Excerpt from Rotten Peaches (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles) by Mitzi Szereto with Teddy Tedaloo

downloadBook blurb:

“Animal Dwarf Bandits” with Tommy Guns are on a crime spree in Georgia!

Dillinger-style bank heists are being committed by a dangerous gang of little people wearing animal masks. Enter ursine photojournalist Thelonious T. Bear. Still smarting from his misadventures in Norfolk, he’s eager to begin his assignment in the American South. However, Thelonious soon learns that the South isn’t all fried chicken and sweet tea. In between encounters with a trigger-happy farmer and a fire-and-brimstone preacher with a snake, he’s stalked by a man in a red pickup truck and nearly bear-napped by a family of hillbillies. Thelonious’s resemblance to one of the bank bandits puts him on the radar of Sheriff Maynard Grizzle and budding reporter Nate Jessop, both of whom are convinced he’s in the gang. As the robberies gain more media attention, locals smell fame in the air. Suddenly everyone wants in on the action. And Thelonious finds himself at the heart of yet another series of crimes!

From bestselling author Mitzi Szereto, co-authored with her celebrity sidekick bear Teddy Tedaloo. Be sure to read Normal for Norfolk (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles), the first in the series!

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Excerpt:

By late afternoon a tired and hungry Thelonious was ready to pack it in for the day—until he saw the ruined timber barn. It was set well back from the road in a field so long untended it actually seemed to consume the structure. An oak tree had fallen onto the roof, causing it to collapse. The tree was thriving and had even become part of the barn, feeding new life into something left to die. Parking at the edge of what once had been a driveway, Thelonious got out of the Mini. He stood for a moment perusing the site. Slinging his camera bag over one shoulder, he trundled forth into the overgrown field. A No Trespassing sign lay on the ground, covered over with weedy detritus. It was still attached to a chain that had fallen down between two rotted posts. He passed right by, never seeing it.

Thelonious photographed the barn from various angles, changing lenses as he saw fit. Although the weight of his camera bag was a nuisance, he dared not set it down for fear it would be swallowed by the overgrowth. Approaching the barn’s entrance, he noticed several bales of hay inside that had been left there to rot. Rust-covered farm implements lay scattered about both inside and out. He included them in some of the images, since they lent extra character to the scene. He even captured a triangle of sunlight coming through the barn’s collapsed roof as it returned the mouldering hay to its original golden splendour, zooming in when a mouse poked its head out to feel the sunshine on its whiskers. The light shifted and changed hue, adding shadow, depth and richness to his compositions. Had Thelonious’s attention not been caught by a ramshackle assemblage of containers off to one side, he might’ve seen the figure skulking in the shadows behind him.

A rusty metal cylinder with a triangular-shaped lid had been set up in a corner of the barn. An encrusted pipe had been attached to the top, the elbow joint bending it sideways connecting it to a worm-eaten wooden barrel; its remaining iron bands had turned green with corrosion. Glass jugs and jam jars lay strewn about on the dirt floor. Some looked as if they had mouse droppings on them. Thelonious’s nostrils detected the odour of fermenting grains. It appeared that he’d stumbled upon a moonshine still.

As Thelonious framed it in his viewfinder, he heard a loud explosion. A bullet whistled past his right ear, nearly taking his deerstalker hat with it.

“Hold it right thare!”

A wiry old man with a shotgun stepped out from the shadows. He planted himself solidly behind Thelonious. A long scraggly beard hung from his chin; it would’ve been white if not for the dribbles of tobacco juice. Thelonious was pretty sure he saw things moving in it.

The ancient codger aimed the firearm at Thelonious’s chest, the brown sticks of his arms surprisingly steady as they stuck out from his tattered bib overalls. “This here’s private property!” he shouted.

Thelonious took a few steps back, feeling his bowels loosening. “I thought the barn was abandoned?” he croaked.

“Abandoned?” The old man spat into the dirt. “This here barn ain’t abandoned!”

“I must’ve made a mistake.”

