Betsy's News (and More!) 
May 12, 2016
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Welcome back, everyone!  It's been quite a productive month here at the Palatial Horvath Estate as I pull together the print edition of Believing It and try to keep lots of other plates spinning at the same time.  Sometimes I feel like everything will come crashing down on my head, but so far so good.  *knock wood*  Yikes!  *steadies plates*

Speaking of Believing It's print edition, it should be finished soon.  Setting up a print book with the distributors is more complicated than setting up an ebook, but I'm aiming for it to be available everywhere by the end of the month. While I'm at it, I'm also updating the cover and interior for the print version of Handling It. 

I'm 37,000 words into the first draft of "Welcome to Hardy Falls, Book 2" (title TBD).  Since I want to end up at about 85,000 words, that's pretty good progress--although I can already see editing in my future to tighten up the story.  At least I'll have something TO edit!  :)  My goal was to finish the first draft by the end of May.  We'll see...

That's all on the news front, so now we turn to this month's excerpt from The Hardy Falls Gazette. If you read last month's newsletter, you know that Ms. Gregory, editor-in-chief and librarian extraordinaire, has launched an investigative report into the sales practices of Claude Beecher, owner of Beecher Auto Sales.  This month, she continues by looking at some of the connections Mr. Beecher has made over the years, and how they support some of his less-than-savory practices.

More details on what Mr. Beecher did to deserve Ms. Gregory's wrath can be found in Believing It.  But the big question now is--how will he respond to these allegations?  Only time will tell.



Please don't forget to join me on my I talk to the voices in my head on a somewhat weekly basis and struggle down the road to successful independent publishing. 

If you want to find out more about Hardy Falls, check out the books in my "Welcome To Hardy Falls" series, available everywhere.  If you want to contact me, feel free to email me at:




Beecher Connections
Part 2 in the "Beecher Auto Sales" series

by Mathilda Gregory, Editor-in-Chief
May 9, 2016

There have been rumors for years that Claude Beecher has connections in both high and low places.  It is thought that those connections help him, not only to find the stock he sells, but to stay in business in spite of numerous complaints.

“I categorically deny any wrongdoing,” Mr. Beecher said through his attorney in his last correspondence with The Hardy Falls Gazette. “Cease and desist, or I will sue you for harassment.”

But is it harassment if the allegations are true?  Doesn't the Hardy Falls public have a right to know what's actually going on?

Because Mr. Beecher refused to speak on the record with the Gazette after it became clear we were demanding real answers, we decided to launch an investigation into his practices.  What is the truth about Beecher Auto Sales?

Before Claude Beecher took over the business from his uncle, Beecher Auto Sales had been the object of about thirty complaints with the Better Business Bureau in the forty years it had been in business, and generally had a reputation for good stock and fair dealing.  In the thirty years since Mr. Dwight Beecher retired and moved to Florida, handing the business over to his nephew, the number of complaints has skyrocketed, and the business's reputation has fallen dramatically.

Still, one expects complaints for a used car concern.

“Our average number of complaints for a used car business is really quite high,” said Mrs. Viola Winstead of the Better Business Bureau’s Scranton office.  “We have received a number of flags for Beecher Auto Sales, and followed up accordingly.  We try to settle as many of the issues as possible.”

“People complain,” said Claude Beecher before he stopped speaking to The Hardy Falls Gazette.  “It’s what they do  They buy a used car and expect it to be perfect.  Well, it’s not.  It’s used.  Sometimes things go wrong.”

The Hardy Falls Gazette contacted the state licensing board to see if we could find out what complaints have been launched there, but nobody returned our calls.  Next, we contacted Mayor Ruffio’s office, and were directed to Stanton Landis, head of the town council.  

“I’ve known Claude for years,” said Mr. Landis.  “I have no reason to suspect him of wrongdoing.”

The next day, this reporter saw Mr. Landis and Mr. Beecher having breakfast together at Mom’s Cafe.  The other person at the table was Mayor Ruffio.

Of course, Mr. Beecher is entitled to be friends with whomever he wishes.  And, of course, the mayor and the head of the town council are entitled to have breakfast with anyone.  But this, presumably impromptu, meeting is an illustration of the connections Mr. Beecher has cultivated in Hardy Falls.  He is also one of the most prominent members in the local Rotary chapter, and extremely active in the Hardy Falls Chamber of Commerce.  In fact, it is well known that most of the activities promoted by the Chamber of Commerce are suggested by Mr. Beecher.

So much for the high connections.  What about the low?

For quite some time, there have been rumors that Beecher Auto Sales gets some of the vehicles they sell from the less reputable element of Scranton, Wilkes-Barre, East Stroudsburg, and other nearby towns.  Our crime correspondent, Tiffany Preston, talked to some people who have links to those communities.  For reasons that should be apparent, her sources refused to be identified and would only talk on the grounds that they remain anonymous.

“I used to hang out with some guys who ran a shop in Scranton,” said one young man.  “We’d go around town and maybe pick up a few vehicles that weren’t ours.  Then the guys would break down the cars for parts and stuff like that.  But we sold some of them as is, you know?  We knew Beecher, and that’s all I’m going to say about that.”

When questioned about whether he and his buddies had ever been caught, the source admitted that they had.  “I did my time and I”m out of that life,” he said.  “But I still know some stuff, and I’m still in touch with some people.”  

Asked if he would ever buy a car from Claude Beecher, he laughed. 

“Oh, no way.”

“We are aware of the allegations against Mr. Beecher,” said police chief Jacqueline Kline.  “We have heard a lot of rumors, but we can’t prosecute based on hearsay.  If and when we receive proof that Mr. Beecher is involved in illicit activity, we will, of course, take the appropriate action.”

When Mr. Beecher was asked to respond to these allegations, he refused, called the editor a few choice names, and hung up the phone.  Repeated additional phone calls have elicited no response, other than the aforementioned letter from Mr. Beecher's attorney.

Police Chief Kline is correct in that the authorities have received no proof of wrongdoing.  Mr. Beecher is correct in that used cars are sometimes a disappointment to their purchasers.  And yet the questions persist.

The residents of Hardy Falls will have to decide whether or not they are willing to take a chance on Beecher.

Copyright © 2016 Betsy Horvath, All rights reserved.

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