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Sunday, February 22, 2015

One Extraordinary Mother

Greetings, Fire Enthusiasts. How are you? Please forgive me. I realize it's nearly March, and you haven't heard from me since early January. Well, there's a reason for this. There hasn't been much going on, and it's far too early to begin inundating everyone with the new release until we get closer. *laughs*

A month from now there should be lots to discuss. I could have my novel back in my hands after a professional editing. It is book three in my crossover vampire series. I was so refreshed after Seeing Ghosts that I ran back to my vampires. I have a major new character that I am introducing; I'm killing in droves; and the devil is returning. There's a lot going on, and I can't wait for you to see just what I've done. Stay tuned. I will have had another birthday at next we meet. 46. Yikes! How did this happen? We're also heading for New Orleans. We'll be following my youngest and his high school choir as they have a visit planned. We've never been there before and we can't wait. Hopefully I'll be taking pictures...and sharing!

So, why am I here? I'm here because I took another chance, and stepped off of the well-traveled path of horror and paranormal books I usually read, and I want so badly to tell you about it. I do this because I famously did this once and ended up falling in love with Beach Music by the genius who is Pat Conroy. And I keep doing it. This time I read something that was inspiring, and that arguably contained more horror than I usually read - because it was all true. It was all...real.

The book: Naked: Stripped by a Man and Hurricane Katrina by Julie Freed.



The Synopsis:

A house and marriage violently disintegrate. Abandoned by her husband and left alone to raise an infant in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Julie is surrounded by the rubble of her life - stripped bare by love and loss.

What happens when one woman loses everything? It is a time of unprecedented clarity. She must unflinchingly face her marriage, her womanhood, her husband's alcoholism, his infidelity, and the remains of a shattered home. Acknowledging her own pain, she also shares the heartache of others in her coastal community rebuilding the ruin of their lives. As she reflects on choices past and present, Julie emerges anew.

Naked is a beautiful true story about choices, strength, divorce, Hurricane Katrina, flawed diamonds, addictions, a mother's dream, life changing bridges, single motherhood, and a baby girl named Genoa. Struggling to find meaning in her journey while paving the way for her own and her daughter's future, Julie shares a remarkable story with humor and tenderness. The strength and resilience of the Gulf Coast shines through as does the love and purity Julie finds. Experience the vulnerability, hurt, love, loss, anger, intimate reflections, authenticity, and ultimately the freedom as Julie's shocking story unfolds.

My review:

Imagine suddenly finding yourself a single mother.

Imagine your husband e-mailed you to say that he thought you both would be better off living apart.

Imagine your beautiful home is directly in the path of Hurricane Katrina, and you and your one year old must evacuate – and all that’s left of your life is inside one suitcase.
It would make a hell of a story, wouldn’t it? What if I told you it was all true, and that it happened to one extraordinary mother?

As a horror/paranormal author, you’d well expect that I would spend most of my time with the same sort of books – and you wouldn’t be wrong. However, I do love to venture off that beaten path periodically to see what else might be out there. The book I just described to you is "Naked: Stripped by a Man and Hurricane Katrina" by Dr. Julie Freed. She never asked to live through all of that, but as a mother of a toddler who suddenly finds herself abandoned by her husband – she does the only thing available to her. She survives.

I will tell you that this was an easy read. That’s not a critique of the writing. What I mean is I felt as if I were sitting across the table from Dr. Freed the entire time she was recounting her story. I could almost taste the wine we shared as she did so. It’s that personable; that engaging. She shares her life with the reader, once again stripped bare to the flesh to reveal everything. She’d already been left naked by her estranged husband, and the Hurricane that most of us followed over our flat screen televisions in total comfort while she lived through it with only her dear daughter to show for it.
Not everyone can tell a story. Not only did Dr. Freed live through a terrible ordeal, but she did a masterful job of telling it. I think you’ll find that true as well.


If you guys like moving from the beaten path as I do, or you regularly read things that are based more in real life than fantasy, give this a look. I think you'll find Dr. Freed's story completely compelling and inspiring.

Follow her on Twitter and her website.

We'll talk soon.    

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Looking Forward

Greetings, Fire Enthusiasts. Happy New Year to you and yours. I trust the holidays were a good one, and that Santa brought you at least one good thing. I had an iTunes gift card in my stocking as well as a small stack of BluRays under the tree, so my Christmas was a good one. #brat

See, everything gets decorated in my house!


The holidays were also good because I am on vacation and don't go back to the day job until January 5th. In addition, I had no writing projects and did nothing but sit back and enjoy them. My current work in progress is in the able hands of my wonderful editor - unlike 2013 when I was actually writing the thing. I wrote that first draft over four months (Nov. '13 to Feb. '14) and practically missed Thanksgiving, Christmas & New Years. *laughs* #writers So, no. I finished my 3rd draft in early December, spoke to the three beta readers (all were very pleased) and sent it off. Since then, I have simply been enjoying the season and hanging out with family.

This time of year media outlets typically spend a lot of time looking back at the year that was. In terms of writing I now have three novels self-published. The reviews have been very good and I can't complain. My latest novel - Seeing Ghosts - seems to have become everyone's favorite. That makes me very pleased. That book has everything in it that moves me. It's dark, haunting and very sweet. The only problem has been the chorus of readers who have told me they would love more of that story. Sadly, the book makes a perfect circle, with a lovely red bow on it, and milking it for another book seems wrong to me.

