Feature Friday for Victor Catano’s Tail & Trouble with Interview and Short-Story

 

Today for “Feature Friday” let us welcome the wonderful Victor Catano with Tail & Trouble.

We will have info about the book and author. Plus a great interview and a original short-story, both by Victor.

Make sure to check everything out and go and give him some love and add the book to your TBR 😉

Happy Reading 🙂 


Tail & Trouble

When Gabriel’s witch girlfriend doesn’t return from her latest trip, he gets on the road and heads out to find her. Sheila’s coven is secretive and distrustful of Gabriel, so the only help he has is Sheila’s familiar, a bulldog named Orson, who is psychically linked to both of them.

In Florida, they walk right into an elaborate plan to steal Orson. A mysterious wizard named Yareth is behind the plot, and he may also know where Sheila is.

Gabriel and Orson will have to fight for their lives as they navigate around all the magical roadblocks to force Yareth’s hand. They won’t give up until Sheila is safe.

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Hello Victor. Thank you for taking the time to stop in and chat with us, it is great  to have you.

 

What books or series did you dislike at first but grew into?

                       That is an interesting question. Usually, if I don’t like a series, I won’t continue it. I’ll try to finish any book I start, but I’m getting less resolute in that. There are too many good books I want to read to waste time on bad ones.

                      One that comes to mind is the Lord of the Rings. My mom is a huge fan of Tolkien, and I tried – several times – as a young adult and a teenager to read them. But the language was so florid and dense it was really hard to get into them. It felt like I would read for hours and have gotten through ten pages about elvish songs or party planning in the shire.

                      Years later, when the Peter Jackson films came out, I gave it another try. And I made it through! This time, what I found impenetrable as a youth, I found immersive. I let myself get swallowed up by the prose and the history of Middle Earth. Perhaps I became more patient. Perhaps it was my subway commute that gave me enforced reading time. Whatever it was, I gained new appreciation for the story.

                   Another book like that is Umberto Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum. It’s one of my very favorite books, but it took me four years of college to get through it. I started it in Freshman year and could not get through all of Eco’s references and detours and sidetracks. Finally, after four attempts and moving it to four different apartments, I tried it again in the month between my last class and my graduation. This time everything clicked. Maybe I had enough experience to understand the references in his twisty, literary conspiracy tale. Whatever the reason, I dove into it.

It’s interesting I like those books so much since my own writing style is very stripped down, more Elmore Leonard than Tolkien. I do enjoy reading that descriptive prose, just not writing it.

 

What does literary success look like to you?

If I am writing every day. If I am reaching new readers. If I am creating new stories. If I am getting published. Those are all successes.

If I try to compare myself to the Stephen Kings or JK Rowlings of the world, I’d drive myself insane. So I don’t do it. I don’t think comparing yourself to others that way is helpful at all.

I had my first novel published last year. It was with a small, independent publisher. They have almost no advertising budget. But with their efforts, we sold a few thousand copies! I think that’s really good for a first time author!

How many hours a day do you write?

Not enough! I work a full time job at a performing arts college as a technical director and stage manager and this means a lot of late nights working on live performances. And when I get home, I’m tired and want to spend time with my wife and sweet little puppy dog, so writing is often getting pushed to the side.

However, I have recently taken the advice of my friend, the wonderful modern fantasy writer Katrina Monroe. (And if you haven’t read her stuff, go to her Amazon page NOW and buy every book she has on there.) She set a goal for herself of 500 words a day. That’s a page or two. That’s always possible. That’s achievable on an lunch break.

I’ve also stopped beating myself up for not writing enough. I’m writing. It may be at a slower pace than I would like, but it’s coming and I’m not going to feel guilty about it.

 

Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

A couple! The hotel Gabriel and Orson visit in Florida is based on a real place, although I made it a lot scuzzier. So are most of the locations in and around Orlando. (If you’ve been to the Kissimmee area, you can find them by following the directions I have in there)

How do you select the names of your characters?

 With difficulty! When I first started the book, the characters were named Jackson & Bubba. I pictured Jackson as more of a trenchcoat wearing soldier of fortune type with his doggie sidekick Bubba. I showed this to my wife and she hated those names. As the story evolved in my mind, the names didn’t really fit what I had the characters doing.

                 Orson took his name from Orson Welles, and I used my middle name for the main character as a placeholder until I could think of something better. But, I really grew to like Gabriel as a name for him, and I stuck with it.

                  Most of the other names are from people I know. So, if you’re a friend of mine, get ready for a cameo.

This was fun again thank you so much for taking the time to chat. You rock!

BIRTHDAY

A Gabriel & Orson Short Story

By Victor Catano

“Are they really as good as all that, Gabriel?” Sheila stretched out in the passenger seat of the convertible. Her shirt rode up a little and I got a glimpse of her navel. This of course got me thinking about the other things under her shirt, which made me ignore the car in front of us. It took a shriek from Sheila to get me to slam on the brakes.

Down boy. Or do I have to get the hose? I could hear Orson judging me from the back seat.

“Sorry.” I felt sheepish, but not that guilty. Sheila was the girl of my dreams. That fact that she was also a powerful witch with a chatty bulldog familiar was icing on the cake. A lot of icing. “I never had them. My friend swears by them, though.”

Sheila stared at me. “You mean we’re going to break about nine different international laws, and you never even tried them?

We inched forward in line at the Canadian border crossing. We were in Maine, on the US side, in a town called Calais. Pronounced like the foot bunion and not like the town in France.

I shrugged. “They’re chocolate covered almonds. They’re going to be good. Hey, we were up here anyway. What, are you all opposed to chocolate now?”

