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Exhortation-Can you be Tempted?
Hello my name is Tony Vogiantzis author of Exhortation-The Art of Persuasion is Tempting and I am here to provice an excerpt to my provocative novel that has intrigued many readers. Here is the following information regarding my novel,
Exhortation-The Art of Persuasion is Tempting
Published by PublishAmerica
Available at www.bn.com and www.amazon.com
I have attached the first couple of pages of my novel for you to review and add an excerpt on Exhortation as it dwells within the minds of good and evil and what makes the mind tick. Furthermore how far a person would go to obtain their means to their ends.
On a beautiful sunny day in Lisbon, Portugal, people roam the
narrow gothic streets of the Alfama medieval town drinking their
espressos while gossiping about the latest news, trends, and most
importantly what bar they will attend once the clock strikes midnight.
As the masses converse at the various cafťs, there is one group sitting
down by a cafť called the Navigators Lounge drinking several
cappuccinos with a poised look on their faces as if they were convicts
of some sort. This is a clan consisting of four flamboyant men that
are outrageously contrary to the eastern Mediterranean look of the
locals in the city of Lisbon.
The first man is clearly from a Scandinavian country with blond
hair so pure and crisp, he appears to be either Swedish or of
Norwegian origin. His hair is wavy with a perfect spiral twist that
hangs down from his forehead, and his skin is fair, not too dark, and
not too light, with a thin body build, he is a handsome man. The man
has his left ear pierced with an earring of a goat dangling; black
shiny leather pants, a silver jacket with a pink shirt underneath that
speaks in volumes, and orange sunglasses.
Sitting to his right is a man more conservatively dressed than his
counterpart with long brown hair and a light beard, blue loose fit
jeans, a white T-shirt with an orange V-neck design, and his body
build is muscular and his skin complexion is slightly darker then the
Sitting directly in front of the two men are two short men; they
are midgets as their feet dangle from their chairs. The first midget is
dressed very eccentrically; he is wearing a neon orange jacket with
blue shiny leather pants. He has crystal blue eyes that shine from a
mile away and dirty blond hair. His eyes, nose, and mouth are
condensed all together in one area of his face and he has a large gap
between his mouth and chin. His chin pops out about five inches in
diameter, sharp and pointy on the end, which looks like a Viking
vessel you would see in those Viking documentaries on television.
This midget is definitely a peculiar looking individual. The other
midget is more subtle in his appearance, as he has brown hair, brown
eyes, wearing a plain black dress shirt, black jeans, and lavender
colour sunglasses. The one noticeably stunning characteristic of this
midget is his extraordinary large cranium. His cranium exceeds the
normal cubic centimetres of an average human. His head is so large
that it could be compared to ancient ancestors of man like the Homo
Habilis fossils found in the Olduvai Gorge sight in Tanzania, Africa.
These fossils were more than double the normal size of a standard
human cranium. These four men are definitely different from one
another, but share one thing in common; they obviously want to be
contrary to the norm as perceived by our society.
Perched high above the four men is a splendid view of the Castelo
Sao Jorge, a castle that overlooks the city of Lisbon. The blond man
stares directly at the castle and examines its intriguing architecture;
what catches his eye is the four square columns that are divided into
perfectly configured rectangles where the knights would stand to
watch for invaders. The castle is enormous as it stretches for what
seems an eternity in feet across the hill it is perched upon.
The blond man gestures towards the castle as he emphatically
exclaims, "Ah yes, did you know, gentlemen, that this castle was
erected back in the fifth century and was occupied by numerous
armies. The Romans, the Moors, the Portuguese Monarchs, and
remarkably it still stands, fascinating! Yesterday while you guys were
procrastinating, I strolled to the top of the hill and walked through
this castle; it has hidden passages, and just beautiful gardens with
jacaranda trees posted all over the place. Amazing because these
trees are imported from Brazil. Of course you numskulls have no
idea what Iím talking about."
The muscular man and the two midgets clap their hands
sarcastically at the blond man. The eccentric midget retorts, "Brilliant,
Lars, just brilliant, you are a walking, talking encyclopedia. Can you
please tell us how these cappuccinos are made, or better yet break
down its composition to its very smallest particles and explain how
matter is formed?"
