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
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 email@example.com 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.