Dear friends and readers,

Cover: Neighbors!
by Karen Oberlaender

It has finally happened: My second book, Neighbors!, was published today, June 19, 2018 as a multi-format ebook by Smashwords. As many of you may know, the book is a flash fiction series, focussed on Sheriff Jim Burrell and a peculiar case. It also comprises a bit of fan fiction: author C. S. Boyack lent me my favourite protagonist of his works, Lisa Burton, to support Sheriff Jim.

I hope you will take the time to check Neighbors! out at your retailer of choice or at Smashwords, where you can buy and download the book in the typical ebook formats.

Neighbors! is available at many retailers. Mobi format is available at Smashwords.

Buy/download links:Β  books2read.com/u/3G9dg8

I am looking forward to your feedback and reviews.Β  πŸ™‚

Best wishes,

Karen

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Dear friends and readers,

After following a flash fiction prompt, I was easily convinced by a reader’s comment, that the story should continue. (How it began…)

I loved writing about sheriff Jim Burrell and his team, including Lisa Burton, C. S. Boyack’s unique protagonist of Wild Concept. Dear Craig, I still feel honoured that you allowed my piece of fan fiction. I can imagine to continue the story – with a different case of course – if you readers want it.

During the last months I took my time to format, re-edit, etc., and Smashwords accepted Neighbors! for their Premium Catalog.

Cover: Neighbors!
by Karen Oberlaender

Neighbors! is available for pre-order in all e-formats:Β  books2read.com/u/bP5RAx

Publication date:Β  2018-06-19

Enjoy reading the episodes at the coffee machine or in the lift (perhaps I should say elevator – as Neighbors! is set in the USA πŸ˜‰), or just wherever else you like to read.


Peace, coffee, and a cheesecake.Β  πŸ€β˜˜

 

Oh. My. Dog! #48

Posted: April 29, 2018 in Flash Fiction, Oh. My. Dog!
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I woke to the smell of coffee. Not sure if I was hallucinating, I squinted; broad daylight, the scent of coffee and cinnamon rolls seemed to be real. Noiselessly, I leant on my elbow. Lynx was sitting at the table, reading, a coffee mug in her left hand, her right hand petting Bud’s head. His head rested on her leg, both were completely at ease, and I just loved the sight of it. My growling stomach gave me away. Lynx looked up, smiling. I got up and Bud trotted over to greet me, then he directed me towards the bathroom.

Ten minutes later and freshly showered I finally was allowed a seat at the table, fresh coffee and a delicious cinnamon roll. I was glad that the case was over, still feeling a little exhausted – lack of sleep had taken its toll.

β€œNot in the mood for adventures, right?” Her eyes sparkled as she said it, even Bud seemed to be grinning.

β€œWhat’s your plan?”

β€œBesides learning for the upcoming tests, I promised Mrs Cairns to help her stock up for the garden show. An extra pair of hands is required.” Lynx smiled infectiously and Bud produced his silent bark.

Oh. My. Dog! #47

Posted: February 18, 2018 in Flash Fiction, Oh. My. Dog!
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All of a sudden I felt worn out, therefore I accepted Mr Cairns’ offer for a ride. Jones promised to return my bicycle the early afternoon.

It was a relief to snuggle into the front passenger seat. I stole a glance at Mr Cairns’ profile – he wasn’t exhausted, just thoughtful.

I woke with a start as Mr Cairns stopped in the driveway. I wondered if Mrs Cairns was all right, she had been way too pale earlier. When we stepped into the kitchen, my landlady’s cheeks had a more natural colour. She intently watched as Lynx drew a mindmap and explained its content.

Mr Cairns watched his wife with a loving smile. She stood and he took her in his arms. β€œEverything is fine, my dear.”

β€œWhat about you, Ken?” Lynx wanted to know, her voice devoid of fear.

β€œAwfully tired, otherwise great.” I suppressed a yawn.

Lynx grinned. β€œTime for a nap, it seems.”

I waved at Mr Cairns, knowing that he was about to tell his wife a mild version of the events.

Lynx half-carried me home. I fell on the bed, oblivious of Lynx and Bud’s leaving for a quick walk, and their return a while later.

Oh. My. Dog! #46

Posted: December 31, 2017 in Flash Fiction, Oh. My. Dog!
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The barn door slammed open as a wiry blond man clad in a dirty coverall shot out and raced for the gate. A tall man appeared in the opening and threw a billet of wood after him. It grazed the running man’s shoulder, tearing the fabric. As he wedged through the gate, he was apprehended by two uniformed policemen. Mr Cairns and his team finally had their reason to enter the premises. β€œImminent danger is the best reason to get in unannounced,” he stated with a wink.

Bud and I watched from the gate as they approached the barn. It was a pity that they closed the barn door, though. Bud sighed. I looked down at him, then crouched. Bud laid his paw on my knee. Four men were inside, already cuffed. The car seemed to be damaged at the right place, and the bracelet was found in a briefcase.

When more police vehicles approached, Bud and I hid in the shadows. The vehicles stopped in front of the barn door and were greeted by Mr Cairns second in command.

Mr Cairns left the barn and walked to us. β€œWe made it, Ken! Let’s go home and tell the ladies.”

Oh. My. Dog! #45

Posted: October 15, 2017 in Flash Fiction, Oh. My. Dog!
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I hugged Lynx and sprinted to the door. β€œCome on, Bud!”

It took us less than 10 minutes to meet Mr Cairns and Jones. Leaning my bicycle against a tree I could already see some of what they had been up to.

