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Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dear

Well, Fire Enthusiasts, it is the last day of 2010. However, rather that spend a few moments reflecting upon what has transpired or what we hope for with the coming year, I simply wish to publicly offer my thanks to my wife.

You see, prior to 2010, neither she or I really knew what was in store for us regarding our time. We were just caught up in the moment. My dream of being a writer was slowly becoming a reality. In February, my crossover horror/Christian novel was released as an e-book. Next came blogging and attempting to get my name out there. Reviews began to trickle in, eventually leading to my working for a local magazine as a reporter. I then started writing for other blogs on top of everything else. We haven't even discussed the fact that nearly every single moment I was social networking. Soon I had to strap an iPhone to my hip as well. Who knew? Did I mention my 10.5 hour day job?

My wife has been understanding as I race home to my trusty laptop each day after work. She has said very little as I plugged myself in and virtually ignore her as well as my "teen aged" boys. I use that phrase because my 12 year old will not be 13 until late January, but he might as well be one, pretty much doing everything that teenagers do...or don't do! We have him and the 16 year old.

Yet, as my novel was just released as a paperback, and will soon be followed by the sequel, the question remains: how long is this trend going to continue? Are we looking at another year of her having to sit alone on the couch while I hold my nose one foot away from a computer monitor, plugged in?

Therefore, as we navigate through this last day of the year, I just wanted to give a shout-out to my wife. She understands that this is my long-dead dream suddenly revived and realized. We usually do not stay out late on New Year's Eve; however, we typically do take time out for ourselves, seeing a movie and having dinner. You see, not only is this the last day of the year, but it is her birthday as well.

So on this day, I say to my wonderful wife: Happy Birthday...

...and thanks for understanding.

To the rest of you: Have a Happy and safe New Year!

We'll talk soon.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Always a tease

4:58 a.m.
“You're kidding!”
“It's true, Candy!” Jane Lynch reassured. “I heard the whole thing!”
“Wow! What I wouldn't have given to see that,” Candace said through rapid breaths, jogging alongside her good friend of more that twelve years. They had been running every day except Friday before work since January. The last name in the office pool had them giving it up by June 1st. It was the $225 dollar pot which helped to keep the women motivated.
“I know. I couldn't believe how lucky I was.”
“Then what?” Candace asked excitedly as they swung left at the Citibank Building from Lincoln Street onto Draper, onto what the locals referred to as “Main Street” which was the very heart of town.
The decorative red brick beneath their running shoes were set at an angle now, seeming to turn with them, or in the very least as a marker to keep them on the course. The Citibank sign before them was also an LED display, giving both time and temperature. It flashed 5:01 a.m. and then 49 degrees Fahrenheit, but neither paid it any mind. This would be the coolest day of the week, and it was cold enough already without having to see actually how bad it was. They just kept up their pace and continued on their way. Shade trees and large blue celebratory banners which hung from blue poles lined the course now on the right; a Mexican Restaurant, pizza joint and other shops on the left.
“He told her everyone was complaining. She hadn't done a thing since they’d been sleeping together, marching about like a queen, treating everyone like she was the new CEO after a hostile takeover.”
“Ain't that the truth?”
Jane continued, “She said some B.S. about how she never realized she’d been doing that. She’d be better from now on...”
“Sure, now!”
“But see, by this time, he's not even listening. It’s over. She doesn't know it yet.”
“Wow!” Candice exclaimed as they jogged from cement sidewalk back to brickwork.
On the right, a tree planter area bordered the next intersection. Most of the streets throughout Main Street were decorated in similar fashion. This particular one contained shrubs, flowers and other greenery kept very well groomed by the Model Drug Pharmacy which was located across from it.
“I haven't gotten to the good part.”
“What?” Candice asked as they crossed Smith Street and continued west. Their usual route took them westward through town where they would eventually cross Draper at California Street and then head back for home. The two friends lived one block from each other and both worked for a large payroll firm in town. They were more like sisters than friends. As their footfalls reached the sidewalk once again, bringing them across the entrance of the Bank of America. They paid little attention to the police cars that sat silent and unoccupied there on the street.
“Her jaw literally dropped when he told her she was fired!”
“Wow!” she exclaimed once again as they reached their normal rest stop between Gino’s Italian Eatery and Apple Dumplin’ Antique store.
It was here that they allowed themselves ten minutes to rest. The area extended its entrance on Draper to the alley that ran behind the restaurants and shops. A sign had been recently erected pointing the way through to the historic old jail that sat behind the newly refurbished Fire Station. A large orange Swedish Dala Horse statue stood before them as if guarding the site. In fact, it wasn't to dissuade, but to invite. Two stone tables and two wood benches sat there encouraging visitors to stop and sit for a while. There were small trees in stone planters, and one fully grown shade tree and four screens installed for holding back the squelching 100-plus degree summer days which arrive all too soon.
“Stupid vacation days! Always happens! Take a day and someone either quits, gets caught with someone in the copy room or gets fired.” Not that the copy room had ever been used for anything other than the occasional mild flirt session.
Jane continued her workout by jogging in place while Candice leaned over, feet spread apart, her hands on her knees to catch her breath beside the Dala Horse. "Then security came in and handed her stuff already boxed up."
“Shoo!” Candice winced with surprise, waving a hand across her face to do away with two flies that had suddenly materialized before her face. She stood upright and stretched her back, raising her hands behind her head. She took a step and a half into the area as something caught her eye. Her left hand went immediately to her mouth and her eyes ballooned as what she was seeing was being made clear. Jane didn’t see it, nor could she hear the faint whimpering over her own labored breathing.
“Then Jack points at the open door in his office and tells her,” Jane continued, still running in place, slipping into a bad imitation of their boss's voice. “'Call my wife! She’s had two lovers herself this millennium.'”
Candice reached out blindly with her right hand and squeezed Jane's left arm, her other hand still frozen against her mouth as if sealing a crack in a dam. It was all that she could do. Never in a million years could she have found the words to describe to her friend the horror that was displayed there in the former alleyway, now all ornate brickwork and tree planters, cement tables and mutilated policemen.
“Hold on,” Jane attempted to continue, glancing down the street, oblivious to the grizzly scene behind her. It was not until she felt her friend’s freshly manicured fingernails begin to dig through her sweatshirt that she started to understand that something might be wrong. She just had no idea how horribly wrong it was until Candace suddenly yanked her forward to share her find. “What’s gotten into you, Candy?” she demanded and then fell silent.
Before them, in the very heart of the space, stood that solitary tree; it poked its canopy between two screens and into the nautical twilight. Before it grew a shrub in a stone planter surrounded by rail ties. Nick Mancuso was in that planter as well. The woman froze. “Jesus!” she whispered, stepping back in shock. Candice Gutierrez never heard it.
Police Officer Nick Mancuso didn’t hear the woman either. He was long past the ability to hear or see or feel anything. His only salvation was that he had been long dead by the time that his head had been wrenched free from his neck and impaled atop a corroded metal spike. It stood there as some grotesque warning, but for just what no one could yet know. Above the head, shoved violently through the screen there hung the rest of him. His outstretched arms reached limply forward just as welcoming as that Dala Horse or the “Valkommen” banners that preceded it. The photo was framed by the famed Kingsburg water tower rising 122 feet high above. In 1985 it had been transformed into a giant coffee pot, decorated with floral motifs in red, blue, yellow and green.
Now this city was being forever transformed.
Jane looked away before the first wave of vomiting struck her. It splattered hard atop the sidewalk, but Candace couldn’t hear that either, thankfully. She stood transfixed by the eyes seemingly staring back at her; the frozen open maw, screaming in silence.

Now that my debut crossover horror/Christian novel is finally available in all formats, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to offer another short teaser. I hope you enjoyed it. I hope everyone can see that my work is graphic when it needs to be without being disgusting. For those not interested in being preached to, I hope you will trust that I incorporate religion without being right in your face there, either.

Thanks to everyone who gives the novel a chance.

We'll talk soon.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Revenge of the Siren Song

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. Did everyone survive Christmas? I read that there were quite a few who were ill, and for those, I hope your health has returned in time for New Years.

Many of you might have visited in the past week, or saw on Facebook that my e-book has been released as a paperback now as well. It was a lovely gift to receive; perhaps even better than that stack of iTunes gift cards or dvds, but those were pretty darn good, too. So, in honor of the paperback's release, I will be offering another brief glance at the novel, probably tomorrow. Before I do, however, I want to share with you a novella that I just read. It is entitled, "Revenge of the Siren Song" and it was written by Michelle Stinson Ross.

