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Thursday, October 29, 2009

HE's A Professional Clown Who Writes Romance

Okay, you're gonna love this guy. Not only is a professional clown, but he's also a romance writer! Wings Press month continues with guest Ralph Horner. Leave a comment for Ralph and your name will be entered in a drawing for a copy of my Wings release The Welcome Inn.

1. Hi, Ralph. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Well, I’m a former computer programmer,and I have also been a clown since 1991. After 9/11 main frame data processing changed and became more user friendly, putting many computer programmers and operators out of work. I now have my own entertainment business, Always Clownin’ where I do Ragz and Redi the clowns, a magician, Sponge Boy (you can’t use Bob), Santa Clause, a pirate, a cowboy, Mr. Hyde and the Easter Bunny. I also write comedy bits for a couple of clubs and I teach balloon art, magic and humor at a local community college.

The first writing I did was in grade school. I wrote a comic strip called ‘McDroodle and the Devil’. Once a week and showed it to whoever was interested. It was about a nerdy family man who is constantly tempted by the devil and then gets into various adventures. My brother did the art work and I handled the story line. Other than that I always had story ideas in my head, but I didn’t start to write novels until 1981.”

I was married in 1973 to my current wife, Toni and have two grown children, Angie and Randy and three grandchildren from Angie.

I joined my first writers’ support group in the early nineties, and have been in one ever since. I now belong to the South Side Scribes in Orland Park, IL where I’ve been for about twelve years.

I have had various short stories published since 2002. In August 2007, ‘Pandora Spoxx’ was featured by Wild Cat Books in their monthly ‘Startling Stories’ Anthology. In June 2008, ‘Atalanta Alters the Tide of Alida’ was published in the ‘Heroes of Ancient Greece’ anthology by Night to Dawn Books. In March 2009 my first novel, Tandem Tryst was published by Wings ePress.

2. Most romance writers seem to be women. How did a guy get interested in writing romance?

Actually I consider myself a Paranormal writer. I write Fantasy, Gothic and Time-Travel stories. My first published novel Tandem Tryst is also a paranormal time-travel, but with a bit more romance and also mystery than other stories I’ve written. For Tandem Tryst, the idea just came to me, what if a man lost his wife and then through the miracle of time-travel he found her in another life. Once I got the concept down, I gave the story a White City setting and added a mysterious stalker who is after the very ring that gives the main character access to going back in time.

3. Can you describe the time you realized that you were a real writer?

It happens sort of gradually. The first story I had published was a novella. In 2002. Classic Pulp Fiction Magazine serialized it and its sequel in four parts.

4. Are you working on anything new?

Yes, the sequel of Tandem Tryst called Midnight Mist. I’ve only got about a third of it finished.

5. What other writers have inspired you?

Charles Dickens, John Steinbeck, Washington Irving. I was also inspired by film and television writers, like Rod Serling and Richard Matheson.

6.Why do you write? It's hard work!

Like one of the writers in my support group said, “We have to.” I also enjoy writing for escapism and I like to write stories that I myself enjoy reading when they’re finished. One example is, when my daughter was little I used to read her a couple of stories a week. At Christmas time we had a toy village under our tree and she asked me if I could buy a story about a little Christmas village. Since there weren’t any, and I was writing by then, I wrote her the story. It wasn’t ready until the following Christmas, but I read it to her every year after that, and also to my son when he was little. I never tried to get it published maybe someday I will.

7. What can readers expect when they read your book?

They’ll feel as if they’ve gone back in time to the World Columbian Exposition, riding the huge Ferris wheel and exploring the midway. They’ll also enjoy a compelling story of reincarnation romance between two people from different centuries, and a mysterious woman stalker, wearing various ethnic disguises, who tries to steal the very ring that brings the main character, Jeff, back in time. Is she a stranger, or someone much closer to the heroine?

8. What are your future goals for your writing?

I don’t really have any specific goals. I’m just going to keep writing stories, try to get them published and promote them and see where it goes.

9. Where can we find you on the web?

My website is

10. Would you tell us about Tandem Tryst and share an excerpt with us? Where can we buy the book?

In this Time-Travel mystery romance, three years after Jeff Voss’s young wife Marcy dies, he locates an enchanted ring. Jeff discovers that while wearing it, he goes back one hundred years to the time of the White City of 1893 Chicago. Jeff soon learns the purpose of the ring when he meets Melody Bishop, a twin of his beloved wife. He finds out Melody is Marcy’s ancestor and her now living soul. Although Jeff may have several obstacles, including her boyfriend, he feels he has a second chance in this distant time with the love that was taken from him prematurely. To complicate matters dark forces are at work, as a mysterious woman wearing various ethnic disguises, stalks and continually attempts to steal Jeff’s ring, even if by murder.

Here’s an excerpt from the book:
Much later Jeff was awakened by the sound of tinkling perfume bottles as if they had been bumped on the dressing table. It was so dark in the room he couldn’t see if anyone was there. He broke into a cold sweat and sensed someone was standing over him in the blackness. Then Jeff’s heart started to race as he recognized the intruder’s perfume as that of his stalker!

Jeff could hear the sound of his own heart as he lay still, afraid to breath. The silence of the intruder chilled him as he finally made out a shadowy figure standing at the foot of the bed. He was going to ask who it was until he recognized the perfume. Quickly turning to light the lamp next to his bed, there was a rush of air on the back of his head, then a heavy dull thud on his pillow. He flinched, dropping the match. The form rushed out of the room. Jeff got his bearings then leapt out of bed. The phantom in a long dress turned left in the hallway heading for the stairs. He ran after her. Reaching the top of the stairway, his visitor scurried down the steps. Jeff chased her down the dark stairway as fast as he could. He had to know who she was, but feared this woman could be waiting for him in the shadows for a second chance to crush his skull.

When Jeff got to the landing of the parlor, he could barely see, and there was silence. His attacker might be hiding in the room or maybe she had gone out the kitchen door. He found the front parlor door still closed. Had someone exited that way Jeff would’ve seen it. Considering she was somewhere in the living room, he trembled. She could attack him with her weapon at any moment.

The sound of footsteps came down the stairs. He froze. This could be his attacker who had slipped back up to the second floor and was returning to finish the job.
“Who is it?” he yelled, hoping to wake someone.

“It’s me,” Melody whispered.


A lamp on the wall at the foot of the stairway went on. Melody blew out the long match. “Why did you run down here?”

“Someone was in my room and tried to kill me. If I hadn’t turned away to light a match, she would have bashed my head. I chased her down here but lost her in the darkness.”

You can purchase the book on-line at, at my publisher, at the Chicago Architecture Foundation gift shot and on-line and at Bookies at 103rd and Western in Chicago.

Thanks so much for talking with me, Ralph. I'm looking forward to reading your work.

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