2014 has been my best year so far. Since my stories take place where I live, I have spent the bulk of my free time focusing on reaching that built-in demographic. I have my books in a local store, and have attended every event in town, doing my level best to get the word out. It's been working, but there's still more work ahead in 2015.

That is why I have titled this post: Looking Forward. 2015 needs to build on the previous year and propel me onward. I will publish my 4th novel this year, the third book in my crossover vampire series. Although I assume I will begin writing the next thing at some point, my focus will be to market the books I already have. I really hope to see them begin to pay for themselves. We all do, right? *sigh*

I'm going to keep this short, my friends. I wish you you the very best in 2015. I hope I encourage you the way you have encouraged me to keep pushing forward. I greeted many of you bloggers and writers before Christmas because I miss you all. If you did not hear from me, drop me a line here or on one of the other social networks and say hello. If not for you guys I might have quit this a long time ago. It isn't easy, is it? Not while our books float in a virtual sea of others out there.

The next time you hear from me you should see the blitz begin for my latest novel. There will be a cover release; blurbs, teasers and announcements - although I have not exactly been secretive when it comes to what's coming for our hero Nathaniel and his extended family. There will be other announcements, too.

In the meantime, Happy New Year!

Apparently I had yet to have my coffee in this photo...


We'll talk soon.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

An Army of Vampires

Season's Greetings, Fire Enthusiasts. I hope the season finds you well, and well taken care of. I'm doing fine. I'm still working crazy hours for the most part, although not nearly as bad as in times past. As I pen this post, I am enjoying the last of my Thanksgiving break: four days away from the day job. I'm already looking forward to taking two weeks off at Christmas... 

In between everything, I have been hard at work on my latest work in progress. I'm working toward finishing draft three of Dance on Fire 3. You may have already seen the title as well as the cover. I'm not actively promoting it yet, but haven't exactly been secretive about it, either.

I'm aiming for a very early 2015 release, and then hope to spend the year promoting it as well as all of my novels. I don't have any plans to start writing the next thing, but we'll see. I say that because 2014 has been my best year so far. I'm still working on making a dent into the on-line markets, but in the mean time have been doing really well at home. I live in a small town and have had many opportunities for events. Considering I have set my novels either here in town or in the general area, I feel I have a built-in demographic that I need to continue to focus on. That's what I have been doing and it seems to be paying off so far.

So, while I'm hard at work on the new book, I've got a very short excerpt for you.

Where are we?

In Dance on Fire, we met the vampire Nathaniel. He saved a family from the notorious vampire Vincent, but somehow that family may have saved him. Believing himself to be forever excluded by the kingdom of God, the Christian wife and mother he meets is not convinced. The result is the vampire begins an incredible journey of self-discovery as he seeks whether God may have a use for him.

In Dance on Fire: Flash Point, we find Nathaniel living among monks in the mountains of Oregon. God has not spoken to him, but Nathaniel continues to seek his face in the hopes that he will. When five vampires descend upon his extended family, seeking a terrible revenge, Nathaniel races to save them before it's too late. In the novel, we find that the devil himself is alive and well, and none too pleased that one of his creations is seeking God.

In the next chapter, we find Satan has been plotting to end Nathaniel once and for all. He has set the trap and planned his scheme perfectly. He need only to flip the switch. And flip it he does.

In the following excerpt, a new vampire visits Nathaniel. Is she friend or foe? We must wait and see. She shows up at the monastery with advanced warning... 



Nathaniel stared at Marie, but said nothing.
Marie, for her part stared back, and seemed to wait for him. “What are you thinking, Nathaniel?” she finally asked. She didn’t approach.
“I am wondering what your presence here means,” he said. “As honored as I am to meet you in person, I worry you have not come alone.”
Marie breathed deeply. “You’re right to worry. I have only come with attendants, but vampires are indeed on their way here.”
“How many?” Nathaniel asked.
“All.”
All?” he repeated.
“All of them,” she said. “They’re all coming.”
Nathaniel sighed and looked off into the distance. He saw the same view he’d seen for a decade, but it no longer appeared to be anything else but a shade. A shade that once pulled would reveal an army sent to utterly destroy everything that he considered good.
“Why have they come to destroy me?” he asked, approaching. “What have I done?”
“I don’t know,” she said.
“That is no answer, Marie. Forgive me, but I think you do know. You are under no obligation to tell me, but I pray you will. What have I done? What have these men behind me done? We have been here many years and have been nothing but honorable to anyone we meet. For the most part we simply are, worshipping God in our way, searching for His guidance and glory. What have we done to offend you?”
“It isn’t me you have offended,” Marie found herself saying. “It is Satan who comes against you.”
Nathaniel sighed. “I should have guessed. Why will he not just leave me alone?”
“You have met him then?” she asked.
“Yes. He came here once and killed everyone. I am haunted by the smell of the dead. Not a day goes by that I do not recall burying my brothers.”
Marie seemed to hold her tongue.
“Yet he comes with an army of vampires?” Nathaniel asked, contemplating what was being foretold to him. “Why do my kind rise up against me, my Queen? And why have you come to warn me?”
“That is a good question, and one I am uncertain of,” she answered.
Nathaniel waited, but although he thought he had a great many questions to ask of her, none seemed to come save one.
“How much time do we have?”
"Perhaps a day," Marie said simply.



