19 October 2021

The Encanto LA Fog Part 1 by Arthur Swan Book Spotlight! #lafog #theencanto

 


An ancient Mayan artifact, smuggled into Los Angeles, unexpectedly alters three lives in bizarre ways.

Gray, an aspiring artist struggling to provide for his family, Claire, Gray's insomniac wife, and Ashley York, a wealthy socialite striving to make it as a real actress, find their paths crashing together, their dreams and their very identities threatened.

Meanwhile, Saul Parker, a detective and hobbyist magician who is self-conscious about his weight, strives to solve a strange case that seems impossible to comprehend.

Only Wayob, a mysterious chameleon-like killer, has a grasp on the dangerous power that has consumed his life and now infiltrates the others.

The Encanto, Book 1 of the LA Fog series, is an intricately woven, character-based mystery the choices we make informs our identity.


Read an excerpt!


Would a cloud be too much to ask? The afternoon sky had thinned out and surrendered to the relentless sun. Saul parked on Lincoln Boulevard near the mob of looky-loos pressing in around the barricades on the sidewalk. Behind the crime scene was a carwash with faded fin-toppers that might have looked stylish in the sixties.

He left the engine running for the AC. In front of him was a pink van advertising “Topless Maids $99” and then a squad car. Beside it, Hernandez was talking to the uniforms. She was five foot two and lithe. She only saw him as a partner, but Saul was hoping for more. 

He couldn’t bear for her to see him heave his huge belly out. If she would just get in here with him, they could crank up the AC and talk like human beings. Forget all the politics and procedure of the LAPD.

He motioned her towards his car, but she looked away.

He flashed his lights.

Useless signal against the sunlight. He sighed. Grabbed his trench coat from the backseat. Climbed out of the car and put it on. It did little to hide his girth. If anything, the coat made him more conspicuous.

Instantly sweating, he tried to ignore the murmurs from the crowd, the mouths gaping open, all the phones pointing at him as plowed his big belly toward Hernandez. 

She glanced at him from the corner of her eye but continued joking with the uniforms, as if unaware of his approach. Her skin was perfect. She would look twenty-five if not for the clump of gray hair always falling across her forehead.

“What’s the status?” he asked.

“Where you been, Barker?” She trotted out her Chicana accent, pronouncing the P in his last name like a B. She was pissed.

“Traffic’s a bitch,” he said.

She pointed inside his coat. “Is that the evidence you were looking for?”

He glanced down. A dollop of ketchup stained his shirt. He hadn’t noticed it escape his burger. He should have told her he was going to the Castle for lunch. She knew he belonged to the clubhouse for the Academy of Magical Arts, but she had no idea how much he loved going there. The ornate wood and crystal chandeliers. The deliberate lack of windows which made it feel like stepping out of LA and back in time to an alternate world where the air seemed to spark with possibility.

He’d only lied because Hernandez was working through lunch, and what if, like his ex, she hated magic?

He buttoned his coat over the stain. They needed to focus on the case. At least Saul did. Not that Lieutenant Levy had actually told him in so many words, but she’d called Hernandez with the assignment instead of Saul when he was the lead detective, or he was supposed to be. If Levy had demoted him, she should have at least told him, but Saul wasn’t surprised. She was passive-aggressive and still held a grudge against him for the Brown shooting. Although he’d been cleared of wrongdoing, the fallout had stalled her career.

Hernandez led him away from the uniforms to the black-and-white on the curb in front of Checks Cashed. In the backseat, a middle-aged man with a shaved head, stared at the crowd with a sour expression.

Hernandez turned toward Saul and combed back her shock of white. “Look. I don’t care if you take a long lunch, just let me know where you’re at, okay? We’re partners. We’re supposed to trust each other.”

Her eyes caught the sunlight like honey. Saul tried to memorize every detail. He could gaze into them for hours. “I went to the Castle. If you want to come next time—”

“Hollywood is too far for lunch.”

Was she suggesting somewhere else? A real sit-down meal instead of their usual takeout. Or maybe dinner? The Castle would be ideal for dinner.

Before he could ask, she slapped the roof of the squad car. “We’ve got the bastard dead to rights, and get this: he can’t move his legs.”

“He’s a paraplegic?”

“Exactly. His wheelchair’s in the trunk.”

Saul peered through the back window of the car. The man inside had a potbelly. His arms were cuffed behind his back. He looked up at Saul, his face blank and his eyes, shadowed by a massive brow, just dark hollows.

