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Monday, July 30, 2012

Another Way to Catch Olympic Spirit

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. Thanks so much for stopping by. Many of you are aware that I am on vacation for two weeks and were a great encouragement to me as I neared that finish line last week. I thank you for that. This time off is coming at the right time as I continue to put in the work of getting myself back on my feet after losing that publisher. I will have pretty big news here in another day or two as I fill you in on the most recent details. In the meantime, I have provided this site to my pal, J.C. I hope you'll take a moment to help all of us celebrate the release of her debut novel.

Olympics-mania is at fever pitch! What better way is there to get into the Olympic spirit than a book set around the London Games? J.C. Martin releases her debut novel, crime thriller Oracle, today! To celebrate, she's holding a month-long Oracle Olympics Blog Tour, with tons of games and prizes, including a possible grand prize of an iPad3 (for more details, visit J.C.'s blog)! And it all kicks off with today's Opening Ceremony! Read on to find out how you could win a signed paperback copy of Oracle right off the bat! So what is Oracle about, anyway? Here's the blurb: Oracle ORACLEWith London gearing up to host the Olympics, the city doesn't need a serial killer stalking the streets, but they've got one anyway. Leaving a trail of brutal and bizarre murders, the police force is no closer to finding the latest psychopath than Detective Inspector Kurt Lancer is in finding a solution for his daughter's disability. Thrust into the pressure cooker of a high profile case, the struggling single parent is wound tight as he tries to balance care of his own family with the safety of a growing population of potential victims. One of whom could be his own daughter. Fingers point in every direction as the public relations nightmare grows, and Lancer's only answer comes in the form of a single oak leaf left at each crime scene. Purchase Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Barnes & Noble Intrigued? Here's your chance to win a signed copy of the book! All you have to do is visit all the blogs in the Parade of Nations in order (for a complete list of blogs, visit Olympics HQ here), including this one! Each blog will have a secret letter. Collect them all to decipher the secret message. Then go back to J.C.'s blog and enter your answer in the Rafflecopter for your chance to win! Answer some additional bonus questions to multiply your chances of winning! The contest will remain open till midnight EST on Friday 3rd August. The winner will be announced on J.C.'s blog! So here is my secret letter: R
Click on over Angela Brown's site for the next letter! Good luck!

We'll talk soon.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Twenty Years to Write a Book - A Cautionary Tale

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. I'm exhausted, how about you? Saturday morning, my wife, my dad and my two boys hopped into the car and drove down to Anaheim, California for an Angels game. They were playing the Texas Rangers and got pounded for their troubles. This didn't please my 14 year old who has suddenly become an Angels fan, but we had a good time, despite the heat. It was 100 degrees, I believe. It could have been much worse. There was a breeze that whipped through periodically. We finished the day by hanging out at Downtown Disney which, if you are unfamiliar, is an area of shops and restaurants between the three Disney hotels and the entrances to Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure.

We didn't go into either of the parks. *sad face* This is the second time that this has happened this year, as I whined to some of you on Twitter that day. I love hanging out at Disneyland and promise that I will be jumping the fence next time. *laughs* My dad hasn't been there since I was in a stroller, which most of you can well imagine was a terribly long time ago. He had a good time at the game, eating at the ESPN Zone restaurant and checking out the shops. Hopefully we can talk him into returning soon and going into the parks. We'll see. We got back late that night. I won't describe our condition (God, that shower felt great!), but assure you that we look much better now.

But that wasn't why I'm exhausted.

I have been playing with my book again. Not the new one, but the first one, Dance on Fire. What am I doing still working with something which was published as an ebook and a softcover in 2010? That's a damn good question, my friends. I don't know either!

That's not true. I do know. There were corrections that I wanted to make to the book. My former publisher had promised to make these correction before she suddenly closed up shop. Now I'm doing them. I'm doing a line edit, painstakingly studying each and every sentence. I have made relatively minor changes and the book will be much stronger for it; however, I'm sick of doing it. It seems that I have been working with this story and these characters for twenty years. That's too frigging long.

For those of you unfamiliar with my story, allow me a moment to sum up: Started writing, got married, changed careers, started a family, re-started the book, got it published everywhere but Amazon, lost publisher and now the book is being sold nowhere.

I have made decisions - most of which I have left untold here. Although I have yet to reveal everything, I will tell you that I plan to go fully Independent and to go "all-in" with Amazon...just as soon as I finish going through the book one (Oh, please, God, let this be the) last time.

