Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Secret Deaths Of Arthur Lowe Virtual Book Publicity Tour and Giveaway







Title:
THE SECRET DEATHS OF ARTHUR LOWE

Author: U.L. Harper

Publisher: Independent

Pages: 235

Genre: Speculative Fiction/Horror/Magical Realism

While in the process of bringing his wife, Sandra, back to
the living, Arthur journals about moments from his past that changed him.

During the journal writing, he rediscovers how, as an
orphan, his ability to animate objects and people to life may have ultimately
destroyed the lives of the few who grew close to him. The old stuffed teddy
bear that helped him assemble puzzles when he was a child might have been too
much of a secret for his adoptive mother to keep. His friend Quincy, who had
abilities similar to his, might have been scared away by Arthur’s abilities.
And his grade school teacher is still harboring a secret about his biological
father that she can only hope to be true.

Once Sandra is alive again, things become more complicated.
She claims Arthur is not who or what he thinks he is. Her ire shines a
spotlight on the insidious but most likely true, unspoken nature of their
relationship.

In the meantime, a mysterious smell envelopes the
community—a stench so heinous it can be fatal. As the number of deaths from the
stench mounts, Arthur must decide who to animate back to life and who remains
dead. 

The
Secret Deaths of Arthur Lowe is available at AMAZON.

Book Excerpt:







Arthur pauses the movie and watches his wife, Sandra, stroll
barefoot down the hall to the bathroom.
Moments later, muffled bumps and knocks come from their
bedroom.
“What’re you doing?” he calls to her. 
She doesn’t respond.
He casually sets his mug of tea on the coffee table, stands,
and then heads to check on her.
As he walks into the room, she hurriedly points the barrel
of the handgun at her head, her hand firmly on the grip.
“Sandra.”
Fuck you,
Arthur.” Her voice trembles, as she pulls the trigger.

