Stalk me elsewhere

Monday, January 28, 2013

Good Reads

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. I hope you and yours are well. I thank you so much for stopping by when you can. I realize how precious time is, especially for so many of us who are juggling family, day jobs and writing – whether we’re published authors already or merely working on it. It’s really way too much than anyone should have to juggle. But it’s art, isn’t it? And when you’ve been given a gift like that one, you don’t lock it away. Instead, you do what you can to use it. I’m speaking about all of us now.

For me, I’ve been trying to make time for the social networks, but have had little success. With my limited time I have been doing a lot of writing and reading only. With that in mind, I have a couple of my recent reads to tell you about. Both should be familiar faces for many of you as they are doing incredible work and being pretty successful at doing it. I’m talking about authors Greg Sisco and Stant Litore.

Greg Sisco and The Wages of Sin:


This is the second novel in Sisco's incredible Blood Brothers vampire series and I continue to be blown away by him. You may recall my having told you about book one, Thicker Than Water. Overall, this is the third of his novels that I have read, and I had this one finished by day two. It's that good.

In this second installment of the story, we find the brothers still living in Las Vegas where one miss-step after another leads them further and further into very dangerous territory. Loki begins to step out into a spotlight which makes it very uncomfortable for his brothers. At the same time, Tyr's relationship and feelings for Eva continue to drive a wedge between him and the others. Soon, new characters emerge that complicate matters further, including the brothers being pursued by not one, but two entities. And it's not altogether certain what will happen when they finally locate them.

Much like book one, book two takes us half a world and a thousand years back with some very wonderful stories that color the plot well and provide great depth to the characters. Using his gift for wit, biting sarcasm and masterful pacing, Sisco will have you turning those pages no matter what better things you think you should be doing with your time.

Previously, Sisco proclaimed that he wanted to return vampires to where they rightfully belonged, rescuing them from the "soft" genres. I can assure you that he continues to do this and does not disappoint. He hasn't erased the original mythology, giving his vampires new abilities or powers, but has simply brought them into the new century as we would fully expect them to act. There's nothing wrong with enjoying your vampires on the lighter side of the genre, if that's what you prefer; however, if you're looking for the serious stuff: the bloodletting and the horror - you can stop looking right now. Sisco's got the goods. Here's the link.

Stant Litore and What Our Eyes Have Witnessed:

Father Polycarp has a Gift. He can bring peace and rest to the restless dead.

I just completed my second helping of Litore's incredible series "The Zombie Bible." I didn't immediately fall in love with this one as I did with Death Has Come Up into Our least not at first. I'm just not a fan of second century Rome. But let me tell you something: whether you like Rome or not, Litore's masterful hand will drop you directly in the middle of the Eternal City and guide you about - taking you from the heights where the rich and the politicians dwell, down to the squalor at the bottom where the very poor suffer and the early Christians shield their presence from the soldiers and the hungry dead.

You might think there could be no beauty to be found in a zombie tale, but you'd be wrong. This is both an epic story of survival and a well-crafted study on the human condition, as we see the thoughts and feel the emotions of the rich and the poor, the weak and the strong, the good and the evil. We see their motivation, their heartache and their last moments as the dead desperately reach for them with their insatiable hunger.
As a writer of Christian themes myself, I cheered the ending of this piece as all of the beautiful symbolism came together, along with all of the splendid plot lines, to become a shiny red bow to decorate a truly inspired entry to "The Zombie Bible." Here's the link.

Believe me when I tell you that both of those guys are doing work that warrants further investigation. As for me, I’ve got to get back to my WIP. If you weren’t here last week, I discussed the paranormal ghost story I’ve been working on. It has a healthy splash of romance, that is pleasing me immensely, and I think it will please readers of the paranormal genre as well. I’m currently looking for beta readers for it, so if you think you might be interested, skip down to the previous post and have a look. I’d love to hear from you about it.

We’ll talk soon.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Vampires Hunting for an Audience

Greetings and Salutations, Fire Enthusiasts. So glad you could take a moment of your time to drop by. Life has been hectic, as I know it probably has for you as well. Work at the day job has continued to be crazy busy, but who wants to discuss that? Certainly not me. *frowns* I don't even want to think about that when I'm there. ;)

Thanks to my being on vacation for those two weeks at the holidays - and the little part about me eating and drinking everything in sight *laughs* - I have been hard at work dropping the extra ten pounds I gained in December. I have faithfully been climbing upon my trusty treadmill and am pleased to report that I am down to 182. Of course it takes 60-90 minutes (4.5 to 6 miles and 800 to 1000 calories reduced) nearly every day to get me where I want to be. How about you? Any of you fighting the month of December?

I have been getting more reading done. I just finished the second installment of author Stant Litore's wonderful Zombie Bible series. This one was What Are Eyes Have Seen and it was very, very good. You may recall that I don't care for zombie tales, but what my friend Litore is doing is not to be missed. One wouldn't think there could be anything beautiful in and around zombie action, but you'd be terribly wrong. Then on Friday, author Greg Sisco released the second chapter of his Blood Brother's saga: The Wages of Sin. The book was so good that I had it done on day two. I drank from it like a fledgling vampire takes his first drain. What's a "drain" you may ask? It's what Sisco's vamps refer to their victims. If you've never heard anything like this, I can assure you that what Sisco is doing is altogether new and there's nothing like it in the marketplace; and if he shortly reports that some big six publisher has made him an offer he couldn't refuse, it will come as no surprise to me at all.

