Gyspy Escape by Florida Author Bobbie Altschul

November 18, 2009 at 5:53 pm (Crime Novels, mystery, Suspense Novels) (, , , , , , , )

About the Book

Beth and Alex Frey both leave their jobs in Michigan on a sabbatical to travel around the United States for an undetermined time.  They try to pretend that they left their jobs for the fun of adventure but the underlying reason was that Beth had been stalked by a mad man and Alex wanted to get her away from the threat.

Leaving their jobs and family behind does not eliminate their problems or fears.  The stalker seems to be following them on their travels.  How does he know where they are?  Why does he think he has to pursue his harassment of Beth now that she is no longer involved with his case?

Each time the couple thinks the past is behind them and they get involved in their travels, something happens to shake their peace of mind.

As if they didn’t have enough to worry about, their best friends, Joyce and Kevin, seem to be bringing their own problems into the Frey’s life.  There is also an underlying secret that Alex and Joyce share that could rock the foundation of his and Beth’s relationship.

The threats start escalating and where there were just innuendoes before, now the threats are getting physical and deadly.  Putting the pieces together it finally dawns on Alex that the stalker is not who they were so sure it was.  By the time he figures this out he knows that Beth is alone in a remote place with the stalker who he now knows intends to be a killer.  Can he get to her in time?

About the Author

Bobbie Altschul has published short stories in the past but Gypsy Escape is her first published novel.  She has traveled extensively in order to research the locations in the novel.  As well as all of the travel to give her book credibility she was also involved with the Michigan Circuit Courts for over fifteen years and was herself harassed by a mad man as was Beth in Gypsy Escape

After experiencing the 2004 Hurricanes in Florida, Bobbie and her husband, Hank, have been living and traveling in their motor home with their animals:  a dog, a cat and a parrot.

Bobbie is presently preparing a second novel, Delusional, for publication as well as being in the midst of writing the second novel in the Gypsy series.

Bobbie has dedicated this novel to her beloved Jacques Cousteau, the inspiration for the Hootmaan character.  We love you and miss you.


Gypsy queen: Adventure everywhere for traveling


By Peg McNichol

Holland Sentinel contributor

Posted Aug 18, 2009 @ 08:58 PM

Bobbie Altschul sees stories everywhere

she looks. No surprise, given the adventures she’s had

over the last decade traveling to 41 states in a recreational


But Altschul, 60, did more than have experiences. She kept

journals and sent lively notes to friends. Some of those

notes went into Altschul’s first book, “Gypsy Escape.” The

new novelist is hoping to convince area book shops to host

events where she can read, sign, and most importantly, sell

her first book.

“Gypsy” tells the story of a couple, Beth and Alex Frey, who

embark on their own RV adventure — but they are running

away from trouble: Beth’s dangerous stalker. Altschul

thought of the story 10 years ago. She worked

intermittently to craft the tale, struggling over dialogue.

“They can’t talk like me,” she said. But the Freys visited

many of the RV campgrounds the Altschuls did.

A voracious reader (at 14, she devoured “Gone with the

Wind”), Altschul tried her hand at writing decades ago,

when she wasn’t busy raising her three daughters.

“In high school, whenever there was a contest, I entered,”

she said, smiling and shaking her head.

In 1986, the Christian teen magazine “Alive!” published her

first short story. In 2001, she had a second short story

published in “True Love” magazine.

Her then-husband wasn’t impressed. The couple divorced.

She married second husband Hank Altschul nearly 20

years ago. He’s a former truck driver, and beams when he talks about his wife’s foray into the publishing world.

“She’s always on the computer,” said Hank Altschul, grinning. “I wake up and hear the ticking of her computer keys.”

She kept the novel under wraps at first, but let him read the final draft. He encouraged her to find a publisher, so

Bobbie mailed the manuscript out, again and again. Sometimes the rejection arrived within weeks; others took as

much as six months.

“Hank got more upset about it than I did,” Bobbie Altschul said. “He’s the one who said I should publish it myself.”

