Thursday, July 24, 2014

Frank Kahren Stores It Up with I.B. Nosey



NOSEY: Greetings, cybernuts! This is I.B. Nosey, your official unofficial reporter! Today I’m browsing the aisles of my favorite department store in search of a new pair of ‘Rock ‘em & Sock ‘em Blunderland’ shoelaces. Hm. Wonder where the help is? *gazes around* Ah, here’s some clerks. Greetings— *men stare at Nosey, gasp, and then flee* Hey, you! *bongs a straggler over the head with microphone* This is I.B. Nosey, the official unofficial reporter and—

EMPLOYEE: Yeah, yeah. *rubs bruised noggin* We know all about you.

NOSEY: *puffs out chest* My reputation precedes me.

EMPLOYEE: *sighs* Unfortunately.

NOSEY: Huh?

EMPLOYEE: *clears throat* Mr. Nosey, can I, for once, interest you to enter the ‘world of Ralph Lauren’?



NOSEY: *blinks* Who?

EMPLOYEE: The famous clothes designer who can give you a - ah… *gestures towards Nosey’s blazer* better - er, um, that is -different look.

NOSEY: Why would I want anything different from my tweedy-weedy blazers? They’re all the rage, you know.

EMPLOYEE: Mr. Nosey. *clasps hands in earnest plea* If you’d only allow me— *shrieks as human cannonball flies down aisle* Watch out!

*Nosey is tackled, thrown to the floor, then dragged behind rack of clothing*

MAN: *hoarse whisper* Get up! What’re you doing lying down on the job?

NOSEY: *gives groggy shake of head* Holy torpedo! What sub did you escape from, pal?

MAN: No time for sandwiches. I’m hiding from the Scary Man.

NOSEY: Er… *bolts upright* W-w-what Scary Man?

FK: I’m Frank Kahren and you can read about him here. *thrusts book into Nosey’s palm*

NOSEY: *frowns* An author’s found me in the middle of… *looks around* the women’s girdles?

FK: Keep your voice down!

NOSEY: *gulps* Is the Scary Man t-that d-dangerous?

FK: *hisses* Read the blurb and figure it out for yourself.

NOSEY: Yeah, well, ya never know… *darts nervous gaze around* that might just be a good idea. *turns book over* Let’s see, the title is Brand Loyalty and it says: ‘Retired from the Marine Corps and the California Department of Corrections, Major Matt Rommel’s life has been one long exercise in applied violence. A docent at San Francisco’s Palace of the Legion of Honor, he spends his days surrounded by art treasures and his nights in the Mission District at Vince’s bar…’ Excuse me, but…*Nosey leans over to whisper* Those art treasures. Uh, there’s something kinda funky about one of them.

FK: That so?

NOSEY: Uh huh. It’s a…*glances across shoulder* portrait of me! Yeah. Pretty cool, eh? But it’s gotta be protected so that it won’t get stolen!

FK: *grunts* There’re more than one portrait of you there.

NOSEY: Oh, yeah? *eyes light up*

FK: *peers around edge of cabinet to check for eavesdroppers before beckoning to Nosey* As you must know…

NOSEY: What? Huh? What? *gives fast cleaning to left ear and scoots closer* You were saying?

FK: There’s a portrait of you in one of the galleries. I believe it was painted by El Greco?

NOSEY: *nods* El Geeko. Right. Captured my likeness to a nose.

FK: Well, there’s also a Rodin sculpture of you in the Spreckles gallery, plus an intriguing ‘I.B. Nosey’ image in one of the Watteau paintings.



NOSEY: *awe fills voice* For real?

FK: Friend, apparently you’re virtually immortal. I can assure you that everyone at the Legion of Honor is committed to protecting their I.B. treasures.

NOSEY: Heh heh. Keep talking like that and I just might wind up buying your book.

FK: First, we have to escape from the Scary Man. *nods to book* Don’t you want to know more?

NOSEY: About the Scary Man? Um, not especially.

FK: But what about Carolyn?

NOSEY: Who’s Carolyn?

FK: *taps book* In here.