Saul shuddered. 


Q&A with Arthur Swan

   Where did you grow up /live now?


     I grew up in Wilson, a small tobacco town in eastern North Carolina. I now reside in LosAngeles.


   As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up? 

            As a very young child, I had plethora of career ambitions ranging from garbage man (the guy who rides on the back of the truck, not the one who has to drive it) to veterinarian. I also recall wanting to be a biologist for a few years and a musician

 What is your education/career background?

            Math Science

  What first inspired you to write?

 In fifth grade,“volunteers” were selected to read our writing assignments aloud to the class. I was deathly terrified. I nearly passed out the first time I stood up there in front of the whole class, everyone staring at me as I tried to discern the slop I passed off as handwriting. After I stuttering through the first paragraph, a miracle happened—the kids laughed at my joke. And hearing their laughter, the ones who weren’t paying attention suddenly perked up. It was a transformative experience. Now the whole class was suddenly ready to hear what came next. They wanted to be entertained. They yearned for it. And I wanted to give it to them. After that, the writing assignments became my highest priority pieces of homework. I learned to type them up, so I could read them more easily, which I’m sure my teacher appreciated, as well.



 Where/When do you best like to write?

     I like to write at 5:30 in the morning before doing anything else. As the sun comes up and the days starts, I like to be writing. Then no matter how crazy things get later on, at least I know I got some writing done

What do you think makes a good story?

    A character who readers identify with, who must undergo a transformation.


   What inspired your story?

            All the people in LA who lead socially isolated lives because they are so focused on their careers, and, often, moved to LA from somewhere else, with no family or friends or local support network. I started thinking how some isolated person’s life could go totally off the rails with no one else even knowing. Even things that get reported on often get boiled down of a catchy headline. Often, so much is left out that people come to the wrong conclusion. And more often the truth is even more unbelievable than what you hear.

            Also I wanted to write about the difference between people who can believe in something without knowing it’s true and those who can’t.

    How does a new story idea come to you? Is it an event that sparks the plot or a character speaking to you?

            Character. I do like the idea of starting from an event, but without a character who is changed by the event you don’t have a story.

  Is there a message/theme in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

            I want readers to think about the choices they’re making, if they’re really getting where they want to go. And to think about all the misunderstandings that occur when people communicate, all the misperceptions and incorrect assumptions

What was your greatest challenge in writing this book?

            Getting it done. I thought it would be fun to write a horror suspense novel where I could play with spooky images. Something quick and easy. But now here I am after six years, finally launching the first installment of a quartet.

 On a Friday night, what are you most likely to be doing?

            Friday night represents a transition from my day job to a relaxing weekend of writing peppered with outdoor activities. I like to start it off with a good meal, maybe a burrito from Aroma Coffee and Tea. Then, either read or watch a show. I love Black Mirror, but sometimes it’s just too dark and too close to reality. Right now, I’m excited about the new season of Ted Lasso.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

            Read, swim, hike, paddle board, and just sit outside and stare at the horizon.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

            James Lee Burke, Michael Connelly, Andre Dubus III, Stephen King, Donna Tartt, John Kennedy Toole, Kurt Vonnegut.

Whats the best writing advice you have ever received?

      “We have to remember that the greatest triumphs and the greatest tragedies of the human race are nothing to do with people being basically good or people being basically evil. Theyre all to do with people being basically people.” - Neil Gaiman.

  What was your favorite book as a child?

    The Little Prince

What is the one book no writer should be without?

    Writing the Block Buster Novel by Albert Zuckerman. Currently, my favorite book on writing.


 Is there a character you identify with more than any of the others?

        I identify with every one of them. When writing, I imagine I am that character. What it would be like if, for example, I weighed three hundred pounds? I do know what its like to want to eat even when I know its bad for me or I’m not hungry.  When possible, I read something by someone with that experience, or talk to them. I have a friend who’s overweight and I’ve seen the effect on his self-image.

            Ashley is probably the character I have the least in common with but I understand her feeling of social isolation caused by ambition, and living in LA. I’ve seen how isolated some people have become by their own wealth. I understand how living with another persons family seeds this longing she had for one of her own.

What will LA FOG part 2 be released?

            Wayob’s Revenge is currently in the editing phase. Expect it in April or May, 2022.

Website and Social Media:

https://swanfall.com/

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