Featured Book & e-Book Give-Away

Join us at Carrick Publishing for our Monthly "Featured" Give-Away, as well as our Special Surprise daily Promotions!

Our FREEBIE promotion for June, 2012 is "Two Scoops" Is Just Right by Alex Carrick.

Three lucky winners will each receive a Paperback Copy absolutely free, courtesy of Carrick Publishing. To enter, simply email us at CarrickPublishing @ rogers . com. (Remember to remove spaces.) Say "I WANT TWO SCOOPS" in the subject line.

The draw for the Paperback will be held at Noon EST on June 30.

In addition, each Friday during June we'll give away 1 Kindle copy of "Two Scoops" Is Just Right. Kindle draws will be held at Noon EST on June 8th, 15th, 22nd and 29th.

This book contains more than just stories about the family. Some entries are dappled impressions of modern life. Some are comedy bits, with the odd gem of a punch line. Others are lighter than air and rise up like whimsy. Others still have a slightly more serious intent, with surprising twists.

These funny, short original stories first appeared on the website: www.alexcarrick.com.

Mr. Carrick has been a leading economist in the North American construction industry for over 30 years. In early 2008, he was asked by his employer to put together an economics blog. He approached this with a good deal of trepidation, worrying about whether he would have enough material and if he could do it justice.

He quickly found he enjoyed the experience. So much, in fact, that he began to branch out with humorous lifestyle blogs he was composing on the weekends and at night, just for fun.

It is these entries he would like to share with you.
Praise for "Two Scoops" Is Just Right:

5 Stars... A choice pick for short fiction fans. ~ Midwest Book Reviews.

Really funny... If you want a good laugh (and who doesn't) you MUST pick this book up. MUST. ~ The Book Journal

A fun read... If you want a good laugh buy this book, read this book, then buy one for a friend. ~ Barbara Kent, Success Books

Who knew an economist could have a sense of humour? ~ PaulTheBookGuy Podcast


There can only ever be the One Dog

Now that I am in my sixties, I have to work a little harder to remember that snow has provided some of the best moments of my life. Even now, when I’m out walking our dog, Daisy, after a heavy downfall, the beauty can leave me awestruck and feeling young again. The smell of ozone goes straight to one’s pleasure centre and the skin tingles. When all is fresh and virgin white, no Christmas card can quite capture the moment.

Daisy is the best dog I have ever had the good fortune to share my life with. She has the nicest disposition and she’s also a ranking beauty on any creaturely terms. Her face is what a doggie angel’s must look like, if there is a heaven for her kind.

But she will never be the one dog that is all entangled with my memories of youth and fresh-faced fun. That distinction is reserved for Caesar, a lab and boxer cross that was my family’s pet when I was a teenager.

I am reminded of this because snow was Caesar’s element. He and I would go out into the yard on a wintry day and I would throw snowballs he would chase and catch.

Caesar was an Olympic-calibre athlete. He could jump up, contort and snare just about anything. On days when we’d stay indoors, he was my goalie in the basement. I would fire tennis balls at the wall with a hockey stick and, most of the time, I couldn’t get the ball-puck past him.

In summer, at the cottage, Caesar would actually dive under the water to retrieve rocks. Everybody up and down the beach knew him. He was a local character with a stature far above my own.

As much as he was a personality on his own, there are also the memories of what we unintentionally did to him. He was too exuberant. There was no way he could stay out of trouble. Plus my father was a persuasive argument or two short in his dog-whispering skills.

Late at night, if we’d stop for gas on a road trip and most of our family (comprised of dad, mom, my younger sister Anne and me) was asleep, Caesar would manage to escape undetected from the car and we’d leave him behind. An hour later after reversing our journey, we’d return to find him sitting by the side of the road. He never lost confidence that we would come back.

We set him on fire a couple of times. I know how horrible this sounds, but it was easier to do than you might think. Our cottage in the 50s and 60s had a wood stove that regularly needed cleaning. Dying embers would spark out onto Caesar’s back and singe off patches of fur. Then we’d have to chase him around with a blanket to smother the budding flickers.

