So you can read my books

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

V is for VICTOR STANDISH_No More Bad Dreams

Of course, V is for VICTOR STANDISH.

The following is from THREE SPIRIT KNIGHT, a book which will probably never be.

Victor Standish is dead -- killed by low readership.

Still, you can save Victor.

If more copies of THE RIVAL or his first two adventures sell,

I will reach into oblivion and spin the tale from which this excerpt comes:


The smell of death was overpowering the moment I cracked open the hospital chapel’s wooden door.

Inside, more than a dozen bodies lay motionless on low cots and on the ground, shrouded in white sheets.

Here, a wisp of gray hair peeked out. There, a knee was flung all awkward. A pale hand reached across a blue gown.

Mother, in a shimmering black robe, gently tucked the knee back under the sheet. She turned to me.

"Victor, you are wondering why I called you here, are you not?"

I forced my throat to work. "I was surprised is all. I figured Katrina would have the Angel of Death really busy."

Shadows swept over her like a shroud to flicker away, revealing her in blood-stained linen wrappings. Her face had become a skull.

I knew she was testing me. It made no difference. No matter the face she showed me, I only saw the mother I loved.

Her forever-smile parted and she rasped, "Busy? You have no idea. Is Alice, your ghoul love, here?"

"You asked me to leave her behind."

The wrappings became a toga. One blood-stained wrapping clung to her eyes. She was holding high a golden scale.

"This hospital would have been too much temptation, Victor. Time for you to see shades of gray."

The room blurred, the 100 degree heat lessened. But not by much. I was in another room.

In the hospital bed in front of me, an elderly woman was crabbing feebly back from the weary doctor, trying to inject her.

"N-No. I heard what you done to them others. Please, I'm not hurting that bad."

The frazzled-haired woman doctor straightened.

"Mrs. Hebert, Memorial is cut off from the world. Our resources are down to critical levels. It is but a matter of time for you. There are others here who can survive ... but only if they have the medicines you are uselessly consuming."

"No! Please, no."

The doctor sighed and held up the needle.

"This is merely a mixture of morphine and the sedative midazolam. You will feel nothing. You will merely sleep."

"The big sleep, you mean," I said behind her, fingering my largest ball bearing.

The doctor whipped around. "Who are you?"

"I'm Victor Standish. And I don't give up ... not on me."

I winked at the old woman, hope suddenly lighting her eyes. "Not on anybody."

The doctor looked at the ball bearing in my fingers.

"You would kill one of the few remaining physicians in New Orleans?"

"No, but you'll really hate that broken knee-cap."

"Orderly!," shouted the doctor.

A burly man the size of Paul Bunyan lumbered in. I smiled wide. Two slender arms wrapped around his waist. He was wrenched back into the hall. The screams told me that Alice wouldn't be tempted for awhile.

A long time ago she told me that I would never go where she would not follow.

The doctor hovered over me, the needle trembling in her hand. "He was perfectly healthy!"

As the screams gurgled then ended, I smiled cold.

"Not anymore. And you try jabbing that thing into me, you better hope it's made of chocolate 'cause I'm going to make you eat it."

She stiffened. "I will not give Mrs. Hebert any further pain medication. Her agony is on your head."

She turned to the door but stopped. I called out.

"Alice, let the doctor go see her other patients."

As the doctor gathered her rationalizations about her uppity self and stormed out of the door, Mrs. Hebert gasped,

"You're not gonna help the other patients?"

I turned to her and shook my head.

"I don't have the medical knowledge to know how to tell if she's hurting or helping."

"But why help me?"

"You were here."

"And the others?"

"They weren't."

I walked to her bed, where Mother stood unseen by the head. I took Mrs. Hebert's hand in mine. I fought to give her my best smile and wink. I managed. I think.

"Sleep. I'll stand watch by your bed."

She smiled sad at me. "What about the pain?"

"I'm Victor Standish, and I do not lie. You will feel no more pain."

"I - I heard of you, son. You keep your word."

I nodded, not trusting my voice.

She smiled, closing her eyes and resting her head on the sweat-stained pillow. "Could you promise me one more thing?"

"What's that?

"No more bad dreams?"

I watched Mother bend over her, my eyes filling with hot tears. "I promise. N-No more bad dreams."
Recent interviews and documents cast the story of Dr. Ana Pou and her colleagues in a new light. It is now evident that more medical professionals were involved in the decision to inject patients —

and far more patients were injected —

than was previously understood. When the names on toxicology reports and autopsies are matched with recollections and documentation from the days after Katrina,

it appears that at least 17 patients were injected with morphine or the sedative midazolam, or both, after a long-awaited rescue effort was at last emptying the hospital.

A number of these patients were extremely ill and might not have survived the evacuation. Several were almost certainly not near death when they were injected,

according to medical professionals who treated them at Memorial and an internist’s review of their charts and autopsies that was commissioned by investigators but never made public. {NEW YORK TIMES Published: August 25, 2009

{Many thanks to the extraordinary artist, Leonora Roy}
Help Wendy Tyler Ryan give emerging authors a voice!


