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Monday, June 24, 2013

Wedding Anniversary Vacation

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. I hope you’re enjoying the summer, for those of you in the northern hemisphere. For the rest of you, you’ve had your summer. As soon as we’re finished with it we’ll give it back. We promise!
My wife and I just returned home from an extended 23rd wedding anniversary weekend that we spent in beautiful San Diego, California. We live in the central valley, so it’s a bit of a drive – about 5 hours – but well worth it. If you haven’t been, San Diego is something close to paradise. It’s warm in the summer, but not terribly hot.

We left on Thursday morning at about 9 am, once we had taken the youngest to his summer school class. He’ll be a sophomore next fall. He and his nearly 19 year old brother stayed home. More on them later…
We pulled into San Diego in mid-afternoon and got ourselves checked in. We then headed for the Glass Lamp district. It’s a great section of shops and restaurants. We visited there twice during the weekend. At night the area comes alive with people pouring in for dinner, drinks, entertainment – or all of the above. We stopped at the Hard Rock. There’s a large mall there where we got some shopping in. I actually came across a real book store! I picked up Joe Hill’s Horns and had that sucker finished as we pulled back home on Sunday. We checked out this dueling piano bar that my wife had heard about. I had been to the famous Savannah Smiles in Georgia, so I knew what to expect. It was really fun, and my wife got a kick out of the music and the hi-jinks.

On Friday, we headed for Coronado Island and the famous Del Coronado Hotel. Neither of us had been there before. The place was built in about 1888, if memory serves. The film Some like It Hot was filmed there, and it was the real inspiration behind the novel Bid Time Return – which in turn beget the film Somewhere in Time with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour. It is one of my all time favorite movies. We took a ferry to the island, rented bicycles and stayed for the afternoon, catching some sun (too much for me as you’ll see in later photos) and some great food. Speaking of great food, we were back at the Gas Lamp for dinner that night. I had a big steak, paid entirely too much for it, but it was worth every morsel. *smacks lips* So good!

On Saturday we headed inland to meet my wife’s niece and her husband and young son. They live there and were kind enough to take us out for lunch. Okay, you see the beer, but I swear there was pizza, too. Later that day we hunted for a restaurant I had seen on Diner, Drive-Ins and Dives.

It was a fantastic weekend. As many of you know, I have spent far too much time being glued to this laptop, so it was great to get away – just us. I plan to spend more time away from these keys than I have in the past. I’m not quitting this crazy indie business; however, you won’t find me here quite as often. I meant to take a photo of the large television we had in our room, but forgot to. We never turned it on once during our four days there. We did read, but the rest of the time we just bonded…

Now, back to the kids: Although my boys and I have the house alarm app on our iPhones, my youngest opened the sliding glass door without turning it off first, causing the alarm company to call in. Neither one of them knew our password, so the alarm folks had to call the police. *slaps head* It was only the second hour that we were away. We were happily on the road, blasting the tunes and enjoying our break. My oldest had to show them their photos hanging on the wall in order to get them to leave. My oldest sent text messages, and was pretty pissed off that we didn’t answer our cells. *grins* Then…. They both left Saturday morning for northern California to the Van’s Warped Tour. We had warned them they we were going to be gone, and the care of the house and the cat was their responsibility. They gave my mother the clicker for the garage, but (the youngest again) had locked the door, causing my mother to be locked out and unable to check on poor Jones. Jones survived, of course, but it was the second strike against them. *laughs* Perhaps we’ll need to wait another decade before trusting them again, huh? ;) #fail

We’ll talk again soon.  

Monday, June 17, 2013

Celine & Jesse - Together Again

The Greeting: Hello, Everyone. Thanks for dropping by. As customary, I hope you and yours are well.
The Update: I continue to take time away from the hustle and bustle that is the indie life. My new book Seeing Ghosts continues to pick up good reviews which makes me very pleased. It isn’t selling like bottled water on hundred degree days, but it’s doing alright. Thank you for that. I can’t take too much time away as I must begin planning for the big July book tour that I’m doing. If you don’t see me around for much of the summer, that’s why.
The Relaxation: In the meantime I have been reading a lot. I have read three books in the past weeks with my limited time. All have been really good. I was planning on telling you about them, but I haven’t had the time to give them proper justice. Rest assured that I will. Instead, my wife and I just got back from the theater where we took a stroll with two of our favorite characters in modern film, Celine and Jesse.

The Movie: Before Midnight is the third chapter in the series that first began nearly twenty years ago with Before Sunrise. Nine years ago it was followed by Before Sunset. All three films are the work of stars Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy and Director Richard Linklater. The series has become so special and such a labor of love that the two stars once again joined in the creation of the screenplay as they did with Sunset.
The Disclaimer: If you haven’t seen the films before, you’re really going to want to catch up. If you don’t, the film will just come across as unsettling. It has its tough and sad moments. However, if you are invested in these characters and their lives – which we’ve literally followed nearly every step of the way – I think you’ll really appreciate the ride.

