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Monday, May 27, 2013

One More Week...

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. Thanks for dropping by. Life continues to be crazy here. How about you? You know, we writers ought to be hospitalized for juggling as much as we do. Do you agree? We’re all doing the same things. We sleep little and spent time with our loved ones very infrequently. Instead, we’re married to our word processors or paper and pens, putting our stories down and editing them until they are just right.
I took that new position at work, and although I no longer have to get up at 3 am, I’m still working 11-12 hours, with some occasional Saturdays in there just to make it worse. Then I’ve got this new book coming out in a week, hoping that I’m doing enough to get it noticed in a giant sea of books that are equally as good if not better. It’s tough, isn’t it? Then of course I have to take the virtual broom and swat the part of my brain that doubts I’m any good at this, or that I am very good, but no one is going to notice. Do you spend any time doing that? Fighting off the demons in your head that try and get you to quit? I do. I know I’m doing it, too. Perhaps it’s our way of preparing ourselves for the negative possibilities. Either way, it isn’t useful.
So here I sit, spending an hour before work and maybe another hour afterwards, trying to get the word out, network or just visit my buddies out there in the world who are doing much the same things and in need of encouragement. I haven’t been on my treadmill in weeks, I’m barely getting any reading in and I’ve barely touched the house.
Yeah, we’re all crazy…but dedicated as hell! J I hope everyone out there is doing well. I thank you for stopping by, as always. I adore you for that. I’ve been visiting your places as I can. I mostly follow by e-mail however, so if you’re not using that feature, leave me a comment somewhere and I’ll come by for a visit.
Before I go, I’m going to leave you with another excerpt. I know many don’t like to read them. It’s only about 400+ words, and it’s a bit of high drama. I apologize for the language…

“Wake up!” a voice suddenly commanded. The owner of the voice must have kicked the bench, too, because I felt myself leap into the air. It was Patricia, leaning over me, wearing one of her patented scowls.
“What do you want?” I shouted at her, sitting up. God knew how little I had slept this time.
“It’s nothing to do with what I want! It’s what your aunt wants!”
“My aunt died, Patricia! I don’t give a shit what Casper the not-so-friendly ghost wants.” Even I was shocked at how convincing I sounded, but I figured it was best not to think about it. These few moments this week working off of pure adrenaline had been like good liquor buzzes. Indeed, they worked for me in many ways.
I stood. She took one step back, but that was all. “Just state your business.… In fact, I don’t even care why you’re here. Get the fuck off of my property before I have the police drag your ass off!”
“Nice try!” she shouted back. “I’ve every right to be here as you do.”
She was right. There wasn’t anything I could do about her being there.
Patricia straightened up as I stood before her, poised. She squinted at me while she measured my resolve. Finally, a weak smile appeared over her face.
“What?” I asked, crossing my arms over my chest.
“Flora wants you to prepare yourself. It’s time.” She turned on her boot heels and walked off the porch. “It’s good you’ve sent the others away.”
“Time for what, Patricia? Oh, and the others will be back. They’re with Thomas. No one is going anywhere.”
Patricia spun back to me. “Thomas? My, you are a trusting fool, aren’t you? Mister big shot. You don’t have the first fucking clue!”
“Go to Hell!”
“Yeah, maybe,” she said, nodding. “But I won’t be the only one! Your pastor will be there, too. Why don’t you tell him I said that and see whether he disagrees? Go ahead. I fucking dare you!”
Struck dumb, I simply watched her resume her march back to the guesthouse. Words floated inside my head, but I couldn’t make sense of them. A voice seemed to be asking me why I’d really felt it so important that Jason accompany his mother. I had no clue.
“Be ready!” Patricia yelled back before taking the last few steps and disappearing inside her house.
The longer I sat there the more I seemed to know something. Or suspect it. I glanced left and looked through the trees toward The Queen of Heaven Cemetery, as if being called by it.
“What is it?” I asked no one as I continued to stare at the cemetery. Eventually, I gave up on finding the answer and headed back inside.

The book is available now, if I have piqued your interest. If you want to wait until next Monday and help me make the biggest splash possible, that would be very lovely of you. On the other hand, if someone wants to buy my book, who am I to advise them when to do it? J Cheers, you guys! And hang in there.

We’ll talk soon.

Monday, May 20, 2013

A Disclaimer: Romance?

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. Today I would like to talk a bit about romance, or perhaps a lack thereof. You see I have been using the word with regard to my forthcoming novel, and am unsure whether or not I actually should. I suppose we could talk about ad campaigning, and there’s certainly some truth in that. However, on the other hand I run the risk of ticking some readers off if they think there’s some bed-hopping or hot and steamy action going on. Let me set the record straight right now. There isn’t.

On the other hand, the condition of the heart is at the very forefront of the story. Two main characters have had their hearts broken by the separation of death. One took the wrong road in reclaiming what was taken away from them; another simply did nothing but attempt to allow the wound to scab over enough to face tomorrow. The plot of the novel takes us on a journey to see whether love might have its day...