I will have to turn my attention over to Dance on Fire: Flash Point once I get my book back up on-line. However, at least then we won't be talking about a twenty year old story. This one's only about three years old. *weeps*

Please, my dear friends. Finish one novel completely before moving onto another. I beg you! Save yourself a lot of head and heartache. Sunday morning I didn't eat any breakfast, although I did have three cups of coffee. I was on my trusty laptop before 9:00 am. At noon, I was light-headed, confused and thought for sure that I had wasted two weeks working on the wrong file of my manuscript. I had double-checked my softcover and got myself all turned around on details. Panic attack! Once I ate something, I began to realize that I was fine, but I was ready to leap off of something very tall there for about an hour.

I push too hard. I know this. And I love all of you for reminding me to slow down. You see, I sat and waited in 2011 for my second book to be edited and released. For reasons unknown to me, it never happened. I spent the year building that network, doing a few events, selling books, writing articles for a magazine and working that eleven hour day job. In 2012, I continued to wait until Vamplit closed a few weeks ago and my book was pulled. Now, I'm working my tail off, attempting to get my books up all by myself. It's going to happen - I just need to put in the work.

So, if you haven't heard from me in a while, that's why. I hope to be finished with this part of the new journey in the next two weeks. I will be on vacation after this week and I am so looking forward to it. I hope to do some fun things with the family, perhaps take more than a day to do it next time, but we'll see. I really need the time to get things where I want them to be. I think I can hear you saying that I need to stop and catch a breath, and I know you're right. You may even want to stage an intervention. I probably need one of those, too. *sigh*

Alright. That's enough for now.

We'll talk soon.  

Monday, July 16, 2012

Tweep Nation Podcast

Hello, Tweep Nation. How is everyone? I’m doing fine, thank you very much. Things are still a bit crazy as I continue to pick up the pieces of my publishing life, but they should begin to settle down very soon…

I’m sorry. What? Yes, I did say, Tweep Nation. Why am I suddenly deviating from my normal greeting, you ask? Why, that’s because I was just a guest of the hit podcast, Tweep Nation. Last Friday, I flew to Dallas, Texas and visited the Tweep Nation North American Studios… Ok, I’m kidding. It wasn’t like I could fly to Sidney, Australia and visit Headquarters! *sigh* Okay, you’ve got me on this one. I actually just plugged into Skype, but I’m really on the program, you guys. Trust me on that part at least!
Australia's greatest export to the world, the multi-talented Dionne Lister.

When you get some time and can plug into iTunes, take a listen to the podcast. I join hosts Dionne Lister and Amber Norrgard as we discuss all sorts of important topics, and some of it even about writing and books. *grins*

My newest coffee-drinking buddy: the awesome author, Amber "Rockin Red" Norrgard.

On the show, you will hear me begin to discuss what I've been up to. I haven't been sharing a lot of that with you good people yet, playing it close to the vest, as they say. The reason behind that is I didn't know myself what avenues I would be taking. Now I do. You will hear me reveal what I'm doing at the moment, what I'm working on, what my plans are and when my book will begin to be available once again. Not only that, but the status of book two and book three. I hope you will come by and give us a listen. Perhaps you will decide to become a full-time member of Tweep Nation. I know I am.

This has been a wasted year, I'm afraid. Not much of that was my fault, but it is a lot of cubic feet of water under the proverbial bridge, so all I can do is carry on. I've been picking up those pieces and we've got many irons in the fire. You can trust me on that point, too. Take a moment, if you can, and give Tweep Nation a listen. It will be an hour out of your life, but hopefully a good hour. I usually listen while I catch up on the blogs I've neglected to visit. I'm typing this on Sunday morning, so that's what I'll be doing later. Here, you can find the Facebook page, Dionne's blog where she mentions the show, and the iTunes preview link.  

I should be getting more specific with details very soon. I realize that I have been making promises like those all year, but during that time I was waiting on others. Now it's only me. I can assure you that Dance on Fire will be up on in early August once I finish going through it one final time, making minor changes. Once that happens, my attention will return to Dance on Fire: Flash Point. It has been sitting on a virtual shelf for nearly two years. The cover is nearly done and I have begun hearing from betas and have spoken to professional editors.

I hope you Fire Enthusiasts have a great week. I mentioned Skype. I don't do it often. In fact, I just started using it, really. However, if you'd like to look me up there, you can find me rather easily, I think. My Skype name is: jamesgarciajr

We’ll talk soon.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Jerry W. McKinney

Greetings, Fire Enthusiasts. I've been reading again; at least trying, anyway.

