Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Devil is Alive and Well

“What is that?” Luis asked, trying to compose himself while his body seemed bent on bringing up the remaining undigested contents of his stomach.
“One of our brothers,” Nathaniel stood and said.
“What?” Luis managed to ask. “But how? Who?”
“I am uncertain.”
Nathaniel was out of sorts. He was as confused as he had ever been in his life, going back all the way to his home in Cimpulung, Romania. The object at his feet was clearly a burned human form, and one of the monks of the monastery. How he had been dispatched was unclear. There was no wind about them, though the monastery was high in the mountains. It was as if everything was dead - human, animal, plant, atmosphere – everything.
“What’s that other terrible odor?” Luis asked.
“Sulfur,” Nathaniel answered. And then he began to wonder.
“Yes. It used to be called brimstone.”

Greetings, Fire Enthusiasts. *glances around, sighs* Still summer, huh?
This is the traditional end of summer weekend, and how I wish it were Halloween already. At least then the heat would be long gone. If you enjoy summer then I hope the season finds you enjoying all that is left. Me? Not so much. That's central California for ya'. *grins*
I led off with a snippet of book 2 in my Dance on Fire crossover vampire series. The series that begs the question whether a vampire can be used by God. It's not a Christian novel, necessarily, but it does ask those questions and plays along those lines. The reviews have been good for Dance on Fire and Dance on Fire: Flash Point. I'm sitting on book 3 at the moment, patiently awaiting word from my betas as to how I'm doing so far. I've actually heard from one of them already, and she couldn't be happier. She says it's my best so far. That's always great to hear. It does have a title that I am not yet ready to reveal. The amazing Maria Zannini is also whipping up her cover magic at the moment. I'm still taking my time and hoping for an early 2015 release. We'll see... 

Cautiously, they walked inside the monastery. The sound of the door opening and closing behind them was loud. The monastery, which had always been a place of quiet reflection, now reminded Nathaniel of a crypt.
He would soon hate himself for having thought so.
When they turned a corner they stumbled upon two more smoldering heaps of human remains. In the candlelight they could make out more of the details, but it did nothing but succeed in making them further sickened in both stomach and heart—and for good reason. Not only did Nathaniel fully expect to see more of these, but now he was certain that Luis might be the last of his brothers left alive.
At the end of the corridor, there was another.
They walked through a doorway and were met by yet another. Luis covered his nose with both hands. They began to walk faster now. Their footfalls echoed harshly against the stone and wood building.
Outside the sanctuary, they found another. They had to slide it out of their way in order to open the door. When they did, they found precisely what they expected to find. The place was filled with rolled up charred remains. In the light of the sanctuary, the smoke and heat could be seen wafting off.
“My God!” Luis whispered.
“No, it isn’t.”
At the front of the sanctuary was a figure. At first glance, he appeared to be a tall man with a medium build, although he stood with his back to them, his hands clasped behind him. “I know you’re not referring to me,” he laughed. “But I appreciate the sentiment.”
The man wore slacks and a dress jacket. His dark hair was slicked back. The candlelight reflected off gold jewelry on several of his fingers as well as his left wrist.
“You know,” he continued, but still didn’t turn around to face them. “There’s something about this architecture that I’ve always liked. I don’t know what it is. I guess it’s familiar.”
“Whatever happens,” Nathaniel instructed. “Do not speak.”
Luis turned as if to ask why, but Nathaniel gave him a sharp look. He turned back just as the figure before them turned. He was still holding his hands behind his back.
“That’s right, dear Luis. Don’t speak. Truth be told, none of your brothers said anything either and it didn’t save them. Who’s to say what may happen?”

The reason I'm offering up what happens at the end of book 2 is because it is a fantastic tease as to what will be the entirety of book 3. Satan is not pleased that there is a vampire seeking God and thwarting his plans at seemingly every turn. It gets under his skin, as it were. And he will not put up with that...