So there you have it. I'm going to get back to work, so I can get this thing released. If you have yet to read book one, please follow this link and pick up a copy. The e-book is available at amazon for 99 cents, and is getting good reviews. I hope you'll give it a chance. It's a crossover, so you'll get a good mix of horror as well as Biblical themes. I promise not to hit you over the head with any one of those.

I want to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a fabulous New Year.

We'll talk soon.

             

Monday, October 27, 2014

PNR Radio: The Paranormal Report



Greetings, Fire Enthusiasts. Once again I just want to thank you for stopping by. There is so much going on this time of year. I'm participating in three blog hops at the moment, myself. You will see those posts and all of the links involved in the posts that follow this one. Whatever you do, please don't let me stop you from visiting as many sites as possible. There are so many great authors out there, offering giveaways of their books, swag or simply free copies of their work. You've just gotta' grab as many as you can. I know I have entered as many as I could - and will continue to do so all week long until Halloween is over.

The reason why I've posted today is to let you know that I was a guest on a podcast recently which is now live. My long lost baby sister (inside joke), the author and multi-talented Arial Burnz, was good enough to interview me on her show. There's a giveaway attached to that as well, so you've got to check it out. Just follow the instructions given during the show to be entered.




Pretty cool, huh? I think so. Anyway, as I mentioned above, I know you're busy, so I'll let you go.

We'll talk soon.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Creepy Freebies 2014



Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. So nice to see you. Won't you sit down? What's that? Fire? Oh, that. Not to worry. Dance on Fire is a book that spawned a series. It has to do with one's reaction to stimuli, mostly negative. No, no, no; sit down. There's nothing to fear here. It all works out in the end. Trust me. Would I lie to you?

Welcome to my home. This is the site where I house everything I do and point you in other directions as to what I'm up to. And this time of year, I am up to quite a lot. It is Halloween, you know? Truth be told, I'm actually more of a Christmas fan myself... See, I told you there was nothing to fear. I'm actually a church-going guy who loves to read dark fiction. Because of that love, I ended up writing dark fiction. You won't find slasher/shock for shock's sake kind of horror here; however, it isn't exactly Christian fiction either. No. It is dark, and sometimes R-Rated. I do want to take you on a scary journey after all - but one that brings you back for more.

You are probably visiting because of several events and I am ever grateful to see you. In this post I am specifically discussing the Creepy Freebies event, hosted by author extraordinaire Milo James Fowler. This cat can write, so if nothing else I strongly suggest you check him out. In a sea of books, I have been fortunate to read a couple of his works, and I came away very impressed. In this event, several fabulous authors of dark fiction are giving away their work. They are: Erin Cole, Cory Cone, Anne E. Johnson, Simon Kewin, Michelle Ann King, Rhonda Parrish, Christine Rains, Mary Rajotte, Kay Theodoratus, and of course, Milo James Fowler. You should check out Milo's site here and catch all the links for the free stuff and giveaways that these great voices have offered. I know I will.

If you are here for the Coffin Hop event, you may continue reading or head here for that post.

If you are here for the Fall Into Fantasy event, you may also continue reading or head here for that post.



For Creepy Freebies, I am giving away copies of  Dance on Fire and Seeing Ghosts. Dance is book one in my crossover vampire series. Christian vampires, anyone? I kid. No, it's not exactly that. You see, Nathaniel is a vampire, wanting nothing more to be left alone. But Vincent won't leave him alone. Vincent is the one who turned him, and he has found him once again in the small town of Kingsburg, California. I know this because I live here, and I saw it happen. Somebody had to write about it, right?

Back to my story: Nathaniel saves a woman and her twin infants from Vincent. The woman becomes convinced that there is good in the vampire and that he can be used by God. He knows this is incorrect, knowing the Bible front to back - but slowly but surely he becomes no longer sure.

In the second book, five vampires come after him. That one is called: Dance on Fire: Flash Point. In book three, the soon to be released third chapter in the series (more on that soon), the devil himself comes after Nathaniel. He's armed with over one hundred vampires - because undead flesh that seeks God cannot be allowed to walk the earth.

Interested in starting the series? Just comment that you would like to read Dance on Fire and you'll be entered.



Next, I have Seeing Ghosts. It isn't exactly a paranormal romance, but there definitely is romance in there. It is the story of a man who is three years removed from the tragic death of his wife and unborn son. He moves to an old farm house on the central California coast that he just inherited from a dead aunt that he doesn't remember. He stays for the week only to discover that it is haunted. The woman who shows him the place is the spitting image of his dead wife.

Again, all you have to do is comment that you want to read it and you're entered. Want to read both? Just let me know - and leave a way that I can reach you when you win!

As you can see there are so many great events taking place at this very moment. I hope you will follow the links and check them out.

It's Halloween, so there's so many events, so many giveaways. In fact, there are giveaway chances to win all my books over the course of the next week; so many chances to win literally hundreds of great books and swag if you visit everything that's going on. So get started!

We'll talk soon.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

CoffinHop 2014 - THE Halloween Event.



