Welcome to Windmill: Book One of Windmill, Indiana

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iUniverse, Jun 3, 2010 - Fiction
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"Pick a card. Any card." With this trademark phrase, along with a wink, a winning grin and a handful of entertaining card tricks, Mr. Mercury Ecks has come to town. Windmill, Indiana, to be exact. And while the citizens of this 1950's Midwest farm town are naturally wary of strangers, they soon fall prey to the drifter's principal charm. For Mr. Ecks knows things . . . Things about the people in town: Things that can help them: Help solve their problems. Relieve their fears. Remove their obstacles. And all he asks in return for sharing what he knows is a fee, a small fee. Or so at seems at first. But the small fee turns out to be much larger. Too late do the town's citizens learn Mr. Ecks' secret purpose: The destruction of lives. The destruction of communities. The destruction of Windmill itself. For Laura Connerson, newly returned to Windmill, Mr. Ecks' gift of mind-reading is especially tempting: Her young daughter has recently gone missing, and the stranger seems to know something about it. Or more specifically, seems to know something hidden in Laura's mind about it: Some bit of evidence, lost in the depths of her memory. A memory, a clue, waiting to be retrieved by him. For a price. The grinning, prancing drifter offers to help Laura probe her memory for the clue to her daughter's disappearance. But what he asks in exchange for his service is more than she is willing to pay. Unless she can beat him at his own evil mind games . . . "I am going to penetrate you, Laura. First your mind. Then the rest of you." Welcome to Windmill is the first book in a series about quaint but luckless Windmill, Indiana: A town that misfortune seems to favor, but whose citizens nevertheless manage to survive, and even thrive. Three years after Mr. Mercury Ecks' disastrous visit, another stranger, Nathan Devlin, arrives with an old chest full of curious objects for sale . . . Curious and, some would say, magical. But once purchased, these seemingly-innocent curios begin to work more than magic on the good citizens of the town . . . And trinkets that seem quaint at first turn dangerous. What is behind their power? And why has this stranger brought them? In Rabbit's Foot, a man's bitterness and confusion over an old heartbreak wreaks new havoc on Windmill . . . Until an ordinary rabbit's foot reveals the truth of Nathan's lost love Julia . . . And leads the two aged lovers to each other for a final reconciliation. Yet three years later, another stranger, Norma Swann by name, sets up shop in Windmill: A tea shop, to be exact, called Sweet Dreams. The citizens of Windmill, by now weary of strangers bearing strange gifts, try to avoid her shop with its tempting assortment of tea, cookies, candles, and bright knickknacks. Norma, however, will not be ignored: She has a special Gift, and she plans to share it. For Norma can send dreams to you in your sleep. Be nice to her, buy her tea, chat with her, and you will get good dreams, happy dreams, sweet dreams. But if you should happen to offend her . . . Well, prepare to be driven sleeplessly, horribly mad. Read all about Mercury, Nathan, Norma and the people of Windmill, Indiana Where bad things happen to a good town. Write to the author at jvshepherd1@aol.com Cover photograph by Judy Butz. Cover design by Bill Ferguson, Judy Butz and Anne Shepherd.

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