"Ha, ha, ha, Johnson, I never knew you had such a witty sense of
humour, perhaps I can show you the chemical composition of these
cappuccinos by sticking it up where the sun doesnít shine? Iím sure
you would enjoy that!"
"Lars, you are a jerk!"
"Thank you for the kind compliment, Johnson, but we have no
time to argue, it is now twelve thirty p.m. and since we are in Europe,
men, you know what that means. Lars stops, pauses and stares up
into the shining sun. The National Bank of Portugal is closing in
thirty minutes and we must be leaving. Okay, so now who is paying
for the bill?"
They all sit and look at one another waiting for someone to speak.
Lars with his Swedish accent ends the silence as he says, "Oh, come
on guys, I paid the last time, Hanzeus, you cheap man. My recollection
tells me you have not paid for our cappuccino sessions since Athens,
Greece. That was nearly four months ago. Itís your turn."
Hanzeus, the midget with the large cranium, responds to Lars
with a discontent look, "No way Lars nice try, I got us drinks last
week in Hamburg, remember? Iím not paying."
"Well, but of course, I think youíre right, in fact, I know youíre
right, God with that melon of a cranium Hanzeus you can remember
every single detail from the last ten years. Man that thing is huge.
You can seriously knock someone out with that cranium. Hanzeus, I
think your cranium is getting larger by the day, what is the width of
"Shut up Lars, itís not that big."
"Hanzeus, itís okay to have a large head, I mean some women
find it attractive. You know the saying the larger the head, the smarter
the person. However, in your case, that does not have any implication
what so ever, ha, ha, ha." Everyone at the table laughs along with
Lars. "Now listen to me, both of you midgets, Iím the leader of this
clan, and you guys would be living on the street if it werenít for me.
Hanzeus, you would be playing the accordion, while Johnson would
be perched on top of your head with a cup in his hand begging for
change. Actually, Johnson, I could see you dressed up as a parrot;
you know, talking to the tourists, and amazingly with that chin they
would honestly think you were a parrot, your chin would be the
beak. The only thing that would give you away is that a parrot can
actually put together a normal English sentence without it sounding
Lars laughs arrogantly at his mockery of Hanzeus. Johnson angrily
slams his fist on the table and says, "Lars youíre really starting to
get on my nerves. You Swedes think youíre so much superior than
the rest of us, and really what is with that ridiculous outfit youíre
wearing, I mean I wouldnít even be caught dead wearing that."
Lars sticks his chin out and mockingly imitates Johnson, "Lars,
Lars, I mean I wouldnít even be caught dead in that silly outfit. Listen,
Johnson, weíll discuss this later, we need to get to the bank and
since I am the most punctual out of us all and realise we have just
wasted five minutes arguing over such petty imbecilic topics, Iíll
pay for the bill."
Lars waves across to the waiter and gives the man the "may we
have the bill" sign by signing his left hand with his right index finger.
The waiter nods his head and rushes to the cashier to grab the pending
bill for Lars and his clan. The waiter swings by the table and drops
the bill into Larsí outstretched hand. Lars examines the bill closely
and appears to have a look of disbelief on his face.
"You see, look at what this world is coming to, inflation of all
goods and services. I mean look at this bill, this is preposterous.
Five thousand escudos, that is like thirty dollars American. What a
rip off. Besides the service here was horrible. Iím not leaving this
guy a tip."
Johnson leans over towards the table and utters, "You are one
"Listen, in this day and age, money does not come easy; the
unemployment rate is up, people are depressed, recession lurks
worldwide, and you two geeks have the audacity to call me cheap.
No I am being smart with my money, who knows how long we will
be able to pull off our reign of scheming in this condemned world.
Iím leaving him five thousand escudos and since I am a nice guy
despite what you geeks think Iím going to leave him with some
Russian rubles for a tip."
Johnson, with a startled look, viscously yells, "Russian rubles,
that has the same value like monopoly money, absolutely nothing,
zero. Come on, at least leave him something that is worth something."
Lars calmly places the Russian rubles on the tray and smiles at
Johnson as he takes off his sunglasses. "The Russian ruble is on the
rise, and in about a year it may reach the market once again. Ha, ha,
ha, God Iím brilliant. Okay, letís get going. Merlin, you have been
like a sitting mute button on a television converter. Hanzeus, check
and see if he has a pulse."
