WILLIAM ARTHUR HOLMES (contact me here)


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Novels: Novellas:

NEW! Random samples of dialogue from my work!


Another Way: Beyond the Status Quo

Anti-corporate crusader Dobie Pokorny wants to save the world. His old boss, Colonel Charonne, wants to stop him. On his "speaking truth to power" tour, Dobie meets and falls in love with Kaylie while enduring attacks at every turn. Can they outrun Charonne and his minions? Will Major Watson steal her away? Is she too good to be true? And, what is up with the little blue alien?

REVIEW: "I can wholeheartedly say I have never read a book quite like this, at all. It's a zany tale with warm, wholehearted moments as well as satirical humor and a sharp bite. I loved witnessing the adventures of our flawed protagonist, Dobie, and his jaded but goodwilled heroine, Kaylie. Watching their love unfold amidst chaos was fulfilling, and I thought you weaved in the two characters' backstories into the central plot nicely." -- Caroline

REVIEW: "It's hard to describe, a concoction of fiction and genre that reminded me of Thomas Pynchon, Jennifer Egan, Richard Farina, Douglas Adams, and Donald Antrim. What they all have in common is a kind of manic, comic energy married to big ideas and serious intent. What I've read so far of Another Way gave me the same feeling, and I was really entertained. It's not easy to do what you're doing here: to make the absurdities, silliness, and tragedies of life into comedy. And, of course, the voice of Semmy [and his] wide-eyed interest in humanity, is both weird and real. I liked this a lot. Bravo!" -- Duncan

First few paragraphs...

It was in Las Cruces that things got weird. Dobromir "Dobie" Pokorny was well into his anti-corporate "speaking truth to power" tour in support of his latest book – his manifesto – Another Way: Beyond the Status Quo.

After Kentucky and Indiana, he took a detour and headed southwest. He would soon wish he had kept heading north, but eventually made it to New Mexico, with stops in Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas along the way.

He was feeling pretty good about things by that point, despite a rough start, doing exactly what he wanted: staying sober and saying what needed to be said. Selling more books online, in stores, and in person, he felt he was winning the war against those who would shut him up. He spouted off for a living now, and there were plenty of people who did not like what he had to say.

Despite this, word was spreading. Crowds were growing with each passing week. He was filling up those previously half-empty hotel conference rooms, even the occasional small concert venue, as he shared his plans to save the world. ...

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Last Train Out

Clay and his adopted daughter, Jenna, look forward to their upcoming "homeland tour" to Russia. His intentions are pure. Hers, not so much. When she goes missing, his worst fears are realized. She is not the innocent little girl he thought she was. Not even close. Their only hope now is to catch the Last Train Out.

REVIEW: "Learned a lot about Russia!" -- Don

REVIEW: "Last Train Out is very fast-paced, with lots of twists and turns. The protagonist, Clay, uses a lot of self-deprecating humor. A fun read overall." -- Lucy

REVIEW: "I like to read stories set in places I haven't been before, and since this one was set in Russia, it fit the bill in that regard. The story is fast paced and well written, with a credible plot. The author injects a fair amount of humor into the story, even when the protagonist is in a terrible fix. I found it best to read in a few days, in order to keep all the characters straight." -- Greg

REVIEW: "I enjoyed this book very much. It kept me guessing. My friend is reading it now and she says she likes it too." -- Jeannie

First few paragraphs...

Zenya was two-and-a-half when two very strange people came to visit at her orphanage in Astrakhan, Russia. They talked funny, she thought, as if almost able to speak properly, but only a few words and with such horrible accents, it was difficult to understand them. She assumed they were stupid. Glupy, in Russian. They were there to see her, though -- just her! -- so she let it go.

She was devastated when they stopped coming after just one week. It was not fair! They had been coming every day, and she had bows in her hair and wore a pretty dress every time! She thought they were The Ones! Guess not.

After a couple months -- which is forever at that age -- the memory of her visitors faded as that infamous Russian winter approached and she blended back into daily life at Dome Rebyenka (Baby Home) No. 1 on the eastern outskirts of town. Someday, she would have her very own grown-ups to take care of her, she just knew it! They needed to hurry up and arrive, though.

Sure enough, one day as she and a dozen other children sat noisily in kid-sized chairs along the back wall of the playroom, those same two wonderful strangers reappeared. And, their smiles lit up the pl...

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Operation Detour

Riva, a beautiful young black ops agent on her first assignment, tries to turn Alex into her own asset just to prove she can. When he loses both his job and girlfriend, she thinks he is putty in her hands. When he decides to go out with a bang, she is afraid she has overplayed that hand.

First few paragraphs...

Riva's gray eyes reach out and grab anyone careless enough to look directly at her. Her flawless skin almost glows in contrast to her luxurious black hair. She is fully aware of the effect she has on men and is not afraid to use it... most days.

Not today. Her hair is now a tangled mess. Her eyes are bloodshot. And, her skin has a sickly pallor from whatever ailment has befallen her.

She is holed up in an over-priced high-rise hotel on LA's west side awaiting the arrival of her boss and mentor, Serge. She hates waiting. On anyone or anything. The fact that she might be coming down with something only makes it worse.

