Friday, August 05, 2011

Release of Shattered Tomorrows by C.L. Kraemer

Please welcome C.L Kraemer author of Shattered Tomorrows. Those of who lived in Salem 30 years ago will remember this event with great clarity. We will remember where we were when we first heard the news. And we will still experience shivers racing up our spine when we remember the shooting on that fateful May day at the Oregon Museum Tavern.

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On May 7, 1981, at 10:25 pm at the Oregon Museum Tavern, a gunman entered and opened fire on the patrons. At the end of his ten-minute spree, three were dead, 20 wounded and a fourth died on the way to the hospital. The city of Salem was changed forever.

What or who inspired you to start writing?

I’ve always been a voracious reader and spent many years daydreaming. I started to put my daydreams on paper in the 1980’s but it was my current husband who encouraged me to complete a novel.

How did you come up with ideas for your books?

Whew! Loaded question. Used to be I’d have flashes of “what if?” then just toss the idea. Now, I weigh in if the idea will make a good novel, novelette or short story. All it takes is a phrase, story in the news on TV or a friend tossing out silly ideas. The storylines come from everywhere.

Have you ever written a book about an event that actually occurred before? If not, can tell us a little about why you wrote this one?

No, I haven’t. This event effected my life so profoundly because I’d been at the tavern fifteen minutes prior to the shooting. Were it not for a spontaneous decision to leave, I could have been the story not written it. I probably feel the same as those people who called in sick at work on 9/11; survivor’s guilt.

Do you ever watch true crime on TV?

Hooked. You name it, I watch it: CSI, NCIS, First 48, Forensic Files, Cold Case Files, I could go on but it would get boring.

I have a friend who is/was a defense attorney. How do you feel about criminals who commit mass murders receiving the death penalty or life in prison?

My vengeful side says, ‘Eye for an eye’, but the point is most mass murderers have broken morality compasses. They know what they’re doing is wrong—they just don’t care. You can’t “punish” someone who doesn’t think the consequence of death is a punishment.

If one of your characters came into your home, what would they think?

This person has a thing for dragons. I have dragon artwork all over the walls of my office. There are dragon statuettes I’ve bought and those that have been given to me by family and friends. On a good day, they might think I’m a compulsive clean freak; then again I’ve gotten to the point that you can’t eat off my floors. Too much of my time is spent in front of my computer frantically trying to get the next story on the page.

What expertise did you bring to your writing?

For Shattered Tomorrows, I brought the expertise of first hand experience. I’m a very good listener who knows when to be quiet and hear the conversation around me. I’ve been writing for over twenty years and have eleven other books published.

What would you want your readers to know about you that might not be in your bio?

I try to make the stories as authentic as possible. I research, read, and when possible, personally experience as much of the action as I can. Tough to describe what one hasn’t done. Never hurts to go to an enactors weekend and ask the knights if you can swing one of their swords. If you don’t put out your back, you’ll discover a keen admiration for the strength required just to lift one of those things.

As far as your writing goes, what are your future plans?

I still have ten or more Dragon books to complete in the Dragon Among series. I keep being drawn back to the faeries and night elves so am contemplating creating a series for them. I also have various other stories in the works; a new race of creatures not quite angels but not humans who save souls taken from life too soon; the story of a half Native American anthropological archeologist who “hears” whisperings from Uluru [Ayers Rock in Australia]; an interior designer captured in a ‘dust devil’ in the California Mojave desert who comes to no harm and meets a tall, dark stranger; the wanderings of a Mage who is on a quest to find his own truth through a land of faeries and the dragons they ride. Oh yes, I’m also currently writing a story about a motorcycle poker run where getting the Wild card –Joker- isn’t necessarily a good thing.

If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?

I’d like to be Tiamoon, the gnome warrior, from Lending Library, A Valentine Anthology and Meadows of Gold, St Patrick’s Day Tale. She’s very independent and spunky yet feels the obligation to help her community.

Do you belong to a critique group? If so how does this help or hinder your writing?

I do. Having three other souls who know my writing, what I’ve done and what I can do, who bust me anytime I get sloppy helps keep me on task. My critique partners are honest, fair and very concerned that we each write our very best.

When did you first decide to submit your work? Please tell us what or who encouraged you to take this big step?

My husband and I returned from living in Hawaii to spend the last year of my father in law’s life with him. Feeling so utterly helpless, I began to write more than ever. A writing contest was being featured on a site I was surfing so I made the decision to put my desire to the test; either I was a writer or I was a talker.

As always, my husband encouraged me and gave me the confidence to enter my work. [My work was one of 25 finalists picked from about 500–600 entries.]

What is the best and worst advice you ever received? (regarding writing or publishing)

The worst bit of advice was ‘handed down’ by a well-known romance organization that made it in no uncertain terms—don’t get published by epublishers. You’re not really a published author if you go that route.

The best advice was given to me by my very first editor—write the book you love.

Do you outline your books or just start writing?

I used to just start writing but lately my books have become so complicated I really have to outline to keep on track. The story may not resemble the outline, but it’s nice to have a “guide” to follow to the end.