***

Shaking and in tears, it’s a struggle to lift her lifeless
body off the bloody carpet and onto the bed.
With her finally on their bed, he relaxes his hand on her
shoulder, lets the life-shaping energy he controls move through him and into
her. In the past, he’s brought people who have not been too physically injured
by their cause of death back to life. It never took long, but Sandra might take
a while.
For decades he’s lacked a reason to animate objects or bring
the dead back to the living. His wife dying is every reason to perform his
ability.
He slips off her sweats and t-shirt, leaves her panties on.
He stops redressing her in one of his shirts, realizing again how she’s dead in
his arms.
Arthur maneuvers her onto her side, tucks her into the fetal
position. To remedy looking at the gun wound to her face, he places a blanket
over her, a temporary measure, merely until she comes back to him. In her
curled position, when he places the blanket over her, it seems as if she’s
asleep. Picturing Sandra asleep is far more comfortable than seeing her dead.
As weeks pass, he tells acquaintances she’s sick. They can
see her when she’s better. In the meantime, a slight aroma gathers around her.
Not as bad as it could be for a normal death. There’s a smell, nonetheless,
like old wet food of some sort. Beans and yogurt, and some kind of old meat.
He checks on her regularly to see if her position has
changed, if there are signs she’s come back to the living. The process never
takes this long, but he’s patient because of her injuries.
If anybody suspects something is wrong they’ll ask too many
questions. So to keep up appearances, he accepts an invitation to have dinner
next door at the house of mutual friends Glenda and Raheem.
Knowing the best lies are half true, he knocks on their
door.
Raheem yells from the other side, tells Arthur to let
himself in, which he does.
Glenda and Raheem sit at the dining room table with their
kids—Shelly, a stunningly cute little girl nine years of age, with thick, kinky
dark hair like her mother, and Tracy, an energetic, yet obedient, young boy,
ten years of age.
They have small talk about the needed rain in arid Southern
California, and about the stupid patrons at Raheem’s work. And,
yes, that awkward pungent scent the public smells seems to be getting more vile
each day. Arthur appreciates the normalcy the conversation brings.
Glenda and Raheem cut the conversation short to bring in the
food—chicken, vegetables, mashed potatoes, and water. The food all there,
Raheem leads grace. Automatically the kids bow their heads. Glenda squints.
Raheem bows his head. Arthur does not participate.
As they eat, the family members all hang their heads,
politely chew. They clank plates with their utensils. It’s as if something is
wrong, or at the very least, being hidden by their bowed heads.
Raheem’s muscles are thicker than anybody’s Arthur knows.
The dining light glistening off Raheem’s bald head.
 “It’s hard to believe
how sick she is.” Glenda cuts into her boneless chicken breast. Her tight
pigtails with pink barrettes clipped on the ends.
“As suddenly as she got sick, you’d think it was
contagious.” Although holding a spoon, Raheem speaks with his hands. “You’re
not contagious are you?”
“Arthur,” Glenda’s voice is rhythmic. “How is she?”
Glenda is going gray, significantly more silver streaks in
the last few months. Her complexion much darker than Raheem’s, who is more
yellow than brown. On the other hand, she’s dark like Arthur. Some might call
her skin color milk chocolate. In their forties, signs of the three’s aging are
a tad more prevalent than years prior. Arthur has less hair and his belly won’t
stop growing. Raheem is in great shape but weighs more than ever. He doesn’t go
to the gym as often, because he lacks the give-a-shit.
Arthur bites into his chicken. “She’ll be okay, contrary to
popular belief. Nothing she hasn’t faced before.”
Raheem scoops peas on his spoon. “I’ve heard people have
died from this particular flu bug.”
“She hasn’t left the room for over a week,” Glenda says.
Raheem begins, “Hey, man, if you need help with anything…”
“Truth is, I’m good,” Arthur quickly responds. “I don’t need
help. She doesn’t need help.”
Glenda gently places both of her hands on the table. “Nobody
is trying to, I guess, seem like they know everything. I can hear you getting
defensive. I hear you. We’re thinking she’s probably more sick than you think
she is. We’re betting… I’m betting
she needs a doctor.”
Raheem leans forward, squinting. “Dog, I’m going to chime in
on someone I deeply care about and say, why don’t you get her checked out?
She’s hella not good. You have to remember, she’s not just your wife. She’s a
friend of ours too. I know sometimes you get a certain way…so you can’t hear
what people are saying, but hear this. Arthur, go get Sandra some damned help.”
Damn it, an
intervention
. “We’re fine. We saw a doctor.”
“Kids.” Raheem jabs a finger towards the living room.
Their food mostly eaten, Tracy and Shelly excuse themselves.
“You’re being disrespectful as shit by lying to me in my
house.” Raheem leans back.
“’Heem…” Arthur starts.
Ra heem.”
“I’m sorry if I come off rude. It’s just that it’s something
that’s not up to me or you guys. It’s hard to see her like that. It’s harder
with you calling me a liar.”
“Would she be better off in the hospital?” Glenda says.
Arthur drops his knife and fork on his plate, lets them
clang together. “This isn’t going to work. Again, thanks for dinner.”
Raheem folds his arms. “You sure you talked to somebody
about her?”
“I inquired,” Arthur boldly lies to them. “I really don’t
want to talk about it.”
Glenda stops mid-chew. “It’s because the Flu-like symptoms
caused by the air. It might not be some sort of Flu. Just take her to the
doctor. They’re probably dealing with it a whole lot down there.”
“Thank you for the meal. Thank you for being honest and exactly who you guys are.” Tracy and
Shelly have settled in to watching television. “Beautiful family. You’re giving
them the childhood I wish I had, you
know that?”
“Okay, thank you.” Raheem says, pushing himself away from
the table. “So you’re going to deflect the whole thing.”
Arthur leaves, now certain that by lying he’s making the
situation worse. Deep down, since Sandra’s death, loneliness has been eating at
him. Truly, the only person he wants to talk to about Sandra is Sandra.

***

In his home office, Arthur fires up his computer, begins a
word processing file, and names it “Sandra”. To help in thinking about her,
he’ll write to her. How can it hurt?

***

My dear Sandra,


When I think back to that moment when you shot yourself, I
get stuck. Thinking about it, I spend my days watching the sun from the office
window. Before I know how much time has gone, the sun has faded into nothing. I
don’t know why I feel guilty, but I do
feel guilty. Nearly twenty-five years of marriage and I never abused you, never
cheated on you, and never intentionally lied to you, but I feel guilty as if
you killing yourself is my fault.
I should have known whatever I did—and I don’t know what I
did—was wrong. Because of my ignorance, I cleaned your blood from off the
bedroom mirror, wiped bits of skull from the dresser, picked up pieces of
forehead from the carpet. The puddles are gone, but the blood stains are still
there, will always be there.
Seeing what’s left of your suicide makes me wish for my own
death. I’ve thought about leaping off a building, wishing a stray bullet from
somewhere would strike me in the gut and end my life. Plenty of people are like
you and me and have pondered putting a gun to their head and pulling the
trigger. We’re not the minority. People want to die. But they want people to
have cared for them too. Me and you—people in general—have mental lists of who
we think will give a damn about us dying. If I kill myself, with you gone, I
wonder who will mourn me.
I keep racking my brain about how it happened. Where in the
world did you gather the courage to kill yourself?