NOSEY: Somehow I knew you were gonna say that. Ahem. Okay. Continuing: ‘The years have also changed the life of Carolyn Kast, leaving her with a failed marriage to a man committed only to his forlorn hope of a technology company. Now, Carolyn is a single mother in her middle forties with a fledgling ad agency and two partners who are always at each other’s throats. Worse, it is becoming clear that someone’s trying to kill her…’ *Nosey shudders* Whoa. How’s it ‘becoming clear’ that someone doesn’t like her very much - to put it delicately?

FK: There’re always subtle signs. Like… *grabs Nosey by the collar and drags him behind stack of boxes*

NOSEY: Hey! *sputters* What’re you doing, man?

FK: Trying to keep us safe! This is for you. No need to call attention to ourselves. *steals hat from one of the boxes and plops it atop Nosey’s head*

NOSEY: I.B. Nosey does not need a disguise!

FK: You mean that’s not a mask you’re wearing?

NOSEY: ‘eyyy!

FK: Be quiet! You want what happened to Carolyn to happen to us?

NOSEY: Uhhh… *drops voice* If she didn’t eat a bar of Gum Drop Nutty Whizz Bang, then I don’t wanna know.

FK: But you asked why someone didn’t like her.

NOSEY: I did?

FK: Ten lines back.

NOSEY: Ohhh. Guess I was too nosy for my own good, heh heh.

FK: Know what else is for your own good? Recognizing the signs of being ‘disliked’.

NOSEY: No worries there, fella. I know 'em all by first name. 

FK: Really? You've had someone to drop a garage door on your head?

NOSEY: Er, no, although they’ve probably dreamed about it.

FK: Or had a capoera fighter try to knife you in an alley in Rio?

NOSEY: *scrunches face* Ooh.

FK: And that’s not all. Sometimes people shoot a cop and chase you into a mausoleum. If you stay in touch with your intuitive sides, you can always pick up on the signals.

NOSEY: If it’s all the same to you, I’ll stick with smoke signals.

FK: Well, Aubrey knows what to do.

NOSEY: Aubrey? Aubrey who?

FK: The blurb, Nosey. You didn’t finish it. *points* See?

NOSEY: *glances down* Oh, yeah. ‘Six-year-old Aubrey knows what to do. Go to the museum, to the man she has decided is an enforcer for Santa Claus: The Scary Man!’ *gapes* We’re hiding from Santa Claus?

FK: *scoffs* Get real. It’s like this, see. *glances both ways* Matt Rommel, besides what he does at the Palace of the Legion of Honor fine arts museum, is also an ex-marine and working at a prison as a guard. Let’s just say, he’s got a ‘gift’ for dealing with people.

NOSEY: If you don’t mind me asking, ah…does that gifting have anything to do with garage doors, or Rio?

FK: *shakes head* Nothing like that. See, once a year, he brings two bags of Christmas toys to the Toys for Tots barrel in downtown San Francisco. During that trip, he makes a point of ‘provoking’, shall we say, the Gunnery Sergeant who mans the gift barrels.

NOSEY: A gift barrel? *spies one in the corner* Like that one?

FK: Nosey! *grabs his tie* Stay put!

NOSEY: Unhand the threads! *knocks off FK’s grasp* Sheesh, man. Don’t you get it? I'm not named Nosey for nothing.  *plunges into barrel and withdraws stuffed, fleeced octopus* Hey, look at this! What a cutie. It’s so soft and huggable and—

FK: Don’t squeeze it! 



NOSEY: Yikes! *staggers back against row of umbrellas* Who turned out the lights?

FK:  Ssssh! *yanks Nosey behind dressing room* Here. Use my handkerchief.

NOSEY: Uh, Mr. Kahren… *rubs glasses and smears ink all across face* …an idea’s suddenly flared over my head.

FK: Sorry, Nosey, but I don’t think your bulbs burn too bright.

NOSEY: I— huh?

FK: Forget it. What do you wanna say?

NOSEY: It’s about Matt. He’s too busy a guy, don’t ya think?

FK: Meaning?

NOSEY: Sorry to have to tell ya, but these toys … *waves arm toward gift barrel* just plain downright stink. As in last week’s garbage truck stink.

FK: And you’re sorry to tell me that?