They paid “around $1,000,” Bobbie said, to AuthorHouse, an online publishing company. That basic package did not

include editing or marketing.

“All the typos are mine,” Bobbie said, laughing.

She has worked hard promoting “Gypsy Escape,” its sequel, and “Delusional,” which Bobbie Altschul wrote while

working on “Gypsy.”

The Altschuls understand business and printing. They co-owned Litho-Tech Printing in Holland, but sold it 10 years

ago. They’d planned on boating through the river systems to the Atlantic ocean, then to the inlet separating Port

Charlotte and Punta Gorda in Florida. They planned to live on the boat for about two years, buy a business and

eventually buy a home. Some plans didn’t work out.

The boat sold just days after they put it on the market. The Altschuls quickly bought a home and a shop specializing

in interior design and silk flowers.

In 2004, just after they’d expanded the shop inventory, along came three major storms: Hurricane Charley, which

destroyed their shop; then Hurricanes Francis and Jeanne.

The Altschuls bought a used Winnebago, sold their house and moved what furniture they wanted to keep to Bobbie’s

parents’ Florida home. In 2005, the couple hit the road with a talking Quaker parrot named Chickadee Charlie for

company and a red 2004 Saturn in tow. Along the way, they rescued a small dog, named Scuba; domesticated a feral

cat, which may be part bobcat, named Snorkel. The Altschuls visited 54 national monuments in 41 states. Bobbie

wrote her observations about each one.

“Every campground has its own personality. You meet a lot of interesting people at an RV campground,” she said. “I

wish we could have done this with the kids, when they were little.”

She jotted down some memories of her 15 years as a deputy Friend of the Court in three West Michigan counties,

Branch, Ottawa and Allegan. She saw the best and worst in human behavior while helping sort out divorce and

custody issues. From time to time, she’ll get a phone call or note from someone who wants to thank her. One

unhappy client, however, expressed his displeasure by stalking and threatening her. He landed in jail. Altschul said

some of her court experiences helped add authentic drama to “Gypsy” but the story is not based on any specific

people or situations.

“The character in the book is not that person. No. Some of the minor things have happened,” she said. “Obviously it’s

not him.”

But every spot the Freys stop is a place the Altschuls visited.

For the next two or three weeks, the Altschuls will be camping in West Michigan, hoping to sell a few more books —

the Winnebago sports a poster-sized version of the “Gypsy” book cover. When they return to the road, taking turns at

the wheel, they’ll head west. Maybe Utah. Maybe Oklahoma. Bonnie Altschul can’t wait to write about wherever she

goes, weaving each location into her characters’ adventures.

“Gypsy Escape” is available in electronic, paperback and hardcover versions from Authorhouse, Amazon, Barnes and

Noble and other booksellers, or can be purchased directly from the Altschuls by e-mailing or

by calling (941) 286-1203. Prices range from $3.95 to $13.70.

An excerpt from “Gypsy Escape” in which

Beth and her dog, Hootmaan, confront a stranger

The rustling in the trees sounded closer with each passing minute. Sweat broke out on

Beth’s brow as she rounded a bend that she thought was not too far from the

campground but was closer to the tree line. Her heart skipped several beats when from

around a huge tree a shadow emerged and a large deer leaped in front of her and

plunged into the river and began to swim across. Beth had to laugh out loud as she put

her hands on her knees and tried to catch her breath.

She had calmed herself, slipped (her gun) back into her waistband and her heart rate

was back to normal when she felt a huge rough hand on her shoulder. Hootmaan let

out a yelp as she spun around to be face to face with the largest man she had ever

seen. He was taller than Alex so he was over six feet tall. She looked into the

menacing grey eyes and the thick beard and seemed to be frozen in place. She had

forgotten for a moment that she had the gun behind her back and she spun around

and away from the hand that rested on her shoulder, her hand searching for the


Almost tripping on Hootmaan’s leash she brought the gun up and pointed it at the

man. “Back off,” she yelled.




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