If you find yourself growing tired of all the vampires (I hope not), then this might be just the change of pace that you need. The Siren Song is a pirate ship, you see, as is The Black Dragon and The Ocean's Mistress. In fact, there are ships and pirates and the British Navy seemingly everywhere.

The following is the blurb that can be found on the Smashwords site: Danger and adventure await in this tale from the Golden Age of Piracy. As deadly as she is beautiful, Captain Grace O'Malley is not the only threat in the Caribbean. She must strike an alliance with an old flame in order to continue to ply her trade upon the tropical sea. But the burning passions of Liam O'Shea threaten to unravel all her plots and plans.

Many of you might be asking yourself the same questions that I was before buying this book: Pirates? Really? Other than seeing the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films and always enjoying the ride at Disneyland, I'm not actually the biggest pirate fan in the world. However, mixing the intrigue of double and triple-crosses, historical accuracy that you won't believe, as well as rich, multi-layered characters, makes this a quick and entertaining piece of work.

Though I didn't know much about the history of the subject, Stinson does an excellent job of getting it right. You can just tell. From the detailed locales, to the dress, to the customs of the day, the reader is transported to a time and place as if he or she had just stepped from a time-machine.

Upon reaching the end, I did find myself left with questions which I counted as a good thing. All of the major characters had come together, lives had been turned upside down and hearts had been toyed with from every direction; however, only more questions seemed to be raised, with there being much Stinson could do with them all. Was this merely an intermission? A tantalizing first part? Was this just the first canon shot preceding a much larger work? One can only hope so, because although not usually my particular cup of tea, I find myself interested now. What could occur should Captains Liam O'Shea, Grace O'Malley and Elizabeth Shireland meet again?

What better way to grow accustomed to the new Kindle, Nook, iPhone, iPad, etc., than to download yourself a copy of Revenge of the Siren Song. It costs as much as three songs on iTunes and it's a quick entertaining read.

We'll talk soon.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Dance on Fire - Paperback

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. Having two posts back to back must be some sort of record, don't you think? Actually I think it ties a record.

In any event, since my novel, "Dance on Fire", was released last February, many have bought the electronic version, be it for Kindle, Nook, iPhone or just to read on a computer, and I thank all of them. Having said this, many have continually asked me about a potential paperback version. For those, I am pleased to join Vamplit Publishing and announce that the paperback is now available at Vamplit's store.

With the rise of e-books, brick and mortar stores are really beginning to feel the heat and that is unfortunate. Just as vinyl gave way to cassettes and eventually cd, paper novels may also one day give way; however, there is still something special about holding one's novel in your hand, just as I did all of those writers that I adored growing up. Therefore, you can well imagine how I will feel that day my novel arrives at my door and I can sleep with it beneath my pillow.

Too much?

Fine, I take it back.

No, I don't.

We'll talk soon.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A review and a bit of news

Happy Hump Day, Fire Enthusiasts! Are you enjoying your week? I hope so. I know with the whole build up to Christmas there are always lists to be checked off, tasks to be performed, and though we may have a lot of time, it ends up getting eaten by something or another. Before we know it, it has gone.

As I might have mentioned before, I am on a two week vacation. No, I'm not going anywhere. During the holidays, I just love to be home. So I'm sitting at trusty lap top, at my dining room table with its festive table cloth, and drinking coffee out of a holiday mug. The table, which normally sits in the Dining Room for eleven months out of the year, has now been moved to the west side of our Great Room, so I have a great view of my Christmas tree, etc., etc. The down side is when the television is on it is a terrible distraction. Thankfully, all is quiet at the moment. My wife is reading the paper and having her coffee, and my teenagers (who stay up entirely too long) are still asleep behind their closed bedroom doors. Okay, I know what you're thinking. Am I sure the teenagers are in bed and have not snuck out through windows? Well my 16 year old has plenty of freedom, so he doesn't need to do that. He's got my truck more than I do!!

As I promised, I finally got some reading done. I read an epic novel by my good friend Carole Gill. I had looked forward to this because she writes some dark stuff, so I was particularly curious. I was not disappointed, and, if you are drawn to the dark side, neither will you be! I had fully intended to post that review here; however, since I rarely have an opportunity to review something this dark and sinister, I felt compelled to post it over on the Something Wicked This Way Comes blog that I "try" and contribute to. If you are unfamiliar with that blog, it's probably by accident. We have a collection of writers there that you already know: Nicole Hadaway, Marissa Farrar, Jevron Mc Crory and some other dude, but I forget his name... ;) I hope you'll check out my review and give us a follow.

One last thing before I leave you. The California Alliance For Jazz selected my 16 year old son for the 2011 CAJ/CMEA All State Jazz Choir. It is a huge honor for him. Only 16 students were selected across the state and he was one of them. He actually let slip an expletive-deleted and lowered his head in disbelief when he got the news! I was so proud! Lol! Okay, I was proud of the honor and less proud of the swearing, but both my wife and I understood.

With that, I shall leave you now. My Kindle beckons...

We'll talk soon.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Reading again

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. How is everybody doing this holiday season? Are you finding yourself stressed with all of the details? Are you perhaps actually finding time to sit back and enjoy the lights, food, decorations, etc.? I hope so.

You see I just went on vacation from my day job. You remember? My alarm wakes me up at 3:00 am. I'm in the office by 4:00 am. I have over one hundred employees. I work about 11 hours a day. As they say, it's a living.

In any event, I am now on vacation for two entire weeks. I have a post that is due for Wicked Writers this Friday, and I have an article due in early January for Kings River Life Magazine, but other than that, my schedule is clear. Couple that with the fact that the manuscript for my second novel in the Dance on Fire series, "Dance on Fire: Flashpoint", has been mailed to Vamplit Publishing, all I really want to do now is enjoy my decorated house...and read.

You see, with the hours I usually work and the schedules that I had been maintaining with regard to articles and posts, there has been no time for reading. So that's really want I want to do now.

For those of you who know me on Goodreads, you may have noticed that it claims that I have been reading "The Passage" by Justin Cronin for a long while. The truth is I abandoned that book a long time ago. I really enjoyed the first 100 pages or so, but could not stay interested once the first batch of characters had made way for another. I recall that the novel was getting really good buzz; however, unless some of you encourage me to keep trying, I'm walking away.

But that's okay. My Kindle is now full of new novels by several of you that I really want to read. I just began "The House on Blackstone Moor" by a great friend of mine, Carole Gill. With any luck she will be joining us on Wicked Writers very soon and I cannot wait. This girl has some series skill. I am just under 20% of the novel and I am really loving it. I'm not sure where it's going, though I do have my suspicions. We'll see whether Carole has tricked me or not.

Another novel that I want to get into is "Grave Echoes" by Erin Cole. I have read a few of her stories and I am intrigued to see what she's got up her sleeve. I also have "The Dark Road" by Marissa Farrar. Her first novel was very good, and I'm not just saying that because she's my pal, or because we're both on Vamplit. I've also picked up a few others: "The Strangers Outside" by Vanessa Morgan, "Shredder" by Garry Charles and "The First Kill" by Darcia Helle.

In the not-exactly-my-genre-but-am-very-interested-none-the-less column, I have "Revenge of the Siren Song" by Michelle Stinson Ross and "The Hating Game" by Talli Roland. Many of us watched excitedly and rooted for it as Talli's novel attacked Amazon during the first day of it's release.

If I have enough time, I would also like to tackle a couple of big time authors: Patricia Cornwell and Pat Conroy. Cornwell has a new novel in her Kay Scarpetta series, entitled "Port Mortuary". Conroy has a new offering about some of his favorite books, entitled "My Reading Life".

One of the things I haven't managed to do very well is offer reviews. I hope to change that during this holiday season. We'll see.

I hope the holiday season finds you well and hopeful.

We'll talk soon.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Book Blogger Hop

Greetings and Merry Christmas, Fire Enthusiasts. If the greeting offends you, it certainly isn't my intent. In fact, sometimes it is more to inspire me to not allow the hectic time to overshadow how much I love December.

As many of you know, I have been writing for an on-line magazine, a couple of blogs, completing my manuscript for the second book in my Dance on Fire series, as well as working my 10.5 hour day-job. It is very easy to miss Christmas when you have schedules and deadlines like that. Right? I know many, if not all of you, are dealing with much the same. For those of you who share a fondness for this particular time of the year, I hope you, too, will be able to slow down enough to be able to enjoy it as well.

In the meantime, since my novel is safely in the hands of Vamplit Publishing and I am in between assignments at the moment, I am taking part in "The Hop". It's been far too long, I know. I look forward to meeting new people as well as reconnecting with "old" ones.

