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Louie-the-Dog Becomes Part of The NATO Family

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An excerpt from: The Bonner Prediction – a NATO thriler, for International Dog Day. Louie is a Cane Corso, adept at both defence and attack. In this scene, he has earned (trust me) a little down time.

05:14:31 ZULU Time

“I’ll sweep the house.” Bonner puts the keys on the dining room table.

“That’s fastidious.” Bess looks at her watch. “It’s a quarter past one in the morning. Who’s going to visit?”

Bonner gives her a closer than usual look to make sure she is kidding. She winks and sets out to find dishes. He stops her with a hand on her arm.

“Are you familiar with NATO safe houses?”

“Nope – never been in one.”

“Don’t try to use the back door.” Bonner points through the kitchen. “It’s wired with explosives.”

“You call this a ‘safe’ house?’

“Makes it safer for us.” He removes his hand. “It will explode if someone aggressively attempts to break it down.” He smiles. “We can also detonate if from here, if necessary,”

“But this wasn’t your idea?”

“No – alas.” He starts away with his handheld. “But I approve.”

The house is conventional in its layout, ready for a family. She wonders if there are families any more. If these buildings have been relegated as guest accommodations, she doubts either diplomats or military travel with a family.

She removes the food from the containers and places it on dishes. As she puts them in the microwave, Bonner passes with his electronic handheld. She thought he might give only a cursory search (no one can possibly know they are staying here) but – no.

The walls, the light fixtures, the electrical outlets, the appliances, the taps, the windows, the doors are all given a sweep for tell tale signs of transmission. The doors are closed and their locks are tested. As with any place of sanctuary, every room can become a ‘safe’ room. If this dwelling is like others she has experienced, the windows can even withstand an RPG.

When Bonner is finished, he goes to the cupboards and removes napkins. On his way past the fridge he takes out a bottle of wine. He shakes his head disapprovingly.

“Screw top.” Bonner carries the wine and napkins to the table.  “Not the usual standards of NATO.”

“I was planning on Sprite.” She looks toward the kitchen as the microwave beeps. “NATO lives it up while we Swiss live in parsimony.”

“If NATO inclined towards having us live it up, they would have put us in more graceful accommodations.” Bonner twists off the cap. “At least it’s white.”

“Where’s the dog food?”

“They’re a tidy group. I bet food will be in the kitchen.”

As Bess takes the food from the microwave and hunts for plates, Bonner searches for dog food. Not only does he find a bag in the corner, together with a foil pack of dog treats, but there are two shiny, new, metal dog bowls – one for food, one for water. Bonner guesses that a member of the supply personnel is a dog lover and raided the stores of the guard dogs.

“How much?”

“Two scoops.” Bess is putting the salad into a bowl.

“What about treats?”

After.” She looks at him. “I bet you don’t have kids, either.”

“Nope.” Bonner puts two generous handfuls of food into the dish. “I’d make a lousy father.” He runs water from the tap then fills the other bowl. “There’s time.”

“Not that much time.” Bess takes their food to the dining table.

“Ouch.” Bonner has little interest pursuing this thread. He opens a cupboard and takes out two wine glasses. “Louie is fed and watered.” He carries the glasses to the table. “And now, soon to be us.”

Bess looks over to Louie. He is attentive to her, but also has side glances to the kitchen.  She waits until he is only looking at her, and then makes a hand gesture.

“Go.”

Louie is out of the room before Bonner can pick up the wine bottle. His claws clatter across the kitchen floor, quickly followed by crunching and the scrape of the dog bowl on wood.

“He’s not going to savour, is he?”

“Nope.” Bess takes her wine glass. She is about to take a drink but stops. She extends the glass toward Bonner. “It’s been a night.”

“But our wee family is safe to home.” Bonner clinks her glass. “Though Louie’s table manners could be more refined.”

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The Naked Man Roller Skates To The Flatiron Building In New York

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After decades, Macmillan, the publisher that produced my two novels, has left the Flatiron Building in New York. I am surprised that this news causes such a pang. But then, those days were exciting and unique

The first description following, is my blog where I describe my first meeting with my editor. During my first trip to New York. Where I first entered the Flatiron Building

The second article is by an editor at Macmillan, describing what it was like to leave the Flatiron Building and move elsewhere.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

My friend Google tells me that “over the transom” is still a viable term. In this case it refers to a manuscript accepted by an editor submitted cold – perhaps even from the dreaded slush pile.

At any rate, my manuscript for A LOST TALE was accepted “over the transom”, and I was asked to New York to meet the editor. Although I had experienced and appreciated Montréal,
Toronto, London, Berlin and other large cities by that time, I had not been to New York. Many events of that trip are memorable, but none more than my “lunch” with the editor.

The editor took me to some dark and trendy place for a late lunch. There were not many people there and, restaurant fiend though I am, the food was not my top priority. Discussion of “the work” and proposed changes was more on the menu for me.