“What do you want?” Nathaniel asked.
“What do I want,” the figure mimicked. “Hmm? I wonder. No, wait. I know. I want you to stay out of my affairs!” With those words, he swatted a smoldering ball of remains that was on the pew beside him. It rolled along the pew and collided with another, causing both to fall onto the wood floor. “I want you to quit killing my creations! How’s that? Is that clear enough for you to understand?”
“I have only become involved when it had to do with my friends.”
“Not true,” he said, and his voice was suddenly lacking the vile anger of just a few moments before. “When you leaped through that nursery window and interfered with my son, they were not yet your friends.”
Nathaniel saw Luis out of the corner of his eye. The man looked awestruck, but he couldn’t worry about that now. It was obvious, however, that Luis knew who this was.
The devil walked up the center aisle and stood before them in all of his twenty-first century splendor. He was impeccably dressed in a double-breasted grey suit, grey slacks and black Italian dress shoes. He removed his hands from behind his back and clasped them before him.
“So,” he said. “You boys have done well: four vampires dead. And let’s not forget about Angie.”
Nathaniel said nothing.
The devil looked away as if remembering something. “Make that five vampires. I forgot about Mark.”
The devil tried to tempt Nathaniel into reacting negatively. He wasn’t taking the bait.
“I mean, those were your bite marks on his neck, right?” he sarcastically asked.
“Yes,” Nathaniel answered through clenched teeth.
“I’m sorry,” the devil asked. “What was that?”
“Just what is it that you want, Devil?” Nathaniel asked, trying to get the conversation away from that nerve that the devil had begun to scratch.
The devil straightened up his posture. “I really don’t like that name,” he said. “I prefer Satan. You may call me that.”
Nathaniel said nothing. He knew enough about the devil from what he had read in the Bible to know that he needed to speak as little as possible. Anything more and he risked getting drawn into something that this evil force might be able to use against him, or risk becoming angered such that all of his control might be lost. As it was, things were tenuous at best.
And Satan knew that.

“What may I call you, is the question.” The Devil walked up to Nathaniel and didn’t stop until he had come before him, nearly touching his nose with his own. “I created vampires. You are a vampire. I imagine that you won’t quibble with this. That must make you my son. What do you say?”

So there you have it. I took a break from the series and these characters I have known so long when I wrote Seeing Ghosts. I was pretty burned out. It was such a wonderful break that I came back to my series, renewed. I wrote 143k words in four months. Soon I will take another pass at it before sending it off to my fantastic editor, Natalie G. Owens. If you have yet to sink your teeth into the books, I hope you'll take a look at them and give them a chance. Perhaps you'll like them enough to get caught up before Satan steps out of the shadows and attacks the vampire Nathaniel and his extended family with all that he has up his diabolical sleeve. Get the e-book that starts it off for only 99 cents.

Have a great September.

We'll talk soon.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Beta Time and a Time Out

Our view for a couple of days.

Greetings, Fire Enthusiasts. It's August, and another hot month for those of us in Central California. Summer is my least favorite season, so I'm simply biding my time until Halloween when it will finally be cool again. On the other hand, I am reminded that we don't have to shovel snow here, so one could see why I don't dread winter.

Well, as promised I have completed enough of my latest book to place it into the hands of a few wonderful beta readers. It's basically in the 94% finished range. I have some minor research opportunities to add some depth here and there, not to mention anything that the betas think I need to do to improve it as a whole. I really don't anticipate having to do too much in terms of plot, character development, etc., but we'll see. Then it will be off to the editor, but I'm not in any hurry. Taking time off allows my mind to wrap itself around the novel in such a way that I come up with little tidbits to add, or to recall plot twists or webs that could have been tied together much better than they were. At the end of this post I'll show you my working synopsis and allow anyone to be a beta reader for that, if they so desire.

A year ago I could not imagine being away from work for very long. I had just transferred to my new location and, as a kind of acting manager, felt responsible for everything that went on. Perhaps it was all of the 12 hour days this year, but I finally pulled myself away. As I pen this post I am completing a one week vacation, and not once did I worry about what was going on in my absence. I did take my company cell phone, but basically only monitored the goings on.

And I thought teenagers slept a lot?!?

This lion was huge when it got up moments later. And the growls they make? Yikes!

We drove from the Fresno area down to beautiful San Diego and stayed there for a couple of days, before driving up to Anaheim for the rest of the trip. Sadly, we did not visit Disneyland this time. We go quite a lot, so it wasn't so bad. *weeps* Originally, the plan was to stay in San Diego. That was until my 16 year old began searching for baseball games in the neighborhood, and found the freeway series would be in full swing with the Dodgers visiting the Angels. In any event, here are some photos of San Diego, our visit to the zoo, the game, and anything else I might decide to throw in.

