Tuesday, November 19, 2019

The Death of Mungo Blackwell by Lauren H. Brandenburg | Extract

Charlie's lost everything, but the legendary death of Mungo Blackwell will help him find himself...

Join me on the blog today with Lauren H. Barndenburg and a special excerpt from her new release, The Death of Mungo Blackwell!

I've had the pleasure of knowing Lauren for several years now through a meeting at Realm Makers (where I took a particularly awesome photo of her looking like Princess Leia with cinnamon rolls for buns 😆) and then seeing her at a few ACFW conferences after that.

Not only is she sweet and funny, she is a genuine person that you want to spend time with!

I am honored to be able to share a sneak peek of her first chapter below and, while I believe this is still set to release in the UK November 25, it's out NOW in the U.S.

Purchase: The Death of Mungo Blackwell 

Lauren H Brandenburg is an inspirational speaker, mentor, and author. Her fourth book in The Books of the Gardener series, Orlo: The Created, was a 2017 finalist for the Selah Middle Grade Novel of the Year. Her first Lion Fiction novel is The Death of Mungo Blackwell. As a former English teacher, and now homeschooling mom, Lauren combines her love of 'the what if' with her spirit of adventure and faith to delight and encourage readers young and old. She currently teaches creative writing in her homeschool community and to young writers nationwide. Lauren holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Georgetown College, is the president of the Middle Tennessee chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers, and an active participant with the writers of Realm Makers. She lives with her husband and two children in Nashville, Tennessee.
From @createexploreread

Extract from The Death of Mungo Blackwell by Lauren H. Brandenburg© 

Chapter 1

Tofts were not welcome at the renowned Coraloo Flea Market. The Blackwells made certain of that. On the brick wall, the sign outside the once prosperous shoe factory proclaimed, NO DOGS OR TOFTS – GRANNY BITES! Reading these words,Charlie Price scratched his thinning blond hair, musing over the long-standing rivalry he had read about between the Toftsand the Blackwells. Today was Thursday; the market was closed, but there was nothing stopping Charlie from exploring.The scent of old leather and lavender lured him – as it did countless others – through the stone archway into the still, quietbuilding, carrying with it the promise of unearthing a hidden treasure or memorable trinket. Inside, the shops, each specificto their wares– antique books, hand-dyed ribbons, flowers, freshly pressed olive oils, leather goods, and an occasional antiquedealer – lined the perimeter like tiny homes. These, Charlie knew, belonged to the Blackwells. The center, reserved forpaying vendors and hungry shoppers dining on Granny’s delicacies at hand-hewn tables, was empty today.

He peered through one of the storefront windowpanes. In front of a faux mantel, two armchairs were arranged insuch a way the shop almost looked livable. Charlie moved on. The next shop appeared promising – less orderly, no décor.He spotted a French horn, dented and in need of a polish. Music is money – a mantra he heeded when considering apurchase. He’d come back and make an offer in the morning, but he would have to arrive early if he wanted to turn aprofit – especially at the Coraloo. Pickers arrive early.

Nestled at the top of a rolling green hill in a picturesque town with stone inlaid streets, overlooking curving rowsof carefully maintained cedar-shingled rooftops not yet touched by the deluge of tourists or modern constructiontrends, sat the Coraloo Flea Market. Wayfaring magazine called the market one of the country’s hidden wonders – knownfor its charm, history, food, and peculiar owners. The writer described it as a place where peace and simplicity dinewith the eccentric – a trove for modern-day treasure hunters – keeping watch over a quaint commonality held togetherby deep ancestral roots and rivalries. It’s why Charlie entertained the thought of moving his family two hours andforty-one minutes southeast of the big city – to start over, to live simply, to shop the Coraloo. He shined his flashlightinto the shop – an antique globe perched on a wooden pedestal caught his eye. He doubted they would take less than theasking price, but it was worth a try. Beside it, sitting on top of a pile of yellowing maps, a gold rimmed teacup satchipped and out of place. It wasn’t valuable anymore. Somebody had probably tossed it out during a spring clean,along with broken picture frames and melted candles. But regardless of its worth, it had a story. The cup once had anowner – possibly a fan of Ceylon orange pekoe or Earl Grey. Had the vessel been a gift or a souvenir from an unplannedroad trip? Had the owner been forced to part with this fragment of everyday life to make room for simplicity?

