An excerpt to celebrate National Rhode Island Day

Houdini smiled at his wife with undisguised adoration. He had just finished a three-day run at the Providence Opera House and was still a bit wired. Howard Lovecraft had attended the show as his guest and then joined him for dinner to discuss their book about the roots of superstition.
“Right you are, my love,” Houdini said as the waiter set a plate of shrimp in garlic wine sauce before him. “But I can already tell that it will never measure up to one of your sumptuous feasts.”
“Oh, posh,” Bess said as the waiter presented her with a sizzling sirloin steeped in a Cognac flamed peppercorn cream.
Howard, who loved his Italian food, got the tagliatelle with meat sauce. The waiter bowed to each of them and left.
Houdini narrowed his eyes. It wasn’t the same waiter who had brought their appetizers. Though he was wearing a white shirt, black vest, and apron like the other waiters, his scalp was covered with a skullcap that was knotted in the back.
Something about the man bothered him. Maybe it was simply the incongruence of a Japanese man working in an Italian restaurant. Continue reading

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An excerpt in celebration of Easter

Piper and Bess had grown even closer since Houdini had left to dazzle Chicago with his feats of daring and wonder. On Easter Sunday, Bess had taken her into Manhattan where she and two hundred-thousand other people flaunted their new spring clothing in the parade along Fifth Avenue. Seated in his customary chair as though he’d never been gone, Houdini lowered the paper and smiled.
“Come give your uncle a big birthday hug,” he said, opening his arms wide. When they embraced, she couldn’t tell if she sensed tension between them or if it was just her imagination. After all, how could he have known for sure that it had been her in Margery’s parlor? The only thing he could possibly have seen was a pair of glowing stars, which wouldn’t be out of the ordinary in a weird room like that.
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An excerpt in celebration of National Hot Dog Day

The smell of the butter-toasted buns drifted from the orange and white lobby of the fast-food restaurant, luring the two companions in for a taste. Sal fished out a couple of dimes and gave them to the boy behind the counter who handed them two hot dogs and two orange drinks in return.

“Nathan’s may be a New York institution, but Nedick’s is far better,” he said, biting into his frank.

Piper looked at the hot dog and gave him a skeptical look.

“What’s the difference? A hot dog is a hot dog.”

But when she sank her teeth into the bun and its tasty contents, Piper’s mouth exploded with glee. She savored it for a few seconds and then with a full mouth she declared, “If they served Grape Nehi, this place would be heaven.” Continue reading

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Piper website wins 2017 Bronze IPPY

About the Award The Independent Publisher Book Awards (the “IPPYs”) are intended to bring increased recognition to the thousands of exemplary independent, university, and self-published titles published each year. The awards are open to all members of the independent publishing industry, and to authors and publishers worldwide who produce books … Continue reading

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Review Piper and get a free signed Beavis and Butt-Head #1 comic book

For a limited time, when you write a review for one of the Piper Houdini novels at Amazon.com, you will get a free copy of Marvel’s Beavis and Butt-Head (1994) signed by editor Glenn Herdling and color artist Bob Sharen. $10 value–limited supply! Continue reading

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Women’s History Month: The Flapper Squad

Already a police officer in Washington, D.C., Irene McAuliffe sat for the civil service test in Boston in 1921. Along with two housewives, a nurse, and a social worker, she was among the first women to join the Boston Police Department’s ranks as a member of its vice squad. Continue reading

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Black History Month: Zip the Unsung Hero

Zip the What Is It, whose real name was William Henry Johnson, was a freak show performer famous for his tapered head. Dressing in a suit of hair and sheering most of his head to accentuate its unique shape, barkers would proclaim Zip as a creature from Africa who had lived with the apes. But he was actually born in Liberty Corner, a community located in Bernards Township, New Jersey, in 1842. He was one of six children born to former slaves. Continue reading

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