I just had to see the Flamingos. :)

They had 2 babies. The youngest was 6 feet when it was born!

Beside the USS Midway which is now a museum, there is a park dedicated to that wonderful generation. It's a must see.

Our view of the Dodgers 2-1 win over the Angels. Sadly, I was keeping one eye on the Cubs score until it got out of hand (13-4). *sigh*

Okay, for those of you who have yet to read any of my crossover vampire series, let me set the stage for you. In Dance on Fire, Nathaniel is the "good" vampire. He knows that he is undead flesh, and because of this fact, is keenly aware that he is outside the kingdom of God. He meets someone who doesn't believe that, especially after he saves her and her family from certain death. He and his nemesis cross paths after many decades apart and battle it out in my hometown. In book 2, Dance on Fire: Flash Point, five vampires descend upon our hero and his extended family to exact some twisted revenge upon them all. Now, in book 3 (title to be revealed soon), the world's ultimate villain is back to destroy Nathaniel once and for all. Here's the synopsis. I'd love to hear your thoughts...

The devil is alive and well.

The vampire Nathaniel lives in the mountains of Oregon, seeking God and keeping a watchful eye on his friends and extended family, and keenly aware of this fact, having met Satan once before in the flesh.

Robbie and Rebekah Lopez are special, and have been since that fateful night Nathaniel saved them from another vampire. As teens, they should be concerned with only their studies, interests and friends. However, they know they are marked, and must be ready for any threat. To do so, they keep constant contact with Nathaniel as they watch over their parents, Michael and Barbara; brother Jerod; and Aunt Vanessa and her daughter Grace. They are all that is left.

They have yet to meet the devil, but they soon will.

It is Satan who has orchestrated the destruction and ruin brought upon them from the very beginning. And he’s not done. He has been setting the stage for his ultimate revenge. At long last, the devil will step out of the darkness and the shadows, with an army of vampires and an infernal plot to finish Nathaniel off for good.

And anyone who stands with him. 

If you have yet to pick up my books, I have the links on the side of the blog. The first ebook in my crossover vampire series is only 99 cents. I'd appreciate it very much if you grabbed a copy and gave me a chance. I think you'll be pleased.
I couldn't end on a sweet note, could I? 

In any event, we'll talk soon.  

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Things Are Getting Hot This Summer

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. It's good to see you. It's been a while, hasn't it? I apologize for this, but those of you who know me are well familiar with the drill. I just continue to be super busy, juggling the demanding day job as well as doing all that I can to keep pushing this writing career. And, no, the title of this post does not mean I have begun penning erotic. *laughs*

My wife & I at Union Square

I swear I didn't plan to write during the summer because I can't stand the heat. Unless it's some subconscious thing, it really just worked out that way. It is true that I am hiding inside the air conditioned house and avoiding the 100-plus degree Central California summer, but it's because I'm working on the second draft of Dance on Fire 3. I should be revealing the true name of the book sometime in early fall or so. I'm fighting the urge to begin revealing teasers like synopsis and title, but I think I should wait a bit longer. The book is really beginning to come together quite nicely and should speed up very quickly in the coming months.

Riley (20) in the background, Rian (16) in the foreground.

I find myself half way through the second draft, and not changing too much in regard to plot. That's a good thing, because it means I haven't been second-guessing myself, in spite of the hard questions I'm asking. You see, I really don't want to simply write another chapter in the lives of these characters, but want to really push the envelope here. I want these characters to grow, and I want to take my readers beyond the comfort zone that I have staked out for them thus far. I don't want to turn them off; however, I do want to push myself, too. I hope we can all grow together, and come out with a fantastic story that moves all of us.