No… that was his story. With his hands in the pockets of his slacks, Charlie slumped down on an old church pew outside the market shop. Had life really come to this? Had four years at university and a career with a six-figure income dwindled down to sorting through the discarded wares of others? He had been good at his job and neverdoubted his instincts. He was meticulous, thorough – except on the day the proposal landed on his desk.

A balmy August breeze crept into the brick edifice, bringing with it the sweet aroma of freshly hung tobacco from afarm on the other side of the hill. Charlie closed his eyes and inhaled distant days – memories of a life absorbed bylegality and expectation, before the whirlwind of the past year wreaked devastation on his once predictable life.

He remembered the loan. How could he forget? An equipment loan three times what the proprietor needed. His university roommate and colleague, Carl Rogers, had pulled him aside. “This guy is a pal of mine. Everything’s here.Just sign and you’re done.” That should have been his first red flag – slow down, look closer. The plan seemed solid, theclient a chef and former restaurant owner. It was a lapse in judgment. A missing document. He should have caught it. With the fragile state of the financial world, there was no room for error. On a wider scale, the newspapers swarmed with rumors of a crumbling economy in response to banks’ over lending to house-hungry newlyweds. Pair that with this class-action lawsuit of press- worthy proportions, and the bank would take a healthy loss, leading to some veryunhappy shareholders.

He had called Velveteen. She had said she was mid-foil at the salon and could not meet him for another two hours. Hehad packed up his office and walked out the front doors of Heritage Financial without looking back. He had neededtime to strategize, to carefully word how he was going to tell his wife of eleven years that he was unemployed – not justunemployed, but most likely black-balled from every bank, accounting firm, and food truck in the city.

Stupid food trucks. Charlie let his head fall into his hands, vowing to never eat at a food truck again. The fragmentedevents leading up to this moment entered his mind, overshadowing the potential of Coraloo.

His rear end was sore from sitting for so long, and he wasn’t sure he could swim in his own guilt and self-loathing much longer. He raised his eyes at the click clack of high heels.

Velveteen Price arrived with the latest Melba DuMont novel peeking cautiously over the edge of her handbag. He stoodand kissed her – a quick peck on the lips. Whenever he kissed her in public, he pretended all of the other men aroundwere jealous. He loved every inch of her, inside and out, and dreaded telling her their life would drastically change. Hesensed she already knew something – regardless, Charlie wanted her to hear it from him, so explained every detail, from how Carl, despite being a known idiot, had insisted his street food truck client was an easy underwrite to the fact thatwhen it fell apart, Charlie took the fall. At this Velveteen informed him her friendship with Carl’s wife, Mary Beth Rogers, was over.

“I’m done with that woman. I really am!”

Charlie had laughed – he used to laugh more.

“But I’m proud of you, Charlie Price.” “For what? Losing my job?”

“No, for making it this far. It’s not over, you know. You’ll find something better. You were almost VP of the country’s largest bank! Somebody will see the value in that… Somebody will see your value! What about Standard? I’m sure they wouldhire you. I’ll call Rebecca, her husband is pres –”

“I’ve already started putting in applications.” He held up two fingers.

“Two applications already! See! You’re a fighter, Charlie!” “Two rejections.”



  1. I’m pretty sure I wasn’t the only one that fell in love with the cover. Unique and unconventional, I really loved this book! The characters are quickly but instantly engaging. The Death of Mungo Blackwell has its moments of fantasy!

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  3. Really great book, read this back in the lockdown. Became a fan since then. Really love Lauren H. Brandenburg.

  4. Never tried reading one of her books but this seemed interesting to me. Will try this later. Thanks for sharing with us.

  5. "The Death Of Mungo Blackwell" really a nice story.
    Thanks Emili for sharing this with us.

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