However, as I sit across the table from my editor, I can not help but notice a man seated by himself beside the wall. He is tieless and shirtless and, though the lighting is dim, what there is reflects from his naked skin. He sits with a beverage and seems to hum to himself. My editor is discussing both the menu and some confusion he perceives at the beginning of my novel. I note items on the menu unknown to me and am doubly confused.

The shirtless man at the other table increases the volume of his humming and eventually a waiter goes to him and has words. The shirtless man has words back, but they sound like gibberish. At my table the editor suggests something from the menu and I happily comply. There is wine.

Whilst I eat and listen to suggestions, the shirtless man is spoken to by two other waiters. As I (wisely) restrict myself to a second glass of wine, two uniformed policemen enter the restaurant and approach the shirtless man, whose gibberish had increased even more in volume. In the course of a few minutes three other uniformed police officers – one of them female  – arrive on the scene. They are now ranged around the shirtless man and his table. I finally tell my editor what is happening behind him and why I am not concentrating fully upon his suggestions. He turns around.

Two of the officers remove the table from in front of the shirtless man. Two others, one on each side of him, haul him to his feet. It is then that we see his shirtless state continues all the way to his naked feet. The female officer takes the tablecloth from the table and drapes it around him. The four male officers form a circle around the naked, shrouded man uttering his gibberish, and hustle him from the restaurant. The female officer picks up what appears to be a pile of clothes from beneath the table, and a pair of roller skates, and follows them.

I say to my editor that I have never seen anything like that.

My editor concurs.

[Image]https://untappedcities-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/featured-flatiron-buildingknyc-untapped-cities1-1.jpg

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Bidding Farewell to the Flatiron Building

Kat Brzozowski, in a photo taken from CEO John Sargent’s office on the Flatiron’s 19th floor.

Today’s the first day that Mac Kids is in our new home at 120 Broadway. We spent the past few weeks packing our work belongings in orange crates, preparing to settle into the Equitable Building in the Financial District, trading our beloved triangle for an H-shaped office (because what would Macmillan be without an unusual layout?). I still remember arriving at the Flatiron Building for my first day 10 years ago. I looked up at the building in awe, thinking, “I can’t believe I get to work there.”

Walking through the Flatiron Building was like traveling through a science museum that showcases different ecosystems—the rainforest, the desert, the tundra. In your office on the 7th floor, you’d be stripped down to a tank top, sweating, with the AC blasting even though it was full-on snowing outside. But travel to the 10th floor conference room, and you’d be covered head to toe, wrapped up in an actual blanket, shivering.

The bathrooms alternated by floor—men on even, women on odd—and we all knew which bathrooms to avoid (the ones so small you’d be bumping elbows with your boss on the way out), and the ones that a friend called “destination bathrooms” (11, with its large waiting area; 19, with a gorgeous view of the city). Those bathrooms were worth the elevator ride. And who knows, while you were waiting—which could take a while—you might run into Jill Biden, or Tyra Banks, or Jim Carrey.

At my first job at Macmillan, at Thomas Dunne Books, I worked on the 17th floor in a sectioned-off area we called “the annex,” but which I thought of as Narnia. No one could ever find me, because my desk was accessed through a door that not every floor had. Yes, every floor was different, giving the building a funhouse feeling as you wove left and right, searching for the conference room or the kitchen anew with each floor.

And each company felt as unique and as special as its floor plan. Mac Kids, where I work now, was a wonderland, with framed art crowding the walls, brightly colored board books packed onto shelves next to classics, and a sparkling energy fueled by employees whose early lives were shaped by books. Walk by one office and you may spy a menagerie of life-size zoo animals, painted freehand by a famous illustrator. Where else but the Flatiron can an artist paint on the walls?

There’s no experience similar to working in the Flatiron Building. We’d bemoan the lack of conference rooms, then brag to our friends that we got to work in that building. We’d complain about the fact that we needed our key cards to get from one side of the floor to the other, then we’d pour out of the doors at lunchtime to get burgers at Shake Shack, or a BLT at Eisenberg’s, or a flat white at Birch Coffee, a plethora of delicious (and affordable) options spread out in front of us like a glorified mall food court. We’d tell our authors, “Don’t get your hopes up, it’s not that nice inside,” then see their eyes light up as they took out their phones to snap a shot from the point office, with views that stretched all the way to Times Square, with the Empire State Building and the Chrysler Building so close you felt you could reach out and touch them.

That feeling I had on my first day in 2009 hasn’t gone away. I’ve felt it again and again over the past 10 years, the magic of seeing something from a postcard come to life in front of me. Farewell, Flatiron Building. You’re leaving a triangle-shaped hole in our hearts.

Kat Brzozowski is senior editor at Swoon Reads/Feiwel & Friends.

https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-industry-news/article/80191-bidding-farewell-to-the-flatiron-building.html

An Attack Dog Makes An Attack from “The Bonner Prediction”

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In my NATO thriller, The Bonner Prediction, one of my main characters is Louie-the-dog, a Cane Corso trained for both attack and defence.  Here he is in action, and it ain’t for defence.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~     

“Hey! Old man! Stop the fuck there!”

