Friday, July 26, 2013


by Earl Staggs 

Tall Chambers is the main character in my Mystery/Thriller novel JUSTIFIED ACTION.  The book came out this past March in print and ebook and is alive and well.   After his Army career as a Special Forces Officer ended, Tall joined a secret agency which tracks terrorist groups.  If they determine a group has definite plans to strike and kill innocent people, the agency steps in and eliminates the threat before it happens.  But that’s only the backdrop for Tall’s personal story.  When someone close to him is murdered, he puts the agency business aside and uses his wits and weapons to find the killer. 

Recently, I decided to use Tall in a short story.  First of all, because I like him.  Maybe it’s because he’s exactly like me.  Well, not exactly like me.  He’s younger, smarter, better looking, taller, tougher, and more adventurous than I could ever be except in my dreams.   

Another reason for writing this short story is to introduce new readers to Tall and his world.  I plan to offer it as a free Kindle ebook to anyone who wants it.  If they like Tall, they may want to read more of him in the novel.  

The short story already has a title and a cover.  My good friend Carole Ryan, the same lady who designed the fantastic cover for JUSTIFIED ACTION, did it for me.   I’m calling the short story JUSTIFIED RESPONSE, and you can check out the cover below. 

The story begins with Tall and his crew on a mission in a Middle Eastern desert.  A busload of armed terrorists is on its way into town where a street festival is going on.  The terrorists plan to join the crowd, open fire, and kill as many people as possible.  Tall’s plan is to intercept the bus and make sure that doesn’t happen. 

When the bus is stopped and both sides have guns drawn, Tall feels his cell phone vibrate, he checks Caller ID and decides he should take the call. 

“Uh, hello, Mr. President.”

“Tall, I’m sorry to bother you, but we have a nasty situation and need your help. Is this a good time to talk?”

“Actually, Mr. President, I. . .uh. . . “

The woman with the knife turned her attention to Tall and started walking toward him, shouting obscenities in Pashto dialect.

“. . .I’m in the middle of something right now. . . .” Tall said into his phone.

The woman raised the knife above her head and ran at Tall.

“. . . can I call you back in a few minutes?”

Tall let his Uzi dangle on a shoulder strap, pulled a Glock from his waistband, and shot the woman in the chest. She staggered backward a few feet, then forward, and fell face down in front of him.

The voice on the phone hesitated, then said, “Uh, sure. Yes. Do that, please.” 

(Just so you’ll know, Tall’s shooting of the woman isn’t what it appears to be.) 

After the bus incident is settled, Tall returns the President’s call, and he and his crew are given a new assignment.  This time, the mission seems impossible, but the circumstances are so dire, Tall has to try.

I’m excited to be back with Tall Chambers and having fun writing him in this short story.  It should be out there and available within a couple weeks.  After that, I need to get back on the sequel to the novel.  Or maybe more short stories.   I’ll have to make that decision soon.  Right now, I have a more timely decision to make:  what to have for breakfast.  

Here’s the cover of JUSTIFIED RESPONSE.  What do you think of it?
Now, you're invited to visit my Homesite where you can:
Read Chapter 1 of JUSTIFIED ACTION
Read Chapter 1 of MEMORY OF A MURDER
And more.  Here's where:





Jan Christensen said...

An amusing scene; well done, Earl. But I have to disagree with you about Tall being smarter than you are. After all, you have to get him into interesting situations, like this one, then get him out. He couldn't do it on his own.

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Earl,

Great idea placing the hero of your novel into a short story. It creates more exposure and more readers for your work.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Enjoyed your post, Earl. Glad to know what Tall Goes Short means:)

June Shaw said...

I love your cover! Putting Tall in a short story is a great idea.

June Shaw said...

I love your cover! Putting Tall in a short story is a great idea.

Earl Staggs said...

Jan, it's easy to put Tall in tough situations. Getting him out of them is the hard part. It's a challenge, but it sure feels good when it works out.

Earl Staggs said...

It's fun working with Tall again, Jacqueline. I hope it picks up more fans for him.

Earl Staggs said...

Hi, Marilyn. You deciphered the title, eh? I knew you would. Thanks for coming by.

Earl Staggs said...

I love the cover, too, June. My friend who does them for me is terrific. She gives me the exact mood I want every time.

Jean Henry Mead said...

I enjoyed Tall Chambers in Justified Action and look forward to reading Justified Response. Great covers, too, btw.

Earl Staggs said...

Thanks, Jean. I think my new covers are the best ever. Hope you like the new Tall story.

Sylvia Dickey Smith said...

I love Tall -- tall or short!! Good story start!