Greetings, Fire Enthusiasts. Welcome to my little part of the great CoffinHop event. It's so good to see you here. Let me thank old friends and new visitors for taking the time to visit. I hope I make it worth your while. If you are unfamiliar with the event, don't worry. Just follow the link. It is the Halloween event to end all of them; a chance to meet so many fantastic authors of dark fiction, and their work. Not only can you win tons of books, but there's swag, too. Trust me, and just follow the link.

For those who have yet to meet me, I am a writer of horror and paranormal fiction from a crossover perspective. I discovered horror novels in my teens and have been reading them ever since. I am a huge music fan and originally grew my hair long, thinking I might get into music. Soon, however, I came to realize that expressing myself in dark fiction was where my heart was. I attempted to continue writing into my 20's, but life got in the way. I went nearly two decades, thinking I would never find my name on the spine of a book. It was that potential regret that caused me to dust off that manuscript and see it published. I now have three novels and am currently working on book 4...



Dance on Fire is my first novel. It was supposed to be a serial killer story, but then a vampire stepped out of the shadows - which was a hell of a surprise even for me. *laughs* The story was originally hard R-Rated. Then came another surprise. I made the story a crossover. Even back then I thought we needed another vampire story like a hole in the head. My idea to make it different was to explore whether a vampire could be used by God for good. It was then that a series was born. I don't label it Christian fiction, because there is blood and guts in this, and profanity - not a lot, but it's there. I wanted to cross over faith and edge of your seat horror, and not have to pull too many punches.

In the following snippet. the great beast Vincent has attacked a woman and her twin babies. Their mother lies in a heap on the floor of their nursery. She has no idea of the action happening above her...

The vampire has heightened senses: taste, smell, touch, sight and hearing. All five are far more highly tuned to his world around him than that of his victims. He has better vision than that of a hungry eagle in search of a morsel from high above the forest. He can smell the presence of human beings faster than the deer can smell a mediocre hunter. Not only can the vampire hear a pin drop, but he can recognize the disturbance in the molecules as the pin slices its way through the air toward the ground. In fact, just one of these senses makes it impossible for the vampire to be taken by surprise.
Except by another vampire.
Therefore, when Nathaniel suddenly came out of nowhere and swept the baby from his hands, knocking him into the far wall in the same motion; he actually let out a cry of surprise.
Nathaniel replaced the baby in her crib and with but a touch quickly pushed the piece of furniture safely behind him.
“Nicely done, Nathaniel. I wondered when you might show yourself,” he added quietly, stepping away from the wall and running both of his hands through his long hair in order to get it out of his face. “Cliché, I know, but I taught you very well, indeed.”
“You taught me only to hate. And I hate you very much.”
Vincent sighed, and then took a threatening step forward.
“Remain where you are, Vincent!” Nathaniel commanded. “These are under my charge.”
“Oh, but Nathaniel, surely you don't think me gluttonous. I will gladly share them with you.”
Nathaniel made no effort to respond.
“Ah, but that is right,” he quickly interjected. “You don't feed on human blood, do you, Nathaniel? Such a pity. Cats and vermin!” he said with a dramatic shudder. “It makes you considerably weaker than I, you realize. In that instance, I guess I will have both!”
“No!” Nathaniel stood his ground.
“I will not be ordered around, Nathaniel,” Vincent said firmly, taking another step forward.
Nathaniel said nothing and made no effort to withdraw.
Vincent stopped. “Ah, you mean to challenge me. I adore challenges. It has been a challenge, my finding you. It has been a challenge following a cold trail across the globe.” Vincent stepped closer. “And now that I have you…” He stared his adversary down, menacingly. A moment later he reached out delicately with his left hand and lovingly moved a stray hair out of Nathaniel’s face. He whispered: “And I do have you, Nathaniel.” He lowered his hand back to his side and changed his expression again, this time to a look of intimidation. Then, he shook it off again.
“Just go, Vincent,” Nathaniel said, placing his hands on the back of the little baby's crib. “It is still early. I trust you have more than enough time to acquire for yourself another meal.”
Vincent sighed again and smiled, turning his attention back to the nearest baby. They were each still screaming their lungs out, red-faced panic on their tiny faces. Something in that scene coerced a giggle out of him.
“So lovely!”
He reached down into the nearest crib and gently and tenderly caressed the skin of the baby boy's throat with his ugly discolored fingernail. The infant recoiled at the touch and did his best to move away.
“So warm!”
Vincent pulled the hand away from the baby and then, glancing dramatically into Nathaniel's eyes, stuck the caressing finger into his mouth and licked the scent from it.
“No more games, Vincent.”
Vincent turned his gaze back upon Nathaniel, his face devoid of expression. He appeared neither pleased nor angered. “It is so good to hear you speak my name again after all of these years.”
“It has been much longer than years.” There was a pregnant pause where Vincent’s name should have followed, but Nathaniel refused to satisfy the monster any further. “And not at all long enough.”
Vincent nodded with understanding or perhaps it was acknowledgement that there was nothing more to discuss. No chance at reconciliation. “I'll not be denied so easily the next time, Nathaniel.”
Nathaniel gave no response.
Vincent started to walk back towards the open window but stopped short. “I’m almost sorry that this must end, my young Nathaniel: my hunt for you. This chance meeting. Our next meeting.” There was the obvious threat in those words, but he showed no hint of it on his face or in his tone. “It is good to find you, finally. I have grown so exhausted with the travelling.” Vincent glanced around the tiny nursery as if he could see the Sierra Mountain Range to the near East, the Pacific Coast to the distant West. “I miss the old country. I will be returning home soon.” He looked back at Nathaniel. His expression melted slightly. It was almost sweet, he knew, were it not for his black, long-dead heart. “Come back with me, my son. May this not end with the shedding of our blood that mingles inside you.”
Nathaniel steadied himself. He wanted to roar back a comment, but held his tongue until he had regained some measure of composure. “I am not your son!”
“No? Are you quite certain? Consider your clothing.” Vincent lifted his left hand as if meaning to reach out for the side of Nathaniel’s head, but did not. “And your hair… is it not as long as mine?”
“That was your doing. I can do nothing to change it.”
Vincent thought to say more, but did not. He just studied Nathaniel as if he had expected as much, but had genuinely hoped for something else. He seemed to sigh, but if so, quickly shook it off. He turned and stepped through the window. Before he departed, he turned to stare deeply at Nathaniel a moment longer. His prodigal son stared back. It had been so long since he had beheld his own reflection in the eyes of the boy. Many years he’d swam in those eyes, never to find comfort there.
Apparently the comfort was to come when those eyes no longer held any reflection.
And then he was gone. The window seemed to slam shut of its own accord.





