The curious Penny Dreadful

I'm fairly confident that many of you have heard about me lately, especially after that "expose'

Before I get into that you should know a bit about my background.

I was raised in a fairly normal urban neighbourhood. Was enrolled into self defence classes and achieved a black belt purple strip by age seventeen in a martial art that has been lumped in under the general guise of Mixed Martial Arts now so the belt means almost nothing.

I can break bones if needed. Disarm people with weapons from swords to guns, grab arrows out of the air...if they are not fired from a compound bow. Yeah that is movie magic. Normal low poundage bows are slower and catchable. Well at least as far as I am concerned.

To be truthful I have not really practised Ki Lau in years so I doubt I could do more than beat off a drunk. Fifteen years of sitting at a computer doing nothing but writing, getting carpultunnel, and playing lots and lots of mmorpg games does that.

That is not to say that I am completely out of shape. I do go for walks, or at least I do now. But I am getting ahead of myself.

My name is Ralph Maraiki. It is NOT Chinese, Japanese, or any other oriental country. My family is originally from Poland. When the Germans invaded in 1939 my great grandparents escaped due to a misprint of their name Maraiski, the stamp was apparently not wet enough for the S. They sought refuge in Britain but got sent to Canada instead. There is a whole wackload of history about "the escape" of my grandparents. Part of which has been in a movie or two.

Most of my family is in, or more accurately, around Ontario. The "Family estate" is a three level ten acre fenced in compound in what is becoming "prime" Greater Toronto land. They, of course, got some sort of national historic grant on house and property, so nothing can be done as long as my family lives there. Or the Federal Government buys them out. Yeah fat chance. The house is just old enough to qualify as historic.

Don't get the wrong idea it is really nothing that special. No grand staircase or really anything special about it. But for the longest time most of my family has all lived in that house. One house with twenty or so incomes begets a rather large family amount. Technically they are not rich, just well off. Personally I think they are all spoiled rotten. We do have a doctor and lawyer in family, recent distant cousins. So yeah rich is not that far off I guess.

Doesn't matter to me since my parents moved out to Manitoba by simple expedient of their vw bus breaking down. They set roots, aka, had me. Got house and never moved back. My parents had a nice twenty acre "farm" that the rest of family would come for vacation. We saw a lot of each other.

I would help mom every fall make "proper" perogies. Hunky Bills Perogie maker never saw our house. Make lots, and lots, of dough, cook a heck of a lot of garden potatoes, cheese, and ground beef. So we made two kinds potato and beef and cheese and potato. Froze them and that was many of the meals over winter. Along with corn, peas, turnips, borscht. And sausage, lots of sausage. I did say farm. Chickens, pigs, and a cow or two.

When my parents got older and the local town expanded into their property with a good buyout that was that and we moved to the city. Mom lived for a while, dad not so much. After relaxing for a few years after the farm was gone he developed heart issues. When dad passed away while I was at college I took it hard. Mom tried to be there for me but she left to go back to Toronto, she died a few years later.

I did not quite complete college. I say quite because I did get a graduation of sorts but didn't get my degree for business admin. While I was there I took this course of creative writing that was an elective. While it did not become my main the teacher Emily, took me under her wing and introduced me to what I can only call penny romance novels.

I'm sure you have read a number of them yourself or at least seen them. They don't sell for much and the authors seem to never die. There is a reason for that. There is some Pen Names that are on their twentieth writer. Oh yes. Names are passed on to writers. I say writers because most will never become an author of their own books.

Eh it makes some money. I did average about sixty thousand a year or so back when it was considered good enough money. Self employed though, so the taxes killed me. I currently live outside of the city on my own "estate". Well that is what the province lists it as since I have a fence.

It is not much, single level A frame house, that somebody had big dreams but didn't finish due to marriage break up. I had to finish much of it myself. Over kitchen is my living room with a great view of the swamp pond in the back. It was a flat area once but the gravel pit next over closed and it collapsed into the pond with lots of reeds. I think the province has seeded it with minnows but have yet to see a fish.