She is passing the time with her evening yoga, in the "downward-facing dog" position, when she gets the distinct feeling she is not alone. Someone is in the room with her, she is sure of it.

She cuts the session short with a quick namasté, picks up the small-caliber pistol always within reach, and digs into her purse looking for that magical little device given to her at training. The thing detects electronic bugs and heat signatures, all in one. She is not typically impressed with gadgetry but has to admit this thing is pretty cool.

...

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Lottery President

For most people, winning $300 million in the lottery would be enough. They would retire, buy a big house and travel the world. Not Benny. He took the money and ran... for President. The house he had in mind was the White House. He didn't want to travel the world so much as save it... from politicians. Retire? "I'll retire when I'm dead!" he said, not knowing so many people had that exact retirement plan in mind for him.

REVIEW: "A humorous, sarcastic and irreverent short story about an improbable candidate for the presidency of the United States. Rather bizarre ending." -- Larry

REVIEW: "This is a quick read, and it's amusing enough to capture your interest. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to while away a half-hour." -- anonymous

REVIEW: "I seriously loved this book. I read it about 2 years ago, I think. There was one part that was so funny, at least to me on that day, I could not stop laughing. I completely lost it. My daughter actually caught that on her iPod and I think the author was able to use it somehow to promote it. Now I am about to read the author's next book, 'Last Train Out.' It's been sitting patiently on my shelf while I finally finished another book." -- Doug

First few paragraphs...

Benny sat alone at a table by the door in a recently opened Asian restaurant. The plastic-laminated menu offered dishes from Mongolian to Indonesian and everything in between, with each item written in its native language and alphabet. He had no idea what he was looking at until he flipped it over to find the English version.

He was taking his therapist's advice, "throwing caution to the wind and letting the chips fall where they may." Several months earlier, she suggested he get out more. Try new things. "Socialize! Experiment! eXult!" like the tag line on her business card. Primarily a sex therapist now branching out into grief counseling, she was all about the cliches.

Benny laughed when he first read that tag line, and he laughed again now. "Socialize, experiment, exult. Seriously?" He had to agree with the "get out more often" part, though. It had been a year and a half since the accident, and he could feel himself turning into a hermit. Still "on advice from counsel," he was "re-connecting with the world," getting out and going to strange new restaurants with indecipherable menus.

When the fortune cookie arrived, he cracked it open. One side of th...

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Temporary Insanity

Long before winning the lottery and running for president, Benny was living in L.A. working as a temporary word processor (glorified typist). For his latest assignment, he thought he was taking just another temp job. He didn't anticipate Venelia and the Dynamos. The what?

First few paragraphs...
Benny Reed was riding the elevator in a building he had never been in before. It was climbing surprisingly fast. Too fast, he thought. "It didn't stop on those floors," he said, half to himself, as it sped upward. When no one replied, he glanced around to see if anyone heard him. Apparently not.

To his right stood a smartly dressed thirtyish blonde woman in a blue blazer, matching skirt and white silk blouse. Seeing the crazed look in Benny's eyes, she turned away and clutched her purse with both hands.

To his left stood a young couple. The woman's long black hair hung down over most of her face. She seemed intent on avoiding eye contact. Her heavily muscled male friend met Benny's gaze with a silent glare.

Benny returned his attention to the elevator control panel. He seemed to be the only one concerned or even aware that the elevator was not stopping on their floors. What is with these people? he thought. He hadn't pushed all those buttons. Didn't they? He hadn't noticed.

The elevator continued upward with increasing speed. A knot formed in the pit of h...

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The Lazy Pug Cafe

The Lazy Pug Cafe was a dilapidated old farmhouse abandoned years ago. A massive, ancient oak tree, Ol' Lightnin', lurked out back while the house itself served as a sad but charming reminder of days gone by. Locals were grateful someone was finally bringing the old girl back to life. Come meet pugs Daisy, Chandler and Joey! There are cats and humans, too, but it's all about the pugs! Pugs rule!

First few paragraphs...

As recently as a few months ago, the Lazy Pug Café was nothing more than a dilapidated old two-story farmhouse. Set back just forty yards from the road, there was a beautiful old weeping willow in front and a massive ancient oak tree out back. Abandoned years ago, the old estate's only purpose lately had been to serve as a sad but charming reminder of days gone by. Locals witnessing its resurrection were grateful someone was finally bringing the "old girl" back to life.

Despite the storm moving in from the southwest, people came from far and wide to "have a look-see" at the renamed, repainted and refurbished Lazy Pug Café. Originally white with a red tin roof, faded to pink, the newly dubbed Lazy Pug Café was now soft yellow with white trim and a solid black roof. From a distance, the "thin film" solar panels on top were invisible.

Between the Café and road was a long, gravel horseshoe driveway. Now in the middle of that stood Kirk Winley, one of the owners, six feet tall with thick brown hair and a full beard. His farmer's tan made his blue eyes -- now with a twinkle -- stand out more than they might have otherwise. He crossed...

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