“Ah’ll say y’all made a mistake! This here’s my farm!”

“Sorry.”

“Hmmph…” The farmer squinted hard at his intruder, his creased face like a dried plum above the beard.

Thelonious shifted the camera bag to his other shoulder. “I’ll just be on my way then.”

But the farmer had other ideas. He moved nearer, closing the gap between them. “Did that no ’count Bobby Ray Tuggle send y’all down here to steal my corn liquor?”

“No!” Thelonious shook his head until he thought it would fall off. The cosy relationship between the old man’s index finger and the shotgun’s trigger was making him nervous.

“Y’all don’t know Bobby Ray?”

“I don’t know anyone!”

“Okay. If’n y’all say so.”

Hoping this was the end of it, Thelonious turned to go.

“Not so dang fast! Didn’t y’all see my ‘no trespassing’ sign?”

“What ‘no trespassing’ sign?”

“Y’all walked right on past it. It’s thare, plain as day!” A skeletal brown finger pointed toward the barn’s gaping entrance. “C’aint miss it!”

“But I didn’t see any sign!”

“Ah shoot trespassers.” The farmer gave Thelonious a grisly brown grin. “Shot me one last year. He’s buried out back of the barn. Wanna see?”

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Author bios:

Mitzi Szereto (mitziszereto.com) is an author and anthology editor of multi-genre fiction and non-fiction. She has her own blog Errant Ramblings: Mitzi Szereto’s Weblog (mitziszereto.com/blog), and a web TV channel Mitzi TV (mitziszereto.com/tv), which covers the “quirky” side of London. Her books include Love, Lust and Zombies; Darker Edge of Desire: Gothic Tales of Romance; The Wilde Passions of Dorian Gray; Normal for Norfolk (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles); Thrones of Desire: Erotic Tales of Swords, Mist and Fire; Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts; Red Velvet and Absinthe: Paranormal Erotic Romance; In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed: Erotic Fairy Tales; Getting Even: Revenge Stories; Dying For It: Tales of Sex and Death; Wicked: Sexy Tales of Legendary Lovers; and Silk Sheets: Collected Stories of Mitzi Szereto.

Teddy Tedaloo is an author, celebrity teddy bear and the publisher and editor of The Teddy Tedaloo Times. He’s also a trendsetter, world traveller, and the production assistant extraordinaire/co-star of the web TV channel Mitzi TV. Popular in social media circles such as Facebook and Twitter, he’s known for his entertaining commentary and opinions as well as being an advocate for animal welfare. He lives (and goes) wherever Mitzi lives (and goes). He’s the co-author of Normal for Norfolk (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles). Rotten Peaches (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles) is his second novel in the series.

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Available for Kindle, Nook and Kobo e-readers and in trade paperback (Sept. 2015)

Author website: http://mitziszereto.com
Book website: http://mitziszereto.com/rottenpeaches
Mitzi Szereto on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mitziszereto
Teddy Tedaloo on Twitter: https://twitter.com/teddytedaloo
Mitzi Szereto on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mitziszereto.fanpage
Teddy Tedaloo on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/teddytedaloo.fanpage

Buy links:
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Rotten-Peaches-Thelonious-Bear-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00XTH3SHS/
Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Rotten-Peaches-Thelonious-Bear-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00XTH3SHS/
Amazon Canada: http://www.amazon.ca/Rotten-Peaches-Thelonious-Bear-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00XTH3SHS/
Amazon Australia: http://www.amazon.com.au/Rotten-Peaches-Thelonious-Bear-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B00XTH3SHS/
Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rotten-peaches-mitzi-szereto/1122563223?ean=2940151033503
Kobo: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/rotten-peaches-the-thelonious-t-bear-chronicles
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Excerpt from “Normal For Norfolk” (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles) by Mitzi Szereto and Teddy Tedaloo

Pub landlords are being murdered in Norfolk!

