Saturday, November 15, 2008

Special Feature!


Best friends Sue Jan and Lovita run a beauty shop/boutique in the little West Texas town of Wachita. They share a passion for food and fun. But one day, over lunch in a Chinese restaurant, Lovita opens a fortune cookie with a sinister message: “Your father was murdered. . .” a clue that leads them to God, an international spy ring, and several devastatingly handsome strangers. A most unlikely pair of detectives, these girlfriends “comb” the countryside with style, sarcasm, and lots of Szechwan. This tale is like good take-out food—definitely worth bringing home.


Linda Kozar, author and speaker, is the recipient of the 2007 American Christian Fiction Writers Mentor of the Year Award, and four previous awards for writing. Her first fiction novel, Misfortune Cookies, will be released by Heartsong Presents--Mysteries in 2008, followed by two sequels in 2009. Also a book of devotions titled, Babes With A Beatitude, Howard Books, a division of Simon and Schuster, will release in 2009.

Linda works part-time at Lone Star Community College, Montgomery Campus as a Staff Facilitator for a magazine, The Global Pen, by and for ESOL students. She is the Co-Founder and Director of Words For The Journey Christian Writers Guild---South East Texas Region, in The Woodlands, Texas. She assumed a post as President of a new Chapter of the American Christian Fiction Writers ACFW in The Woodlands, "Writers On The Storm," in July of 2009. She also co-leads a women’s Bible Study, “Babes With A Beatitude,” at WoodsEdge Community Church and manages a ministry website by that name, and taught a previous women’s Bible Study, “Coffee, Tea and Thee,” for 14 years. She and her husband Michael, married for 19 years, have two lovely teen daughters, Katie and Lauren.

"What's that?" she asked panicked and pointing upward.

We looked up through the windshield at a pointy black cloud in the distance. The tip of it began to rotate in a graceful pirouette.

"Uh-oh," I gasped.

Sue Jan held my shoulder in a bear trap grip. "We're gonna die Ita! That's a funnel cloud, a baby tornado coming down. Then its gonna get big and nasty and carry us away and there won't be enough left of us to pick up in a vacuum cleaner and I'll never have my date with Hans. Never."

It was strangely dark outside. The sky tinged with green. And quiet all of a sudden. No birds singing or crickets chirping. Even the leaves in the trees were still. I screeched the car to a halt by the back door. I don't even know how we got out, but in a flash we were inside tripping over chairs, spilling vases and dishes, and grabbing Sue Jan's four fat cats on our way down to daddy's fallout shelter. My daddy built it in the fifties, when everybody was scared of an atomic bomb going off. So he built our very own shelter right under the house.

I had to admit, the whole thing was pretty clever. Daddy built a secret hinged shelf inside our walk-in kitchen pantry. Behind that was a stairway full of cobwebs that led down to the airlock door, made of super thick steel. Four people could live and sleep real comfortable for a couple of weeks. It was fully stocked with food. Medical supplies too. And an air filter was supposed to protect us from breathing radioactive air. Daddy tried to think of everything.

Not many people knew about it of course. It's not the sort of thing you're supposed to advertise. You don't want everybody showing up at your shelter door wanting in. I know he was worried. That's why he built it, out of love for us. He didn't want me and Mama turning mutant or anything.

Once the door was closed and the airlock turned, everything was quiet, except for the cats who were mee-owing, all nervous-like and looking for somewhere to hide. We were snug inside. That was certain.

The overhead industrial lights went dim all of a sudden. I had 'em set on low to conserve power, but the storm was affecting things. A quick flip of a switch fixed that.

"Hey, thanks for turning the lights up." Sue Jan turned around surveying the place though she had visited the shelter a gazillion times before. "This is like a fifties museum. Even the shampoo and toothpaste, the combs and shaving cream is all from then." She held up a tube. "They don't even make this brand anymore." She drew in an excited breath. "Lovita, you could charge admission! Why didn't I think of that before? Think of the extra bucks you could make showing people a real live atomic bomb shelter right here in Wachita. What do you think?"

Hands on my hips like a sugar bowl, I scrunched up my nose in disapproval. "We have a few other things to worry about right now Sue Jan-like a tornado out there scouring through town, maybe even through this house."

I turned on the emergency radio. A siren immediately sounded. The towns of Wachita, Bentley and Dayton till 5 o'clock central standard time…WARNING…WARNING…A TORNADO SIGHTING HAS BEEN CONFIRMED IN THE TOWNS OF BENTLEY AND WACHITA…RESIDENTS ARE ADVISED TO TAKE COVER IMMEDIATELY…Sue Jan reached over to switch it off.

"Hey, why'd you do that?"

"We've heard enough Lovita. We've seen the twister ourselves. It's probably tearing off pieces of your house like cotton candy right now. She sniffed. Into itty bitty pieces. Yup."

"Thank you for that."

She sniffed again. "Well, at least we're safe. And the kittycats." She reached down to pet Vicki-Lou, the fattest of the four kitties and clearly the Alpha Kitty. Jealous, Kitty-Mingus, our silver Persian fell on her back purring for a tummy rub. "Aww, don't you widdle kitties worry; we'll be 'otay.

Suppose your Daddy hadn't built this place Lovita. We'd be in trouble--probably in the air spinning around like the inside of a washing machine. Hey, you got any food in here?"

"Oh Sue Jan, you know we didn't have any time to grab some food on our way down-"

I wished we had. There was some leftover chicken-fried steak and butter beans in the fridge and some popovers from the night before. My stomach growled at the thought.

She pointed to a shelf. "Well, what's that stuff over there, then?"

"It's rations, you know fallout shelter rations, the kind that last for twenty, thirty years."

Sue Jan hopped up off the cot she was sitting on. She blew dust off a can. "Hey, this looks like peaches in syrup. I love peaches."

"Now wait a minute Sue Jan…those are special rations for…just in case anything were to happen." I grabbed at the can.

"Well, I have news for you," she tugged back, "something is happening out there and I'm not gonna die hungry when I have this can of dee-lishus peaches right here in my hands." She plopped down on a cot, arms clutching the can

"Oh, all right then." I gave up, too tired to fight.

"Where's your atomic can opener, Lovita?" She winked.

I smirked back and reached for one on a shelf above the cot opposite hers.

"Ugh!" The can opener slipped from my hands and fell to the floor out of sight. A sigh escaped as I creaked down on bended knee to look for it.

Sue Jan made a few motions like she was going to help, but there's no way she was going to let go of that can of peaches.

To read more of MISFORTUNE COOKIE be sure to subscribe to:
Heartsong Presents: Mysteries!


Linda Kozar said...

Thanks Susan--great job!

Elizabeth Ludwig said...

Your book looks fantastic, Linda. And I know I've told you this before, but your book trailer is SO awesome! I'm thinking of hiring you to do my next one!!

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