No smiling until after I've had my coffee. ;)

It hasn't been all work. We did take a weekend and visit San Francisco last month. We saw Jamie Cullum at the legendary Fillmore, and had a great experience. My oldest son turned me on to Jamie's music, and we've been huge fans of his ever since. As soon as word dropped that he was coming to California, we had tickets. We usually end up in southern California, so visiting the north was relatively new. We did some sightseeing, shopping and bonding as a family. My oldest son will be 20 next week and my other son is already 16, so it won't be long before taking off together will be out of the question - or simply too difficult to plan with all the schedules. I ran across a bookstore while there (you remember those, right? *winks*) and picked up the Keith Richards bio, Life. It was so good, and not just for fans of the Stones. It was a walk through the history of rock n roll - old Keef remembers if all - and brutally honest. It was a hell of a read. The only way it could have been any better was if I sat on a chair beside him, drink in hand and had him tell me the whole thing in person.

The book store where I came away w/ ole' Keef.

What's next? As I said, I'm half way through the second draft of my fourth novel. I have already begum reaching out to beta readers, and look forward to getting a near-final draft into their eager hands. This coming week I am being interviewed for a podcast - I'll have to update you when that goes live. In a week I am being interviewed at my church for the service we call Outpour. It's aimed at the youth and has the loudest worship service of the week. We live in a small town, so they'll be curious how all of this works. We'll also discuss how a Christian could possibly write about all things horror and paranormal. I've done this before, and am sure to survive the experience... I hope. *laughs*

This is for all the Mel Brooks fans out there.

Once I get through this process I'll look to get more involved in blogging again. I miss all of my writer/reader pals out there. *hugs to you guys* I also look to working a lot less hours, but God knows when that might be. If nothing else, my friends, I'll see you in August.

We'll talk soon.

Monday, June 2, 2014

A June Update

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. Jimmy, here... Jimmy!! You remember. My name is plastered all over this site… Oh, Good Lord! No wonder you don't remember... *clears spider webs, squashes three as countless more scurry, accidentally kicks over one dead rat* Sigh!

So I was going to title this post: Jimmy's Last Will and Testament, but I was sure the only one who would find it amusing was me. I was equally assured that I would offend some, and I don’t want to do that. There’s nothing wrong with me, and many others out there in the world do have health issues that I do not want to belittle.

The heart of the matter is that the day job has taken over my life and doing its level best to kill me slowly. Many of you have not heard anything out of me in many weeks. That is why. I am penning this post from work on a Saturday morning coffee break where I have a fairly large crew working on a “hot” project. I will finish the week at about 58 hours which isn’t much until you recall that the week began Tuesday. I did get most of Memorial Weekend off, but did have to come in for a few hours last Saturday, too. Nearly all of May has been 11 to 13 hour days.

I did have a good turn-out for The Swedish Festival last month where I sold many copies of my books. My first book is actually set in my town and takes place just before the festival. I enjoyed sharing that with people who stopped at my table. Their eyes got big with surprise, and many bought a book because of it. Here's a few photos. That's my pal Lisa. These events also provide opportunities for internet friends to "meet" which is what we did.

Other than that, however, there hasn’t been much to share. No treadmill. No writing. No laptop. I promised I wouldn’t spent time ranting about my day job here this year, but since it’s actually gotten worse rather than better, I figured I’d better let you know I’m okay – just swamped.

Earlier this month I did have an opportunity to meet a frequent visitor to this site over the years, the multi-talented author and dear friend Diana Murdock. I was thrilled that my wife and I were able to find time on a trip we were on to stop and spend it with her. We exchanged autographed copies of our books which was awesome. I read her novel Again a few years ago and loved it. I hope it won’t be the last time we meet. Next time Vegas, right Diana? Anyone else want to join us? You think I’m kidding… ;)

So, what am I going to do this summer? Well, I hope things will calm down at work. I was all set to dust off the manuscript for my fourth novel today, but here I sit. In any event, I need to begin that second draft immediately. It is book three in my vampire series and I am introducing a new character who I’m naming after my 90+ year old grandmother. She lives in town and is doing great. She has been one of my biggest supporters and a real inspiration for us all - believe me. She lives alone, but can still take care of herself. My mother checks up on her daily and drives her to wherever she needs to go, but other than that she’s very much self-sufficient. I call her and stop by periodically for coffee every few weekends or so as I can. I am dedicating this book to her as well, so as you might well guess, I don’t want to take too long getting it into her hands.

So, if you still do not hear from me, that’s where I’ll be.

I hope all of you are finding time to do what you want to do. I wish you a great summer, and every success with everything you do. If nothing else, I’ll check in again in July.