About the Author

U.L. Harper is a speculative fiction/horror
author, influenced by magical realism. A former journalist from
Long Beach, California, he now resides in the evergreen state of Washington with his wife. He is a soon-to-be father,
and an avid Dodgers fan.
His
latest book is the speculative fiction/horror/magical realism novel, THE SECRET DEATHS OF ARTHUR LOWE.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL LINKS:

WEBSITE
| TWITTER | FACEBOOK

Interview with U L Harper
  1. What is your favorite part of this book and why? This sounds like it could easily be a spoiler. Since I don’t mind spoilers, here goes. There are numerous parts that I love about The Secret Deaths of Arthur Lowe. But one that stands out to me is when Arthur is convinced that he needs to impress his future wife. I use the moment to showcase his ability to the reader. At that point in the story we haven’t seen him do anything like what he does in that scene. I should go ahead and say what he does. I don’t think it’s too big a spoiler. Arthur and Sandra are middle school age, and Arthur takes her on a date to a park where he takes sand and tosses it in the air. The debris turns into them as small children playing. At one point, Sandra addresses her younger sand-self. It’s a really wild scene. I dig on the moment because of the layers involved. From a storytelling standpoint, obviously it’s kind of a reveal, as the entire story is, but this is significant. And it changes their relationship. They gain trust through it. Now she has a secret to keep, and he needs to trust her with the secret. Really fun stuff. From a writing standpoint, it’s one of those beautiful scenes. It’s one of the times the novel keeps you in our reality but says, hey, magic is in fact real.
  2. If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day? Without a doubt, I’d spend the day with Quincy. Quincy is a childhood friend who pops back up into Arthur’s life. It’d be him because he’s by far the most mysterious individual. When he says he does something, you’re like, seriously. That happened? And then his updates on his relationships are bonkers. I’d want to see all of it first-hand.
  3. If you could have been the author of any book ever written, which book would you choose? I wish I would have written Clive Barker’s Imajica. The end of that one is probably the best ending. I can’t imagine there ever being an ending to a novel so good. The story is far past epic in the first place, but I remember approaching the end going, but, dang, what’s it all ABOUT. Then he lets you know. I would love to write that book.
  4. Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination? I never base entire characters on people. Arthur is loosely based on me. Very loosely. I don’t have any special abilities, but his school experiences were mine. His favorite book as a child is, Ferdinand, as was mine. His current job takes place at a school where I ran an after-school program years ago. The women in the novel are based on nobody I know. Parts of Quincy are based on this dude named Mike Fox who died when I was in junior high. Mike Fox in no way was a cool dude. Couldn’t stand him. Straight bully. But charismatic. To expand on the answer a little further, fiction is not made in a vacuum. It bothers me when people say they read non-fiction because they want to better themselves, but it’s through fiction you learn about people on an emotional level. That, and deep down I think people read non-fiction, not to expand their horizons but to confirm their own ideas. But that’s not where this question is supposed to go, so I’ll end it right there.
  5. What made you want to become a writer? I like the idea of mind control. When done well, fiction writing touches people in ways unexpected. I’ll bring it back to Arthur Lowe. While reading it, you’ll be thinking, basically, exactly what I want you to think on a number of subjects. If you’re not thinking it, I still know what you’re thinking because you’re probably in some kind of disagreement on the subject. Deep down that’s what made me want to write well. Yes, people, it’s all about power. On another level, a big part of why I write is because I can flush some things out of my system through the pages. In example, there’s a moment in Arthur Lowe when Quincy points out how Arthur is the statistic that people talk about, and it’s a wonder he achieved so much, considering the conditions. As it relates to me, I remember realizing one day I was a statistic survivor myself. Those things matter, somehow. In the end, it’s as if everything somehow matters.







U.L. Harper is giving away a free
e-copy of his book!

Terms & Conditions:
  • By entering
    the giveaway, you are confirming you are at least 18 years old.
  • One winner
    will be chosen via Rafflecopter to receive one free e-copy of THE SECRET
    DEATHS OF ARTHUR LOWE.
  • This
    giveaway ends midnight June 30.
  • Winner will
    be contacted via email on June 31.
  • Winner has
    48 hours to reply.
Good luck everyone!

ENTER TO WIN!



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