This week's question was introduced by Angela over at Library Girl Reads: "What is the thing you like most about reading book blogs? Is it the reviews, author guest posts, articles, giveaways, or something else entirely?"

My answer to this is equal parts: 1) to do PR for my novels; 2) to keep up with what is new with regard to other novels and film and music; 3) to cultivate relationships with people who are living their dreams, too. I think were I to discontinue writing, that I would still continue networking with all of the new friends I have made this past year. Everyone has been so supportive and warm and friendly that I just don't see how I could walk away from that.

I hope to see you on The Hop. Have a great weekend.

We'll talk soon.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Dance on Fire Teaser

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. Now, don't say it! I know what you're thinking. Two posts within mere days of each other - just what's going on here? Well, I promised that I would get back to keeping this blog up, didn't I? Now that the manuscript for Dance on Fire: Flashpoint has been delivered to Vamplit Publishing, I intend to keep that promise.

It has been quite a while since the last time that I posted a teaser of my first novel, so I thought that I would give you another piece. This section comes directly after the Prologue which I have posted previously. I hope you like it...

May 5, 2008
4:18 a.m.

“Are you sure you’re not going to get in some sort of trouble for this?” the young man asked for the third time. His shift at the glass plant began at 6:00 a.m. In the meantime, he was visiting his new girlfriend.
“No, Jeremy,” Kingsburg Police Dispatcher Lainie Bishop answered. “Will you please relax? We’re just talking! You’re over there, I’m over here, and nothing is keeping me from doing my job. Now let it go!”
“Kingsburg, one-five-nine.”
“See,” she said, taking her hands away from her lap and presenting them to him, palms up. “I’m doing my job.” Lainie put one foot on the thinly tiled floor and pushed off, spinning her chair back around toward the microphone and keyboard which was her charge. She keyed the base microphone. “One-five-nine, go ahead.”
“Ten-ninety-eight, Draper Street doors.” That was shorthand police talk. The Dispatcher was being informed that the task of checking that all of the businesses along Draper Street were secure was accomplished. There had been no doors found to be unlocked, nothing amiss. “One-six-one and I will be ten-twenty at the fourteen hundred block of Draper.” More Police talk; very official.
“Has CPS arrived to pick up that minor?” the officer asked, still official-sounding, but less serious.
“That’s a negative, one-five-nine,” Lainie responded professionally, although the question had been far from it. It was an inside joke.
“What minor?” Jeremy asked, but not before his new girlfriend had released the microphone. CPS was an anagram for Child Protective Services. Jeremy was freshly nineteen years old, while Lainie was five years his senior: a fact which lent itself to much ribbing and sarcasm toward the woman by her co-workers. On her end of the line, she sighed quietly. On the other end, down on Draper Street between Marion and Smith Streets, laughter erupted.
“You,” Lainie answered, dropping her head dramatically into her left hand as if in defeat, her short blond hair falling forward. She couldn’t hear the laughter or see the faces twisted in glee, but she could certainly envision it quite easily. She looked back meekly at the young man, slightly embarrassed for him, but mostly for her. He wasn’t the one who had to work with these guys.
After having introduced Jeremy to some of the members of the swing shift who had found him visiting the dispatcher, some of the officers had begun volunteering to return before ten o’clock and drive the “boy” home before curfew. Others had been less charming. Lainie just knew that Officer Browning, the jerk partner of the voice on the other end of the radio traffic just now, had been the one to plant the pacifier into her lunchbox tonight. “Please, Jeremy,” she asked. “Don’t say anything while we’re miced.”
“Ten-four,” Officer Mancuso completed the conversation, still snickering about Jeremy’s pubescent-sounding voice coming over the airwaves.
“Man, Nicky,” Mancuso’s partner begin the tired argument. “I'm tellin' you, football is boring without Dallas kicking San Francisco's ass!"
"Mm-hmm!" Officer Nick Mancuso grunted, stepped near a yellow and green fire hydrant and spat a small wad of greenish, yellow phlegm into the street. It made an ugly unmistakable splat which he tried to ignore. He could not see the small mass in the dark, but had heavily evacuating his nose and throat for two days now, so he could well imagine it. The cold in his lungs was getting worse, he knew. Just exactly how he had caught a Spring cold, he still could not figure out. He had no allergies to speak of and was hardly ever sick. Yet, here he was. Sure it was 50 degrees outside and the Graveyard Shift in a small town where nothing ever happened. However, dressed in multiple undershirts, a Kevlar bullet-proof vest, black clothing and twenty-five pounds of equipment clipped to their belts, one could hardly tell.
Officer Lawrence Browning was the younger of the two and he sounded the part. Brash, often unthinking, he many times uttered an increasingly insensitive and stupid comment, realizing too late his mistake. They had been partners now for eighteen months. Eighteen long months.
Mancuso stared at him incredulously. "And yet it seems to me that we kicked your Cowboy ass the last time we played! Do I have that right?”
“When was that?”
“Funny you can’t remember!” he added, sarcastically. He half-choked on another piece of phlegm that suddenly broke loose, catching it quickly in his mouth before swallowing it by mistake and evacuating it, too.
Officer Mancuso was almost six years older than his partner with five more years of experience. He was five-feet, eleven inches tall; black hair; thin build. His partner was six-feet, four inches tall; blonde hair, blue eyes; muscular and fully prepared to call his own number on fourth-down and goal with a long two yards to go for the winning touchdown. Though both men hailed from California, Browning looked the part, while Mancuso looked as if he had just emigrated from New Jersey. He was 180 degrees from the type of character that Browning was. Quiet and reserved, he was often accused of being shy or introverted, a notion which could not be further from the truth. Instead, he was a people watcher. Where others might lose themselves with daydream, the detective within him was always analyzing others. While waiting for his wife in the Fashion Fair Mall up in Fresno, he would pass the time by studying the faces and mannerisms of everyone around him.
Mancuso reached into his shirt’s left breast-pocket for his pack of Winstons and offered one to his partner, which finally shut him up. Browning quickly accepted a cigarette from his partner and leaned close while Mancuso fished around his patrol car keys in his right pants pocket for his San Francisco 49ers lighter. When he had it he lit Browning's cigarette first and then his own. He hoped that the sight of the 49ers emblem and colors would not set his partner off again.
Browning’s eyes lit up just like the tiny flame when he saw the hated team come just inches from his nose. “Look,” he attempted to pick up the argument where it had been left off.
“C'mon, Larr!’” Mancuso quickly interrupted before exhaling cigarette smoke into the cool early morning air. “Don't you ever shut up? No wonder Alicia left you!”
Browning took a long drag and then pointed his cigarette at his partner. “Cold shot, Nicky. Alicia split 'cause I didn't make enough to support her decorating habit.” He paused. “Besides, I think she likes her men a little more...feminine.”
“Oh, hell!” Mancuso turned and spat again. “Here it comes.”
“No, seriously!” Browning continued, undaunted. “Have you seen that guy? What a wuss! You know, to tell you the truth, I'm not even sure he had a...”
“Well,” Officer Mancuso quickly cut him off before he was given the graphic details of the man’s genitalia. “I’ve met him before. I thought he was a nice guy.”
Officer Browning took another long drag and then grinned as he blew it out. “See, that’s why you’re not allowed near the junior high!”
Officer Mancuso raised his hand before his partner’s tanned face and thrusted one solitary middle finger upward in playful response.
“Ooo! Baby,” Browning went into his undersexed collegiate freshman girl imitation. After having spent so much of the past eighteen months together it was quite possibly the only skill that Officer Mancuso could identify his partner having.
“You're a sick man, Larry.”
“Pardon me, Officers,” a voice suddenly appeared behind them out of what had once been an alley but was now a small picnic area between Gino’s Italian Eatery and the Apple Dumplin Antique shop.
The police officers spun: Mancuso lighting his heavy Mag-lite flashlight, while Browning ripped his police issue Glock 22 from its holster and pointed the .40 caliber weapon in the direction of the voice.
“Gentlemen!” the man shouted weakly, offering his empty hands out before him to demonstrate to the men how unarmed and quite safe he truly was. Mancuso's flashlight bathed him in artificial light. He was a Caucasian male, standing at least as tall as his partner with straight long dark hair, probably black, framing a fair-skinned face. He had a better than average build, wearing a long brown leather coat, designer jeans, with large motorcycle riding boots to match.
“Put your frigging gun away, Larry,” Mancuso whispered, reaching out with his free hand and nudging his partner.
Browning immediately lowered his weapon. “What did you expect me to do, Nicky? He scared the... You know you scared the shit out of me, Sir!” Browning berated the man.
“I apologize for it, gentleman,” the man said with an embarrassed grin as he lowered his hands and carefully approached. “It was...inexcusable.”
“You're damn right!” Browning continued his assault. “You might get your ass shot off one day!”
“Thank you, Officer. I will keep that in mind.”
“Give it a rest, Larry.” Mancuso ordered, turning off his flashlight. “What can we do for you, Sir?”
“I wondered if you might allow me one of those cigarettes?”
“Sure,” Mancuso answered, reaching into his shirt pocket for the Winstons. “It's probably the only way to keep the blood flowing this early in the morning.”
“Ah, but my Dear Officer,” the man began, taking the offered cigarette, “there are certainly more ways than this to keep the blood flowing, as you say, on such a beautiful and perfect night.”
“Got that right!” Browning said, in part still trying to calm down. He tossed his spent cigarette behind his partner and into the gutter. “I know exactly what you mean.”
“Do you?” the man asked, turning the officer’s direction, seeming genuinely interested.
Mancuso shook his head as he fished around inside his pants pocket for the lighter once again. If the stranger did not entirely guess where Browning was headed, he certainly did. Sex! It was the only thing Larry Browning ever had on his mind. He just wished that his partner would be more selective in deciding when to mention it. Locating his lighter, he raised it to the man's face and attempted to ignite it.
“Oh, yeah!” Browning continued. “There's nothing like an all-nighter to get my blood flowing.”
Suddenly, as if it were the most amusing thing that he had ever heard, the man standing before the officers threw back his head and roared with laughter. It echoed loudly around the rest area, the sound reverberating within the area there between the brick walls. It did not dissipate immediately, but seemed to hover there just like the Tulle fog that blanketed the Central Valley in the winter.
At first, Browning joined the laughter, thoughts of a pair of long firm lightly tanned legs locked around his waist still fresh inside his perverted mind. However, something quickly and decisively ripped the image from his head. There was something about that laugh that caused everything about the morning to suddenly feel much cooler than it was. As if he were just a simple child again and not a graduate of the Police Academy and Fresno State University with a degree in criminology, the sound seemed to haunt him down to his very bones.
Mancuso felt it, too. And now, bringing the cigarette lighter to life seemed all but impossible for him to manage.
“Allow me to assist you,” the man said, no longer giggling but using a tone dripping with both mocking amusement. He casually took hold of Mancuso's hand.
Officer Nicholas John Mancuso shuddered at the touch. He had never experienced any winter like this man's fingers. They felt cold and lifeless. He remembered one night during his first year while training with the Fresno County Sheriff’s Department, when they had responded to the ranch of an elderly male who hadn’t been heard from in four days. This man's flesh was just as dead as Mancuso’s first corpse laying there in a heap on that bathroom floor.
On the man's first attempt, the lighter came. Both officers jumped as it flickered to life. “There we are,” the man said with a smile and then leaned close to the dancing little flame to light his cigarette. “You see, that was no trouble at all.”
Mancuso and Browning did see. They saw the impossible.
Mancuso looked deeply into the man’s eyes: they were black and cold and lifeless. They looked like a shark’s eyes right before he bites into you.
This man standing before them still clutching onto Mancuso's wrist was dead as well, with blemishless skin that appeared as smooth as a white satin sheet pulled tightly over a bed in a suite at the Ritz Carlton. Only this was no bed, but a grown man's face with holes cut out for eyes and a mouth. And gleaming teeth.
Mancuso was still thinking of that shark when he beheld the vampire’s incisors. Browning must have thought the same thing because he quickly went back for his gun. He got it as far as the top of his holster before the man's free hand sprang like a trip-hammer, cutting through the air between them. The attacking hand never seemed to get close enough to the weapon, but it obeyed him just the same and leapt out of the officer's grasp. Browning stood there dumbfounded, his empty hand held high as if he carried some new prototype invisible blaster, and was preparing to use it to vaporize this creature standing before them.
Mancuso's heart sank as his eyes followed after the fleeing Glock as it skipped into the shadows of the former alley.
He still had his gun, but apparently not the necessary courage.
“Now I've done it!” the man flicked the unsmoked cigarette into the deserted street in disgust. “I must once again apologize for my behavior, gentlemen. It seems that I have a flair for inspiring fear in the hearts of men.” He paused briefly with a sigh. “Ah! All is not lost. As we were discussing, before I made a most incredible mess of things, there are indeed other, I think, more splendid ways to get the blood flowing, as it were.”
And he roared with laughter again.