I’d better get back to work. As I said it's a "hot" project…

We’ll talk soon.

Monday, May 5, 2014

April Showers...

Hello, it’s Me, Fire Enthusiasts. How in the world are you? Does everyone over 35 have Todd Rundgren in their head now? *evil grins* Sorry. With me I need music to live on and I had that song in my head as I penned this greeting. #notsorry

Well, what can I tell you? I could bore you with work details. It certainly explains why you rarely “see” me. As I pen this draft (Saturday 4-26) I am nearing a 70 hour work week. How does that new commercial with Gary Oldman go: “Blah, blah, blah…”

Alright, I’ve been working too hard and not spending near as much time on my trusty laptop. That about sums it up, doesn’t it? I’ve been averaging an hour a day during the workweek. During this time I basically clear e-mail, address a select few items of interest and check in on social networks. The only thing I have been doing is selling some paperbacks…

Wait! What?

Okay, but before I explain, I should probably remind you about something first. Although I initially set my debut novel Dance on Fire in a fictional town called Madison Heights (way back in the day, as they say), I decided I was spending way too much energy world-building that town. Since it was a mirror image of my own town I eventually decided to simply set my crossover vampire tale in Kingsburg, California. If Uncle Stevie could set his tales in and around Bangor, Maine, why couldn’t I do the same? So, I did, and I didn’t stop there. My sequel Flash Point begins in the real central California coastal town of Morro Bay before moving back to Kingsburg. With my latest novel Seeing Ghosts, I very briefly begin the tale here and then quickly transport the action to Salinas. All you Steinbeck fans will recall the Monterey and Salinas areas. It’s a frequent weekend getaway spot for my family. If in the neighborhood you should really check it out. The Monterey Bay Aquarium is world famous.

So, now that you know all of that, you might be able to see how I could have a built-in demographic for my novels. Last month I finished work on getting all three of my novels produced in paperback with Amazon’s CreateSpace. They sit on a shelf in a store in Kingsburg called Trinkets & Treasures that is aimed mostly at the female demographic, although there is a man-cave section. It is a Co-op store. I obviously don’t have time to work in it, but I do help with promotion and man a table during any events. We had a grand Re-Opening several weeks back and I sold 12 copies of Seeing Ghosts (at the time the only paperback available). Recently for Kingsburg’s annual car show (with all novels available) I sold 23 books. During the third weekend in May, Kingsburg will celebrate its annual Swedish Festival. That event is huge and we should get a thousand visitors or more. If you have read my debut Dance on Fire you will recall that I set that story just before this event takes place one year.

Having said all of this, you can see that there are many reasons why people in the California central valley might be swayed into picking up copies of my novels. Since I have limited time it is where I have been focusing all of my available energies. I have also been in contact with two local libraries in one manner or another, as well as a local book club.

It is still just the beginning of what I can possibly do with my writing. I don’t know if this information can help any of you with getting the word out with any of your novels, my friends, but I thought I would share it in hopes that it might. Have some of you been working the same local channels in your part of the world? How’s that going? Any advice for me? I have been selling on the world wide web, but very few and far between, I’m afraid. I guess part of me thinks if I can’t sell here then chances are slim to none that I will sell anywhere. It’s not negativity speaking, but just reality talking. After all there is a literal sea of books out there. I’ll let you know over the course of this year how it goes.

Very soon I will begin the second draft of book 4. It is the third chapter in my vampire series and will once again find itself in and around Kingsburg. I can tell you that readers will find themselves in the tranquil mountains of Oregon and then the beautiful city of San Francisco. Of course when there is an army of angry vampires that number one hundred, nothing can remain tranquil or beautiful forever…

Why, yes, I am a tease.

I hope the month of May treats you and yours well, my friends. If you drop me a line I’ll drop by one of the social networks and say hello. It’s the least I could do.

We’ll talk soon.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

How a Horror Writer Penned a Paranormal Romance

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. No, you don't have to check your calendar. It's not yet May. I know I usually only post once a month, but I just happened to have something that needed sharing and thought I would post a quick hit and run. By the way, are we tired of the Fire Enthusiast bit? Three novels and there's fire in all of 'em. Hi, My name is James Garcia Jr. and I'm a pyromaniac... Not really. I swear there's no fire in book four whatsoever.