I labeled this post the way I did because it has been very slow going it terms of sales. The past couple of years I spend much time on promotion, doing the blogs and sending out Tweets and Facebook updates, etc. on promotion with little to show for it. This year, I plan on letting the work do the promoting. The reviews are trickling in, but when they do form a pool, they are glorious. I just received one yesterday by the awesome Lindsey Clarke. Click on her name there if you wish to see it. Among other things, she said: "With edge of your seat action and nail-biting events, (Garcia) leads you on a chase around town, where you're desperate to find out where the evil will strike next, and as it turns out, the danger is always closer than you might think... These days when you can't turn the page without bumping into a hot sparkly vampire or a bit of paranormal erotica, it's refreshing to find a novel without either. What I liked about (it) is that it leans toward the original vampire legend where vampires are more likely to drain you dry and rip your head off than sleep with you."

Not too shabby, huh? The series is available on Amazon Kindle and can be had for $4.00.

Lastly, I have been hard at work on draft two of my paranormal romance ghost story. Now, before you start picturing scantily clad cover models, you can sit back down. I'm aiming for that audience, but at it's heart it is a ghost story that deals with love and loss. I wrote this a year ago and am making it priority one. If you haven't seen me around the blogs, this is why. I'm hoping to have it ready for beta readers next month sometime, and this is where you come in. I will leave you with the working blurb that I have for it. Last year I had a couple of people tell me they'd be interested, but I'm asking one more time as I build a list of potential readers. Please let me know if you might be available to read something in the 70k word range that I can have ready for my editor in the spring. I could really use the help.

Blurb for Ghosts:

Paul Herrera hasn’t worked, left town or done much of anything since the untimely death of his wife three years before. He suddenly finds himself bequeathed a mysterious old house near the California central coast by a deceased aunt that he never knew. The woman who showed it to him and handed him the keys is the spitting image of his dead wife, taken from him in a senseless car accident which also took from him his unborn son. While he deals with the ghosts of a past that he cannot let go, there are new ghosts as dead Aunt Flora is not content with eternal sleep, but continues her unholy quest to be rejoined with her dead husband on this side of the grave.

Flora isn’t the only ghost that Paul must deal with, alone for the week in the expansive two-storey house that he will soon discover holds many secrets. Eventually, he will see that he is surrounded by ghosts, both the ethereal and those that haunt his memories, as he struggles to hold onto the only thing that he has left in this world: his sanity.

Ghosts is the 72,000 word novel that mixes Paranormal, Horror and Romance to come up with a story that should appeal to everyone who likes their dark genres paired with reality that we can all relate to such as the feelings of terrible heart-wrenching loss and our search for a love that might outlive us.

We'll talk soon.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Week One & The Liebster Award

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. Well, as I explained last Monday, my vacation ended and I went back to the day job this past week. I had two wonderful weeks off during the holiday, so I can’t complain. Unfortunately, instead of January, it felt more like August and our traditional busy season. It was 11-12 hours of constantly figuring out how I was going to get everything I was juggling done. Then I had to work Saturday. *sigh* If you didn’t hear much from me, that’s why.

This past week I got no writing or reading done and little social networking in. I did have to spend between 60-90 minutes nearly every day after work, attempting to work off those extra pounds the holiday season caused me. *laughs*

There were at least three bright spots in my hectic week. My latest crossover vampire release received a four star review (“once we got into the heart & soul of (Flash Point), I was brought back to how much I loved book one… When a blast from the past returns for revenge, Nathaniel is never far behind. The characters are written beautifully. The twins are so much fun, they brought a nice feel to the book. James did not disappoint…), it was spotlighted on author and noted vampire enthusiast Andy Boylan’s blog, and lastly, I was given the Liebster Award. It was presented to me by the very cool authorShaunda Wengner.

So without further ado, let’s get to the questions:

1) What would it take to get you to do something crazy, like a polar bear plunge? I’m not a very spontaneous person, so it would take a whole lot! I can be talked into some things, but very often it takes the right circumstances, right attitude or the correct amount of peer pressure.

2) How do you like to take a good long break to recharge your life? Hmm? If you recall the film, “Roadhouse”, than you remember the Sam Elliot line: “I’ll get all the sleep I need when I’m dead.” In order to juggle my long and demanding day job, commitment to exercise and my drive to try out this writing thing, I can’t stop. I try to keep energized by listening to music constantly, which appeases my soul and also try and sit for a movie as often as I can.

3) Do you prefer a good, old-fashioned malt shoppe, or something exotic like, gourmet truffles with a hint of what-not? In my youth, I was very boring with food. It is only as I age that I find that I crave different tastes. It is only now that I can’t have boring foods anymore. I tease my youngest because he’s so “vanilla” that way.

