Performance Reward #SampleSunday

Here’s a scene from A DEAD GUY AT THE SUMMERHOUSE, a paranormal suspense novel set in 1968. The narrator, Mitch, is a 17-year-old orphan hired by wealthy, elderly “Aunt Missy” to care for her dogs. One of them fell — or was pushed — off a balcony. Another member of the household dropped Mitch and the dog at the vet, and Lydia, another household member, is picking MItch up. Lydia is very earnest.

Performance Reward

by Marian Allen

Lydia wasn’t long coming. She looked like a Power to the People Barbie: crisp new blue jeans with a slight bell flare, a white t-shirt under a tunic-length brocade vest, and mushroom-colored Earth shoes. Her shining black hair was held back in a red and white paisley bandanna.

“Oh, Mitch, you poor boy!” She threw her arms around my neck and patted me with implacable sympathy.

“I’m all right, Miss Lydia. Thank you. I’m fine.”

“It must have been so awful for you! Were you right there? Did you actually see it?”

“No, ma’am, just heard it.”

“Andy said you took charge.” She let me go and thumped me admiringly on the biceps. “You should be so proud. Chan was so lucky you were there.”

She must have taken a course in “Building Self-esteem in Staff and Volunteers.”

I resisted the cartoon impulse to say, “Aw, shucks, ma’am; ’tweren’t nothin’.” She probably would have just told me not to be so modest.

“I think I’d better get back to Aunt Missy,” I said, instead. “She’s probably upset; might want me to help her with Wong.”

“Yes, of course. Suppose I take you to lunch first? Would you like that? A hamburger and a shake? Sound good?”

I didn’t want to tell her it sounded like a fish for the performing seal – it was so obvious she meant well.

“That’s nice of you, Miss Lydia, but I’d just as soon get back.”

“I really admire your sense of responsibility. All right; let’s go.”



at Amazon in print and for Kindle, in multiple formats through Untreed Reads, in audiobook through Audible, or by order from your friendly neighborhood independent book dealer.

Cover art by Sara Marian.

A PROMPT FROM ME TO YOU: Write about a really good person who is really irritating.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Performance Reward #SampleSunday

  1. Mitchell Allen

    July 22, 2018 at 9:03am

    Marian, I’m not much for paranormal fiction (anymore), but this excerpt has a strong, magnetic pull. I was a child of the ’60’s, so it might be fun. Plus, it’s Mitch! LOL

    I want to complete your fantasy genre, first. I may have to re-read Sage, as I don’t recall whether I finished the series.
    Also, your sci-fi epics…Poor paranormal, there’s just not enough days. 🙂



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    • Author

      Marian Allen

      July 23, 2018 at 8:44am

      The paranormal is iffy in this one, to the point of possibly being imaginary. I’m so happy to hear that you’re reading my books! ~poing poing~

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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