Black Friday is here and we’re discussing the season with Mark Henry’s Sister Mary-Agnes from Parts & Wreck.
Wade Crowson, a brutish and brooding playboy and veteran vivisectionist for the Parts Department, runs into more than he bargained for in new partner, Lucid Montgomery, a quirky beauty with a bizarre secret and a string of psychiatric diagnoses she tries hard to keep hidden. Loving Luce will stamp a demonic target on her back and thrust Wade into a frenzied whirlwind of hilarious misunderstandings and, quite possibly, a stripping gig for emptynesters. Can they withstand the savagery of an exorcism (with or without the split pea soup) and come out alive and …in love?
Make sure you stick around to the end. We’ll be giving away lots of signed books, including an ecopy of Stocking Full of Coal.
Happy Holidays, everybody! So fun to be featured on Literary Escapism’s Black Friday series, as I’m an avid discount shopper and totally get the need to elbow some bitches in the ribs for a sweater vest my loved one will never wear. Today’s story features a supporting character from my first ever paranormal romantic comedy, PARTS & WRECK (available now wherever awesome people download books). I’m a caring nurturer (not really) and I like to make time for the little characters, so I thought I’d introduce y’all to Sister Mary-Agnes, the alcoholic defrocked mother superior who’s in charge of the Parts Department. She can be a little…prickly. So give her some space.
The Black Friday of Sister Mary-Agnes’s Soul
Holidays are hell for normal people, estranged family arguing over who’s committed which heinous atrocity, dry as jerkey turkey dangling from their mouths, pumpkin pie stubbed out on the carpet. Amateurs.
Defrocked mother superior Sister Mary-Agnes remembered one particular Thanksgiving back in the convent that ended in a knife fight fueled by pregnancy accusations, a mystery frotteurist and the inevitable raid of the communion wine. She’d vowed never again and so each year she hosted a dinner for the adult orphans of the Parts Department, even the bastard vegans from accounting were invited. And maybe it was the fact that they dealt in demon-infected transplant organs on a daily basis but the dinners were always a pleasant, low-key affair. No arguments. No fist-fights. A perfectly peaceful holiday.
Sister Mary-Agnes found herself…bored. Wanting. Craving a little excitement.
Luckily she had an outlet. She reached deep into her closet and withdrew the garment bag, laying it out on the bed.
“We meet again,” she said, unzipping the white plastic and running her hand over the fabric. The habit slipped on like a second skin—someone else’s, obviously, she’d always hated wearing the damn things—the hood, the rosary, all of it adding a familiar discomfort. She was ready.
A cornucopia of cars sugared with ice like the fruit in a holiday centerpiece surrounded the mall. Lines wrapped around each store, puffy jackets, hands rubbing together, steamy breath rising from the figures like the lit ends of cigarettes. At the front, tents set up for the generals, the soulless doorbusters who’d given up their Thanksgiving dinners for the chance for the latest gadget at the lowest possible price.
Sister Mary-Agnes swept through the lot perpendicular to the generals sticking to the aisles with SUVs and Trucks. She’d cross quickly, silently. It was best not to give the rest of the line too long of a time to think about what they were seeing. She’d learned never to walk from the back to the front. The habit had a certain hypnotic suggestibility, swishing and shirring over the concrete like a dark ghost, but it didn’t work on everyone. The fewer she had to mesmerize with Catholic fear, the better.
The first line offered up an easy mark, ginger and ruddy, the man could have been plucked from a St. Patrick’s Day parade. The Irish were easy. Trained to supplicate. Sister Mary-Agnes strode quickly across and directed her attention to the man.
“Sistah?” he said, accent dripping with Boston. “Wicked cold mornin’ for you to be out in yah geah?”
Sister Mary-Agnes pulled out her flask. “Very chilly, son. But a nip of this will take a bite out of the weather.”
She tossed back a slug of the whiskey and let it slide down to its home. Handing it to the man—his eyes widening—she tapped the bottom urging him to drink, which he did, of course.
“What’s your name?”
“Michael O’Shaunnesy, sistah.”
“Of course it is. And what are you here for, Michael?” she asked, retrieving the flask and pretending to take another sip.
“Laptop. Ninety-nine dollahs for the first ten in line. Been here since before the parade.”