“No, I am opposed to crossing a border without a passport. And with a dog with no vet records.”

What? I’m good! Orson chuffed as he vigorously scratched his ear.

Sheila reached into the back seat and scratched him under his jaw. “Yes you are, my little cuddle bug, But they don’t want my word for it.”

“I’m hurt. I thought I was your little cuddle bug.”

Don’t be jealous. I’m a catch.

I grinned and turned to Sheila. “Well, consider it a birthday present for me.”

We had inched up to be next in line. We were at a stop sign, waiting to be summoned to the customs booth ahead of us. “And they will take your word for it. Just let me do the talking. You take care of the other stuff.”

Sheila pursed her lips. “I’m not entirely comfortable doing this. I don’t want to use this like a party trick.”

“Hey, it’s my birthday! You said I could do anything I wanted!”

Yeah, you said anything.

“Thank you, Orson.”

No matter how stupid.

I sighed. “Just give me this. It’s just something I need to do.”

The car ahead of us rolled away from the guard post. I accelerated gently and coasted into the stall.

The customs agent was a dour looking fellow. Short hair, bored eyes, young, but already starting a beer belly. He held out his hand. “Passports, please.”

I leaned my arm on the rolled down window and gave a little flick of my hand. “You don’t need to see our identification.”

The agent glared at me. “I most certainly do. And unless you want to get pulled aside for a special screening, you’d better hand them over. Now,”

I spun around to look at Sheila. “What’s going on?”

“What? You said to let you do the talking,”

“You promised. This is really important to me.”

Sheila smiled. “All right, I’m sorry. Try it again.”

I turned back to the guard. HIs mood had not improved. “Well? Pass them over before I call my supervisor.”

I waved my hand again. “You don’t need to see our identification.”

His brow furrowed and he started to say something rude, but then his face went slack and calm. “We don’t need to see your identification.”

I was cheering in my head, but I tried to keep myself as cool and collected as I could. I waved my fingers again. “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.”

He stared at the car. “These aren’t the droids we’re looking for.”

I couldn’t keep the smile from my face. I put the car in park and tapped my feet excitedly. “W-we can go about our business!”

“You can go about your business,” the guard repeated.

I giggled as I said the last line. “Move along!”

The guard gave us a bored wave. “Move along. Move along.”

We did. I did my best to feather the gas and not slam down on it. We rolled away into the town of Saint Stephens.

I was so excited I was beaming. My hands were shaking so much, I pulled into a nearby Tim Horton’s parking lot. I parked badly, across two spots, and leapt out of the car.

“THAT WAS AWESOME!”

Sheila and Orson glanced at each other and then stared at me as I danced around.

“That was so cool! It was just like the movie!”

Sheila gave me a half smile but looked more than a little concerned. “Sweetie, I know you love that movie and all, but why was it so important to do that?”

Yeah. Most of you nerds just want to fight with light sabers.

I paused my victory celebration to catch my breath. “It’s… It’s complicated.” I took a breath. “You know how I grew up, right?” Sheila nodded. “Dad was a drunk who beat on anything that upset him and Mom tried her best, but after a while she could only do so much. I wished so hard that he would just stop or go away.” I leaned against the hood of the car. “But this… When I saw it on TV when I was five, it just meant everything to me. That someone could just think something and it would happen, it was like my dream.”

I brushed away a tear from my eye as I looked down the street. “You know, all my friends wanted to me Han. Not me. Luke was always my guy.”

Sheila but her head on my shoulder and Orson laid down at my feet. I hadn’t heard them get out of the car. “Oh honey…” Sheila hugged me close to her.

I closed my eyes and leaned my head on hers. “Thank you. I know it was stupid, but it was all I ever wanted to do when I was a kid.”

“I’m glad I could help you. I’m sorry I teased you back there, I didn’t get how important that was to you.”

“Are you kidding? That was great!” I spun her around and kissed her. She hugged me tight. We stayed like that until Orson started to whine.

You done yet? I thought we came for some chocolate dipped almonds.

“What do you care?” I said. “Dogs can’t have chocolate.”

Orson stared at me, his eyes wide with shock. What do you mean? When did this happen?

We made our way to the old Ganong factory for a tour. Not long after that, we sat in the Galaxie eating our chocolate.

Sheila licked her fingers, “I have to hand it to your friend. The hand dipped almonds are exceptional.”

“Darn right they are.” I crunched down on another one.

I heard a doleful whine behind me. I wouldn’t know.

Sheila ignored him and snuggled up to me. “So, any other birthday wishes?”

I grinned. “I have a couple ideas.”

“I’m not wearing my hair in side buns.”

“How about the metal bikini?”

“We can talk about it.”

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Victor Catano lives in New York City with his wonderful wife, Kim. When not writing, he works in live theater as a stage manager, light designer, and technical director, working mainly with dance companies. His hobbies include coffee, Broadway musicals, and complaining about the NY Mets and Philadelphia Eagles.

Blurb: When Gabriel’s witch girlfriend doesn’t return from her latest trip, he gets on the road and heads out to find her. Sheila’s coven is secretive and distrustful of Gabriel, so the only help he has is Sheila’s familiar, a bulldog named Orson, who is psychically linked to both of them.
In Florida, they walk right into an elaborate plan to steal Orson. A mysterious wizard named Yareth is behind the plot, and he may also know where Sheila is.

Gabriel and Orson will have to fight for their lives as they navigate around all the magical roadblocks to force Yareth’s hand. They won’t give up until Sheila is safe.

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