4) Do you prefer views from the beach or mountain trail? Both can be lovely, but I’m an ocean view kind of guy. I also need my creature comforts. I used to go camping, but now that just sounds like work.

5) Can you share information about an upcoming secret project that you shouldn't tell anyone about, but will because your readers are LIEBSTER readers? Well, I don’t know how much of a secret it is, but my current WIP will find me leaving my horror roots and embracing more of a paranormal romance. There won’t be any shirtless male models on the eventual book cover, but the subject of love will practically be a main character in it.

6) Favorite Movie? The answer to this would depend upon my mood. My favs are "An Affair to Remember", "Notting Hill", "Casablanca", "The Silence of the Lambs" and "Creator."

7) Favorite author? I love Pat Conroy, and have mentioned this on these pages many times. It seems a strange choice for a horror writer to admit, but he’s a genius.

8) What is the concept behind your blog? My small publisher at the time informed me that I should have one, so I do. This is my place to say and do what I want, and to, hopefully, help me get my word out about my writing. It is reflective of me. On the other hand, I would hate it if it were only about me all the time. I want this to also be about our mutual love of books, film and music, the occasional sport commentary or whatever else might strike my fancy.

9) What is your favorite holiday? I love Christmas. You know, every other holiday is one twenty-four hour period. However, Christmas is a season and lasts so much longer. I decorate the day after Thanksgiving and leave them up until New Year’s Day. I love the lights, the look and the taste of coffee as it comes out of my holiday mugs.

10) What would you describe as your biggest personal accomplishment? I dreamt for nearly twenty years about being a writer, and still can’t believe people are reading my stories; however, I would never dream about listing that here. Clearly, my family is my biggest achievement, and I am very thankful and blessed. This June will be our 23rd wedding anniversary, and since we married on our two year dating anniversary, it’ll be the 25th all together.

11) Why are you so awesome? I’m awesome for the exact same reason those of you who read this are: there is no one on the face of God’s green Earth as special as you. Each one of us brings something different to the table, and when we’re gone, there will never be another.

Thanks so much Shaunda - hugs and high-fives to you for thinking of me. When I get some time, perhaps I’ll hunt for some people to bestow this award upon. In the meantime, I’ll wish all of you special people a fantastic week.
We’ll talk soon.

Monday, January 7, 2013

All Good Things Must End

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. How's that new year treating you so far? Mine has been great, but now I have to go back to work. Yeah, my two week vacation is over. Sorry if that title made you think I was finally quitting this crazy writing business. One day I might, but I'm not done just yet. I still have some stories to tell.

If you have been here a while, you may recall that I was ill for the entire two weeks last year at this time. I had plans to get all sorts of writing done that year, only to find myself wrapped up in a blanket on the couch, watching movies. Thankfully, I didn't get sick this time, not from lack of trying on the part of my family. Poor things. All three of them were sick. How I got off so easy, I don't know, but am very grateful. How about you? I saw on Facebook and Twitter that a great many of you succumbed to illness, too. For those of you who were ill, I'm sorry. I hope you're better now.

Now, it would have been very easy for me to plug myself into my trusty laptop for the entire two weeks and busy myself with writing and social networks. I did do some writing. I completed an editing project and began working on draft two of my WIP; however, many of you who know me well will be shocked to hear that I turned off my computer a lot more than you might have thought...and went to the movies.

My wife and I went several times, sometimes I went with the teenagers and more often than not we curled up on the couch and plugged into the latest releases on Xfinity. I saw The Hobbit, Lincoln, and Jack Reacher (No swearing! Some of you are pretty pissed over Cruise in this role. For my part, I still have yet to read Lee Child, so please forgive me my ignorance. *smiles*). Of all the films we saw, the one that sticks with me is Les Miserables. I knew next to nothing of the story, only knowing there was a book and Broadway production. Little did I know! I'm more of a West Side Story fan, you see. I have been to Jesus Christ Superstar a few times, and did attend The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway during our trip to New York City two years ago. If you have yet to see it, you really must do so. Why filmmakers had yet to attempt allowing the actors to sing on camera, rather than lip syncing a previously recorded playback, I guess had to do with the amount of work and technology involved. But I bet they never go back. These performances are brilliant!

At home, I watched a handful of Christmas films, of course, but also got caught up on things I had missed. We saw Trouble with the Curve, Hope Springs and...(do I really want to admit this?)...okay, but only for the sake of equal time: My wife and I watched Magic Mike. *hides embarrassment* Not really. I'm not so prudish. Actually, my only complaint was language. I would have liked it better without the prolific swearing going on. I don't mind swearing. Sometimes it's just a bit much or out of character. Anyway, you ladies might not mind a bit of language as long as some of your other senses are being stimulated. *winks*

Well, my vacay is over, and it's time to get back to the day job. It's also time to climb back onto my treadmill. There was too much to do, too much good food, too much drink, way too many goodies sitting around the house, and too much sitting down. I've got an extra ten pounds that I didn't have mid-December that I need to shed. *sigh*

We'll talk soon.