Do you have any hobbies and does the knowledge you've gained from these carry over into your characters or the plot of your books?

Yes. Okay, okay. My husband and I have a Harley Davidson motorcycle we ride when the weather permits. Since my next book involves a couple murders during a motorcycle poker run, I’d have to say my hobby does carry into my characters and plots of books.

Do you have an all time favorite book?

Any mystery by Agatha Christie. Even after reading her work time and again, I’m still enthralled by her writing. I also fancy a new author I bumped into when I was his editor—A.W. Lambert. He writes in the style of the 40’s detective noir books with current backgrounds and situations. Both authors are from across the pond-England. Guess you could say I’m an Anglophile. {Fancier of all things British}.

Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your book?

Yes, I have started writing the motorcycle murder mystery called Joker’s Wild. I put it aside for a bit to focus on marketing for Shattered Tomorrows but will be picking up the “pen” again.

Poker runs are excuses for motorcycle enthusiasts to ride their bikes from tavern to tavern, drinking and paying to support some charity. Some runs are like five card draw; others are like seven card stud. The idea is to get the best and/or worst hands, which will net the riders a cash reward. It can be great fun and collect large donations to charitable organizations, but when people start dying unexpectedly, the fun of the day is tarnished.

18. Your interview will be posted before August let me know what works for you. Is there a summer tradition or recipe for that season you would like to share? N/A

19.What is your favorite reality show?

I believe the show is called “Sing Off.”

Who is your favorite sexy actor?

I still get heart flutters for the sexy Scotsman, Sean Connery.

21. Anything else you might want to add? No.



Staring at the reflective elevator door, I didn’t recognize the middle-aged face staring back at me.

When had I grown so old? When had gray become the dominant color of my dark brown hair? And please, tell me, where the hell had I picked up those doggie jowls?

Cassie Thorpe, my best friend since, well, what seemed forever, looked into the reflection.

“What are you doing?” She cocked her head in that funny way she always does when she’s questioning my sanity. This time she added crossed arms and a hitched eyebrow.

“Wondering how age snuck up and attacked me without my knowledge.” I peered at my likeness, my finger tracing a line from my nose to my chin around what used to be a full voluptuous mouth.

“Oh, God.”

I watched Cassie roll her eyes as she uncrossed her arms and adjusted the purse on her shoulder. She shook her head and blew air between her lips.

“Lucy, just schedule a face lift. I told you I’d front you the money.”

The elevator had reached the top floor of the Equitable Building in downtown Salem. The interior had recently undergone a major renovation and featured Italian marble in most of the lobby and down the hallways. Small areas of plush carpet covered the remainder of the floor. The new owners had muted the government gray walls with a faux Tuscan-inspired paint, adding art deco sconces to the walls. Bronze lamps hung from the cathedral ceiling adding a touch of elegance to the lobby area. Dark leather couches and chairs placed in comfortable conversation settings invited the visitor to stop and admire the effect. Every effort had been made to rid the visitor of the government feel of the square, granite and smoked-glass building.

“Where are we going again?” I followed Cassie out of the lift toward a hallway that wound to sculpted, cherry-stained office doors bearing the gold suite number.

She placed a hand on the gold-plated door handle and turned as she spoke to me.“My lawyer. Bobby’s balking about handing over the chalet at Mt. Bachelor.”


We entered an office painted in muted tones of blue. The money invested in the cherry wood desk occupied by the receptionist would’ve paid for that facelift Cassie had offered. The blue-gray guest couches were satiny soft and comfortable.

Speaking into her silver, state-of-the-art headset, the pencil-thin blonde at the desk announced Cassie.

I hadn’t even transferred the latest issue of People magazine to my lap when a door, magnificently blended into the cool blue wall, opened revealing a young man wearing a fitted, black Baroni suit. A Rolex peeked from beneath the sleeve of a silk dress shirt and Gucci loafers covered his feet. He lifted a manicured finger and beckoned us into the inner sanctum.

I would’ve been happy to stay and read the most recent dirt on the latest it couple, but Cassie dragged me behind her. My feet sank into the carpet. I swear. It was like walking on that miracle foam bedding. I turned to see if I’d left my footprints. Cassie cleared her throat and shook her head.

I shrugged my shoulders and stood awkwardly waiting for permission to seat myself.

The young man moved around the L-shaped desk made of Koa wood and seated himself in a large steel-blue leather chair. He motioned us to sit in the two upholstered chairs in front of his monstrosity of a desk as he perched straight backed and rigid in the chair. Behind him an impressive 10-foot tall, 30-foot long array of silver gray curtains waved slightly with the breeze from the rising warmth of the heater.

Once we were all settled and our roles firmly established; he moved to the front of his desk to languidly lean on the edge. Grasping Cassie’s hand he placed a delicate kiss on the top of it, his steely eyes gazing into her chocolate brown ones.

“What can I… do for you?”

Cassie pulled a deep, shuddering breath in and blew out slowly.

“Donald, I hope you don’t mind if my best friend Lucy sits in on this.” She batted her eyes at him. “I think I’ll need her before we’re done.”