NOSEY: Well, listen. Your Matt, if he wants the ‘totties’ to like him, he’s gotta get tuned to their brain waves.

FK: Hm…*gives considering nod* How?

NOSEY: Matt needs a break from his ‘dangerous docent’-ing, ‘ex-marine’-ing, and ‘prison guarding’-ing. He oughta clear his head. And no better place to do that except at Gum Drop Island.

FK: How will that help?

NOSEY: Why wouldn’t it? Relax in a coconut strand hammock, nibble on the gingerbread hedges, pluck a couple of chocolate bars off the palm trees. *snaps fingers* Guaranteed ‘Kool-aid’ tot-toy inspiration.

FK: I don’t know. *strokes chin in pondering gesture* That creates its own problems.

NOSEY: Dude, how can spending time at Gum Drop Island be a problem?

FK: From Matt’s point of view, after some of the people he’s worked with, he’d never want to come back.

NOSEY: That’d be bad?

FK: How would he protect Carolyn?

NOSEY: Oh. *chuckles* I get it. So they get lovey-dovey with each other, eh? Bet that happened when he gave her a box of chocolates from Gum Drop Island.

FK: Actually, Aubrey the one’s that brought them together. She saw Rommel with those bags of toys and concluded that he works for Santa.

NOSEY: Uhh.. you’ve lost me. What’s Santa got to do with Carolyn? Is she one of his elves? *eyes the gift barrel* Oh, no. She made that exploding octopus, right?

FK: *spreads palms* Don’t blame me. I didn’t write nothing like that in my book.

NOSEY: So, then… what did you write about how a bag of toys gets Carolyn and Rommel together?

FK: Easy. It goes like this - Aubrey sees those toys, assumes that Santa must have enforcers. And Rommel’s scarred face doesn’t scare Aubrey because her mom, Carolyn, suggests that a face like that is used to “stop things”.

NOSEY: Like the clutches of a sardine-breathed, ornery sea critter?

FK: Possibly. But she needs an enforcer, or a big scary man to help her -or ‘stop things’- with a problem she has at her elementary school. 

NOSEY: Gotta hand it to you. This is some kind of plot! *whistles in admiration* How did you dream up something like this?

FK: I picked the two groups of people that are most overlooked and least understood - veterans and single mothers. I once read that, after divorce, single mothers experience a 42 percent decrease in their income.

NOSEY: No!

FK: Yep. Yet, they’re almost always the ones who must shelter and provide for the children.

NOSEY: Well, if you ask me, Carolyn sounds like Super Woman!

FK: Doesn’t she? *nods* Everyone gravitates toward Matt Rommel. Sure, he’s capable, decent, and he’s just about fearless. But Carolyn is my favorite because she doesn’t let Life kick her to the ground without getting right back up. She overcomes obstacles; she’s smart; capable; and she knows that her mission is to protect her daughter.

EMPLOYEE’S VOICE CALLS: Mr. Nosey! Are you back here? We have your shoelace order ready.

FK: Watch it! *grabs Nosey’s arm* It could be a trap. They might work for Carl Grinnell.

NOSEY: And, uh, this Carl - I wanna avoid him, right?

FK: You better unless you like an old, disreputable advertising executive who tries to exploit and ruin Carolyn.

2nd EMPLOYEE: And we’re ready for you to depart the store!

NOSEY: Oh. *gives relieved chuckle* No worries, Mr. Kahren. They’re legit. *pops up from his hiding place* Greetings, cyber—

*Men’s eyes widen, they scream, spin around and dash out of store, knocking customers out of their way*

NOSEY: Where you rushing off to? I didn’t finish my official unofficial intro— *turns to look behind, gasps* Aaaiii! *turns tail, leaps over counter, scales wall, and smashes through plate glass window - all in one Nosey super-sized fleet-of-foot single bound*

FK: *calls out* Nosey! Get back here!

NOSEY: No way, dude! *beats feet down sidewalk* It’s the Scary Man!

FK: *looks around and yells out to Nosey’s fleeing backside* But, Nosey, haven’t you seen a mirror before?