Merlin, the muscular man with a dazed and confused look, pauses
to respond to Lars. He opens his mouth ever so gingerly and speaks
in a low and slow tone; "Iíve been just waiting here yah, for you
guys to stop fighting."
Lars snickers at Merlin, "Yah, that German accent kills me,
Merlin. Hanzeus, grab the Mercedes we stole from the Lisbon Luxury
hotel and bring it to the front to pick us up. Wait, before you go, here
is your stool so you can reach the gas pedal."
Hanzeus turns to Lars and gives him a look of discontent as Lars
waves him to retrieve the car and drive it to the front of the Navigators
Lounge. Hanzeus runs with great intensity on his face as he stares at
his watch realizing they have fifteen minutes to reach the National
Bank of Portugal.
While waiting for Hanzeus, Lars lights up a cigarette as he smiles
at all the women browsing the narrow cobblestone streets of the
Alfama district. Slowly down the street a strange old man uttering
Portuguese to himself begins to approach Lars, Johnson, and Merlin.
He stops and stares directly at Lars, then begins to sing some type of
fado Portuguese song to Lars. Johnson and Merlin shrivel and feel
embarrassed about the situation as it transpires, while Lars continues
to smoke away grinning and laughing at this obviously mentally
disturbed old man. Everyone sitting outside of the cafťs has stopped
to see what may unfold; a situation is arising at a most inappropriate
time for Lars and his men. The old man begins to sing louder while
he swings back and fourth like a rowboat. Lars appears unfazed about
the incident and begins to conduct the old manís fado song as if he
were a maestro, laughing and giving Johnson and Merlin a wink
during this awkward situation. The old man stops his singing and
seems upset that Lars is making a mockery out of him in front of all
the masses. He begins speaking Portuguese to Lars; Lars nods his
head as if he understands what the old man is telling him.
Johnson grabs Lars by the shoulder pulling him away from the
old man and whispers into Larsí ear, "Lars, this is no time to play,
this man is going to kill you, look at him, he is crazy. Come on, letís
"Nonsense, Johnson, he just wants attention, like most of us do,
we all want to be adored by everyone. His method is just unorthodox
and he doesnít know how to convey what he really wants in life."
"And what would that be, all mighty one?"
"It is elementary, Johnson, love, he wants to be loved. Look at
him, he is lonely. Iím going to give him a hug."
"Lars, I knew that you were insane, but this is pushing it."
"Silence, Johnson, watch and learn how to handle yourself in
Lars approaches the old man, and does what he had told Johnson
he would do, he gives him a big hug, and to add the cherry on top
gives him a kiss on the cheek. The old man is stunned and puzzled.
He backs off from Lars and begins to cry. The old man approaches
Lars once again and gives him a hug while crying. Lars turns towards
the masses and addresses them in a speech.
"Itís all right, we have all been neglected at least several times in
our lifetimes, havenít we? We are all guilty of self-indulgence, we
need to share the fruit with everyone. There should be no man, nor
woman, nor child ever treated or neglected as this man has been. We
are human and we all need love and compassion. Without it we are
nothing. I want you all to tell everyone you know, heck, even those
people you donít know, that they matter. Everyone matters, go home
and show your love, tell those closest to you how much they mean to
you because we only live once."
Amazingly the masses all stand and salute Larsí persuasive speech,
and begin showing good gestures to one another, people hugging,
people smiling, laughing with one another. Lars modestly accepts
the applause as people commemorate his bold and gutsy approach to
the old man for not fearing the unknown.
Lars modestly takes a few bows and turns to Johnson and Merlin
and says, "You see, Johnson and Merlin, people fear that which is
different, they fear the unknown, and are afraid to take the plunge or
the next step into discovering what is the meaning of life."
Johnson shaking his head at Larsí antics retorts, "Have you found
your true meaning of life, Lars?"
"Hell no, Johnson, not until I conquer every major bank in the
world! You know what the key is, Johnson and Merlin, it is using
what I like to call exhortation, the art of persuading the masses into
what you believe and embedding it into their minds. For instance, I
took you three hamanaegers out from your shells and made you into
brave men. Intelligence, well that still needs a bit of work, Iím afraid."