β€œIt is more than a mere car body damage, the left front tyre was affected as well.”

β€œThere are two guys who might have helped them, they are not as nearby as to really have lent support to the robbers. Therefore, we need you and Bud.”

Bud sniffed a little for show, taking in the scene, and I crouched down beside him. When he laid his paw on my knee, I could be sure that Jones wouldn’t think twice about it.

I got up. β€œLet’s go!”

Bud galloped ahead, I pedalled behind, Mr Cairns and Jones bringing up the rear.

Several streets later, Bud slowed, I took this as a sign to get off my bicycle. Mr Cairns stopped the car.

The hedge was too high, so I inched forward to risk a peek through the gate. The split driveway lead left to the house and right to a barn. From the latter direction I heard agitated voices and hammering.

Oh. My. Dog! #44

Posted: September 3, 2017 in Flash Fiction, Oh. My. Dog!
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Mrs Cairns looked exhausted.

β€œWhy don’t you take a rest, Mrs Cairns? I’ll take care of the dishes while Lynx does a little on-line research.”

Mrs Cairns offered me a grateful smile before she left to lay down.

Lynx grinned, her tablet was already on the table.

I filled the dishwasher, started it, and helped myself to more coffee. When I sat, Bud laid his paw on my knee – I roared. Lynx looked up. β€œWhat’s so funny?”

β€œSeems like I have to buy a crate of coffee.”

β€œI always knew that Bud has a great sense of humour.”

β€œHe’s right nevertheless.”

The search results showed that the blue Mondeo was a rather common car.

β€œWhat can the police do? Presumably they ask at the garages within a fifty-mile-radius.”

β€œKen, this only helps if they really care to have the car repaired. Perhaps they know someone who does repairs like these at home.”

β€œMr Cairns will certainly access the criminal register for guys who could repair a work under the radar.”

My phone vibrated. β€œKen, I need you and Bud here.”

β€œOn our way.”

Lynx understood. β€œI’ll stay and look after Mrs Cairns. She shouldn’t wake up to an empty house.”

Oh. My. Dog! #43

Posted: August 6, 2017 in Flash Fiction, Oh. My. Dog!
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Mr Cairns went pale, then colour rose to his cheeks. β€œAre you sure, Bud?” Bud produced one of his silent barks.

We watched in wonder as Mr Cairns placed a call. β€œJones, do you know if there is still someone in the jeweller’s neighbourhood?”

The answer seemed to please him. β€œAll right, tell him to wait for us. I’ll pick you up in five minutes!”

When he realised our questioning looks, he just nodded at Bud. β€œAsk him!”

Bud laid his paw on my knee.

β€œWhat is it, Ken?!”

I saw the jeweller’s shop, a hooded guy stepping out the door, casually walking to a blue Ford Mondeo, getting in. As soon as the door closed, the car sped toward the junction where it came in contact with a freshly painted wall to avoid colliding with another car. The other driver hit the accelerator and was gone, the Mondeo was steered out of sight.

β€œAnd it was really the other couple’s stolen car? The near-miss must have panicked them.”

β€œThat’s probably what made them end up in the Ouse.”

Lynx smiled. β€œYour husband masters the art of connecting the dots. It will not be difficult to find the damaged car.”

Oh. My. Dog! #42

Posted: June 11, 2017 in Flash Fiction, Oh. My. Dog!
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After the news, Mr Cairns cleared his throat. β€œLet’s not jump to conclusions. Why should they have robbed a jeweller in broad daylight? This was out of their league.”

Lynx spoke first. β€œWhat if they were only coincidentally there? They might have stolen the car, seen the police in that street, and – they simply panicked.”

β€œYou mean that they were simply fleeing from their own crime scene?”

It was my turn. β€œIf they panicked in front of an officer, their license plate would have been noted.”

Mr Cairns drew in his breath. β€œExactly! I’ll set Jones onto this; the poor lad has the night shift. He also needs to verify the possible routes from the site of the car theft to the jeweller’s street.”

We returned to the kitchen as Mr Cairns talked to Jones. His wife busied herself with the coffee-maker while I rinsed our mugs for a refill.

When Mr Cairns returned to the kitchen, he seemed slightly upset. β€œSeveral cars made U-turns when seeing the police presence. None of the plates was noted down. It’s a dead end.”

β€œBud indicated the robbery for a reason!”

As if on cue, Bud laid his paw on Mr Cairns’ knee.

Oh. My. Dog! #41

Posted: May 7, 2017 in Flash Fiction, Oh. My. Dog!
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Mrs Cairns sighed. β€œI am relieved that the poor girl is not orphaned.”

We were all relieved and I finally understood Bud’s initial reaction. It had bothered me that he didn’t seem to care for the girl’s parents. Bud sensed my train of thoughts, he nudged my hands and our eyes met. If more people had at least half of his empathy – this world would be a better place.

β€œThe girl’s parents are at the hospital, they won’t leave until she is allowed home.”

β€œThey must have been devastated. All the ‘What ifs’ – this is awful.” Mrs Cairns’ eyes were brimming with tears.

β€œWe will learn more tomorrow morning.” Mr Cairns was too realistic for thoughts like ‘It’ll all be all right.’

β€œThis fine couple had a history of stealing and selling everything for their addiction. It’s still unclear why they were in such a hurry.”

β€œAnd what’s your take on this, Bud?” Lynx asked this half-joking and we realised that he had left my side. We located him – holding a pointer(!) pose – in front of the TV set.

Mr Cairns grabbed the remote and the screen sprang to life. A local jeweller deplored the loss of a valuable bracelet.