My Pen Name is Penny Lang. Yep. I said you probably heard of it. I'll get to the why in a bit. I inherited it. Emily and I co-wrote about six novels with less and less input from her. They did okay and sold well enough. It was the sixteenth that I went off the script so to speak.

After a rather bad family reunion where most of my relatives bugged the hell out of me to move "Home" and take a "proper" employment. You see a large amount of my family is into selling clothes and shoes in , surprise,Maraiki's. They sell a large amount of imported Chinese, not they way you think, clothing and shoes. Japanese dresses of various types sell well. They are made in China as cheap as possible.

Typing away on a computer does not count as proper work to them. So I got heckled about it. Things had not been bad till Mom passed away. By the time I got home after a bad flight and dealing with a taxi driver that got into an accident while trying to drive me home I was in a really bad mood.

So I wrote the first of a new set of novels. Honestly I didn't set out to write a mystery novel I was trying to make a romance, just with the mysterious death of a family of clothing merchants. My rather popular character, Penny Dreadful, made her first appearance. I, of course, set much of her after myself. Plump but not bad, lived on a private secluded lake away from her estranged family, that got murdered. She was a romance novelist that went home to investigate. At the end of the first novel she figures out that the long lost Nazi Lieutenant had found and assassinated her family. She cornered him using her martial arts, but no gun. He fell to her "flame", well that's is what fans call it, of Rcmp Officer Matthews.

Penny Dreadful is known for her professional outfits, which honestly came from watching X-files, and fair locks of redish brown in a french braid down her back with a Indiana Jones type of hat. I didn't write her to be in skirt suits that are sexy as heck, that was the artist of my publisher.

"The Grudge" sold really well, really fast. The sequel, "The abandoned Sailboat" about a smuggling ring uncovered by Penny Dreadful who tries to purchase an abandoned sunk boat, sold even more. I think that one is in its fourth print. Between the two I moved from sixty thousand into four hundred thousand a year.

By the fifth "The Murdered Bus Pass" I had to put up a fence on my property, which had moved into the "better class" neighbourhood. People with money were buying the farms near me to have "lake view"

My publisher also hired a ghoster to appear as Penny Lang at book signings. Apparently when you become to popular, book signings are required. Obviously a plump, alright fat, man. I was two hundred and sixtish pounds, does not make a passable woman in anyway.

I was fine with the arrangement and so was she. We never met. Not once. Clues about Penny Lang are that she runs daily, I walk, as is trying to lose weight. Lives alone, never married. No dependants.

Which is true. The actress portraying me at book signings actually is married.

I am not completely sure when I caught the attention of a certain individual. Maybe it was before I wrote "Snagged". But I'm sure he, or she, got attention for it. Snagged was a plot about how Penny saw a program on tv about the apparent natural death of a prominent citizen. Which is true there was a funeral on tv about it which got me started.

In the book Penny had been near the hotel of the conglomerate president and remember witnessing an arguement between two people about a shady deal of the company that the president was going to expose. He was killed by air injection via a small dart that was brushed off by the guy and recovered by the killer.

She figures out it is really a murder, and after getting the attention of a Constable Murphy, they track down the world class killer. All very exciting tongue in cheek mystery with off the wall wacky clues and whatnot.

Unfortunately for me, this was a little too close to what actually happened. The Ceo of Rothman Inc had indeed be about to expose an illegal import of questionable substances in his company when he died of heart failure. This was done by a person referred to as the Notoreaper. I don't pick the names, and is on one the most wanted lists by a half dozen countries around the world.

Noto, which is how I refer to him/her, really did not like his/her work being exposed in any way. He tracked down the actress, captured her, did rather nausiating things to her before she was left with a bomb strapped to her, and apparently partly in her, trying to draw out the "real Penny".

It made television of course. Thus the expose' of how the Real Penny has not made an appearance to sign her books. Multiple writing authorities have ruled that "she" has to be female because of her writing style. My publisher has made numerous "no comment" on the subject. Which works quite well for me.

I have heard of stalkers but Noto is taking it to a whole new level.



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