Last year I raved about a short story that I had read from Author Jerry W. McKinney. It was entitled Feed, and although I am pretty terrible about recalling plots long after finishing a story, I do recall the surprise ending on that one being quite good. I won’t reveal it, but I swear I do remember. I had this to say at the time: "I just read the short story 'Feed' by Author Jerry W. McKinney that restores my faith in horror's potential when it comes to the subject of vampires... With an unexpected twist and writing that reminded me of the best of Clive Barker, McKinney surprised me and made me an instant convert. Beware reader, 'Feed' might mean more than you think it means."

I have had the privilege recently of reading two more of McKinney’s works that I think are worth your time.

The first one is Lie Canthropy. The synopsis reads: "What mystical force is released by the twirls and undulations of a dancing girl? And what power does she exert over a captive audience in a town built on secrets? Is it worth the soul of a child?"

As I have mentioned before I don’t have much time for reading, so very often I find myself rushing through stories. With that in mind, I found myself not quite catching on with the pacing of this one, but it being so short, I went back a second time and it made more sense. It was probably me. I can tell you that I thought the title was very interesting. I had to look it up, although many of you may already know that Lycanthropy means. According to Wikipedia: "It is the professed ability or power of a human being to transform into a wolf, or to gain wolf-like characteristics." Now that you are armed with that knowledge, you can take another look at this title and see the prominent use of the word "lie" as part of the twist on this one.

I made sure that I gave myself time to properly enjoy Flesh & Blood, and I'm so glad I did. The synopsis reads: “Gotta take care of your own, boy.” Those words from his Pa didn't dampen the sting of having to put down his rabid dog. A loyal friend that was suffering from a disease that turned him into an unrecognizable monster. Jessie had no idea that there would be a lot of 'taking care' in the next few months. When neighbors show up on the farm dazed and bloody, Jessie and his Pa do their best to help their friends, but soon find that there is no way to help those that are already dead. Jessie must make the transition from boy to man in an instant as the dead rise and try to take over the farm that was to be passed from father to son when the time was right. As Jessie and his Pa make their way through this new and frightening reality, one phrase rings as true as ever.
' goes on, remember that.'”

Once you see how the story begins you will probably figure out what the eventual outcome will be, considering the title. I know I did. I should tell you that although I am more vampires and serial killers than I am the particular antagonists in this piece, and the fact that I had my suspicions how the story would end, I thought it was a brilliant story. It held my attention throughout and I think it will yours as well.

If I may, I really would like to convince the horror enthusiasts among you to make some time to check out Mr. McKinney’s writing. He has not failed me in three attempts. I may have guessed one outcome, but I can tell you that he often surprises, amazes and even shocks me at other times.

He’s worth the time, my friends. I’m just sorry that it took me so long to come back to him. You can find out more information or purchase his work at his author's page on Amazon.

We’ll talk soon.

Monday, July 2, 2012


"Friends will be friends, when you're in need of love they give you care and attention. Friends will be friends, when you're through with life and all hope is lost, hold out your hand 'cause friends will be friends, right 'til the end."

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts! Any Queen fans out there? *raises hand* Yeah, I love them, and weeped like a baby when Freddie passed away. I have nearly every record, had nearly every cassette, have all of their cd's and my trusty iPod is full of each and every one of their songs. So, Queen Management Team, please don't sue me over that chorus I just printed. I promise to continue to praise them and convince new fans to fall in love with Freddie, Brian, John and Roger as community service.

Now, as many of you are aware, we had some drama and I am without a publisher now. I have made some decisions and am working on multiple fronts as to how I go about moving forward. Rest assured that I am moving forward. I am just not yet prepared to reveal how I am going about doing that. But I will.

I did not leave you with the lyrics to that Queen tune because I was in mental trouble last week or anything, but rather to share how wonderful it was to have my pals, buddies, peers and secret crushes descend upon me, showering me with love and encouraging me to "carry on as if nothing really mattered". *pushes luck with the Queen lyrics*

I have said this before, but better than any success with writing is the group of wonderful friends that I have been lucky enough to amass while endevoring to put my thoughts and stories down on "paper". I hope that I can be an encouragement to you each and every time that you need it, too.

"The Show Must Go On", and it will. Hopefully soon I can begin revealing what I have been up to this past week and where I'm going. I love you guys. Have a great week.

Before I go, I was given a shout-out on the Tweep Nation Podcast by one of my newest buddies, Amber "Rockin Red" Norrgard. She does that show each and every week with another pal, Dionne Lister. They were joined on the show by Ciara Ballintyne. They are all very talented, hysterical and very easy on the eyes. If you have yet to give them a listen, check them out on iTunes. I know I do. They are my guilty pleasure. Yes, the material can get r-rated, so pour yourself a drink before you listen. Pour me one, too. ;)

We'll talk soon