Thelonious T. Bear, ursine photojournalist, leaves behind the big city life of London to take an assignment in the Norfolk countryside, where he hopes to find the real England. Instead he stumbles upon gastro-pubs, crazed Audi drivers and murder. As the hapless Thelonious keeps ending up in the wrong place at the wrong time, he attracts the attention of Detective Chief Inspector Horatio Sidebottom of Norfolk Constabulary CID, who’s determined to tie Thelonious to the crimes. Add in a pair of hoods from London’s East End, celebrity TV chef Paolo Louis Black, and plenty of oddball local characters and it all adds up to a madcap journey through England’s most quirky county, where everything is normal for Norfolk!

EXCERPT:

Little Acre was all abuzz with news about the murder of one of their native sons. Derrick Pickles, long-time proprietor of The Black Stag public house in the adjacent village of Kelton Market, had been found bludgeoned to death. Pickles had lived in the village since the day he was born, the pub having been in his family for generations. He’d taken it over from his father, who’d taken it over from his father, and so on and so on. The Pickles were a Norfolk institution, and Derrick was well-liked and respected in the community. Not even the taint of his only son going off to work in The City rather than positioning himself to one day take over the reins of the family business could dampen the locals’ affection for the family, though forgiveness wasn’t always as easy to come by. Feelings and memories ran deep in this part of the world, despite young Pickles defection to London taking place nearly two decades before, which, at least to the locals, might as well have been yesterday. Not even the death of his mother many years later could bring young Pickles back in line. But old Derrick stubbornly clung on, running the pub long after most publicans would have sold up and retired to Spain or Portugal—especially a widower with no one to stay behind for.

Being the only pub in the village, The Black Stag was a magnet for the locals, not to mention tourists in search of some local colour. Kelton Market was conveniently situated in the county, what with the ruins of an old castle located just outside the village and a bustling crafts and antiques market taking place on weekends, so it was a rare day, indeed, when the pub wasn’t busy. The fact that a murder had been committed was not something the residents of this part of Norfolk were accustomed to. The most crime they ever got was of the sort involving the theft of a cockerel from a farm or some youths out joyriding on a tractor. But murder? No. Murders happened in London and Birmingham and Glasgow. They did not happen in Kelton Market.

Therefore when Thelonious heaved open the heavy glass door of Little Acre’s one and only newsagents in his quest to buy a copy of the local newspaper (or as local as he could get), he discovered quite a crowd gathered inside the cramped little shop. A trio of men representing three generations and an elderly woman who had to have been pushing the century mark were gathered in front of the till, talking animatedly and all at the same time, the garrulous din being added to by a frumpy sixty-something woman behind the counter. She appeared to be refereeing the conversation, her heavy arms flapping and waving about as if she were attempting to direct a newly landed plane to an airport gate.

The youngest of the men was dressed in a white beekeeper’s suit, the hood of which had been pushed back behind his head. Hair the shade and texture of the round bales of hay Thelonious had seen in the fields of the surrounding landscape kept falling down over his eyes, causing him to reach up to swipe it away, whereupon the same thing happened all over again. He had the open and guileless mien of someone who’d grown up in the country and had little to no experience with big city life. The oldest of the trio had a pickled and world-weary look about him that could only have been achieved from a lifetime of heavy drinking. His deeply creased face was the colour of cured tobacco leaves, his overall appearance untidy and unwashed. He clutched an unlighted cigarette between the fingers of his right hand, the skin and nails stained a sickly yellow-orange from nicotine. Had it not been for his expensive-looking leather jacket, Thelonious might have mistaken him for a homeless man. The third fellow was aged somewhere between the two and, judging by his collar, appeared to be a vicar. He kept trying to get the group to quiet down, his pale palms making circles in the air as if he were washing invisible windows. Instead of having the desired effect, the group became even more animated, as if seeking to exorcise the vicar’s fruitless attempts at calm.