We'll talk soon,



Friday, December 3, 2010

New Beginnings...

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. Yes, I know what you're thinking: Who are you? Well, there's a reason behind me not posting as regularly as I would have hoped; or for not visiting the blogs of my dear friends.

Between deadlines for Wicked Writers and Kings River Life Magazine, I have been working on the sequel to "Dance on Fire". Just moments ago, I sent the 117, 520 word sequel entitled, "Dance on Fire: Flashpoint", to Vamplit Publishing.

Notice how I didn't say anything about hanging out with my kids or my wife...or sleeping. Okay, it wasn't that bad. *head desk* Just kidding. The other thing that I haven't been doing is reading anything. I have been filling my Kindle with stuff, and many of the books are some of yours, but I don't want to spoil the surprise. You see, I had hoped to have delivered my second video blog, but between all of the deadlines, my allergies kicked in. The last thing I think you want to listen to is me incessantly clearing my throat, so hopefully I will continue to improve. What I want to do is to do a vlog that addresses all that I have been up to with regard to writing, music I'm listening to now, films I have viewed, etc.

Lastly, and more importantly, I wanted to let you know that Wicked Writers has moved from one blog to another. Please come on over and give us a follow. I promise that, although we are now in a new location, we will continue to provide you with exactly what you had grown accustomed to getting from us.

Before I go, I would like to thank you all for sticking with me as long as you have without a whole lot of interaction from me, either here or on any of your sites.

I hope to change this immediately.

Take care and Happy Friday.

We'll talk soon.


Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Giant Six Days

"It is unsinkable. God himself couldn't sink this ship."

Okay, most folks by now have seen James Cameron's landmark film, Titanic. I remember my wife and I hoping that it would bomb at the box office. Any film that cost that much money, just to re-tell a story that everybody already knew, sounded ridiculous to us. However, when we did finally see it, our opinions were quickly changed. I thought it was great. I own it on DVD and we watch it periodically.

Having written this, what follows really has nothing to do with the film. In 1907 and 1908, the Chicago Cubs Major League Baseball Team won back to back World Series Championships. I'm quite certain, though there is doubtless very few people still alive to ask, that some idiot paraphrased the above line in the following manner: "God Himself could not beat the Chicago Cubs!"

Monday night, being a baseball fan, I sat in agony and watched the San Francisco Giants win and then celebrate a World Series Championship. It was not upsetting because I didn’t want them to win, even though I was actually rooting for the Texas Rangers to win. No, I was bothered by the terrible fact that I was once again watching some other team other than by beloved Chicago Cubs win a championship.

Now, before some uninformed person attempts to cheer me up, or worse, to chide me for “crying about” some trivial matter such as this; know this: it has been exactly 102 years since they last won what the Giants just shocked the world by doing. And that’s the other sobering thing about this particular win. Other than the pitching staff of 2-time Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner, Matt Cain and closer Brian Wilson, they were a team of misfits. Nearly their entire roster was made up of players that nobody else wanted. World Series MVP Edgar Renteria was hurt three times and was widely suspected to be contemplating retirement during the season; Cody Ross was released by the Florida Marlins in late August; Aubrey Huff has been on 5 teams in ten years; Mike Fontenot, Freddy Sanchez, Pat Burrell - it's pretty much all the same.

In recent years, I have watched the Boston Red Sox break their terrible dry spell by winning it all, as well as the Chicago White Sox and now the Giants. In spite of the fact that I was not rooting for the Giants to win the World Series, I salute their terrific achievement. Congratulations, San Francisco Giants, to you and your fans across the country. You are world champions. Enjoy it, because one never know when or if this will ever happen again. The last time that the Cubs made it as far as the world Series was 1948...

"But this ship can't sink!"
"She's made of iron, sir, I assure you that she can, and she will. It is a mathematical certainty."