I promise.

But I digress.

Today I hung out metaphorically speaking over at the awesome Clarissa Johal's site. I was there to talk about my latest novel, of course. However, I addressed that subject by explaining how I went from a horror series and transitioned to a paranormal romance. It's not the typical romance, but it definitely has some very romantic moments and themes. I spoke about how I knew nothing about losing a wife and unborn child as my character does, and how I managed to channel that place. I spoke about how I rarely watch horror movies and explained what you'd find me watching instead. It may surprise you.

Actually, that kind of sums up what I'd like said about my writing: It may surprise you.

Anyway, if you find you have a moment to check out the post, I hope to see you there.

We'll talk soon.  

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

April Already?

Well, hello there, Fire Enthusiasts. How are you?

What's with this rumor that it's already April? How did this happen? Where has the time gone. I'm a Christmas guy, and I'm fairly certain I just put the decorations away weeks ago. *sigh*

Perhaps not, but it has flown past.

Well, what can I tell you? I'm still treading water over here. Regular visitors will understand what I mean. Don't get me started talking about the day job. Nothing has changed, and it's a tired story. Let's talk about other things, shall we?

If you were here last month you know I just had a birthday. I'm 45 now. My thanks to the 200 friends and family that blew up my Facebook page and/or other social networks with birthday wishes. It's my favorite thing. Had I not received a single gift, I still would have felt special. For that, I am very grateful.

By this time next month I should have Dance on Fire and its sequel Flash Point available in paperback. As you can see from the photo I am at the proof stage. I had a ton of work to do with formatting for "Dance", but I think I finally have it where I want it. With Seeing Ghosts I spent the money to have CreateSpace/Amazon do the heavy lifting. With these two I'm doing it all myself. It isn't that I don't have the money. I'm just hoping to start reversing this trend of me spending wads of cash for very little ROI.

So, what am I planning next? Once I get these paperbacks completed, I will have all three of my published novels available in both formats: E-books and paperbacks. I will have them stocked in the store that carries my work. We have two large store events on the calendar this spring, and I have already reached out to some people to hold my own events. With all three of my novels having their setting in the California Central Valley, and more specifically my hometown area, I really want to attack this area with everything I've got. That's my focus this year.

I will also be working on my next novel. Overall it is book four, but book three in my crossover vampire series. It was nice to get away from those characters while I wrote Seeing Ghosts. I had lived with those characters for two decades. However, once I had been away, I basically ran back because I was so excited to get to their next chapter. I was so excited, in fact, that I wrote 143 thousand words in four months. I will begin working on the second draft very soon. I don't plan to rush this project. If it doesn't see the light of day until 2015, that's okay. I want this to be big. I'm not interested in simply giving the characters another "mission." Book three needs to be bigger and better.

Alright, my friends. I hope all is well with you and yours. I am trying to get out every once in a while to have some fun. This weekend my wife and I will be attending a performance of Wicked just up the road in Fresno. I've heard nothing but good things so I'm looking forward to the show. There's a Disneyland trip coming soon. It's a brief one. My youngest will be there due to a school trip, so we're planning to follow along. In June we'll be in San Francisco to attend the Jamie Cullum concert at the legendary Fillmore. Can't wait for that!

What are you guys up to? Is it all work and Indie stuff? Are you at least taking time for yourselves? I hope so.

Take care, you guys. We'll talk soon.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Another Year Older

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. How in the world are you? It's been a while, hasn't it?

I titled this post the way I did because on the 22nd of this month I will be turning 45. That number seems outrageous to me, mostly because five years from now seems like something that should really be happening to someone else. The good news is I don't feel 44, about to be 45 or eventually 50. That really is all that matters, isn't it? I hope you feel that way, too.

The other reason for discussing birthdays is because that has been what has driven me these past seven years: the feeling that I wasted a lot of time. I didn't, not really. My wife and I started our family, had careers, raised our sons. If you're a church-going person, then you will also understand God's perfect timing. Yet, there still is that feeling that I didn't start writing again until I turned 38, and that means I can't really waste too much more time. Do you understand where I'm coming from?