The elderly woman to whom no one paid any mind bashed the rubber-tipped feet of her Zimmer frame against the worn linoleum floor until she was in danger of toppling over. Nevertheless, the accompanying staccato of protestations coming from her shrivelled maw continued to fall on deaf ears. Her hunched form looked as if it might crumple into a heap of ancient bones as she slammed the rattling frame of steel to the lino again and again, her grey head bobbing up and down on her withered neck like a nodding dashboard dog. But no matter how much she crashed and banged and spluttered, she could not be heard above her village compatriots, who were determined to get their points across despite the fact no one was listening to anyone.

It didn’t take long for Thelonious to determine that something was definitely up—and the headline shouting at him from the front page of the Walsham Courier pretty much confirmed it. He pulled a copy out from the news rack and waddled over to the side of the counter, stretching upward on his short legs to hold out some coins to the sour-faced shopkeeper, who abruptly ceased her refereeing to gawp at him. Not that this was unusual—Thelonious got gawped at a lot, especially by people who’d never encountered his sort before. You would think she’d be a bit more discreet when it came to paying customers, he grumbled inwardly, biting back the urge to tell her to get a new front door fitted. The one she had weighed as much as a London bus. His right shoulder was beginning to ache something awful from the impact of it against the glass when he’d pushed it open. He hoped the B&B his publisher’s UK office had booked him into had a bathtub and decent hot water system so he could have a long soak later, because he didn’t fancy looking elsewhere for accommodation, especially at the beginning of the summer tourist season. For him to be able to work, he needed a home base, a sense of order. Chaos was not Thelonious’ style.

With newspaper in hand, he made his way out of the newsagent’s, only to pause outside to examine the cards and notices that had been placed in the shop window (which apparently cost each poster the princely sum of five pounds a week to display). He was curious as to what kinds of items and services people put on offer in these Norfolk villages and expected to see advertisements of either an agrarian nature or for church jumble sales. Not surprisingly, they were positioned too high up for him to read properly, but he did manage to make out a card for an electrician slash handyman as well as a flyer for a beekeeping school before his neck threatened to join his shoulder in protest.

Thelonious trundled back to where he’d left the Mini, climbed up onto the driver’s seat with the usual fanfare and aggro, then set off down the little high street with its requisite tea shop/café, gift shop, post office (closed due to government cutbacks), and pub, which went by the rather portentous name The Drowned Duck. Within moments he’d reached the Norman church that marked the end of the village high street. It was also the turnoff for Baxter House Bed and Breakfast. Home at last!

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MITZI SZERETO is an author of multi-genre fiction and non-fiction, blogger for ERRANT RAMBLINGS: MITZI SZERETO’S WEBLOG (http://mitziszereto.com/blog), and creator/presenter of MITZI TV (http://mitziszereto.com/tv), which covers “quirky” London. Her books include Thrones Of Desire: Erotic Tales Of Swords, Mist and Fire; Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts; Red Velvet and Absinthe: Paranormal Erotic Romance; In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed: Erotic Fairy Tales; Getting Even: Revenge Stories; Dying For It: Tales Of Sex & Death; Wicked: Sexy Tales Of Legendary Lovers; Silk Sheets: Collected Stories Of Mitzi Szereto; and the Erotic Travel Tales anthology series.. She also has a number of titles available exclusively for download on the Amazon Kindle and Nook e-readers. Her work has been translated into several languages. Mitzi has pioneered erotic writing workshops in the UK and mainland Europe, teaching them from the Cheltenham Festival of Literature to the Greek islands. She’s also lectured in creative writing at several British universities. Follow Mitzi on Twitter at https://twitter.com/mitziszereto and like her fan page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mitziszereto.fanpage

TEDDY TEDALOO is a celebrity teddy bear, trendsetter, world traveler, and the production assistant extraordinaire/co-star of the web TV channel MITZI TV, which covers “quirky” London. Widely popular in social media circles such as Facebook and Twitter, he’s known for his entertaining commentary and opinions as well as being an advocate for animal welfare. He lives (and goes) wherever Mitzi lives (and goes). Normal for Norfolk is his first novel. Follow Teddy on Twitter at https://twitter.com/teddytedaloo and like his fan page on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/teddytedaloo.fanpage