The Catch Up: In the first film, Celine and Jesse meet on a train in Europe. Sensing a connection the strangers get off the train and explore Vienna for about a day. At the end of their adventure, they are no longer two strangers, but a couple. Unfortunately, they cannot be together forever and must part at the end with hopes of meeting once again in the not so distant future. The second film carries the tag line: “Is there someone who lingers in your memory – someone who makes you wonder what might have been?” This time around, they meet in Paris. Jesse has written a book detailing a character’s love and loss, mirroring his own loss at never having reuniting with the woman who stole his heart in Vienna - Until he turns and sees her. Rather than an entire day, this time they only have an afternoon to decide if “lightning strikes twice”, and whether or not it can be bottled. (Now go see those films. I’ll wait…)

The Next Chapter: Jesse drops off his son from his first marriage at the airport after their vacation together in Greece. We follow him out to the car to find Celine waiting there, along with their twin daughters. Life has been good to them, mostly, but issues linger. It is killing Jesse that he only spends days a year with his son, but there isn’t anything to be done about it. Celine is feeling pressured to give up her dreams, believes that Jesse blames her for his regrets and the choices he’s made, and worried that the relationship is coming to an end. At a dinner scene they and their friends take a great deal of time, asking the question whether love is real or just a fairy tale.
The High Points: We’ve seen so much of Europe in this series and Midnight doesn’t disappoint. We are surrounded by beauty, geography and history. Yet, it is really the dialogue that is the heart of these films. We literally follow them around for tens of minutes without edit and it is the selling point. In film we are accustomed to following the characters around as they wake up, prepare for their day, fill their day, fight, make love and fall asleep. However, never do we get the entire unedited picture. This series acts as if it were a documentary of two real people; people we’ve fallen in love with. They are oftentimes graphic with their humor, subject matter and language, but they are real. After all of these years they still love each other. It’s just a different kind of love. One that is real and all too familiar to each of us who have been in a committed relationship that has spanned decades.
The Final Note: If you haven’t seen the films, send the kids away, find a place on the love seat and catch up. Then get to the theater and see the latest installment. Will it be the last film? Who knows? I’d kind of like to see how Celine and Jesse are doing as seniors. But not yet. We’ve all got a lot of living to do before then.
We’ll talk soon. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

One Week Later

Greetings and salutations, Fire Enthusiasts. How in the world are you? I’m okay and I hope you are, too. You and yours, that is. We never want to forget the “yours” part of that equation. Each of us have loved ones that are standing by us, and/or waiting for us to turn off the laptop and rejoin them on the couch or patio. I certainly do. More on that later…
Well, the latest e-book is out there, as you probably already know. I certainly have spent much time, discussing, promoting and teasing about it, ad nauseum. Right? Don’t answer that! *laughs* At least it feels that way to me. Suffice it to say that I have sold a few copies, and the reviews it has so far have been nothing but positive. I don’t have to tell you that I am ecstatic about this. Is it perfect? No. Is it going to get some negative reviews? Yes. You can’t please them all, right? However, at the end of the day, I am very happy with the way the story ended up. It hits all the targets that I was aiming for.
So, what now? Well, I will continue to promote it. In July the book and I will be doing our first big blog tour. I am very excited about it, and look forward to meeting new people and taking what I do out on the road, as it were.
I have really stretched myself this year as I produced the book and prepared for its promotion. At the same time, I transferred positions at the day job where I am essentially now an acting manager for one of my company’s auxiliary facilities. It’s a solid 11-12 hour day (and some Saturdays) where I am both manager and front-line supervisor. It hasn’t been easy.
So…with all of this in mind, I am going to re-evaluate how I spend my time. I’m not leaving, but you probably will hear from me a lot less – at least until July. You see, for about five years now I have been making my day job and my writing career the top priorities in my life. Only a complete idiot would do that. *raises hand* My wife and teenaged sons (18 and 15) have been low priorities for far too long, and I am now rearranging their place in that order. I have an anniversary coming up this month (23 and 25 years altogether) and I am setting things right today before I don’t see another one.
In the meantime, I have actually been watching television again. Have you seen some of these great new shows: Castle and The Big Bang Theory? *laughs* I’m kidding, of course. There is some truth to that joke, however. I maybe watched one movie a week. Beyond that, with what little time I had, I was seated at the dining room table with my fingers all over my mistress the laptop.
I’m reading a bit more and wondering when I’m climbing back on my treadmill. *stares at bulging waste line and sighs* I’m listening to two new albums that came out last month. How many Jamie Cullum and Thirty Seconds to Mars fans do we have out there? They both have great new albums out. Perhaps I’ll come back next week and tell you about them. We’ll see.
I will be back here next Monday with another post. I don’t plan on missing those.
Everything’s all right. Send me a line if you’re worried.
Thanks again for everyone’s help with the promotion of Seeing Ghosts. I adore you all for it. *hugs and high-fives*

We’ll talk soon.    

Monday, June 3, 2013

Seeing Ghosts Release Day

Hello, Paranormal Enthusiasts. Yes, I said it again. I just can’t help myself now.
Today is the day.

I won’t take up any more of your time with teasers or anything else regarding my new e-book. I’m not going to explain how the book came about, how the book took its shape or how the wonderful and multi talented author Maria Zannini crafted the fabulous traffic-stopping cover. The time for all of that is over. Perhaps I’ll revisit some of these things in the future. Just know that Seeing Ghosts is very special to me. It is scary, but not pure horror; romantic, but not gushing or erotic. I call it a paranormal romance because it is firmly defined by all things paranormal – with a healthy dose of romance. I hope you’ll like it as much as I do.
My thanks to all who take a chance on it, and to all who’ve encouraged and cheered me on as we’ve come to this exciting and nerve-wracking moment in time.
You can find the e-book here on or you can find it here on Goodreads in order to put it on your shelf for another time. If you like it, I hope you’ll tell the world. *high fives and hugs*

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.
We’ll talk soon.