Dance on Fire: Flash Point is book two in the series. This book practically wrote itself. In it, it is five years later and all is seemingly well. Little do the characters know, however, that five vampires are coming with a terrible revenge in their hearts. They are led by the vampire Tiffany who escaped book one.

In the following snippet, Nathaniel and his human friends have staged a rescue...

Nathaniel had him immediately and slammed him face first into the grass in the corner yard. He dragged him hurriedly, not allowing him to get his balance, and slammed him repeatedly into a nearby tree.
“What do you want?” Erich yelled between blows.
“I want to know what happened to the two women?”
“Why?” Erich asked, weak from both the body damage and because he had yet to feed.
Because I do!” he yelled. “They mean something to me.” He pulled the vampire close to him.
“I don’t understand,” Erich groaned. He began to wilt. If not for Nathaniel holding him, he would have fallen. “Both you and Tiffany going to so much trouble. Who was this Victor who caused so much to bear?”
Nathaniel paused, wondering whether he had heard him correctly. “What did you say?’ he asked, releasing him. The idea was simply too incredulous to be believed. “Did you say, Victor?”
“That was his name, wasn’t it?” Erich said, glancing up from a seated position there in the yard. “Victor?”

***

Feeling a sharp spike of anger beginning to swell within him, Nathaniel reached back down, grabbing the vampire by the hair and quickly hauling him to his feet. He brought his face close as he snarled through gritted teeth. “His name was Vincent! You have committed murder and brought ruin to two families and do not know the name of the monster that caused all of this to be!” Blinded by fury, Nathaniel brought his hands over the vampire’s head and slammed it repeatedly against the tree. It did little to appease his anger. Eventually, he gripped the vampire’s ears as if he were about to rip them off of his head. Instead, he gave them a turn, and twisted Erich’s head around.
Chief Daniels came walking up as Nathaniel released the vampire to the ground at his feet. He wasn’t dead, but would be soon enough. He spun. The chief raised his hands quickly in fear. Nathaniel saw the look on his face and waved him off.
Did you hear?” Nathaniel yelled. The chief raised his hands again, this time motioning for him to watch the loudness of his voice, but the vampire would have none of it. “They don’t even know why they are doing this!
Having said this, he turned back around, grabbed the body at his feet and proceeded to drag it behind him as he walked with a renewed purpose down the sidewalk toward the Rosen house.
            Chief Daniels watched the incredible sight before him, but quickly went over to the fence and fished for his radio. “Michael,” he said when he had it back on. “Two down, but I think Nathaniel’s just gone off the reservation!”





At this point I needed a break from all things vampire. My love for haunted house stories and romantic films caused me to write my first paranormal, Seeing Ghosts. It isn't a romance, but it does have a heavy dose of romance in it. In the story, Paul Herrera inherits an old farm house on the California central coast. The woman who shows him the house is the spitting image of his dead wife, taken from him three years before, along with their unborn son. Dealing with ghosts from his past, Paul must deal with new ghosts, alone for a week in a haunted house that holds many secrets.

The following snippet is how the book begins...