Merlin, with a puzzled facial expression, scratches his forehead
as he appears to methodically take his time to speak, "Hamanaegers,
what is that?"
Johnson brushes Lars to the side and turns to Merlin to explain
Larsí vocabulary. "Iíll answer that one, Lars. Merlin, hamanaeger is
a word that the great Lars has created for people that are losers, you
know, imbeciles, going nowhere in life in a heartbeat."
Lars laughs as he sarcastically claps his hands at Johnson. "Could
have not said it any better than that, Johnson. You are learning. Oh,
here comes cranium driving in the Mercedes. Good God, I mean
really, the first striking feature is not that beautiful Mercedes, it is
that of Hanzeusí bohemian cranium. Look at that thing, it is huge."
Hanzeus pulls up to the front of the Navigators Lounge and picks
up Lars, Johnson, and Merlin. They drive away as the masses wave
goodbye to Lars.
Lars, trying not to be pretentious, arrogantly smiles at Johnson
and tells him, "Exhortation, isnít it beautiful."
Hanzeus, with his squeaky voice, asks his fellow colleagues what
had just happened. "I say, why are they smiling and waving at us
Lars who is sitting in the passenger seat giggles at Hanzeus.
"Because I told them that we have discovered a prehistoric man and
have assimilated him into the twenty-first century style of living. I
told them he can even drive."
"Very funny, Lars."
Larsí demeanor quickly changes as he now has a poised look as
he lights up another cigarette. "Okay, enough horsing around, it is
time to put the metal to the pedal, so step on it, cranium, we have ten
minutes before the bank closes. Mr. Johnson, here is your costume."
He hands over a deer suit with a mask face of a deer, with long
curved antlers to Johnson. "Merlin, well here is your Merlin
costume." Lars passes a shiny blue costume to Merlin. On the chest
part of this wizard gown is a half moon emblem. Lars then hands
him the most intriguing part of this costume, the pointy, shiny blue
hat that has the same half moon design. "Okay, Hanzeus, here you
go." He gives Hanzeus a shiny knight armour suit, and a helmet that
covers his face. "Lastly, the greatest outfit of them all, Mr. Sheep."
Lars has the most flamboyant of all the costumes; it is a sheep
costume made out of real wool with Larsí face sticking out from the
front wearing turquoise sunglasses. Once all of the costumes had
been given to each member, Lars digs deep into the bag and pulls
out the most essential element to any bank robberís scheme, the
"Now then, we all know the routine, we have done this for six
years now, and have not been caught once. So just stick to what we
usually do and all is well. Okay, everyone disengage loaded cartridges
and load with dummies. Hanzeus, Iíll do yours since you are driving.
Once again I emphasise that by no means do we pull out the real
cartridges unless it is absolutely necessary. We are not killers, just
people trying to make a living since the government taxes you up the
ass. We have never had to change cartridges, let alone shoot anyone,
so let us keep our code of arms in tack. Agreed?"
Lars, Johnson, Hanzeus, and Merlin all at once, "Agreed."
"Remember, it is near the end of the day for these bank workers
so they are tired and somewhat delusional so we are in and out in
ninety seconds. We want to traumatise the managers because they
think they are royalty, but do not scare the bank tellers; most of them
are either students, or people just trying to make an honest living. So
do not scare them, do as we always do, joke around. If a teller is a
hot woman then only I get to flirt with her and no one else. Agreed?"
Johnson, Hanzeus, and Merlin all stare at one another and shout
with great obedience as they roll their eyes. "Yes Master."
Lars takes one last drag of his cigarette and tosses it onto the
road. He looks at his men with great confidence. "Thatís my boys.
Johnson, you have the stereo."
"Yes, master," Johnson replies.
"All right, letís put in our hours of work for the day."
The bandits pull up in front of the National Bank of Portugal,
and park the car. Hanzeus remains in the car leaving the engine
running while Lars, Johnson, and Merlin enter the bank in their
outrageous outfits. Johnson places a tape into the stereo and plays a
techno song with a very fast beat with the lyrics, "Weíre just men,
and not your toys, canít you see, weíre the men, not your play toys,
baby." The song gets faster in beat and bass, as the three enter the
bank marching in like soldiers.