Now that I've gotten the depressing stuff out of the way, I'm off to happier news. Wednesday morning I was greeted by an e-mail from one of my newest friends. I have met so many wonderful people during this past year of discovery. The writing should be the highlight; the dream of it all coming true. However, sometimes I wonder whether it is actually the new friends that I never would have had the chance to meet that has been the high point. Jennifer Wylie is one of these new BFF's. If you have yet to meet her, this is your chance. She was kind enough to agree to read my novel and to offer her opinion. Bless her heart, she did, and you can read her wonderful review here. Thank you so much, Jennifer.

This past Saturday, the magazine that I write for was good enough to interview and review me as well. It is called Kings River Life Magazine and it is a local on-line magazine that brings local interest as well as arts & entertainment stories to the California Central Valley. They are even giving away a copy of the novel. That positive review can be read here as well. Not only this, but the same issue this week included my article about a celebrity artist as well as my contribution to a staff article about our collective favorite scary movies (for Halloween).

As if this was not enough, the preceding Friday saw my latest post for the Wicked Writers Blog. If anyone has yet to discover this particular blog, you've got to check us out. I am simply one of eight amazing writers. Again, the prompt was Halloween themed, but our topics are as varied as our genres. We're all terribly wicked, but our genres run the gamut. I am leaving a link here, for those of you who have yet to take the plunge.

Well, I think that's enough. Thanks for taking the time, especially for having to endure the baseball rant. I love my Cubs. I just hope they win one day while I am yet alive to see it.

We'll talk soon.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween Weekend

Holy Crap, Batman! What a weekend this is turning out to be!

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. How are you all doing? Once again, I feel as if I should be apologizing for being absent more often than I'm not. However, as many of you know, when I'm not up early doing my day job, I am writing for this, that and the other.
This is what bring me to you this weekend...

My family and I make our home in the California Central Valley, near Fresno. Okay, who am I kidding? If you've read or read about my novel, you already know that I live in a small town south of there called Kingsburg. Anyway, I also work for a local on-line magazine based in the valley, Kings River Life. Today's issue features an extensive interview with me, a short but positive review of my novel and a giveaway.

Not only that, but my article on the artist, Rick Alonzo is also featured. If you have not heard of him, and I admit that I hadn't, he is quite the interesting subject. He is a Christian painter who uses martial arts, martial arts weaponry and gymnastics to produce his art and lead people to God.

The staff at the magazine were also asked to list their favorite scary films, and I offered my two cents on The Silence of the Lambs.

Truly, you can't miss my presence in this issue. If it were not for the tireless work of our publisher, Lorie Ham, one might suggest that the issue is mine this week. Not really! I do a lot of work, but nothing compared to what Lorie does.

In addition to this, as if this were not enough, I continue to post for Wicked Writers. Each week we follow our prompt and deliver thought-provoking and often times witty posts on various subjects. Every genre of fiction is represented and several of us write articles in other places. If you don't already follow along, I hope you will come over and check us out.

Well, it's been a busy weekend...and it's only just begun, to paraphrase The Carpenters. I'm still applying polish to the second book and awaiting word on the paperback release of the first book. Stay tuned for details on that.

Have a great weekend and a safe Halloween.

We'll talk soon.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday Morning Musings

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. I hope that everyone is well. Summer is now turning into fall, and I could not be happier. I haven't been a fan of summer since I no longer had my summers off! Lol!

Update: Things continue to be extremely busy as I attempt to hold two careers. Many, if not all, of you know exactly what I'm talking about. I have previously discussed all that I have been up to this year, so I will not bore you with the details. I will only mention briefly that I continue to attempt to keep this blog active, write articles for a local on-line magazine, contribute as a staff member of Wicked Writers, and keep up with any and seemingly all social networks.

You'll do doubt notice that I made no mention of doing any fiction writing. Well, I am currently giving the sequel to my debut one last pass before sending it off to Vamplit Publishing. It is tentatively entitled, Dance on Fire: FlashPoint. Dance on Fire is an e-book, but is getting its paperback release this fall. My thanks to all who have either read the book or have taken an interest in it and/or me.

New Music: Earlier this summer I spent some time discussing new music that I had been listening to. I continue to listen to the latest offerings from Train, Corinne Bailey Rae, 30 Seconds To Mars, and Krokus. So far this fall my feelings have been mixed with regards to my opinion of some new releases.

With Maroon 5 I must say that I have been disappointed. Songs About Jane was a brilliant record. It was the proverbial breath of fresh air. The band toured for several years on that one record alone, and my wife and I continued to listen to it well after that. However, the last two efforts since then, to me, have been stale and seemingly the same formula, and no longer fresh. I was pleased to hear that they were planning on using the great Robert John "Mutt" Lange to produce the new CD. This guy's name was seemingly on every album I owned in the early eighties by AC/DC and Def Leppard. He was at the helm for Heartbeat City by The Cars and Foreigner 4. Unfortunately, with everything that I have heard so far, it seems that his talents have been wasted.

I fell in love with Sara Bareilles quite by accident last year. I had heard her song, "Love Song", but did not pay very much attention to it. It was only when I found her concert on cable that I gave her the time and respect that this amazing young woman deserves. She writes very good songs, and from what I have seen and heard from her, gives a mean live performance. I was a little unsure about her newest release until I had played it a few times, but now I am playing it regularly. Give her a chance. She's so much more than just a pretty face...

This next CD that I have been listening to was a bit of a surprise. I like The Goo Goo Dolls; however, I probably would neglect to name them as one of my favorite bands were you to ask me. Yet, I gave this new release of theirs a chance when I saw it advertise on iTunes and found that I could not stop myself from buying it. Originally, I only bought four songs. After I had listened to them enough times, I went back for the rest. There are a couple that I can do without, especially when someone other than John Rzeznik is singing, but for the most part, it is a strong effort and has become a favorite of mine this year.

Hopefully, as the year winds down there will be many more surprises when it comes to both music and my writing. I'm looking forward to the next My Chemical Romance release this November 22, Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys. I hope to be celebrating my paperback release soon, followed early next year with news of the next book being published.

Anyway, that's enough for now. Thanks so much for your time and your encouragement.

We'll talk soon.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Something Wicked This Way Comes

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. I just wanted to let you know that I posted something Friday over on Marissa's blog, Something Wicked This Way Comes. It was just a fun look through the scariest films that my DVD library has to offer. There are some newer films and there are some classics. I hope you will take a moment to look it over and let me know what you think of it. I hope to take a look at some newer films this Halloween season so that I may post some reviews. Let me know if there is something that any of you think I might find interesting.

Thanks to all of those who took the time to watch my first-ever video blog last weekend, and thanks for all of the positive comments. I do believe the vlog will return. Whether or not I use it to read some of my work remains to be seen.

Have a great weekend.

We'll talk soon.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Video Blog: the next frontier

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. I apologize for not being around as often as I might want; however, hopefully this first-ever video blog will compensate for that. This is something that I have been wanting to try out for awhile, but just have not gotten around to doing. It is a bit rough. The lighting is a bit dark, but I was looking for a quiet spot in the busy house and the back bedroom was the only room available. In any event, it is all me. It is part summary and part thank you.

We'll talk soon.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dance on Fire teaser

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. I posted this teaser back in April, and thought that I would go ahead and post it once again. The e-book version was published in February and the paperback is tentatively set for Halloween, 2010. The sequel is set for release either late 2010 or early 2011. What follows is the opening of the novel: Dance on Fire. It is a Christian/horror crossover. I hope you like it.

May 4, 2008
11:59 a.m.

The great beast paused in the dark and sniffed the cool spring air as if welcoming in the fragrant bouquet from a glass of fine wine held below his nostrils. Hands casually held inside the pockets of a brown leather coat, long single strands of his dark hair leaping and dancing in the light breeze, head held slightly elevated, he breathed deeply so as not to miss a single delectable whiff.

After all of these many years, he was close now. Before, he simply had a sense of it; perhaps one might call it a fool’s hope. Now he could smell it, taste it.
He was very close indeed.

The breath within it now spent, devoid of any flavor; the beast released it and stole another.

Cold, penetrating eyes pierced the moonless night as he was on the move again strolling languidly, almost if in a hypnotic trance eastward through the peach orchard. Had he already become intoxicated by the scent? Perhaps not the blood that led him, but what the blood was speaking to him. His eyes swept across his field of vision obscured as it was by the trees’ thick canopies. With each additional step, more of the approaching town was revealed: multi-colored light, the spectrum of sounds, the differing shapes of buildings. Looking was unnecessary, however. At this moment, he was as finely tuned to the world around him as he had ever been before. Ahead where the small town the clues had led him to met the open country, a coyote prowled cautiously, desperately searching for a morsel. To his far left was laughter. Actually, it was more like giggling: the squeals of drunken hyenas, intoxicated with the blood and flesh of their kill. Although in the case of these young men, much too young to drink, it was Budweisers that they were killing. He could actually detect the faint sound of the beer sloshing within the long-neck bottles held in the hands of these who probably thought themselves safely undetected among the rows of the raisin vineyard. This night, at long last, after much searching, longing, nothing could escape the beast’s notice.