Sister Mary-Agnes stepped back and counted. “Only seven ahead of you, you’re lucky. Here, have another drink. Celebrate your good fortune.”
He took the flask again and tipped it up to his mouth. She watched and threw up her hand to encourage an even longer draw from the strong booze.
“Too bad you didn’t get to spend some time with your family for Thanksgiving, though, right?”
He shrugged, shuffled guiltily. They talked some more. Boring crap about his job at the docks, his precious angel of a girlfriend, whatever. And before long, the whiskey had taken hold and he was slurring and heavy-lidded.
“How about this, son? You go on back in your tent there, take a little nap and I’ll wake you when it’s time.”
“Honest?” Michael said and then instantly flushed. “I mean, yeah, sure. Of course. I wasn’t questionin’ you being honest.”
“Calm yourself, boy. Take a rest.”
O’Shaunnesy had been snoring for forty-five minutes when the door opened and Sister Mary-Agnes shuffled in with the first ten people, snagging the laptop, an HD TV and an eReader all at considerable savings. He was still sleeping when she had them delivered to her truck. Poor bastard.
The scam worked at her next two stops. The trick was staggering them out and doing the research. She knew where the sales were and more importantly when the doors opened. And she could spot an alcholic a mile away.
In a couple of days, she’d take back all the stuff and call it a success. Word would get around in a couple of years to watch out for the nun with the hooch, but until then, Sister Mary-Agnes would have her fun and they’d learn a lesson about the value of a goddamn holiday.
And there you have it…an honest to goodness message. I’m not certain what it is, I wrote it, I don’t actually read the things I write. That’s counterproductive. But I’m sure there was something in between the first and last words, let me know if I’m mistaken. I’m feeling EXTRA generous and feeling like I want to giveaway something awesome today but I don’t want to stop you from buying Parts & Wreck. What to do? How about a copy of something dirtier. Yes. That’s the way to go. One lucky commenter, who isn’t afraid of a little kink, will get an eBook copy of my Christmas erotica, Stocking Full of Coal. And to make it interesting, tell us your black friday horror stories!!!
Meet Mark Henry!
MARK HENRY traded a career as a counselor to scar minds with his fiction. In stories clogged with sentient zombies, impotent sex demons, transsexual werewolves and ghostly goth girls, he irreverently processes traumatic issues brought on by premature exposure to horror movies, an unwholesome fetish for polyester and/or witnessing adult cocktail parties in the swingin’ 70s. A developmental history further muddied by surviving earthquakes, typhoons, and two volcanic eruptions. He somehow continues to live and breathe in the oft maligned, yet not nearly as soggy as you’d think, Pacific Northwest, with his wife and four furry monsters that think they’re children and have a complete disregard for carpet.
Want to purchase Mark’s novels?
Parts & Wreck
- Happy Hour of the Damned
- Road Trip of the Living Dead
- Battle of the Network Zombies
- Beach Blanket Bloodbath (Dec 2013)
- Dawn of the Deadutantes (2014
- Ship of Ghouls (2014)
Please help spread the word: Tweet: #BlackFriday is here. Celebrate the chaos with #holiday #stories and #contests by 26 authors (Nov29-Dec24) http://wp.me/p3SIUp-atz
Thank you Mark for taking part in Literary Escapism’s Black Friday!
Here’s the a Rafflecopter widget for the $25 giftcard giveaway.
Mark is giving away an ecopy of Stocking Full of Coal. To enter, all you have to do is answer this one question: Tell us your Black Friday horror stories!!! Remember, you must answer the question in order to be entered.
Even though I’m not giving the additional entries any more, you can still help support the author by sharing their article, and this contest, on your blog, Twitter, Facebook, or anywhere you can. After all, the more people who are aware of this fabulous author ensures we get more fabulous stories.
The winner must post a review of the novel someplace. Whether it is on their own blog, Amazon, GoodReads, LibraryThing or wherever, it doesn’t matter. Just help get the word out.
All Black Friday contests will remain open until December 31st at which time I’ll determine the winner with help from the snazzy new plug-in I have. Have you checked out the other Black Friday contests yet? Check out the Master List to see all the Black Friday giveaways
I have not been contacting winners, so you will need to check back to see if you’ve won.