive your rights, read this carefully and then sign and date the form at the bottom.”  Watkins uncapped his pen and handed it to Mills.  Mills gave the document a cursory glance before scribbling his signature.

Watkins breathed more easily.  Sometimes the mere mention of Miranda could make criminals think twice about confessing.  He had cleared the first hurdle.

Typically, the interrogator has most of the pieces of the puzzle and needs just a few details from the perpetrator in order to complete the picture.  In this case, the situation was completely flipped.  Watkins had just a couple of pieces and needed to extract the other 498 from Mills.  He decided to get the ball rolling with an open ended question.

“Why did you do it?”

“I just got tired of waiting, you know?  I picked her up at a bar near the stadium.    Alex Brady had a good game, and we won, so everyone was in a pretty good mood.  Afterward, we went back to my place.  I just wanted to get in her pants, but she wanted to watch the Bombers game.  So we’re watching the stupid Bombers game.  The whole time, I’m just thinking about sex, but she keeps talking about baseball.  She just won’t shut up, you know?  Finally, she’s yammering on about the DH, and I just snapped.”

Watkins took a long sip of coffee from his cup.  He needed to tread very lightly.  It was critical to avoid tipping off Mills to the fact that he had absolutely no idea what murder Mills was confessing to.  Asking for the name of the victim was sure to make Mills clam up.  He decided on an indirect approach, hoping that useful information would spill out.

“This is my first murder case,” admitted Watkins.  “I’ve always wondered – what does it feel like?”

Mills grinned back at the rookie.  “It was the ultimate high, copper.  Like the perfect trip.  Better than blow, better than ice.  Feeling her neck snap was the best feeling I’ve ever experienced.”

Want to know what comes next?  It’ll cost you!

As you know, the vast majority of the content on The Soap Boxers is free.  A couple of times each year, I bundle up the fiction stories that have accumulated since the last publication, add in a bonus story, and tie them up in a nice bundle and attach a price tag.

How much will it cost you?  Well, you have 3 purchasing options:

  • The 96 page PDF Tip of the Iceberg and Other Stories.  The PDF contains 31 stories consisting of about 27,000 words.  I’m pricing this at 15 cents per story – $4.65 for the collection.
  • The title story is also available as an audio book with a run time of about 28 minutes.  Your cost is $1.99.  Note that this is just the one story, not all 31.
  • You can also purchase the combo pack that contains the PDF as well as the audio book.  Normally the price is  $5.79 – but for the next two weeks, you can get it for $4.65.  That’s the same price as the PDF, so you might as well buy the combo pack.

You can find these products and many others, at the Hyrax Publications store.  I hope you think the pricing is fair and will buy a copy to support an independent writer.

As an added bonus, the first three people to buy the combo pack will receive a free copy of The Cell Window combo pack.  If you are one of the first three people, I will try to notify you within 24 hours.  If you aren’t among the first three, you can still get a good deal on The Cell Window Combo Pack – it’s currently on sale for just $3.65.

I will also allow you to share any product with a friend.  In reality, there’s very little I can do to prevent you from sharely freely, other than rely in the honor system.  However, in this case, you can share with a friend with no guilt whatsoever.  All I ask is that you tell the friend about The Soap Boxers.

Thank you for your continued support.

Member Exclusive: The Professional

January 15, 2010

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“The pay isn’t much, but I know how you feel about widows and orphans.”

“How much, Jack?”

“Only ten, I’m afraid.”

The man at the other end of the phone hesitated for a moment and then decided to take the job.  Ten grand wasn’t much, but he had a soft spot for damsels in distress.

“OK, I’ll do it for ten.  Make sure to pay FICA for me.”

The caller laughed.  “You know the drill, Rex.  You’re an independent contractor.”

Jack Stone arranged to call back in a few days with more information.

Rex Mortimer grabbed a Cuban cigar from the box on the corner of his desk and shoved it into the corner of his mouth.  He pulled a box of wooden matches from the top desk drawer, extracted one, and struck it sharply against the side of the desk.  The match immediately illuminated, and Rex lit his cigarette and enjoyed one final smoke.  After he finished his cigarette, he’d pull the bottle of single malt scotch from the bottom drawer and enjoy a final dose of that wonderful elixir as well.  Rex Mortimer loved fine cigars and quality booze, but he always swore them off when working on a job.  The stakes warranted complete sobriety.

To the outside world, Rex Mortimer was a marketing executive named Alexander Milne.  He operated his front business under the name of Sanders Consulting.  Indeed, Sanders Consulting was small, but had a long history in the industry, and their reputation had continued unblemished after Alexander had bought the company from the old owner.  This was largely because Alexander outsourced the work to people far more qualified than himself.  He had little difficulty outsourcing the jobs, since he paid more than the clients paid him – and paid with cash.

While the business was not profitable from a pure economic sense, it served a very valuable purpose – accounting for Alexander’s frequent business trips and reasonably high level of income.

When Alexander took a road trip, it was his alter ego who performed the work.  Rex Mortimer’s business was death, and business was very good.  Rex was a contract killer.  He wasn’t an elite guy like Jaguar or Condor, but he managed to make a very decent living from his profession.  Most of the money was diverted to safe haven in the Cayman Islands.  The rest was passed along to the flunkies who performed the outsourcing for Sanders Consulting.  The recipients never complained about receiving cash, and the process did a nice job of trading dirty cash from the contract killers for clean cash paid by clients for the excellent work of Sanders Consulting.

How do you like the story so far?

This other half of this particular story will NOT be available on the blog! It will only be available as part of an eBook that I am giving away to my most valued regular readers. Don’t worry, it does not cost any money, nor do you have to give up any personal information.