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Available at Amazon

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F. M. Kahren is the author of Brand Loyalty, his debut novel and Matt Rommel's first adventure. A graduate of UC Berkeley with a degree in English, Dr. Kahren also has a masters and doctorate in business administration from the University of North Dakota and Golden Gate University respectively. He has published a number of technical articles for industry journals and is the author of Strategic Planning: The Practices of PCS Companies and the Academic Literature. In addition to serving as a Minuteman missile crew commander and missile operations staff officer, Dr. Kahren has worked extensively in the telecommunications and rail transportation industries.

For more information, visit Frank's author page at Amazon.
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Thursday, July 17, 2014

Ginger Simpson Gallops Along with I.B. Nosey




NOSEY: Greetings, cybernuts! This is I.B. Nosey, your official unofficial reporter! Today I’m coming to you from outside that old west ‘Drop ‘em Like Flies Saloon’. *bounces through doorway, halts, and announces* And a moo-moo greetings to you, cowboys and cowbulls! ‘Moo-moo’, ‘cow’, ‘bulls’, get it? Heh heh. I’m here to tell you to wait no longer to strike that rich Texas oil. Yes, I.B. Nosey is going to make each and everyone of you famous! How? By including you in my Pukelitzer Award winning interview! Hold up a mug of Gum Drop Island’s Razzle Dazzle Sock-It-To-Me Sweet Thang in celebration!


*Silence. Squnity-eyed men stare*

NOSEY: Er… *steps back* Was it something I said?

1st MAN: *sneers* Lookit the city slicker.

2nd MAN: Who’s he?

3th MAN: *shrugs* Town idiot, Ah reckon.

1st MAN: Ah’ve seen that stupid face somewhere before. 

*Woman walks up* Sure you have, fellas. This is I.B. Nosey, the cyberspace reporter. Isn’t he… *scans Nosey from head to toe* something else?

NOSEY: *gulps* Uh, hm. I dunno… *edges toward door* Maybe I wrote down the wrong—

WOMAN: Oh no, you don’t. *grabs Nosey’s arm* You provide affordable interviews -as in cheap- so you stay put.

NOSEY: But—

GS: I’m Ginger Jones Simpson and we’re gonna talk about my book Odessa.

NOSEY: But—

GS: Sit down. *shoves Nosey into chair*

NOSEY: But—

3th MAN: *rises from table* You gotta lot o’ nerve, missy. We don’t cotton to the likes of this tastelessly attired, fleet-of-foot and wide-of-mouth inquiring nose.

NOSEY: But—

GS: What kind do you cotton to?

2nd MAN: *spits stream of tobacco on floor* This here is a manly saloon.

GS: Oh, that! *waves dismissive hand* No problem, sugar. My hero, Zach, floods, I mean absolutely floods, the boots of a manly man, uh huh. But the only way you can learn about him is to let Nosey introduce him. See? *smiles beguilely*

3th MAN: *shuffles feet* Well…

GS: Sure, let’s get started. Here’s my book, Nosey. Why don’t you read the blurb? *leans down to whisper* Better get a move on before that Valium I dropped in their buttermilk wears off.

NOSEY: Buttermilk? In a doggy salon— um, I mean, manly saloon?

GS: *gives surprised blink* Well, this is a G-rated blog. They can’t drink anything stronger, can they?

NOSEY: Oh, er, right. Right! Ahem. Let’s see… *glances warily at men before checking back of book* Odessa by Ginger Simpson. ‘When the wagon carrying Odessa Clay and her father overturns, he is killed. She is left alone in the middle of the desert to try and find her way to kin in Phoenix. Hot, dry and scared, Odessa is near death when Zach Johnson finds her. Squinting up into his tanned and handsome face, she imagines she’s died and gone to heaven. Would-be-outlaw, Zach comes across an unconscious woman alone in the middle of nowhere. Where did she come from? She appears young, but the curves beneath the dusty gingham say otherwise’… Yikes! *Nosey jumps*

GS: What’s the matter?

NOSEY: Those curves! Did a slinking rattlesnake make ‘em?

GS: *clicks tongue* Boy, you are nosy, Nosey. I realize you might be na├»ve about a lot of things, but I think you’re just blowing smoke when you deny knowing what makes a woman curvy. *wags brows* Right?