We'd like to thank everyone who participated in our May, 2012 Featured Give-Away of The First Excellence by Donna Carrick. Congratulations to our 3 Paperback winners: Analie, Julien and Melanie! Watch for our June Featured Give-Away to be announced soon...
Our FREEBIE promotion for May, 2012 is The First Excellence by Donna Carrick.

Three lucky winners will each receive a Paperback Copy absolutely free, courtesy of Carrick Publishing. To enter, simply email us at CarrickPublishing @ rogers . com. (Remember to remove spaces.) Say "I WANT THE FIRST EXCELLENCE" in the subject line.

The draw for the Paperback will be held at Noon EST on May 31.

In addition, each Friday during May we'll give away 1 Kindle copy of The First Excellence. Kindle draws will be held at Noon EST on May 4th, 11th, 18th and 25th.
The First Excellence ~ Fa-ling's Map, by Donna Carrick

What happens when East bleeds into West – when a flower of the Orient takes root in Canadian soil?


Fa-ling is faced with the dilemma of all modern young adults: she must choose a career and settle on a life path that will become her own “first excellence”.

Join Fa-ling on an incredible journey into the heart of mainland China as she sets out to discover the land of her birth. In order to determine her future, Fa-ling must first unlock the mysteries of her past. To this end, she travels with a Canadian adoption group to the exotic southern province of Guang-Xi Zhuang.

Searching for her lost heritage, Fa-ling encounters murder, kidnapping, political intrigue and organ theft. Together with Detective Wang Yong-qi and his brilliant but uncouth partner Cheng Minsheng, Fa-ling must uncover a high-stakes kidnapping plot — before another child goes missing!


Spring, 1989….

Min-xi gripped the edge of the table and forced herself to stand. Another jolt blasted her spine, causing her to double over. From the corner of her eye she saw the little one crouching behind a chair. Why didn’t Jong send her outside to play? No one seemed to notice the child, no one except for Min-xi.

Good Mother came into the room carrying a stack of worn out towels. Jong followed with a full basin. He was almost a foot taller than his mother, but due to a perpetual slouch he possessed only half of the old woman’s presence.

“She has grown low from the beginning,” Good Mother said. Her voice, never soothing at the best of times, ripped through the humid afternoon. Min-xi knew better than to argue with her.

It was not unusual for Good Mother to refer to her daughter-in-law in the third person, as if her son’s wife were a family dog that had fallen out of favour. She seldom spoke to Min-xi directly, except to offer instructions concerning domestic matters.

“It will be another girl.” Her words slapped the air.

Jong placed the basin on the table and put an arm around Min-xi’s waist. He tried to lead her to the bed, but she pushed him away. She would not look at him — had avoided contact for over a month, ever since the decision had been announced one evening at the dinner table.

Of course, Jong’s father was not present for the birth. He would no doubt make himself scarce until the situation was resolved to his satisfaction. Good Mother said her husband was working in the field, but more likely he was busy tending to a case of watery Beijing beer, his shanty floor littered with bottles.

As far as Min-xi knew the old man seldom spoke, yet he managed to rule his family in unbending silence. Somehow Good Mother always understood his wishes. She enforced them without mercy.

“Jong, take this towel,” she said. “Clean up that mess.” She pointed to the floor where Min-xi stood, water trickling down her leg.

Min-xi reached into a box near the window. She removed a quilt that had been placed there for the purpose. Another wave of pain caught her off guard, and she almost dropped the blanket. Good Mother took it from her and spread it over the bare mattress, taking care to double its thickness near the centre.

Min-xi climbed onto the bed.

It was an easy labour. The child — another girl as expected — was small. It did not require much effort to push her out.

Jong wrapped the infant in a clean towel and placed it in a basket on top of the dresser.

“There will be no name,” Good Mother said. “We have the moon tonight, so we will have to wait until tomorrow after dark. If anyone comes this evening, we will say we are all ill and cannot leave the house.”

Yes, thought Min-xi, we have the moon. That was as she had planned. When she woke that morning, she excused herself from her chores by telling Good Mother the baby was too close and she could not walk. In truth, she felt as fit as could be expected in her condition. The birth was yet days away, if the signs of her body could be trusted.

Min-xi poured herself a bath. Remembering the advice of old Song, her mother’s aunt, she topped it with repeated kettles full of boiling water till it was steaming hot. Then she sat in it for over an hour, drinking castor oil to trigger the contractions.

