Anniversary Shenanigans: Author Visit + Giveaway - Zev de Valera

Zev de Valera has brought us an eerie, but hopeful tale, The Elegant Solution that will leave you wanting more!

The Elegant Solution


I wasn’t being rude - a despot barking orders from his gilded divan. No, it was simply the only word of my intended sentence that I could manage to speak.

Nothing fractured, nothing broken. Just banged up. The doctor’s words, not mine. He was one of those irritatingly cheery types – big smile and blue eyes magnified by the lenses of his Coke bottle glasses. He did seem kind, though – unlike Nurse Sourpuss, who handed me the requested item with a reptilian stare.

“Thanks,” I said, vocalizing something closer to ‘shanks’.

Sourpuss twitched a smile and fiddled with some sort of electrical device.

Electrical? Why was this significant? Electrical, not computerized. I held the mirror to my chest and squeezed my eyes shut, trying to concentrate. Memories were like snippets of dreams – familiar yet distorted. I remembered Kyle. I remembered that I loved him.

What else … what else …

The bunker. Yes. Just the two of us after Johnson blew his brains out …

Kyle’s voice was clear in my head:

“This is what we signed up for, remember?”

I could see his face, tight with emotion, his dark eyes holding my gaze as he gripped the key that hung on a chain between his pecs; the twin of the one that shown against the black of my own t-shirt.
It all came back in a rush, giving credence to the cliché.

Operation Time Bomb. DARPA’s ‘elegant solution’. Deterrents were a joke. Eventually, some wacko would press the button and the world would end in hellfire. The answer: stop it all from happening. Create a temporal distortion piggy-backed on a massive EM pulse, thereby hurling the world into a previous point in time; a quantum weapon nicked-named OTB.

In theory, it worked.

Then, the first strike was launched and the time for theories ended.

“Now or never, James.”

We slipped the chains from our necks, inserted them in their designated slots, and then pulled each other close as we observed the brief countdown.

I remember Kyle’s tongue against mine, the pounding of my heart and the fearful rumble of my bowels …

Then a fierce whump!

Then …nothing.

I opened my eyes, fresh panic gripping me as my hand held the mirror like a talisman of reality.
“Go on,” said Sourpuss. “Take a look. It’s not so bad. The bruises, swelling and discomfort are temporary.”

I looked.

“Chrishe almiegy!” I slurred as I gazed at my reflection.

“Well, aren’t we the gloomy Gus. Consider yourself lucky. You look like Rita Hayworth compared to some of the other boys I’ve treated.”

Other boys …

“Kyle,” I said. “Where ish my – my fwiend.”

“Kyle? That’s your buddy? The guy who’s been ranting about time bombs and something called ‘darpro’”?

I nodded, feeling tears of relief begin to flow. Sourpuss looked almost human as her expression softened.

“You’ll both live.” She gave my hand a soft squeeze. “We all will, thank God. It’s official. The Japs surrendered.”

So much story for so few words, it's amazing how authors can do it. Let Zev know your thoughts in the comments!

About the Author:

I started writing my first novel when I was in high school. I finished it when I was forty-seven. Of course, it wasn’t the same book – more like an amalgam of all the stuff that I’d started over the years but never finished. It was a messy, self-published creature with whom I continue to have a love-hate relationship. Readers seem to have had the same reaction to The Ultimate Submission. As a character in my latest novel says: “It’s like cilantro. Either you love it or you hate it.”

Immediately following the publication of The Ultimate Submission, I began work on an historical/para-normal/time-travel novel. This was not a love-hate relationship. This was over-the-top, rapturous love. A word to the wise writer: Do not fall in love with your work. Two and a half years of lovingly laborious research and writing managed to produce a spawn of large and hideous proportions. I have yet to put it out of its misery. It remains in stasis. I continue to believe that one day I shall be able to rehabilitate it, to reanimate it in a more aesthetically pleasing form. I live in hope, you see.

During the last few months before the birth of this pitiful creature, I happened upon a Call for Submissions from MLR Press. The original idea was an anthology of short stories about super heroes. It sounded like fun and I was in need of distraction. The result was The Talisman Ring of Amenhotep. I had fun writing this and I thought it sucked. The publisher liked it. I saw the inkling of a pattern developing. The anthology never happened, but Talisman Ring was published as a stand-alone novella and was the beginning of the Talisman Ring of Amenhotep series. It was intended as a trilogy, but I ended the last book with a little bit of a tease … just in case.

My new novel, Blood Relations, is due out soon. It’s in the “line edit” stage right now, so I use the term ‘soon’ very loosely. No, it is not a vampire story. I like to think of it as a ‘New Gothic’ romance. I’ve tried to play with some of the conventions of the romantic suspense genre – which has always been one of my favorites – and I’m pretty happy with the result. Hopefully, you’ll agree.

Blogger's Note . . . .

I read and reviewed Blood Relations and I can't recommend it enough. It's a beautiful story and if you are a fan of Southern Gothic tales and love in its many forms than you will definitely love Blood Relations.



Enter to win any DSP backlist ebook! Giveaway ends 11/16 @ Midnight. Good luck!

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  1. I completely agree with you, Ann. It's short but it so much story was packed in that one. Loved it!

    I would certainly have to check out this author.

    1. It's incredible what these authors can do isn't it? Zev is amazing at showing rather than telling, so he can really get the most out of his words.

      I'm so glad you loved it too! Definitely check out more of his words and let us know what you think.

      Thanks for coming to play for the Anniversary Shenanigans!

    2. I just finished this one right this moment & WOW, Ann! Thank you! This book was...packed with so much emotions. The things everyone had gone through are really heartbreaking. It was certainly hard to take in. God, Zev de Valera had written an IMPRESSIVE historical romance. It was a MASTERPIECE. I LOVED IT WITH EVERYTHING I AM! So good!

    3. YAY!!!! I'm so glad you loved it too! It's tough and heartbreaking and hopeful all at the same time isn't it? After I read it I wanted everyone to read it too so I could talk about all the relationships and nuances he put into the story.

  2. Wow. That had a lot packed into it. Amazing.

  3. Intense, wondered where it was going, so many options.
    Very good!


  4. It was a very powerful short!

  5. Wow that was awesome! Especially the twist at the ending. Thank you.

  6. Packs a wallop for sure! (My haiku's on the main anniversary post...)


  7. Oooh! How intriguing... Tell me, where can I find more?

  8. Happy Anniversary. Short and sweet, well a HFN. I like historicals, so your Talisman series looks interesting. - Purple Reader,
    TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com

  9. Quite the ending and I was intrigued and wanted more when it ended.

  10. I gave this a shot, and the words worked out just right:

    Unicorn colors:
    White with red, yellow, orange,
    Green, blue and purple

    - Purple Reader, TheWrote [at] aol [dot] com

  11. That was a great post and surprisingly fantastic and powerful for such a short piece! <3


    Here is my attempt at a Unicorn Haiku:

    Majestic beauties
    Mythical and alike their
    Hornless counterparts

    Elizabeth Marshall (e.marshall@)