  1. Hi Roland. I'll be sorry if Victor stays dead. I'm sure you'll resurrect him.

    It is scary about those injections after Katrina.

    Leonara Roy is definitely a great artist.


  2. That graphic looks amazing!

    I'm sorry to hear about VS' possible demise.

  3. How dare this Low Readership character kill off Victor. He sounds like a bastard. ;)

    Whoa, I didn't know that happened after Katrina. :(

  4. Denise:
    The sales for Victor are still meager. The prognosis for his health is not good.

    It is indeed scary about those injections. And Leonora Roy deserves much better selling books than mine! LOL!

    I have learned never to count Victor as down. Besides even in the tale done after his "death", his body has not been found -- 0f course it would be found in the ruins of Troy!

    Isn't Leonora Roy an awesome artist?

    Victor has surprised those who predicted his demise before. Let's cross our fingers for higher sales to merit the expense of his tales!

    And yes, that episode was indeed a scary time for helpless people!!

  5. Hello, Roland! Ooo, this is a great excerpt. I hope Victor doesn't go!! Wonderful painting, too.

    Have a lovely week and happy A to Z!!

  6. I almost did Victor, too. It was the only V-word that came to mind!

    Kill him if you must, but keep writing. For myself, I try to avoid serials, and instead focus on entirely new worlds, from new angles, so I can see what does and doesn't work. I also don't want to be known for just one world. I suppose you can get rich like that, but you get pigeon-holed into not only a single genre, but a single story-world.

    You have quite a few story-worlds to explore other than Victor's, if you feel so inclined.

    - Eric

  7. Laura:
    Thanks for liking my excerpt. Isn't Leonora a genius? Victor has started to slowly sell more. Let's cross our fingers.

    I wish you had just to see Victor from another's perspective.

    I write in a linked world mythos. All my heroes in a supernatural World War II of sorts. Different heroes. Different theaters of actions. Different time periods. So I am not limited. I like using the same secondary characters from one novel to another, for they take on life-like depth.

    If low sales kill Victor, I will leave writing for other creative endeavors. I already have the post half-written. Me and Hibbs, the bear with 2 shadows, strolling off into the sunset.

    Me with my trenchcoat slung over my shoulder. Hibbs muttering, "Man, that is such a cool look, but they don't sell trenchcoats in my size!"

  8. "But why help me?"

    "You were here."

    "And the others?"

    "They weren't."

    I love that logic. As a social worker, sometimes that's just how it goes.

    Not exactly the same: but yesterday I had to work with another agency in getting a client homeless assistance. One night is all I needed to procure so my program would be available. The other worker shook her head; she could access the funds for only once for the month, and although April is nearly over, she was saving it for a family (who may or may not request it) and to make expenditure more - profitable.

    I'm not saying I condone what the staff was doing, but I do have to empathize. It is easy to look back and say that if they would have waited a little longer, their decisions would have been unnecessary. Sometimes hard decisions have to be made in the heat of the moment.

    I hadn't heard of this situation, but it is sad on many levels.


  9. Hello! Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm a new follower and just now discovering your site and books. Love the excerpt, you certainly have me hooked! (:

  10. It's a terrible cliche Roland, but for every door that closes, another one opens.

    Thanks you so much for the shout-out about the anthology project. And I know this community of ours has many talented writers. I am hoping they will submit their work to this unique project.

    You asked about submission guideline - too long to mention here. Here is the link for anyone who is interested.

  11. Never give up on Victor. If he can survive Katrina, a ghoul girlfriend, etc., I'm sure he can survive this! Or perhaps you might reincarnate Victor in another form?

    That's a creepy story. Never heard of that incident post-Katrina before!

    J.C. Martin
    A to Z Blogger

  12. Donna:
    I worked with government funding in the past -- it's a nightmare.

    Yes, Victor's logic was forged on hard streets. He kept his sanity by doing what he could with what resources he had.

    I believe the doctor was acquited, but I am not sure. Yes, it is sad on so many levels. Good to see you here, Roland

    I'm so happy you liked the excerpt. The feedback from it has been heartening. Victor may bob and weave from oblivion after all.

    I'll go check out those guidelines. I'll put them up on my post when I figure out how to edit my design to the sidebar. I hate this new format!

    The feedback and increased sales is making me consider bring Victor back from the clinging shadows.

    Yes, that true incident is extraordinarily creepy, considering we might find ourselves in such dire circumstances when we least expect it! Roland

  13. ...despite the grueling schedule, I made time to stop by this evening, knowing without need for a hint what you'd select for your V word. ;)

    You failed to disappoint, Roland. And despite Victor's tragic demise, I'm confident that we haven't seen the last of him.

    The weekend awaits...


  14. Elliot:
    Sales are beginning to pick up and the feedback for this excerpt seems to suggest that there is still life to Victor despite the claims of his death at Troy (see the end of THE RIVAL).

    Yes, the weekend looks to be a busy one despite my being off -- trying to finish moving all the things I couldn't two weeks ago! Ugghhh! Thanks for visiting despite the hectic schedule! Roland