The voice comes from behind General Bonner. He does as he is told, reasoning that if his fate was solely to be shot, it would have happened by now. He also assumes he would have been shot if the voice had seen his machine pistol. He can’t remove the strap from around his neck, but he does shove the weapon under his jacket. He pulls up the zipper then lets his hands swing by his side.

“Are you one of the army guys?” The General does not turn, does not provoke.

“Holy Jesus Invincible.” The earpiece snaps immediately into authority. “Everyone quiet down out there. General, give us clues.”

“They’re swarming all over the ship.” The General makes no motion.

“Never mind me” The voice does not come closer. “Who the fuck are you?”

“Ship’s pilot.” General Bonner guesses the voice is in one of the few pockets of darkness. “They’ve called me to take this ship out of the harbour.”

“Who called you?”

“NATO.”

“But it’s leaving tomorrow.”

“Not any more.”

“Where’s your uniform?”

“They got me getting ready for bed.” General Bonner turns around, putting a hand up to shield his eyes. “With a beer in my hand. Said there was an emergency.”

“Where’s it going?”

“What?”

“The ship. Where are they sending it?”

“I don’t know.” General Bonner sees a form on the far side of the second tier of containers. “I’m just getting it out of the harbour. I disembark at Herring Cove.”

“Why aren’t you in the Wheelhouse?”

“I always pace out the size of the deck.” General Bonner laughs. “I call it walking the dog.”

“Bess!” The earpiece knows that she has heard but what if there is that one in a thousand chance she has not.

“Louie can never get down the stairways fast enough.”

“Then a diversion.” The earpiece wonders how quickly he can get a sharpshooter in place.

“I was just going to the Wheelhouse.” General Bonner touches one of his legs. “Thank God they have an elevator, or this bum knee would be going through hell.”

“Is there an elevator?” Bess takes Louie’s leash from her pocket.

“Yes!” Major Kennett pinpoints it on the Wheelhouse schematic. “It’s on the dock side, at the rear of the central core.”

“Who’s up there?” The voice in the shadows steps closer, but does not come into the light.

“Some ship crew and a dozen army.” General Bonner keeps rubbing his leg. “With more coming, if what I heard is true.”

“Can you get me off the ship?”

“I stand in the Wheelhouse for an hour.” General Bonner chuckles. “I don’t know the rest of the ship.”

“I’ll take you hostage.”

“Good luck with that.” General Bonner speaks for his audience. “They are not going to negotiate with you, son. They want this ship out of here.” He raises his voice. “I can be replaced.”

“Louie and I are in the elevator.”

“Can you get him into the light?” Colonel Bonner has already positioned the best sharpshooter among the commandos. He is in a corner window of the wheelhouse. However, he has expressed concern about the thickness of the glass. It might interfere with the trajectory.

“You think I’m fucked?” The voice is both frightened and angry.

“There’s always over the side.” General Bonner points.

“It will probably kill me.”
“Yup.” General Bonner takes a few steps forward. He stops and spreads his hands. “There is always surrender.”

“They’ll execute me.”

“Not in this country.” General Bonner takes a further few slow steps before stopping. “What have you done, son? Have you rigged the ship to sink?”

“To blow up.”

“Jesus – when?” General Bonner makes some forced laughter. “I’ll get off with you.”

“There’s no where to go with this bomb.” The anger flashes. “Fucking CURACA.”

“What?” General Bonner has found a spot where the deck lights are not directly in his eyes. “We get off and run like hell.”

“It’s an A bomb.” The voice is strident. “Fucking Atomic. There’s no place to run.”

“Calm down, son.” General Bonner puts his hands up in front of him, palm out, as if stopping a car. “If it’s true, that’s what I’m here for. Get the ship out to sea. But you better give yourself up.”

“CURACA is on this ship.” The voice moves forward. “He’ll figure some way to stop these soldiers.” His words race. “That’s why I stayed behind. He’s fucking crazy.” The figure steps into the light. “You’re my only chance to get off here.”

“Then your chance of escape is a dog’s dinner.”

“Louie is loosed!”

Bess’s voice is overtaken by the opening of the metal door. General Bonner goes to the zipper of his jacket as the shooter turns toward the sound of a growling dog. The shooter raises a hand to again shield his eyes as he raises his weapon. General Bonner frees his machine pistol just as Louie barrels past. The shooter manages a scream as he both open fires and turns to flee. General Bonner has the shooter’s wide back as a target when Louie leaps for the man’s weapon arm and hauls him down. General Bonner lowers his pistol as Bess runs past, her own revolver drawn.

“Stand down.” Colonel Bonner says this directly into the marksman’s ear.

Louie has the shooter’s arm impaled as Bess runs forward. She kicks the man’s weapon out of the way. The shooter is screaming and rolling and trying to cover his head. General Bonner strides forward and kicks the man in the face.

“I told you to jump.”

(image)1.bp.blogspot.com/-hdxw8i4YrLI/UTus8tCBsjI/AAAAAAAAITA/BeyS7-885hY/s1600/Cane-Corso-6.jpg

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