If you are a regular reader through the web site, look up at the blue bar at the top of the screen. You should see the text “Free eBook” toward the right edge of the bar. If you don’t see this, then you’re just a wee bit shy of being a “regular reader”.

If you are an RSS subscriber, look at the bottom of this story. You will see a “Free eBooks of short stories” link directly to the left of the copyright notice.

Clicking on either of these links will get you to the correct page to download the eBook. The 50 page eBook contains thirteen stories. Twelve of the stories have been featured on The Soap Boxers. The first story in the eBook – The Professional – is only available to members in this PDF.

I hope you enjoy the eBook!

If you aren’t a regular visitor, you can get the eBook by simply subscribing to the RSS feed – or simply look around the site and read a few stories. Before long, we’ll think of you as a regular visitor.

If you run into any problems, just send me an email at kosmo@observingcasually.com

Member Exclusive: The Cell Window

October 30, 2009

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Note: This story is very different than last quarter’s story, Key Relationships. The Cell Window depicts adult situations and crimes against women. You may find this story a bit disturbing. You have been warned ….

The New Recruit

Duncan made a quick test call to verify that the phone was operational. The phone chirped out a ring tone, and Duncan declared it ready to go.

“Here you go,” he said to the brunette sitting across the table from him. “If you have any questions, please give me a call,” he said handing her his card.

The woman smiled back at Duncan. “Thank you. You have been very helpful.” She grabbed her bags, got up, and left the store.

Duncan’s eyes followed her tall, slender body as it moved away from him. He slid a small notebook out of his pocket and scribbled down the name Dana Zeller and the details of her account. Duncan rated her at about a 9.7 – not perfect, but extremely attractive. Dana was definitely worth a closer look.

Duncan stepped back into the employee room and grabbed a Pepsi. It had been a long day, and he needed a bit of a pick-me-up. The sweet buzz of caffeine helped awaken his senses a bit. Ninety very long minutes later, it was finally quitting time. Duncan usually chatted for a few minutes with Bob, the guy who came in for the evening shift. Today, however, he mumbled a quick greeting and headed for the door.

Home, Sweet Home

Duncan tossed the stack of mail onto the kitchen table. It most mostly junk mail, and he could deal with the bills later. He had more important things to do.

Duncan walked to the master bedroom and stepped inside the walk-in closet. While the closet was large, it was slightly smaller than it had been when the house was built. Duncan pushed aside a hidden panel in the wall, revealing a staircase behind it. He closed the panel behind him and descended the stairs to a secret room in the basement.

How do you like the story so far?

As you know, nearly all of the content on The Soap Boxers is free.  This is one exception.  If you want to know how the story turns out, you can purchase it in our store.  You have three options:

  • The entire story is included in the PDF of The Fiction of Kosmo, Volume 2.  This collection also includes eleven other stories.
  • The story is available in audio format.  The audio book consists of four MP3 files (within a ZIP file) with a total run time of 49 minutes. 
  • The combo pack includes the PDF of The Fiction of Kosmo, Volume 2, as well as the audio version of The Cell Window for a lower total price than buying them separately.  The combo pack consists of one PDF file and four MP3 files within a single ZIP file.

Member exclusive: Key Relationships

July 10, 2009

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(Some of you already have sneak preview copies of the eBook … sorry, no new content for you today.  Read a few more stories in the book, if you haven’t finished.)

Note – this is a partial story – regular visitors will be able to access the full story – instructions at the bottom.

Key Relationships

Zach hefted his suitcase to the top of the stairs and rang the bell. He had packed a lot more than he typically would for such a short trip, but Kevin and Robyn had been very secretive about the details. All he knew is that they were leaving on Friday morning and returning late in the day on Sunday. They had been told to pack for any situation, so Zach had packed a mixture of casual and dress clothes.

Zach heard the distinctive clicking sound of high-heeled shoes crossing the hardwood floor toward the door. Robyn opened the door and invited him in.

“Hey, Zach, come on in and grab a seat. Now that everyone is here, we can get started.”
Zach was pleasantly surprised to see that his friends had left the comfy brown recliner unoccupied. These guys were the absolute best. He settled into the chair and Kevin started to talk.

“OK, guys. Robyn and I promised you a fun trip this weekend. Well, that’s somewhat true. There will actually be three trips this weekend, though, instead of just one.”

Zach was a bit confused. A quick glance around the room confirmed that he wasn’t the only one who wasn’t following along. Brooke gave him a quizzical look from the couch. Zach could only shrug his shoulders in response.

How do you like the story so far?

This particular story will NOT be available on the blog!  It will only be available as part of an eBook that I am giving away to my most valued regular readers.  Don’t worry, it does not cost any money, not do you have to give up any personal information.

If you are a regular reader through the web site, look up at the blue bar at the top of the screen.  You should see the text “Free eBook” toward the right edge of the bar.  If you don’t see this, then you’re just a wee bit shy of being a “regular reader”.

If you are an RSS subscriber, look at the bottom of this story.  You will see a “Free eBook of short stories” link directly to the left of the copyright notice.

Clicking on either of this links will get you to the correct page to download the eBook.  The eBook contains sixteen stories.  Fifteen of the stories have been featured on The Soap Boxers.  The first story in the eBook – Key Relationships – cannot be found on the blog, and it is much longer than any of the stories that have appeared in the blog (24 pages long, in fact).

I hope you enjoy the eBook!

If you aren’t a regular visitor, you can get the eBook by simply subscribing to the RSS feed – or simply look around the site and read a few stories.  Before long, we’ll think of you as a regular visitor.

If you run into any problems, just send me an email at kosmo@observingcasually.com