She knew Good Mother would not take action on the night of the full moon, when friends and neighbours might be walking outdoors at any hour and the risk of discovery was too high. By inducing her labour to take advantage of the lunar swell, Min-xi had grasped the only feather of hope that floated within her reach. She had stolen one precious night.

She caught the little one’s eye and held it, willing the girl to understand what they must do. It was pointless. A four-year-old could not be expected to carry the desperation of a grown woman. Min-xi would have to take her chances when the time came.

Meanwhile, she needed her rest. Without so much as a look at the newborn, she closed her eyes and turned away from her family. Sleep came quickly despite the turmoil in her soul.

After less than an hour, Min-xi heard the infant stir. She pretended to sleep on. Jong gave the baby a bottle to quiet it. Good Mother made a clucking sound, no doubt scornful of the waste. The old woman put away her sewing and blustered out of the room. There were other tasks to attend to.

Alone at last with Jong and their children, Min-xi continued to feign sleep. She knew there was nothing to be gained from further discussion. Every appeal had already been denied. The gentle, generous man she had married was changing, his goodness eroding with the constant friction of his mother’s voice.


Thanks to everyone for participating in our April Featured Give-away. Congratulations to our paperback winners: Gea, Roxie and Arpita!

Our FREEBIE promotion for April, 2012 is "Four Scoops" Is Over The Top by Alex Carrick.

Three lucky winners will each receive a Paperback Copy absolutely free, courtesy of Carrick Publishing. To enter, simply email us at CarrickPublishing @ rogers . com. (Remember to remove spaces.) Say "I WANT FOUR SCOOPS" in the subject line.

The draw for the Paperback will be held at Noon EST on April 30.

In addition, each Friday during April we'll give away 1 Kindle copy of "Four Scoops" Is Over The Top. Kindle draws will be held at Noon EST on April 6, 13, 20 and 27th.

36 entertaining, original short stories and poems that combine the best elements of "Two Scoops" Is Just Right and "Three Scoops" Is A Blast!

Alex Carrick has twice received Honorable Mention recognition (2010 and 2011) in the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Competition for literary excellence.

He likes to explore in an amusing and often touching way the dilemnas we all face in this modern, fast-paced life. He'll play with structure and time to present his unique vision.

Mr. Carrick has been a professional economist covering the construction industry for the past 39 years. He writes extensively on economic matters for several newsletters, newspapers and the Internet, dealing with both Canada and the United States.


Platter and Glance

Branscomb Hall was where the brainiacs lived. There might be psychedelic drugs, free sex and rock and roll elsewhere on campus, but the boys of “Branny” were renowned for keeping their noses to the grindstone.

South of the border, Americans were agonizing over the Vietnam War. In Canada, these were the halcyon days before OPEC would shake up world oil markets.

Blaine Bostock, Elrod Flight and Ravenna Sharpley were all students attending Toronto’s premier university.

All three were exceptional students, with representation in the core subjects of geography, mathematics and English respectively.

The academic year-end was coming like a hurricane and graduation was only a month away for Blaine and Elrod. Ravenna still had another year to go.

Blaine knew what he was about to do was probably wrong in many ways, but he seemed powerless to stop.

He felt the need to secure his reputation among his colleagues beyond the mere scholastic.

Once he graduated, he’d be moving to a position with an established insurance firm in his hometown 200 kilometers away. Time was short.

He knew he could brag about his prowess at any time. He’d already dropped hints among his fellow students. And the girl often on his arm implied a success that many others were clearly not having.

But he also knew it would be more effective for his reputation if someone else gossiped about his conquests on his behalf.

It wouldn’t hurt if they spoke with a note of admiration in their voice.

Elrod was the perfect choice. He was a good friend and well accepted among the other students.

But he couldn’t just boldly ask him. Elrod was too refined. It was one of the features that set him apart.

Elrod’s carriage conveyed dignity and restraint. But that was to Blaine’s advantage. If Elrod could be impressed, it would carry extra weight.

The two were also rivals in some vague way.

Elrod’s composure emanated from within. The fact it appeared effortless was somewhat annoying. Elrod could do with being brought down a peg or two.