He paused yet again, this time kneeling low to the earth that lay below his heavy riding boots. Though quite minimal, the scent of blood was now sweet and heavy in his flaring nostrils and parched throat, awakening a deeper hunger within him, as if that could be possible. The sensation seemed so new to him. It felt so virginal: like that first bumbling attempt at lovemaking; that first night away from home; that first bloodletting.

Yet, it was none of these. It was the sweet taste of revenge. The beast would have to salve that hunger with something else tonight, he knew, and perhaps tomorrow as well, but not for very much longer.

Claw-like fingers dug slowly and confidently at the ground until a tiny leg emerged. It was followed by another, and then a shriveled face. They stopped digging and wrapped themselves around the tiny head, where nails all too similar had recently gripped and snapped away the last of the cats’ life. Without a thought, the beast pulled the corpse from the shallow grave. He did not need to search for the wound that had drained the last of the creature’s life, but he did. He longed to see the wound. How could he not? Was this not what had been driving him, filling his days? And now, he would do nothing but enjoy it to the fullest.

He bent the pathetic little neck back until there was an awful crack. His expression showed little knowledge of the sound of it. When he found the matted place where cold lips such as his had drank, when he could see the bite that had drawn the blood, he brought it quickly to his mouth and blew away the dirt with a sharp blast of dank air. Now he did the unthinkable. He licked the wound, long and slow like a lover would the breast of his beloved. Then the great beast smiled a horrible thin smile as he looked up from it.

“At last,” he whispered, nonchalantly dropping the dead cat and gazing up toward the small town before him. He spoke as if to the entire population. “Nathaniel,” he declared, gritting his perfect white teeth as he did. “I have you at last. And when I am through with you the insignificant souls of this place shall gladly hand you over to me!”

The vampire immediately headed off into town, setting events into motion.
Kingsburg, California. It is a rural agricultural community in the heart of the San Joaquin valley, the richest agricultural valley in the world, so states the city’s official website. It was incorporated May 11, 1908. It has a population of over 11,000 and lies twenty miles south of Fresno, and nearly halfway between San Francisco and the city of angels.

It is the home of Sun-Maid: the largest and most well-known raisin plant in the world. The gold medal Olympian Rafer Johnson was raised here. The actor Slim Pickens, who rode a nuclear warhead in the film, “Doctor Strangelove”, was born here.
The Swedish Village, the signs read and the police cars and police badges proudly proclaim. The style of the buildings’ architecture, the baby blue and yellow colors of Sweden, as well as the frequent sighting of the traditional dress from one or another of the downtown business owners further testify to this. Signs at various points along the city limits greet strangers with the Swedish Word: Valkommen. It means exactly as it sounds which is “welcome”.

Every third weekend in May thousands of people converge on Kingsburg for the Swedish Festival. It is a time where nearly the entire town puts on its traditional dress and a show for the weekend, with the highlights being a dance around the May Pole on Friday night and a pancake breakfast and parade on Saturday. This year marks the 43rd annual celebration and the town’s centennial anniversary.

The festivities were set to begin in ten days.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Author Interview

Happy Friday, Fire Enthusiasts!
One of my newest friends in the Blogosphere has been good enough to interview me and post it on her blog, as we happily anticipate the fast approaching weekend. Her name is Jennifer Wylie and you can find the interview on the following link.

I have read some interviews where the questions were, dare I say, lacking. I was pleased to find that not only did Jennifer research me a little bit, but she asked things that writers would want to discuss and that other writers/readers would want to hear about.
I hope that you will not only visit her blog for my interview, but that you will begin to follow her as well, if you have not already been doing so.

Thanks for your time.

We'll talk soon.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Book Blogger Hop

Happy long weekend! Since it is the long weekend, after not participating in far too long, I am once again doing the Book Blogger Hop. It is a cool way to get to know others out there across the blogosphere, whether one is a writer or simply an admirer of the written word. It is hosted by Jennifer over at Crazy-For-Books.

Part of getting to know one another is to provide an answer to a prompt. This week's question was provided by Sarah over at Sarah reads too much: "Do you judge a book by it's cover?"

I am afraid that I must confess that I do tend to judge books by this unfair standard. As a child we are instructed that this was something to avoid. As a writer, who's hard work could be torpedoed by a poor cover, you would think that I would make every effort to give other novels and their authors the benefit of the doubt. Bad Jimmy! I should endeavor to do better!

How about you? Whether you are a long-time follower or a new one, I would like to see your response to the same question.

By the way, if you are new and wonder why the same song might be playing over and over again, it had to do with my previous post. I plan on refilling the jukebox sometime this weekend.

Speaking of that, have a great weekend and happy blog hopping!

We'll talk soon.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Everybody Hurts...sometimes

(To be read while "Everybody Hurts" by REM plays automatically in the embedded jukebox at the bottom of the blog).

Originally, I was planning on beginning this post with the question, "Is there anybody out there?" It would have been a little Pink Floyd for your day, and who doesn't need a little Floyd?

In the end, however, I decided to go with the feelings that had been driving me to address this topic in the first place, and that was a little bit of frustration, melancholy and the "blues". It certainly wasn't depression or anything like that. Let's be clear. However, ever since I was a teenager, I have handled these types of situations the same; bottle them up and turn on the music! I used to sit in my bedroom and listen to songs just like "Everybody Hurts" for hours. One would have thought that I might have made myself worse with depressing songs like that, but somehow I felt better afterward. Maybe I felt like others were sad or lonely just like I was, and that we were all "suffering" together. I don't know.

I have been blogging since January, learning on the fly much of the way. Now I am on three different blogs. On this one, I have 70 followers. On my Facebook author's page, I have 156 followers. Lastly, on Twitter, I have 56 followers. Certainly some of those are repeats, but in all of those wonderful possibilities, I very often receive few comments. Each time I post, be it Wicked Writers, Something Wicked This Way Comes or Dance on Fire, I post a note and link on Facebook and Twitter. If it is one of the other two blogs, I always come back here and post a note and a link.

Does anyone else go through periods where you wonder whether anyone is paying attention? You spend a great deal of time writing a post, polishing it and double-checking that everything is perfect, only to have one or two people leave a note. How do you deal with it?

Perhaps many of you out there have so many followers now that this never happens to you anymore. Can you recall the early days of blogging when the feedback was pretty non-existent. Would your advice simply be to keep at it and trust that the folks will be attracted to what you're doing eventually?

Lately, I have been busy. I lost my pc for a week when it got hit by a virus. It's okay now, but I did buy myself a laptop before that happened. However, between nearly 11 hours a day at my day-job, three blogs and an on-line magazine that I write for, I have spent very little time following my favorite blogs. Is that the key? The fact that everyone else is in much the same boat? Reading, reviewing, writing, working day-jobs, too?

There were two reasons, I think, for sitting down to write this post. First, to feel sorry for myself for a moment and then to get rid of the useless emotion that it is! Secondly, to write something constructive and real. Perhaps other bloggers might be feeling some of the same things and are struggling with it like I was, albeit briefly.

Actually, I'm sounding quiet cavalier about the subject, when in fact it bothered me this weekend more than I'm letting on. I had a post for Wicked on Friday, a restaurant review for Kings River Life Magazine and another post for Something Wicked, but heard very little back. I'm better now, but it did bother me.

How many of you have gone through the same thing? How did you get over it? Maybe you are going through much the same right now. I hope not.

Unfortunately, a fellow supervisor at my workplace was found dead of an apparent heart attack Monday morning by his 14 year old son. He was 51. That may have had something to do with getting me through the "woe is me" period that had taken hold during the weekend. If we could ask him, I bet he wouldn't be too worried about posting something that very few, if any, had read.

Perspective. That was what I had needed after feeling sorry for myself. I hope I don't soon forget it.

If any of you have felt the same, I hope to hear from you. If not, good; but say hello anyway. If you end up being too busy to stop by and never know that this post was written, I promise to hold my head up and not let it get me down.

And I certainly hope that you weren't able to stop by because you had way too much on your plate, and unable to enjoy the day. I would think that my departed friend, Russ Garcia (God rest his soul and bless those young children that he left behind), would have much to say about that.

We'll talk soon.

