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.
“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...

Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. I'm so glad that's over. How about you? I'm talking about summer, of course. Here in the California central valley it can get well over 100 degrees and stay there. All you do is hide in the air conditioning. I know there are worse places to live in the world, but this is all I have to compare it to... In any event, I can't wait for fall.

It's been another month since I have posted. I've been working 12 hr days all year, but just last week began leaving early, allowing my new supervisor partner to close the place. I have to get to work at about 4 am, but am now leaving work at 3 pm, and thinking about leaving at 2:30 pm - especially since my manager has asked me to do so. My problem is my OCD, and nagging need to do everything myself. *laughs* It's a work in progress, but I'm hopeful it will become the norm. Stay tuned. Then, after nearly two years of being allergy-symptom free, my post nasal drip kicked on a few weeks ago (forgive the visuals, but I am a horror writer after all). I had to fight through the work week, being unable to allow the new supervisor to take over for me, since he's so new at the gig. Anyway, I survived. The allergy shot seems to be working.

I have a completed cover for my forthcoming book that I shall be revealing soon. Some have seen it, but I'll begin promoting it soon. I have been taking some time off from the novel, not necessarily by choice, but will be getting back to it soon. It won't be long before it's in the able hands of the editor. I think we can safely say this should be ready by very early 2015 - if not sooner. I'm going to take a wild guess and figure that the holidays will slow me down, but other than that it shouldn't be that much longer.

You can anticipate seeing more activity from me on these pages this month. There are several things in the oven for the month of October and specifically Halloween. There are interviews, giveaways, tons of events planned, etc. It should be busy, but a lot of fun, too. In fact, let's kick this off now. Take a look at my e-books and let me know if you'd like to review something. I'd be happy to gift you one.

We'll talk soon.


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.