There was also the matter of opportunity. This is where Elrod fit the bill perfectly.

Thanks to everyone for participating in our March Featured Give-away. Congratulations to our paperback winners: Jo-Anne, Graeme and Mark David!

Our FREEBIE promotion for March, 2012 is The Noon God by Donna Carrick.

Three lucky winners will each receive a Paperback Copy absolutely free, courtesy of Carrick Publishing. To enter, simply email us at CarrickPublishing @ rogers . com. (Remember to remove spaces.) Say "I WANT THE NOON GOD" in the subject line.

The draw for the Paperback will be held at Noon EST on March 31.

In addition, each Friday during March we'll give away 1 Kindle copy of The Noon God. Kindle draws will be held at Noon EST on March 9, 16, 23 and 30.

Living in the shadow of ‘greatness’ can be a difficult thing...

Just ask Desdemona Fortune. When her father, the magnificent J. Caesar Fortune, is found murdered inside the offices of the Faculty of Art, there is no shortage of people who carried a grudge against him.

From the lover who could not capture his affection to the colleagues whose efforts were repeatedly ignored, many resented the immensity of his literary success.

For although the ‘Man of Words’ is lying dead on a slab, his legacy will live on. But as Desdemona knows, the legacy of greatness can bear a heavy price.

In a household pummeled by the dual forces of addiction and narcissism, Desdemona must face the fact the father she loved has hurt those closest to him.

Now, as the head of a once illustrious family, she must do whatever is necessary to save her only surviving sister from the far-reaching influence of an immortal.


My mother once told me judgement was best left in the hands of God. Forgiveness was the virtue she most cherished. The older I get the more I understand the wisdom of her words.

Some days, though, her lesson gets lost under the trials of life. It was shaping up to be one of those days. A blue Corvette zipped into the last parking space. I fought back my anger and found a spot more than half a block away from the building.

It was noon when I killed the engine. The moment I stepped out of the car the August sun assaulted me. My hair felt clammy at the back of my neck. I rummaged in my bag, moving aside the library book and the black leather fanny pack I’d found one evening on the school ground.

So much for good intentions. I never did get around to dropping the pack off at the ‘lost and found’ office. I reached past it for an elastic band and twisted my hair into a ponytail. Then I tucked my bag under the passenger seat and locked the car.

The cool darkness of the Toronto City Morgue was almost a relief after the sweltering heat. The woman at the front desk told me to have a seat. I sat down and closed my eyes. I hadn’t slept much during the past week, ever since I’d reported my father missing.

I didn’t hear the Medical Examiner slip into the waiting room. My eyes flew open to find him standing near me. His slight build was a surprise. His voice on the phone had been deep and large.

“Are you Desdemona Fortune?” he asked.

Mona.” We shook hands. His was small and twisted.

“I’m Suruj Nil.”

I wanted to shut my eyes and rest under the shade of his voice. He withdrew his hand and turned, leading me down a long corridor. I knew what waited at the end of that hallway. It was Death.

It was my father, cold and lifeless on a gurney. It wasn’t surprise that gripped my bowels as I studied his features on the television monitor. It was something else – something less tangible.

I had steeled myself for that moment. Just the same I wasn’t ready for the wave of reality that rose in my throat. I turned away, afraid I would vomit. Dr. Nil waited patiently.

Finally he said, “Is this J. Caesar Fortune?”

“Yes,” I answered. “This is my father.”

The image on the screen offered no hint of the man I had known. The essence of his greatness was gone. His jaw fell away from his mouth in loose folds. A bullet hole sat proudly in the centre of his forehead, rising above his useless eyes as magnificent and as unforgiving as the midday sun.

My father met death the way he had met life – headfirst. He would not look away from that final judgement. Thankfully Dr. Nil had cleaned the wound so I wasn’t forced to study the blood and the bits of grey matter that had been part of him. Dr. Nil turned off the screen and my father’s face disappeared. I thought, “So this is it. This is the great J. Caesar Fortune stripped of eloquence and dignity.”

I filled out the paperwork and authorised the autopsy. His personal effects – clothing, wallet and keys – were all still in evidence. I carried nothing out of that room except my memories.

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