Now inside the bank, Lars begins to dance like a ballerina, while
Johnson does a dance like a Greek bouzouki dancer with his arms
swinging outwards snapping his fingers, while Merlin swings his
arms around with no coordination whatsoever. The people in the
bank are quite amused by this spectacle; it is amusing as the tellers,
bank managers, and clients all begin to laugh. Lars, the eccentric,
grabs a woman, a fairly attractive one, and lays a big kiss on her lips;
she smiles and dances along with him. This is entertainment for these
people. They have never seen such unorthodox people like this before
in their lives. Lars continues to prance around like a fairy. He looks
at his watch and points to Merlin, the cue to pull out the arsenal.
Merlin pulls out an M-16 and fires at the roof; people begin to scream
as Lars and Johnson ask everyone politely to get on the ground.
After several seconds of mad panic the masses calm down as Lars
Lars speaks, "Hello, hello, ladies and gentlemen, hamanaegers
and pricks, we mean you no harm whatsoever, we are here just to
take a few dollars and get out of your lives. If anyone is brave enough
to stop us they will be simply shot. Ha, ha, ha. If anyone is stupid
enough to try and stop us, just remember that the banks in situations
like these insure this money we are stealing. Excuse me, let me
rephrase, taking back the money that is stolen from the people on
interest charges and distributing it fairly to people in need. Of course,
we hold eighty percent of the money, but at least we give some. See,
we are nice bank robbers. Now then, missy, do you have the key to
open the cash till?" A scared lady shakes her head saying no and
points to what appears to be the bank manager. "Okay, Mr. Vila,
your name tag reads, could you please empty out your cash into my
bag and into my colleagueís bag? You have twenty seconds to do
this and if you donít, Iíll shoot your balls off you. Ha, ha, ha." Mr.
Vila rushes with urgency and drops the money into the bags, and
while doing so he presses the emergency button.
Mr. Vila irately whips the remainder of the cash and stares at
Lars with disgust. "Here, take it, just leave us alone, you criminals."
"Mr. Vila, that was a very hurtful thing to say. I mean youíre
playing with fire. You have three men with loaded firearms pointing
at you and your co-workers; and on top of it all you pressed that silly
red button for help. Frankly, I am little disappointed in you
endangering these peopleís lives for your own triumph. Mr. Vila, we
are not amateur robbers, I know it is one oíclock, and I also know it
is siesta time for your people, which means things run behind in
time as of this present moment, and that includes the police.
Nevertheless, you pissed me off, so Iím going to kill you."
Bang. Lars shoots Mr. Vila in the chest as he falls to the ground
with what appears to be blood trickling out of his heart. Everyone in
the bank is now screaming and crying. Lars laughs at one of the
woman tellers as she approaches him and yells, "How could you do
this? I thought you said you would not hurt anyone?"
"My fair lady, I did keep my promise, that is just fake blood. I
just wanted to scare the prick. Good day!"
Johnson and Merlin run out of the National Bank of Portugal.
Lars stares back at the teller and she smiles at him; Lars follows his
counterparts as they vanish through the revolving doors.
The woman teller bends down towards the fallen Mr. Vila and
says to him, "Mr. Vila youíll be fine. That is not real blood, they
were fake bullets."
Mr. Vila shouts in great pain and anxiety, "Oh God, Iím on the
verge of death, someone call an ambulance, oh God."
"Mr. Vila, get up, youíre fine, did you not hear me the first time,
they were fake."
"Oh, what, those bastards, oh I will kill them. Oh my God, look
at what they have done; they made me pee myself. Oh God."
The bank tellers walk away with a smile on their faces, as if they
actually enjoyed the experience of seeing their boss cry like a baby.
Now a safe distance from the National Bank of Portugal, Lars
and his men ditch the Mercedes car by the Belem train station just
outside of downtown Lisbon and change quickly into civilian
clothing. They place their outrageous costumes in a sack and hand it
over to Merlin. Lars and Johnson quickly hand over the money to
Hanzeus while they ditch their machine guns into a local trash bin.
Lars turns to his men and says, "Well done, gentlemen, I think
that was fun. Would anyone argue? I thought not. Nevertheless
Submitted by Tony Vogiantzis, posted on Sunday September 08, @12:38PM