I suppose you can say this whole thing began and ended with ghosts. Not all my life, of course, but only all that ever really mattered. Everything before meeting Angie happened simply to get me prepared for our life together. No real living had occurred until that moment. After Angie died, I was left only with ghosts. Now tonight I lie beside another woman who is not my wife, and who I have yet to touch. I marvel at her even, peaceful breathing as I stare at the awful ghost that sits calmly, but menacingly, near the foot of the bed.
Aunt Flora is dead and has been for several months. There’s really no reason on God’s green earth why she should be here, in my home, a place she’d never visited in life, but here she sits just the same, and I’m sure I know why. Perhaps it has everything to do with her not having a home of her own any longer, or because she’s lost her husband once again. She seems to grin at me as if she can read my thoughts.
Now she nods dramatically to say that she can, indeed.
“What do you want, Flora?” I finally ask, whispering. I try to be as quiet as possible. It seems like a useless proposition. Peace is an illusion to me at this point; like something so far out of my grasp as to be laughable.
“You know what I want, Paul.” Her voice is low and calm, but seems to reverberate against the walls. “You know very well what I want,” she says as the all-too-familiar lightning flashes outside probe into the bedroom and illuminate her. A gust of wind rattles the window briefly. It must’ve been the reason I awoke in the first place. I’m pretty sure it was just wind, but who could know at this point? In any event, there’d be no more sleeping.
I see Flora’s terrible features—that aged and deep-wrinkled skin pulled over high cheekbones; and that profound smile that brings no pleasure, but only sets me on edge. Thunder roars in the distance as if on queue. I am intimately familiar with this particular storm. Both it and Flora seem to have followed me.
“I can’t help you with that, Flora,” I say.
“Yes, I know. All you can do is bring everything to ruin.”
I stare at the ghost and say nothing further, taking in the sight of her with her long-sleeved white blouse, dark slacks and black shoes. It’s incredible to me that I’m having another conversation with my aunt. It’s clear she holds me to blame for what’s happened. If I wasn’t afraid before, there’s no denying it now.
Flora reclines against the winged-back chair that was Angie’s favorite and smiles. Her arms remain atop the arm rests, the perfect picture of quiet. Another bolt lights up the sky and my eyes immediately find her claw-like fingers as they seem to be digging into the upholstery. Now I know better and I shiver at this apparently perfect culmination of events.
“It’s not over, Paul,” Flora says. Her tone is firm and reminds me of a wild animal’s growl. “You know damn well what I want! It is all that I have ever wanted. But you have taken that from me. You have taken far too much. Now I shall do the taking. Do you hear me, Paul? Do you understand what I am telling you?”
              Now I’m the one who leans back. I sit up first, positioning myself against the tall headboard. Here is a trend I can’t shake free of—me being awake as the night wanes. Another burst of lightning flashes across the Central California sky and then disappears, casting the room back into shadow. Thunder sounds. The storm is fast approaching. I say nothing more as I recline and simply stare at my dead aunt who sits and stares back, composed for the moment. It would seem I’ve become quite comfortable with ghosts, doesn’t it?



I was so pleased with the way Seeing Ghosts came out that I came away refreshed and ready to sprint back to my vampire series. I am now working on book three in the series. I am aiming for an early 2015 release. The cover and title are ready to go. I'm just waiting to reveal that once we get closer to our release date. In any event, I can tell you that the devil is alive and well, and none too pleased that one of his vampires has been seeking God. He will step out of the shadows, armed with over one hundred vampires - because undead flesh that seeks God cannot be allowed to live. More on that coming this winter...

Once again, thank you for stopping by. If you want to read one or all of my e-books, just leave me a comment here, telling me which one you'd like to win. I will be giving away several copies of each. One Grand Prize winner will receive signed softcover copies of the two Dance on Fire books, and another will win a signed copy of Seeing Ghosts. Just please leave me a way to get a hold of you should you win. The contest will be open until November 1st.

In the meantime, please continue coffin hopping by following this link.

We'll talk soon.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Fall into Fantasy 2014



Greetings, everyone. Welcome to my humble site. I really appreciate you stopping by. For new visitors, my name is James Garcia Jr - or Jimmy to my friends. I write horror and paranormal novels, usually with a crossover slant. That means me being a Christian influences the work, but I would not label them as such, considering how dark they can get.

I began to swallow up horror novels in my teens, and then eventually began to work on penning my own stories until life sort of got in the way. In any event, just short of my 40th birthday - realizing the regret I was staring at - I returned to my dusty manuscript and saw it to completion. It is called Dance on Fire. It was the story of a vampire who saves a family from another - the one who made him what he is today. The woman is convinced that there is good in him, and that God can indeed use him. I then wrote the sequel. It is called, Dance on Fire: Flash Point. In that chapter, a third vampire who had escaped the end of book one returns for revenge, armed with four other vampires. I am currently editing the third book in the series and I will provide more of those details before the year is over. In that chapter, the devil himself will emerge from the shadows, armed with over one hundred vampires - because a vampire that seeks God cannot be allowed to walk the earth.

After the second book in the series was published, I took a time-out from the vampires and penned a ghost story. It is called, Seeing Ghosts. I do not label it a paranormal romance, but it definitely does contain a healthy dose of romance. It came about from my love of haunted house books and movies like An Affair to Remember. What follows is the blurb:



Paul Herrera finds himself bequeathed a mysterious old house near the California central coast by a deceased aunt he never knew. The woman who shows it to him is the spitting image of his wife, taken from him three years before in a senseless car accident which also took his unborn son. While he deals with the ghosts of a past he cannot let go, there are new ghosts Paul must deal with - alone for the week in the expansive two-story house that he will soon discover holds many secrets. Eventually, he will see that he is surrounded by ghosts as he struggles to hold onto the only thing that he has left in this world - his sanity.


The following is an excerpt. The woman who looks like Paul's dead wife and her son have become stranded at his house and he isn't dealing with their extended stay very well...