Donald, I guessed that was his name, nodded his head so slightly at me I wasn’t sure if I was being acknowledged or if he was flexing his neck muscles.


Okay. That’s it; I’ve had enough. No one condescends to me. I don’t have to take this.

I started to rise but stopped halfway up when Cassie laid a hand on my arm.

“Lucy, please? For me?”

What I do for my friends… I sat back down and folded my arms. This had better be good.

I watched my friend morph before my very eyes. Her shoulders sagged, bottom lip took on a quivering life of its own, and she again sucked a deep ragged breath into her lungs.

“It’s Robert.”

I lifted my left eyebrow. I’d never heard Cassie use her ex-husband’s proper name.

The young barrister leaned closer concentrating all his attention on my well-endowed, and rich, friend.

“What has he done now, Cassandra?”

I choked, feigning a cough. If I’d called her Cassandra, I’d have worn the impression of her knuckles on my bicep for two weeks.

“I… I… I just can’t take it.” Cassie picked up her purse from the floor and pulled out a lace-edged hanky which she dabbed to the inside corner of her right eye.

I sat with my mouth gaping. I’d seen this delicate flower drag a 6’ 2”, drunk, rugby player to the front of the bar where we’d both worked at the time and THROW him into the parking lot—by herself.

The person sitting next to me now was nobody I knew.

Donald leaned over and murmured just low enough I nearly missed it. “I know just what to do.”

He gave a curt nod of his head and stood.

I panicked. There was no way I wanted to be witness to fooling around even if she was my best friend.

Donald turned from the desk to the wall of fabric behind him. Picking up a remote control from the desktop, he pointed it at the curtains. Slowly they slid toward the corners revealing a wall of glass from ceiling to the floor.

It was at that moment, I must have lost my mind.

Outside the sky was pewter-toned with horizon-to-horizon clouds pelting fat raindrops to the ground. Tiny rivulets ran down the outside of the glass wall. Even with the gloom of the rain, natural light from the sky brightened the space overpowering the subtle glow of the lamps in the room.

Donald turned to face Cassie and took his place in the leather captain’s chair behind the desk.

“There. That should help. Now tell me everything that’s happening.”

Cassie launched into a diatribe about Bobby and his girlfriend, now his wife, and droned on and on.

It all faded to so much background noise. Something about the act of revealing the floor to ceiling windows set off a trigger in my mind.

The cloud-filled sky faded to darkness and city lights twinkled in the distance. I felt a thump, thump, thumping in my chest and vague strains of a Donna Summer song echoed somewhere in the distance. Tracer lights tracked around the floor, which was oak parquet now. Stale beer and cigarettes tickled my nose, and there was a subtle undertone of prime rib tinged with horseradish and baked potatoes. I ran my tongue over my lips in anticipation, the tangy bite of lemon tweaking my taste buds. The thrumming of the disco beat set my heart racing, and I found myself sweating. Man, it’s hot!

Someone was tugging on my arm. I was not in the mood to deal with amorous drunks tonight. I was going to introduce his face to my tray if he didn’t stop tugging on my arm.

“Lucy! Lucy!”

How can this drunk know my name?


Light slowly filtered through my fog. The thundering of the music was gone, and the obsidian night sky melted into the dreary, sullen gray of weeping clouds. Gone were the tracer lights on the floor. Carpet now covered the space and the bouquet of prime rib had fled the room. No stale beer. No stale cigarettes.

I glanced up into the worried eyes of my friend Cassie.

“Are you all right? You, like, went away for a minute.”

I smiled weakly. “Yeah, I’m all right. How about I stop at the ladies’ room while you finish up? I’ll meet you by the elevators.”

“Fine. I’ll be done here shortly.”

Donald rose from his desk and, coming around the corner, escorted me to the door.

I made a big deal of asking the receptionist to direct me to the little girl’s room. It was all for show. I knew where the ladies’ room was on this floor and every floor in the building. The new owners may have updated the furnishings, but the layout was still the same. I’d spent more time in these restrooms than I’d wanted.

As I entered my footsteps echoed on the tile-covered concrete floors, against the tiles on the walls. The air freshener squirted neutralizing spray into the air eliminating offensive odors.

So-o-o-o-o different from…back then. So different from when a dozen or more drunk, rowdy ladies crowded into a space designed for just four people.

I leaned my head against the cool surface and slowly brought myself back to the present.

I was sure Cassie was going to ask me about my mental vacation. She was just young enough, she’d not been clubbing around the time I was recalling – she would not remember this place or the Incident that made international news.

“You okay?” Cassie poked her head around the concrete dividing wall.

I looked at the worried brown eyes searching my face. She and I had been through a lot in the years we’d known each other. But even good friends had secrets from one another, right?

“Lucy, what the hell is going on? You’re scaring me. Come on, you can confide in me. We are best buds, aren’t we?”

I looked into the frightened eyes of my best friend. Can I really tell her everything? Will we still be best friends when she finds out I was responsible for the deaths of four people?

Other books by C.L. Kraemer

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