Postscript: If you are new to this song and have never seen the video, you should. I tried to post it here, but Warner Bros. records would have none of that. Follow the link to YouTube and check it out here. I've watched it twice these past few days, myself.
In about a week, I'll add some new tunes...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Something Wicked...

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. I just wanted to drop you a quick line, letting you know about something new. I am honored to have been invited to help out with fellow Vamplit Publishing Authors' Nicole Hadaway and Marissa Farrar's blog, Something Wicked This Way Comes. There, the ladies bring reviews and articles concerning film, books and anything else to do with the paranormal. Sometimes the subject matter may be dark and horrific, other times simply intriguing and odd.

As fate would have it, I had been planning to do a review of another fellow Vamplit Author, Timothy Hobbs' and his novel, The Pumpkin Seed. I read it because I had been curious about it for a long time. If you like dark vampire stories, I think I may have something for you. So impressed with the work was I, that when the opportunity to work with Something Wicked... came up, I thought it might be the perfect time to do so.

Nicole and Marissa are really talented and I am pleased to work with them in any capacity that I can. I hope you'll swing by and have a look. I'll see you there.

We'll talk soon.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

What's Goin' On?

Greetings, Fire Enthusiasts. Forgive me for posting rather infrequently, not that I was the most scheduled of bloggers. Things continue to get interesting.

Hopefully you are a fan of Wicked Writers. This week, the prompt was who we thought were the great writers writing today and/or who were our favorite writers. I weighed in and you can read what I wrote here. Please don't read only my post. We have quite the stable of writers over there who bring so much to the table. It's okay if you end up liking one of the others better than me. I'll forgive you. ;)

On Saturday morning, my latest article for Kings River Life Magazine will be out. This time I try my hand at a restaurant review. Since most of you will not be able to fly out to the Central Valley of California in order to try the cuisine, I hope you will be able to taste enough of it by the end of the review.

I have also had the pleasure of accepting a contributing position at Something Wicked This Way Comes, Nicole and Marissa's joint venture. I look forward to helping out there however I can. We're still working out the details, but hopefully we will have something fairly soon. Perhaps as soon as early next week. Both of those ladies are talented and have been fantastic to me. I look forward to gracing their blog.

This year has been flying past. I have spent the time doing PR for my e-book, Dance on Fire, and very soon will happily switch gears as it becomes a paperback. Details should be following as summer turns to fall. I will then be handing over the sequel, Dance on Fire: FlashPoint for a winter 2010/spring 2010 simultaneous paperback and e-book release.

I thank all of you who have been following along with me on this ride, be it here, on Facebook or on Twitter. Thank you for your well-wishes and encouragement. Even when you have stopped by only to say hello, it has been wonderful.

We'll talk soon.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sunday Morning Musings

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. Long time, no see.

I'm afraid that no one has heard much from me in about a week. I had just finished my two week vacation and was back at work when I received a text from my wife, informing me that our pc had a virus. We attempted to fix the problem, but were unable. My hard drive is in the hands of others right now, and hopefully will be returned cleaned.

Thankfully, I had my iPhone; however, it isn't quite the same.
Many of you are aware that I blog not only here, but with Wicked Writers. Also, I work for Kings River Life Magazine, a local on-line magazine in my area. With all of that, as well as my fiction writing, I needed something.

Today I went and bought myself a laptop. Yes, that's me in the grainy photo, learning how to use the nifty new web cam. One good thing is I will no longer have to fight my family to get to the desktop. Another, attempting to write while in our living room is not easy. You should see me wearing headphones and listening to classical music in order to drown out the family noise: television; my X-Box 3 son
yelling into his microphone as he and his buddies kill aliens or foreign armies; and my other son, playing his Baritone.

In any event, I'm glad to be back. I have met some cool and interesting folks on Twitter in the past week and they all have blogs that I can't wait to visit. I plan to begin doing that now...just as soon as I allow my wife to have time to check out her Facebook!! LOL!

I told you it's been a week!!

Thankfully, we'll be talking soon.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Circle of Friends Award

Greetings. So the other day, one of my newest friends blessed me with an award. She is Carole Gill over at Demon Vampire Horror. Right now you're thinking to yourself, "Just what does someone from a place called, "Demon Vampire Horror", give you? Red meat? A horse's head to wake up to? I assure you that it was nothing like that. The blog title might be scary, and her writing might be good and scary, but Carole is a sweetheart!

A good friend of Carole's gave it to her, and then she passed it along to myself and four others. That's really all that one needs to do with it: pass it to five others that mean something special to you and let them know. That's it.

Carole gave the award to a few of the same people that I might have wanted to give it to. Wendy over at W.J. Howard, Gaynor over at Vamplit Publishing (by boss and hero for loving the unpolished novel that I sent her), and lastly, Marissa Farrar . These wonderful people represent some of the first who greeted me in this new world of writing/publishing. I adore them and thank them for all that they have meant to me in this pivotal first year. One not included in this list is Nicole Hadaway. If you know her, then you know why I will not add anything to her plate right now, other than to mention that she has been fantastic to me as well, and I count her as a friend.

I could simply have given this award to those mentioned and I would have been perfectly justified; however, I have met some new people who have become very special to me, too. So, rather than give those above a sugar rush from too much love, I will give this award to the following:

Lola Sharp over at Sharp Pen/Dull Sword
Julie Musil
Jenny Baranick over at Missed Periods and Other Grammar Scares
Maria Zannini
And last, but certainly not least: C. J. Ellisson over at C.J.'s Daily Grind and/or Wicked Writers.

If any of you are unfamiliar with the aforementioned folks, do yourself a favor and pay them a visit. They will add a little light to your world as they have to mine.

Thank you so much, ladies.

We'll talk soon.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Wicked Writers Friday

Happy Friday, Fire Enthusiasts. I have to remind myself of the days since I have been on vacation for two weeks and haven't been writing the date all day while at work. You know what happens, right? What's the date? Excuse me, what's today?

The reason that I am posting this morning is to let you know that today is Wicked Writers' Friday. This means that I am posting today. This week, the prompt was the future of books in the next five years. I begin my post by discussing some very interesting things that are no doubt on their way, making the reading experience potentially more interesting.

Then we make a nasty u-turn, because I have been hearing and reading so many comments from people who seemingly don't want to even hear about e-books. That's when the fun begins.

The article was supposed to be informative, engaging and fun. I hope the folks don't get too riled up. We'll see. You can read the article here.

But, please, don't just read my post. The team has come up with some very interesting things to say, coming at you from several different angles. We have Anastasia Pergakis, a first post from J.D. Brown and wait until you see what we've got from George Allwynn. He's still getting comments!

Thanks so much.

We'll talk soon.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Lola's Contest

Greetings. I want to thank everyone who took the time to listen while I ranted about the lost art of covering a yawn that I posted the other day. There's still plenty of time to catch it if you missed it.

The other reason I am posting this morning is to assist my friend Lola who is hosting a contest. Yeah! I know; Kinks and Barry Manilow. [whispering] She's heard it all, so let's keep it to ourselves, shall we? Here's the link to her Sharp Pen/Dull Sword blog. You can find the details there. If you don't know Lola, I recommend that you meet her. She's cool people!!

Lastly, my take on the future of books and e-books will be up Friday morning on Wicked Writers. I hope you'll surf on over and have a look. Feel free to correct me if you feel it necessary. Hopefully, those of you on the fence with regards to e-books will see my point.

We'll talk soon

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Rant

Oh, hello. I didn't see you there. Please excuse me for a moment, will you? I'll get to you in a minute. I'm looking for something. It's killing me, too, because I just had it yesterday. What in the world could I have done with that damn box? Ah! There it is, hiding in plain sight.

You just never know how important a box is until you don't have it. Am I right? Sometimes you need it to house some of George Carlin's stuff, sometimes it is your own stuff. When you are moving, you may need a great many boxes in a great many sizes. Other times, you simply need one box. Like today. At this very moment in time all I need is one moderately-sized box. It doesn't need to hold very much. In fact, I will not be putting anything in it at all.

It just needs to support my weight.

That's right. It's a soapbox! And you, my friend, will be my audience. Thanks for volunteering.

What's that you say? You didn't volunteer. At least you don't remember having done so. Well, that's alright. I'm here. You're here. Think of this as Hotel California. You know: "You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave."

Let us begin, shall we? Now, now, come back. I have a place for you

I have something that I would like to rant about. Since I'm on vacation this week, none of my 100+ employees are forced to listen. My kids have heard this before...many times. They neither approve of what I am about to say, nor do they feel compelled in the least to sit here and be forced to listen to it yet again. Why I cannot control my two boys, I'll never know. I'm sure it has something to do with past practices, but I am reluctant to agree that the blame is mine. Naturally, I blame their mother!