“You’re throwing us out?” she asked and turned away from me. She took one unsteady step and then turned back. “Where…? Where can we go?”
“I don’t know,” I said, holding my head as the pressure was mounting. I felt terrible, but completely powerless to stop the avalanche of emotion from bringing everything down around us.
Anne suddenly jumped into my face. “Where can we go?” she snapped, raising her voice to me for the first time ever.
“I don’t know!” I matched her with a yell of my own—not mad at her, but at the world. “Anywhere but here!”
“So, you’d have us live in the car until we can get help!” she continued. “I really don’t believe you! You’re incredible!” She walked away from me. I looked at her and studied everything as if I were frozen in place. She spun back. “You’ve never liked me!” she said now. “I don’t know what I ever did to you but be nice and professional. I thought today we had gotten past all of that, turned a corner. Now I see I was wrong!”
“Angie, wait!”
As if she couldn’t get any louder, Anne snapped at me. “My name is Anne, damn it! Get it straight!”
Just then I felt something give, like a weight being lifted off of me.
Anne grabbed Jason by the wrist and pulled him out of his seat by the doorway to the hall. He never uttered a word or attempted to enter the fray, but other than that I couldn’t tell what his expression had been. All this time I simply held Anne in my sights.
“Wait!” I said. The both of them turned and stared at me. “Just wait.” I walked over to them slowly, but stopped short of entering their space. “I’m being a total ass, I know, but there’s a reason for it.”
“What reason could there possibly be?” Anne asked loudly.
“Please,” I asked, raising my hands unthreateningly before me. “I can promise you that this is nothing personal. I have never disliked you.”
“That’s bullshit!” Anne said, as if she didn’t realize that her young son was standing beside her. I’m sure it wasn’t the first time in his life he’d been introduced to the ugly expression. “From the first day you have been nothing but cold to me…”
Anne continued to say a collection of other things concerning how I’d been anything but cordial to her, but by this point I was tuning her out while contemplating how I could possibly win this argument. In the end, I realized there was only one way.
“Please,” I interrupted her. “You’re free to hate me if you want, but let me show you something first before you do.” I walked around them and headed into the hall, and the stairs beyond. “Follow me.” I turned back and asked them. I waited a moment on the second step while neither of them seemed inclined to budge an inch. “Please, both of you.” I didn’t wait for any reply. I turned and methodically headed up the stairs toward my bedroom.
I sat on the bed near my nightstand and waited for them to arrive. It took them a while, but they slowly followed. They stopped at the doorway to the bedroom.
I reached for my wallet that sat there near the lamp and plucked out the object I intended to offer them both. “Here, Jason,” I said softly, without looking up. As much as I’d been staring at Anne previously, I now stared just as hard at the photograph. Jason walked over alone. I dutifully handed it over to him and then watched as he took in the image of my dead wife—his eyes ballooning. He spun away from me.
“Mom!” he cried out. “It’s you!”
“What?” she asked incredulously as she approached us. He handed her the picture.
I thought I noticed her legs buckle just a bit. I totally understood the feeling. “That’s exactly how I felt when you walked into the hotel lobby that morning. I knew you weren’t Angie, but it was very hard to have her walk back into my life, even for only a millisecond.”
“I don’t understand this,” she said. “How can this be? I look just like her.”



I would very much like to send you either an e-copy or a signed paperback. You don't have to jump through a bunch of flaming hoops or anything... Just tell me you want to read it, and leave a way for me to get a hold of you. The winners will be chosen at the end of the event and I will quickly contact the winners.

In the meantime, follow the Fall into Fantasy link and take a look at all of the other books that are available. There are plenty of great books out there to be had, and from what I understand, plenty of swag.

Thanks again for stopping by. We'll talk soon.

  


Saturday, October 11, 2014

What kind of monster are you?


Greetings, Fire Enthusiasts. Considering it's October and we're building up to some very cool events for Halloween, I thought I would post a bit more frequently than I typically do.

The following is a slice of my first novel, Dance on Fire. It's the story of a vampire who unwittingly becomes a part of a family, after saving a mother and her twin toddlers from the notorious vampire who turned him centuries before. The woman is a Christian who comes to believe that there is good in the vampire, and that God can still use him. He disagrees, convinced that undead flesh has no place in God's kingdom, no matter what he does. Barbara is convinced, however, and her persistence begins to seed doubt in Nathaniel's mind.
It is the book that kicks off a crossover series. I promise not to hit you over the head with the Bible, but I do use it to flavor my story. This isn't your mother's Christian fiction as you will see, so I'm careful not to label it that way. It is horror, and if you like dark fiction, I hope you'll give it a look. I have edited it down here for the sake of time...  

4:20 a.m.

Lainie Bishop had had an extremely rough week. It had begun with two police officers, that she had known well, dying horrible deaths during her shift. She remembered speaking to them, and a short while later, they were gone. It had taken her a couple of days to get her legs back beneath her. She missed work and didn’t speak to anyone, not even Jeremy. She had only been seeing him for a few weeks, and although she could definitely feel the love beginning to swell between them, she needed some time to heal from the pain of losing those officers that she had been responsible for. Both he and her dad phoned her several times a day during the entire time that she had been off. It bugged her, but she could never be mad at either one of them so she endured it. Her dad phoned a couple of times last evening as well, so she finally drove over and had dinner with him before she went off to work.
It was not something that she had spent any real time deliberating about, just a back of her mind kind of hope that she could simply get re-acclimated with one quiet and by-the-numbers kind of night. She knew that the city was being supported by members of other police departments, and that was going to be more work for her, having all of these patrol cars crawling all over town. Still she hoped for the best.
Unfortunately, on her first real night back behind the desk, she was hit not only with chaos, but well more than that. Now, she found herself being sent home.
She pulled her 2000 Volkswagen Beetle slowly out of the parking lot and her eyes followed the front entrance of the police department as she slowly crawled forward toward the street. Just then, she noticed a tall shape on the sidewalk. Anywhere else she may have ignored him and continued on her way; however, although she was being ordered off the premises by Detective Lopez, that did not make her any less an officer of this city, and she would continue to do her part. No matter what.
“May I help you?” she asked, opening the driver side window.
“I sincerely hope so, my dear,” the odd-looking man said. “I am looking for four adults, one child and two babies.”