NOSEY: I dunno. Could be the cut of her shawl. After all, my tweedy-weedy blazers make it appear as if I have broad shoulders.

GS: Oh, is that your secret?

*Men snigger and snort in their buttermilk, blowing bubbles*

NOSEY: Ah… *straightens tie and clears throat* Moving right along. Where was I? *checks blurb* Er, yeah. Here we go: ‘…Zach didn’t plan to become someone’s hero, but he cannot leave her helpless and stranded. Will the promise of Odessa’s sweet lips lure Zach from the secret mission that has his gut twisted into a knot? His father’s ranch isn’t the only thing at stake - now it’s his heart, too.’…*Nosey looks up* A twisted gut? Ouch, that’s gotta hurt.

GS: You think?

NOSEY: Well, how’d that happen? Wait, I know! *snaps fingers* Out there in the desert, he grabbed the first thing to eat he could find. Yeah, bet he munched down on a whole saddlebag of Dollar Hollar hot pepper taffies. Why didn’t he carry a stash of Gum Drop Island chocolate?

GS: Chocolate? In the desert heat? Can’t you imagine the fine mess that’d make? It’d be a perfectly splendid waste of the world’s finest chocolate. C’mon, Nosey. My Zach is smarter than that.

NOSEY: Yeah?

GS: You contradict me?

NOSEY: Oh, no! No. Who? Me? No way, lady. *gives nervous chuckle*

GS: Hm. Anyway, I don’t think his twisted gut is the result of something he ate, but rather something he said he’d do that he now realizes he doesn’t want to do.

NOSEY: Uh… Run that by me again.

GS: It’s like this - If you’ve ever made a decision you regretted and stress over following through, then I think you’d understand.

NOSEY: Uhhh….

GS: Which… *sighs* you don’t understand. Okay, let me make this simple: ‘Gut in a knot’ is just an analogy for the sick feeling one gets when they’re stressing.

NOSEY: Why, sure it is. I get it. Heh heh. I’m brighter than a 40-watt bulb, you know.

MEN: But ya blown yer fuse! *hoots with laughter*

GS: Hey! *shouts at men* Shut up and drink your buttermilk before all the flies drown!

1st MAN: *looks at glass* Ah thought them were cocoa puffs.

NOSEY: *groans* Oh, please.

GS: *turns back to Nosey* Where were we?

NOSEY: I, um… *backs toward door* think I hear Odessa calling me.

GS: Calling you instead of Zach? You’ve got to be kidding.

NOSEY: ‘eyyy, why’s that so hard to believe? That handsome face she gazed into and fancied ‘she’d gone to heaven’ just happened to belong to me, you know.

GS: *shakes head* Honestly, I don’t think anyone would have to explain the difference in looks.

NOSEY: But—

GS: I said she fancies she’s gone to heaven, not to the other ‘h’ word.

NOSEY: But—

GS: No offense, Nosey, but you aren’t exactly the tall, dark, and handsome hero women expect to find in romance novels.

NOSEY: Maybe not in romance novels, but… *tilts face to show profile* they find this Nose in their dreams.

GS: Ugh. *places hand over stomach* I think my gut just twisted.

NOSEY: Need a Kleenex? *offers one*

GS: *gives suspicious look* It looks used.

NOSEY: Uh, well, they were purchased at Dollar Hollar as I moseyed my way over here.

GS: I’ll pass. 

NOSEY: Heh heh. Curious thing about Kleenex. They’re ‘kin to Phoenix’, ya know.

GS: *rolls eyes* Nosey, I wonder about you. But let’s get this straight about Phoenix, because that’s where Odessa has kin - like in family. But the one thing about Phoenix, is that it rose from the ashes - which makes sense ‘cause it gets pretty darn hot there.

NOSEY: *frowns* Wait a minute. Okay, so she was on her way to Phoenix, right? *checks book blurb* But you say here, ‘Would-be outlaw, Zach, comes across an unconscious woman alone in the middle of nowhere…’

GS: *shrugs* Your point?

NOSEY: Are they in Phoenix? Or in The Middle of Nowhere? Or at the Bottom of Nowhere? You ought to make that real plain, ma’am.