So, here's where I am with regard to my writing. I'm still climbing out from beneath the loss of my small publisher last summer. I have three e-books that are available on Amazon: Dance on Fire; Dance on Fire, Flash Point; and Seeing Ghosts. "Dance" is my crossover vampire series. "Ghosts" is my stand alone paranormal romance. Late last year I turned my attention to producing paperbacks and decided upon getting "Ghosts" printed first. I was extremely proud of the way the story came out, and I thought it would do really well with the female and paranormal demographics. I did that. It is also available on Amazon, as well as a local store in my hometown called Trinkets and Treasures.

In November 2013 I began writing the third book in my vampire series (and fourth novel overall). I just finished the first draft. It is just short of 143 thousand words which makes it the longest novel I have written to date. It does have a title,but I am keeping that news close to the vest for the time being. I will now give myself a break before I begin working on the second draft, and begin working on producing paperbacks of my other novels. I hope to have this done in the next two months. I'm very anxious to have the paperbacks done because they have since been given new covers. My first novel was a paperback several years ago, but it has also been given a new edit as well as the cover. Can't wait to hold that in my hands.

With any luck "Dance 3" will be completed before the end of the year, but there's no rush. This one is a much larger book, with a much larger scope. It also charts the course for a future book, so I want to make sure everything is not just a good story, but epic in many ways.

Now, although I promised I wouldn't say much about my day job anymore, I have had people ask, so I will quickly address what has been going on there. Just when you thought my hours couldn't get any longer, they did exactly that. I now work 11 hours minimum, and quite often 12 plus. Somehow I managed to find the time to write that first draft. How? I have no idea. Actually that's not true. I do know. I did it by ignoring social media and blogging.

But I really want that to change.

My hope is as I take that break and allow my brain to begin preparations for draft 2 - make mental notes, consider new possibilities and mentally double-check that I haven't neglected anything - and during this time reach out to all of you and drop by for visits. Drop me a line and I'll come say hello.

You might begin to see some promotions out of me. That was another thing that had to go as I devoted the little time I had to writing. Here locally I have already reached out to a local ladies' group that has a book club, I visited them once before and it was a fun evening. I also reached out to the friends of the library in my town, and hopefully will schedule another visit with them, too. Next month we have a car show in our little town and in May we have the annual Swedish Festival, an event that I featured in my first book. I plan to be manning a table outside the store for both of those events, selling books and meeting people.

Well, that's what's been going on with me. As the year progresses I will begin sharing about the new book. If you have yet to read it, you can find the e-book on Amazon for 99 cents. The links are all there to your right on this site. The reviews have been good. All of my reviews have been good. The trouble is getting the word out in a virtual sea of books. Am I right?

Best of luck to all of you writers out there and much success. It isn't easy, is it? Then again, nothing good or noteworthy ever is.

We'll talk soon.    

Monday, February 10, 2014

February 2014

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. How's it going?

2014 has been crazy as I look for a routine that has yet to present itself. Yeah, I'm that guy! Life at a particular moment may not be tough, but if its inconsistent I find myself struggling. *sigh* Something to work on, huh? *grins* How's your year? Do you have a firm routine?

In the past I have spent a lot of time whining about my day job, but I'd rather not continue that trend this year. My hours have changed, but they are still crazy-busy. I was hoping not to work as many hours this year, but I think I'll have to content myself with starting early and getting home before dark. We'll see. A couple of weeks ago I worked 70 hours. Blah, blah, blah...

You bloggers probably noticed that I haven't been around. I miss you all, and wish I could take the time to reach out, but it isn't possible. At least not right now. For the meantime I'm going to treat this site like a website and just keep everyone updated once a month. It's all I can do. Hopefully our paths will cross on social networks or something. My wife has had enough of me attempting to cram 30 hours of work (day-job and writing) into a 24 hour day, and I absolutely cannot blame her.

Okay, I have three e-books and one of them is also a paperback. You can find them on A local store in my hometown is selling my paperback - which is very cool. We just held an event and I sold a stack of books. I had people I have never met come up to me and tell me they had already read my books. That was very cool. I may never be a best seller - God knows - but the few people who have read my work say they loved the experience. That's got to account for something, huh?