4:45 a.m.

Michael Lopez surveyed the blinking lights and listened along for radio traffic. There wasn’t much. He had lowered the volume so that it would not distract them from any local noises. He was surprised that not one of the multiple patrol units or even members of the fire crew had attempted to make any form of contact with the dispatcher. Since the current dispatcher was no doubt making plans to curl up in bed for the approaching day, and the fact that he was too exhausted to fill in for her, he was glad that no one seemed interested in following them.
“Michael,” Nathaniel spoke up. There was a directness to the tone.
“Yes.”
“It is time.”
Michael spun. The vampire had found them. He was staring at them through the thick glass at the front entrance, his nose pressed firmly against the glass. He stood there like some statue that high school kids had removed from a rival’s park and placed there to scare the graveyard dispatcher.
“Shit!” Michael whispered.
“My sentiments exactly.”

4:48 a.m.

Vincent continued to stand unmoving against the glass front door, staring at the occupants of the room like that statue. Nathaniel studied him. The sunrise was about an hour away, but he did not seem to be concerned about the time. Perhaps he simply knew that he had more than enough time to accomplish whatever it was that he intended, which was no doubt as black as his shriveled heart.
“Go back with the others!” Nathaniel ordered.
“No!” Michael replied. “I’m not going anywhere!”
“Not you.”
Nathaniel didn't turn around, but could see as Michael did so to catch his partner who was now standing against the door frame at the mouth of the hall for support. It was Mark that Nathaniel had been addressing. He had sensed him join them.
“You are not yet ready,” Nathaniel said.
“Would you like me to come back tomorrow when I am, or the next day?” Mark replied.
Nathaniel heard him take a few more steps into the room, no doubt to get a better look at Vincent. He did not answer his sarcasm. It was true that it might take every one of them to subdue Vincent in order to destroy him once and for all.
As if on cue, Nathaniel saw Vincent begin to move. He was retrieving something from his right pants pocket. It took him no time to remove the set of objects and to begin to try each one until he had found the magic one which would do the trick.
Nathaniel saw Michael creep closer to the large front window which separated the Dispatching Center from the Lobby and strain his eyes to see what Vincent might be doing. The glass was five feet high from counter to ceiling and twelve feet across from north wall to the pedestrian door on the south. Michael stopped when he reached the counter. “What’s he doing?” he asked.
“He has keys,” the other two in the room answered in unison.

4:58 a.m.

At long last, Vincent had located the correct key, turned it in the lock and gained access. Before entering fully; however, he leaned toward the ground with his left hand and retrieved something. Michael could not make out just what it was. While Nathaniel held his ground beside him, Michael glanced nervously from door to door, deliberating and calculating in his head whether or not he believed that the last door between them and the vampire might hold. It seemed too much to hope for.
When Michael tore his mind away from the what if’s and what might happen, Vincent had reached the other side of the large lobby window.
“What’d he just drag in here?” Michael whispered the question. He waited for the reply, but none came. “Nathaniel?”
“You may wish to turn away.”
With still surprising little effort, Vincent reached up and slammed an object against the glass. Michael cursed in horror as the lifeless body of Lainie Bishop struck the glass with her back and head. The blow did nothing to the thick bulletproof glass, but it collapsed several of the plates that had once made up her beautiful skull. There was a sickening squashing sound as some of the contents inside were loosed. Yet, there was very little blood.
For good measure, Vincent pulled her down and slammed her three more times in some sick, twisted rhythm as if she were simply the door knocker of an even larger castle.
“She did not seem pleased that she was being sent away,” Vincent broke the silence between them. “So I decided to invite her back inside.”
“My God!” Barbara cried as she entered the room just in time to witness the carnage. “What kind of monster are you?” she screamed, unable to hold back her outrage at the sight of the dead woman’s hanging limbs. Whatever blood she had remaining stained the glass in dark splattered rivulets.
All three in the room turned to look at her as she did so. Michael wondered just the same thing. Though he and Mark had already seen and tasted some of what the vampire had been capable of, only Nathaniel really knew what the monster was like.
Michael swallowed hard.
For it was all there—the proof of the monster Nathaniel considered Vincent to be—written so clearly in the stark horror on Nathaniel’s face.



This scene takes place at the end of the novel. In Dance on Fire: Flash Point (book 2), the vampire Tiffany returns five years later to enact revenge upon Nathaniel and his extended family. I am currently in an editing stage on book 3 in the series, and hope to have it published early in 2015. All my books can be found on Amazon.

The e-book for Dance on Fire is only 99 cents at Amazon.

We'll talk soon...