GS: *nods* So that any moron can understand?

NOSEY: Yeah, I - huh?

GS: No problem, Nosey. See, at least in the middle you have a choice of which way to go. You can go up, down, or to either side, and the trip is pretty much an equal distance. If you’re at the bottom, it’s a long trip to the middle and even further to the top.

NOSEY: Uhhh….

GS: Got it now, moron?

NOSEY: Where? *looks around*

GS: *giggles* Is there anything else I can tell you about my book?

NOSEY: Well, I just wondered why you wanted to make it a western.

GS: Why wouldn’t I?

NOSEY: Westerns are- let’s be honest here- nothing more exciting than recycled Bonanzas. Lots of dusty, dry landscapes, aluminum rocks, fake cactuses—

GS: Cacti?

NOSEY: The cat died? *whistles* Gotta admit. Never saw that on Bonanza.

GS: *sighs* Well, not in my book either, Nosey. But I wrote this as a western because that time period is my favorite. You see, I was raised on a steady diet of TV westerns and the Grand Ol’ Opry.

NOSEY: Grand ol’ opry. Got ‘cha. Uh huh.

GS: Do you even know what the Grand Ol’ Opry is?

NOSEY: What’d ya take me for? Of course I know. It’s a kind of piano thingie. Like the ones they use in these here saloons. *waves arm to encompass surroundings* Saloons. Westerns. Grand Ol’ Opries. Duh.

GS: Hm. Well. *clears throat* As I was saying - I even remember watching the Spade Cooley Show. Remember library cards? I’ll bet if you could visit my grammar school, you’d find I was the one who checked out all of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books on a regular basis.

NOSEY: Yeah, but—

1st MAN: *slams fist on tabletop* Ah knew Ah’d seen ‘im before! Lookit over there, fellas!

*Men turn and stare at ‘Wanted’ poster tacked on wall*

2nd MAN: A million dollars? *gapes at Nosey* For him?

GS: Excuse me? What are you saying?

3th MAN: Git a eyeful, gal.

*GS walks to wall and reads aloud:*…Wanted: Million Dollar Reward for I.B. Nosey, Escapee from the White Coats Funny Farm Asylum.



NOSEY: Heh heh. *tugs at collar* I’m not an escapee, folks. I was only there to give an interview to Dr. Nutz E. Padmywallet, but—

MEN: After him! *they jump up and rush at Nosey*

GS: Hold on, guys. *picks up table and whollops ‘em over the head* The only person grabbing that poster boy is me.

NOSEY: Thank you, Ms. Simpson. For a minute there, I— Ooh. *edges away from determined glint in GS’ eyes* You’re not— you’re not— you are! *turns tail and charges out of saloon*

GS: Hey, Nosey! *snatches strait jacket off wall peg and chases behind* Come back here! Things are just getting exciting!

NOSEY: Not for me, lady. I’m gittin’ out of Dodge ‘cause… *blazes dusty trail down middle of street*… this town ain’t big enough for the both of us!

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Available at Amazon

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Ginger Simpson grew up reading anything by Laura Ingalls Wilder and became so fascinated with western historical novels, they've remained her favorite for more years than she cares to admit.

In 2002, Ginger decided to attempt writing her own novel, and in 2003 her first offering, Prairie Peace, was published. Since then, she's dabbled in other genres but always seems to migrate back to her favorite historical era. As all authors continue to learn through the process, so has Ginger, and her debut novel has been recently released with a new cover and title, Destiny's Bride.

At the beginning, Ginger accepted contracts with e-publishers with the realization her work would not be offered in actual stores, rather made available for sale by download or ordering through Internet sites. At the time, the reward of acceptance was enough, and the prayer that downloadable books would grow in popularity seems to have come to pass. Ginger admits she's no spring chicken, and her final goal is to see at least one of her works available in an actual "brick and mortar" store just so she can nod when someone asks if Walmart sells her books.

For more information, visit Ginger's site.

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(Thank you for visiting Feeling Nosey? If you enjoyed this interview, schedule your very own! Use the Contact Form to get in touch with Nosey.)