Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Dreams That Never Were by Greg Messel - Book Tour

DREAMS THAT NEVER WERE by Greg Messel, Historical Fiction


Author: Greg Messel

Publisher: Sunbreaks Publishing

Pages: 296

Genre: Historical Fiction

“Some men see things as they are and say, ‘Why? I dream of things that never were and say, ‘Why not?" -- Robert F. Kennedy

June 5, 1968:  Senator Robert F. Kennedy, then a candidate for President and
victorious in the California primary, was mortally wounded by assassin
Sirhan Sirhan as he exited the ballroom at the Ambassador Hotel in Los
Angeles.  Innocent bystanders were also wounded, including young and
idealistic Alex Hurley, a San Francisco reporter.

Swept up in the turbulent events of 1968, Alex is captivated both by the Presidential
race and by Vietnam, where he had recently been a war correspondent. 
His time in Vietnam had cost him his marriage and bitterly separated him
from his own family.

Recovering from his wounds—physical and emotional—a new and surprising love restores his hope.

Part political thriller, part romance, Alex Hurley’s story in “Dreams That
Never Were,” captures the turmoil of the day, set against the backdrop
of the Vietnam War and America's wrenching response to it. This novel is
the latest historical fiction from award winning author Greg Messel.


Sirhan Sirhan shot Robert F. Kennedy in the kitchen pantry of the
Ambassador Hotel. Kennedy was leaving a victory party after winning the California
Primary in June of 1968. Sirhan continued to fire his gun as the crowd tried to
subdue him. Five additional people were wounded by the stray bullets. I have
one of those wounded be my fictional character, Alex Hurley. This excerpt is
when Alex wakes up in the hospital and is unaware of what has occurred. Here’s
the excerpt: 

I heard unfamiliar voices talking.
“He’s starting to open his eyes,” someone said.
“That’s a great sign,” commented another.
I detected a pain in my side, just below my rib
cage. I tried to open my eyes, but they seemed to be glued shut. The voices
resumed—talking about me as if I wasn’t there. Finally, I blinked my eyes,
trying to focus, and soon realized  I was in a hospital bed. Standing by
me, with concerned looks etched on their faces, was an odd collection of people
from my life. 
Through my bleary eyes, I saw my ex-wife Brenda;
John Greer, my photographer pal from San Francisco; and Darlene Harvey, the
reporter from the Los Angeles Times, I’d been admiring from afar since I
had arrived in Southern California. 
Brenda moved forward and tenderly gripped my hand
in a way that she had not done for a long time. 
“How are you, Alex?” she asked softly. 
I gave a weak shake of my head. “I dunno. What
“Don’t you remember, mate?” John jumped in. 
“Remember what?” I mumbled blankly, as my weak
voice tailed off into nothing.
“He’s still coming out of the drugs. Give him a
minute,” Brenda pleaded. “They’ve been keeping him kind of doped up since the
surgery. This is the first time I’ve been able to talk to him.”
“Surgery?” I asked. 
Brenda shushed me and gently ran her long, slender
fingers through my hair. “Take it easy. Don't try to talk right now. Take your
time. Then we’ll help you understand what happened.”
I groggily attempted to get my bearings. “We were
at the hotel. Everyone was celebrating Bobby’s victory. I was following him out
of the ballroom, and there was like a riot. I was suddenly on the floor and
couldn’t get up. It was strange. All of these people kept stepping on me—on my
arm and on my legs.” 
I glanced at my
right hand which was heavily bandaged. “I got knocked down. I’m sorry.
Everything is a little hazy. I’m having trouble getting my brain to work.”
The three people hovering over me could not have
been more different—two beautiful women and John, with his long black hair
pulled back in a ponytail and a scruffy beard covering his face. The trio
exchanged concerned glances, whispered, and nodded at one another. I started to
shift in my bed and was met with a jolts of pain in my side and my leg. 
Brenda attempted to lighten the mood. “I was afraid
you’d wake up in your hospital bed, see your ex-wife standing over you, and
think you’d died and gone to hell.”
I gave her a weak smile, while the others chuckled
to break the tension. 
Brenda was trying to make sure my re-entry was a
slow descent, but that strategy was quickly dashed when John started blurting
out all the details of the last 14 hours. “Take it easy, Alexander. You’ve had
surgery. You were shot, man. They removed the bullet. The doc says you’re going
to be fine. Some people from
San Francisco are on their
way down here, including our boss. Everyone’s been worried about you after they
saw the news.”
“The news? I was shot?”
Brenda glared at John. “Way to go slow, John.
Senator Kennedy was shot. You and some other people were also wounded by the
“No, no, no!” I yelled. “Bobby was shot? No, not
this time! This wasn’t supposed to happen! Assassin? Is Senator Kennedy going
to be all right?” 
John moved closer. “Bobby’s just down the hall.
He’s still alive, but he’s not doing very well.”
“Not doing very well?” I snapped with rapidly accelerating
John blundered ahead. “This place is like a
fortress. It was hard to get in here especially onto this floor. Cops are
“Maybe we should go,” Darlene said shooting a
glance at John. “We’ll come back later, Alex. We just had to see you. We were
so worried.” 
“No, no, don’t leave right now,” I pleaded. I
repeated what I had been told to try to take in the enormity of the news.
“Senator Kennedy was shot. How could… how did it happen?”
Brenda nodded to John and Darlene. “I’ll stay with
him. I know you must be very busy.”
Darlene leaned over and kissed me on the cheek. She
was dabbing tears from her eyes. “It’s been a long night. We’re all living in a
nightmare. I’m so sorry, Alexander. It’s good to see you awake.”
Darlene grabbed John by the elbow and pushed him
towards the door. John flashed a peace sign. “Peace, my brother. I’ll see you a
little later. Take it easy and get better. I’ve got to call
San Francisco. Everyone’s
anxious to hear about you.”


Greg Messel grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and lives on the
Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, with his wife, Jean DeFond. Dreams That Never Were is his 11th
novel and is a historical fiction account of a young reporter caught up
in the events surrounding the assassination of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy
in 1968. Greg has also written a series of mystery novels set in San
Francisco in the 1950s. He has lived in Oregon, Washington, California,
Wyoming and Utah and has always loved writing, including stints as a
reporter, columnist and news editor for a daily newspaper. Greg won a
Wyoming Press Association Award as a colunist and has contributed
articles to various magazines.



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