Kidding, of course.

Just what, you ask, is the subject of this rant? Procrastination? Ha! You're an amusing one. NO! IT IS NOT! It is the yawn! What? What do you mean by that laughter? I assure you that it is quite important, indeed. Stop that laughter at once. I beg you. (Please.)

From my kids, to my employees, to the man on the street, and finally to the cute woman that I just happened to stare at for a full minute; would you all please cover your mouths when you yawn! My children do this incessantly, and when I correct them, they complain that I am the only person on the face of God's Green Earth that gives a rip about this. Well? Am I? I look forward to comments.

Wait! Not you. I'll allow you to leave, but not just yet.

My wife just reminded me that President George Washington had once weighed in on this topic. I looked it up. Apparently, while only 16 (my eldest son's age - I should show him this, If I could only trap him as I have you), copied an English translation of a French book on manners. It was entitled, Rules of Civility & Decent Behaviour: In Company and Conversation. Among the 110 points that he made, he made the following: "If you cough, sneeze, sigh, or yawn, do it not loud but privately, and speak not in your yawning, but put your handkerchief or hand before your face and turn aside."

Thank you, Mr President. I never thought I would here myself saying that.

To my children, I say: "Do what I tell you, damn it!" Oops! Did I say that aloud? Okay, let's try that again. "Please, guys, it really isn't just me."

To my employees: "Are you bored? I do have other things that I need done today if you would like more tasks assigned to you..." That's what I thought.

To the man on the street: "If I want to see someone with a chunk of food hanging out of their teeth, I'll watch Jaws again!"

To the cute woman in her early forties that I was staring at, I apologize for that. I assure you that I discontinued staring when I noticed you yawn. You see, you have a great many features with which to attract someone. Unfortunately, your gaping maw is not one of them.

Thanks for listening. I will let you leave now.

We'll talk soon. ;)

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sunday Morning Musings

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. How is the weekend so far? Forgive me for rubbing it in, but I have been on vacation this past week...and I have one more week to go. The family and I just came back from Monterey, California. We spent three days just getting away from the 100-degree summer heat by escaping to the coast. It was nice. We didn't go to the famous aquarium, but that was only because we have been very frequently. It is a regular field trip for our kids to go to while in elementary school. We did, however, spend a ton of time along Cannery Row. I'm not a big Steinbeck guy, but those of you who are will remember.

We also snuck over to Santa Cruz to spend time on the boardwalk. For Lost Boys fans, you'll remember that the movie was filmed there. Don't tell Nicole Hadaway that I was there! She adores that film so much that she may grab me around the neck for not taking her. Quite by accident we were fortunate enough to catch Eddie Money in concert there on the beach. It was cool, hearing those hits again in person. For those of you asking who Eddie Money is, he's from the seventies! Okay, he was in the eighties, too.

Yet, I did not post this note just to brag about our little vacation. I had two pieces of writing published Saturday. One was my first article for the local on-line magazine that I am working for: Kings River Life Magazine. The article is about a local performing arts center that opened this past year in my home town. The second is my take on writer's block over at Wicked Writer's. We had quite the discussion this week. You'll have to surf over and see who thought that it was a load of manure, and who thought it was alive and well and worthy of great respect.

Thank you for your time as I stroked the PR machine. I am working on a rant that I plan on posting this coming week. My kids are rolling their eyes already. We'll have to see whether you folks will agree with my kids that it is much ado about nothing, or whether you might wish to join me in the rant!

We'll talk soon.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Year in far

So, can you tell that I'm on vacation? This is already too many posts in one week for me. Something's got to be up, right?

I was visiting over at Lola's place at Sharp Pen/Dull Sword and there was a great musical discussion going on there Monday. Pink Floyd was referenced, as was Depeche Mode. Even the mighty Zep was mentioned. It got me thinking why I had yet to spend a lot of time talking about music.

Music is number one in my life. As a writer, one might suggest that I would curl up and die were it not for books, or in the very least my ability to write books. Unfortunately, I must admit to you that the real answer would have to be music.

We've covered some of this before, so let's get to it, shall we?

I think there have been two huge songs out there this summer by two artists: Train and Katy Perry.

First of all, I am a huge Train fan. I have seen them in concert three times. It bugs me that other acts have skyrocketed while these guys seem to be languishing a bit. Perhaps "Hey, Soul Sister" will finally propel them. Hasn't that song been everywhere? Sporting events, commercials, television ads for shows. The "Save Me, San Francisco" album is very good, with only one song that I could do without. I highly recommend it.

The other song, and I must admit that I am late to the table with this one, is "California Gurls" by Katy Perry. Now, I have not been a fan of Katy's, but there is something about this tune that hooks me. That's why it's called a hook - I get it! Katy is a tough chick and can do whatever she wants. The video is a great example of how brave she is. I recently heard a bit of the second single off of that forthcoming cd. "Teenage Dream" is the song. It sounds much the same as the first single. We'll have to see what the masses think of it.

I'm a hair-metal guy from the eighties. For those of you who share some of the same afflictions, have you noticed who is releasing new stuff this year?

Krokus. That's right: Krokus. Many of you are thinking to yourself: Who? The folks who brought us "Screaming in the Night", "Headhunter", "Midnite Maniac" and "Our Love" have reunited and recorded a cd that's sounds as if they just got through building a time machine and have delivered that same metal attitude that served them well in the eighties. Hoodoo is one hell of an album! I've played it several times all the way though on my iPod while doing yard work. There's another cover of Steppenwolf's "Born to be Wild" that appears there, but I've heard worse versions. I guarantee you it'll have you double-checking the release date, swearing that it was twenty years old. The members of the band might be, but I promise you the music is very good. Marc Storace's vocals sound like they haven't aged.

I just bought a couple of songs off of the new Ratt album, Infestation. I wasn't the biggest Ratt fan in the world, but I do love their hits. I played the samples while doing some blogging the other day and found myself working the foot pedals while doing so. I don't know that I am ready to recommend buying the entire cd just yet, but there are two to three definite keepers there.

Does anyone remember Y & T? I bought one of the songs while I was shopping iTunes. It is called "Shine On" and it sounded just as they did back in the day. It just cracks me up that some of these older bands are not ready to give it up, and I'm glad that they haven't because they show that they can still rock.

Enough of that! I can hear my wife pleading with me to come into the new...

What's the deal with Maroon 5? Anybody? I absolutely loved Songs About Jane and thought that it was a great album. They toured for three years on that one cd! I find that I do not listen to but a few songs off of that last one. It was just different. I got all excited when I found out that their third cd was being produced by Robert John "Mutt" Lange. The ex-Shania Twain was behind the reins for classic albums by AC/DC, Def Leppard and The Cars. If "Misery" is any indication; however, than it is all for naught because what I'm hearing sounds exactly like that second one. We'll see. One of you ladies, please tell Adam Levine that he should concentrate on his vocals and writing; he's not all that and a bag of chips! He thinks that he is, though. Have you seen him perform, or those videos? He needs to study Rob Thomas' stage presence. Now, that's a cat who knows how to captivate an audience!

What do you folks think about Corinne Bailey Rae? I loved two of the songs off of her debut, but, in my opinion, her second release The Sea is fantastic. I was worried that the whole thing was going to be about her husband dying. I imagine that it is, but you cannot tell. Every song is a winner. My wife doesn't care for her singing style, but I love it! Just when everybody was going one direction, here comes Corinne. If any of you are on the fence with her, I suggest you drop down onto this side because it is worth it.

What else? Thirty Seconds to Mars had a great cd. I know it was last year, but I'm still listening to it. I fell in love with Sara Bareilles last year and cannot wait until her new cd comes out in a month or so. The first single: "King of Anything" has been making the rounds. I had heard "Love Song" off of the Little Voice cd, but it wasn't until I had seen her concert performance dvd, quite by accident, that I realized how much skill this girl had. She is very witty and extremely talented.

Well, that's about it for now. I'm sure that I am leaving someone out, and that's okay. Feel free to remind me. Chances are (my mother would appreciate the Johnny Mathis reference there) that I have whatever I left out on my iPod. Yeah, I've got 120 Gig! I'll never fill it, but I am sure enjoying trying. I'm at 6,135 songs right now!

See, I told you it was all about songs with me.

Now, in the spirit of my crossover horror/Christian novel, we're crossing over with today's post. Read the post and then fly over to my author's page on Facebook and have a listen to a few of the artists that we discussed. I hope you will.

We'll talk soon.