I am now one-hundred thousand words into book four (book three in my crossover vampire series). I'm having a ball writing this first draft. I even made myself tear up the other day during a particularly moving moment for a character I first created over twenty years ago. She was dealing with a sudden loss. Those moments are few and far between, but very special. I can't wait to share it with the readers. Hopefully the book will be completed and published before 2014 is over, but we'll see. I want to finish the draft and then turn my attention toward publishing my first two e-books in paperback formats. This should give me a nice time-out between drafts.

What else can I tell you about? My wife and I attended the second to last Pink concert of The Truth about Love Tour which just ended. I had some Pink tunes on my trusty iPod, but had no idea how cool her shows were. Thankfully my wife wanted to go, so I bought us tickets. What a spectacle! It was so good that I just bought the Blu Ray concert. If you have no idea, check out clips on You Tube. You'll see. From now on, anyone who just stands there is going to bore me to tears. Seriously, check out the clips!

Well, I'll see you in March with another update. My 45th birthday will happen on the 22nd. Yikes! How did that happen? Thankfully the Rolling Stones are in their 70's. Know what I mean? *grins*

We'll talk soon.

Friday, December 27, 2013

'Tis More Blessed

Greetings, Fire Enthusiasts. How was your Christmas? Did Santa forgive that bit of bad behavior this year and make a visit to your house? I hope so. I was very pleased to receive iTunes gift cards - which I am well on my way to burning up! *laughs* I also welcomed the huge Blu Ray editions of The Exorcist, Casablanca and Lawrence of Arabia into my collection. Very awesome. I am particularly fond of that last one. As you may have heard, we lost Peter O'Toole just recently. I was a very big fan of his and will miss him. Thankfully his work lives on in film. Our work will live on, too, after we've gone, but I digress.

For those of you who have missed me - bless you! I have missed all of you. I am venturing out of writers' cave only momentarily, however. As I pen this post I am at 48 thousand words and counting as I put all of my free time into writing this first draft. It is book three in my Dance on Fire crossover vampire series and I am very happy with its progress. That is why you haven't seen me in a while. I am on my traditional holiday vacation from the day job, but am still working at disciplining myself to write in the morning and then stay off the laptop and focus on family for the rest of the day. As I have mentioned previously, I spent far too much time with my nose glued to the screen these past five years or so, doing all of the promotional stuff that we have to do. Sound familiar? :) I'm getting better, but there's still much to do.

So, you may ask, have I given up on the social media? No. I am instead shifting my focus temporarily from the Internet world to the physical one. As you can see from the photo, my latest book Seeing Ghosts is now available in paperback - something which just happened. I have been giving some copies away and turning my attention to locating a store in town to sell them. Now, if you are unaware, although I live in a small town in Central California, my stories take place here. In other words, I have potentially a built-in audience that I need to do a better job of reaching. Nothing is official, but I spoke earlier this week with a shop owner and she is incredibly excited to do business together. It isn't a book store, but its clientele is the perfect demographic for my paranormal romance, and my book would be the only one there. It was my first choice and we should be announcing our partnership in the next week or so. We have already discussed book signings and other events to get the word out. She's excited and so am I.

A moment ago I mentioned something about giving copies of this new paperback away. Today is week four in author Milo James Fowler's 'Tis More Blessed Christmas giveaway extravaganza. I am pleased that he asked me to be involved, and especially pleased to offer a couple of autographed copies to raffle winners on the domestic side of things. My apologies to my friends around the world, but I haven't sold any of these yet. I hope you will understand.

So, what must one do to win one of these, you ask? Nothing. It's the holidays. We've all been running around, going crazy with the shopping, finding time for family, etc. For once let's make something stress free. Just leave me a comment, saying you'd like to be entered and make sure I can get hold of you. In the figurative sense, of course. Not the sketchy sense... *pauses momentarily, recalls how cute many of you are* Look at me! Already getting in trouble with Santa for next year! *slaps hand*

Alright, I'm going to sneak back into the cave. Love you guys! I should have more news soon, as well as news about my long awaited reduction in hours at the day job.

Leave your comment and we'll leave this giveaway open until January 6th. I would like to encourage you to check out each of the other giveaways. You can find them listed at Milo's site here. I know I'll be there.

I hope you've had a blessed Christmas and, from my house to yours, I wish you and yours a very Happy New Year.

We'll talk soon.

Peter O'Toole
1932 - 2013

"...Good-night, sweet prince..."