Ever meet someone and know, right off the bat, you’re really going to like them? And, once the conversation starts in earnest, delightfully, there aren’t any of the awkward pauses usually experienced with someone you just met. I was blessed with such a meeting a few weeks ago.
Myself and fellow writer, Laurie A. May, went to Buffalo Texas (halfway between Dallas and Houston for those not in the know – I jest) to meet with Cyrus Keith. Cyrus was in Texas and willing to drive another couple of hours, after being on a plane for several, to meet with us. It was a delightful evening and, in my opinion, way too short.
We discussed jobs, writing, our children (all two-legged–though some have feathers), writing, our past lives, writing…you get the picture. As I sat in this road-side Texas BBQ restaurant listening to a man who shared so freely about himself, I knew he was the real deal. What you see is what you get with Cyrus Keith. A warm, kind man with a wide range of experiences in his life and a possessor of a great sense of humor. And, as a side note, a very expressive face. The one thing I walked away with after meeting Cyrus–his willingness to share. The sharing of his life, ideas concerning his books and, most importantly, his life lessons.
What are life lessons you ask? Well, some people call them mistakes. I call them life lessons if we take them and learn from them. If we use them to better ourselves and, hopefully, others by enriching their lives. Mistakes–big and small we all make. Life lessons–some of us use for the greater good. Some authors do this. They weave these life lessons into their books to add a texture, a taste, to their writing. Cyrus Keith, in my opinion, does just that.
Our evening ended with goodby embraces, pictures and knowing I had found someone I would want to follow as a reader and a friend. What more could one ask?
Publisher: Muse It Up Publishing – https://museituppublishing.com/bookstore2/
Becoming NADIA Release date: April 1st, 2011.
Unalive Release date: August 1st, 2011.
Critical Mass Release date: pending.
“It’s only one more little white lie.”
There’s only one thing that pretty, popular TV reporter Nadia Velasquez is missing: her memory from before the explosion that killed everyone else in the room, including the President of Nigeria. But from the moment she meets FBI agent Jon Daniels, all hell breaks loose. Friends turn into deadly enemies overnight, and she has no idea who she can trust anymore.
When Jon and Nadia investigate further, they discover the living terror that is the truth behind Nadia’s existence, a truth that could mean the death of millions.
Cyrus was kind enough to share an excerpt (unedited).
By the time they reached D’Antini’s, Nadia knew she was in the company of a friend. They made small talk while they waited for the maitre d’ to find them a table in the middle of the sumptuous dining room, and she almost forgot about having to explain herself to her station staff.
The appetizers were amazing, if unidentifiable. Nadia asked what was in them and Jon just smiled and held up a hand. “You really don’t want to know.”
Nadia almost spit out the latest mouthful, but thought twice about it as she looked around. This was too nice a place to be so rude. Her eyes grew wide in mirth as she tried to laugh around it, and almost choked trying to get it down. She grabbed her water-glass and took a drink, waving a hand at her face.
“You jerk,” she laughed softly, when her mouth became free. “All right, seriously now, do you take every woman who faints in your arms to a place this fancy?”
“No,” he answered, “just those who remind me of a dear friend.” The smile faded from his face and he became pensive for several seconds. Then he placed a couple more appetizers on her salad plate. “Here,” he said, suddenly brightening. “Have some more…brown, crusty…things.”
She chuckled again, pushing the plate away. “No, thanks. A moment on the lips….” She let the rest of the cliché fade away while she rearranged her napkin in her lap, trying to buy some time before she had to plow ahead. “So why am I here with you? Because you’re concerned for me or because I remind you of someone else?”
“That is an entirely unfair question, Miss Velasquez. I was wondering that very thing myself. Maybe a little bit of both. Is that okay?”
“How did you know my last name?” she asked. It was not as if she were a necessarily private person, it was mainly that she was hoping he would not recognize her from television. She was already AWOL. She may as well put in her resignation as soon as she got back to ‘Frisco.
“I heard you lie to ‘Steve’, whoever that is. When you talked about an interview with a president, I pegged you right off the bat. I’ve been to the West Coast on business a few times.”
“That’s where you saw me before. Well, that answers that, then.”
“No, it doesn’t.” Jon looked at Nadia again, the piercing gaze locked on her face. “There’s something else, and I can’t explain it yet. Just less than four years ago I lost my best friend and her family….”
“Oh, I must look like her, then—”
He cut her off. “How’s Phillip?”
Nadia’s hand stopped halfway to her water-glass. She felt paralyzed. The blood drained from her face, leaving it ice-cold. The memory reconnected like a switch in her mind. The question trickled weakly out between her lips, her voice quavering. “Who’s Phillip?”
Jon’s voice took on a steely edge. He wasn’t becoming hostile, just insistent, but insistent in a way that made her feel like she was being peeled away, layer by layer under a microscope. “You know full well who Phillip is.”
Her hand began to tremble, then to shake violently. She remembered someone telling her, “It took twenty-three surgeries just to reconstruct your face.” Her breath came in gasps; her voice seemed to keep getting weaker. Phillip. Phillip was– She found herself unable to get up, incapable of walking away, too terrified to run, like a bird in the gaze of a snake. “What are you talking about?”
“Why did you skip out on your flight, Nadia? Why did you come to the Staley’s at 42nd and Lexington? Why at that particular time?”
The questions began to gush from Jon’s mouth one right after another, and Nadia had no chance to answer any individual one. He was getting more agitated as he went, until Nadia thought he would reach over the table and strangle her right there in public. “Why did you order a double-decaf-mochaccino latté with a cinnamon stick? Why did you know my nickname and then faint as soon as you recognized me? Why are we sitting here right now while the chef in the kitchen prepares Steak Hélène rare, and before the appetizers came you were doodling Betty Boop figures on your napkin and playing with your left ear?” Twenty-three surgeries. “Nobody has called me ‘Jake’ since I was ten, except for her and my mom. And you absolutely hate Merlot, don’t you?”
Nadia’s hand never made it to the water-glass. She couldn’t think. A sound roared in her head like ten thousand voices screaming in terror, and an icy spear of fear shot through her chest. She felt the tears begin to roll down her face, and her chest heaved as she gasped for breath.
She hoped with everything inside her that no one else was watching these two terrified people having this horrible, strange confrontation. Her vision started to close in again, but she fought it off. As it was, she nearly fell out of her chair. Her voice was strange and weak. “Do…do you know who I am?”
PS: He also plays a really mean guitar.
“The truth is all men having power ought to be mistrusted.” James Madison (1751-1836)