“A dollar and a half for your thoughts,” Anne asked, catching me in mid-thought. She held her glass of wine in her right hand and lightly swirled the remaining contents.
“What?” I asked, glancing over at her smiling face.
“A penny for your thoughts sounded a tad cheap, so I thought I would up it for inflation and cost of living.” She sat back. “You were grinning just now. What were you thinking about? Something good?”
“I don’t know,” I lied, and then spooned the last of my dessert into my mouth. I fought the urge to lick the bowl. It was that good.
“Yes, you do!” Anne said. “You’re a terrible liar.” She set her glass down and folded her arms across her chest. “Give it up, mister!”
I glanced at Jason, who was watching the exchange with a curious look on his face, then back at Anne and shook my head.
“Must have been something good,” Anne said, refusing to let it go.
“Do you two need me to leave the room or something?” Jason asked.
“No!” I said, perhaps a little too loudly. A twinkle sparkled in Anne’s eye, so I kept my eyes off her. I suppose that made me even more suspicious-looking.
From my peripheral vision, I saw her stand and grab the plates to take to the kitchen. Leaning to my ear, she whispered, “Hmm?” and I knew I hadn’t heard the end of it.
“You know she’s never going to let that go, right?” Jason offered in a whisper when she left the room.
“I was afraid of that,” I mouthed to him.
“Good luck,” he mouthed back.
He got up from the table just as his mother came back to retrieve the fudge, strawberry and caramel toppings to put away. Fearing being alone with her, I quickly jumped from the table and followed Jason. For the next few minutes I was his shadow, and when he made a move to leave, I grabbed for his shirt, keeping him beside me. As if sensing this, Anne sent her son upstairs to get showered. I turned to him, feigning panic. He just grinned and waved melodramatically at me. When I turned back around, Anne was waiting for me with a devilish grin.
“Hi,” I said sheepishly.
“Hi there,” she replied. “How’s it going?”
“Fine.” We said nothing for a few moments. I snaked past her and began setting up to wash the dishes.
“That’s all you’ve got?” she asked. “After I went and made all of this food.”
“I told you it was fantastic!” I said without facing her. “Are you kidding me? I haven’t eaten this great in years!”
“Thank you, but that isn’t what I wanted to hear.” I could hear her move to the counter by the refrigerator and pour herself another glass of wine. “I want to know what you’re hiding.”
I filled one side of the sink with soap and hot water and bided my time while I attempted to think of a possible response. I filled the sink with dishes. “Why don’t you go sit down and relax?” I offered. “I’ll clean the kitchen.” I was stalling and we both knew it. I still couldn’t look at her.
“No, thanks. I’m fine right here.”
I felt myself growing embarrassed now as I anticipated her reaction. Perspiration formed on my forehead and it had nothing at all to do with the hot water I stood over.
“My, you are turning a bright shade of red,” she said before sipping from her wine.
“Please, Anne,” I pleaded, still not looking at her. “You don’t want to hear this.”
“Apparently I do.” I didn’t have to turn her direction to see her grin. Her voice said it all.
I sighed, utterly defeated.
“Come on,” she goaded me.
“I was wondering what it might be like to be Jason’s step-dad,” I said at last.
“That’s it? You don’t want to be with me. You only want to hang out with my kid?” Slowly I looked her way. She was grinning just like I suspected and kept her eyes on me over the top of her wineglass.
“Don’t be silly,” I said and looked for something to throw at her. A dish towel came in handy. I quickly grabbed it and tossed it her direction. She moved out of the way, but it would have missed her to her left anyway.
“I thought you were good at baseball. Jason said you were.”
“My throws are not usually that poor - only when I’m terribly distracted.” I sighed again, leaning against the sink and shaking my head at this incredible turn of events.
“What?” Anne asked. She lowered her glass and put on a more serious look, although still quite pleased with herself.
“Are you sure? I mean, are you really sure that you want to…”
“Oh, I’ve agreed to nothing,” she interrupted. She bent over and retrieved the rag from the floor, then approached me. I clammed up when she got close, but didn’t move an inch.
“Relax,” she said. “I just wanted to make sure you were interested. Now I know.” She laid the towel upon my head. “Now, hurry up and finish the dishes.”
“Yes, dear,” I said from inside the dish towel.
“Practicing already?” she asked as she stepped out of the room. “I like it.”

Is it romantic? I believe it is. Should it be considered a romance, albeit one of the paranormal kind? We’re two weeks away from discovering what the readers think. So far, the returns have come in favorably, as the following review demonstrates:

“This is an amazing book. I found it hard to put it down. Throughout the book I felt tearful, happy, terrified and surprised by a few twists. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves a good ghost and/or romance story...” My thanks to “Angelbear” for the review. I appreciate it more than you can know.

Seeing Ghosts is set to release on Monday, June 3rd. If you can't wait, the book is already available. *evil grins* I quietly posted it on Amazon a week ago so I could proof it. I guess I'm terribly sneaky that way. ;)

We'll talk soon.

Monday, May 13, 2013

This Post is About You, My Friends

Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. How are you? Well, I hope. You ladies and gentlemen have been awesome of late, and I really want to offer you a shout-out. In fact, I hope to demonstrate that commitment by not talking about myself this week.
Really? You ask. It’s true. I mean it when I say that I don’t like it always being about me. I know that you stop by to check in, as you are able. I’m very grateful for that, and adore your visits. However, this time it’s going to be about you. There will be plenty of time in the next month to update you on my latest book, or to offer new excerpts – and I will. Just not today.
Instead, I want to thank all of the writers and bloggers out there who shared their sites with me, whether it was revealing my cover; sharing my synopsis; promoting my sites; promoting my Facebook event page – or a combination of those things. You guys rock. I hope I managed to visit those posts and thank you and your readers there. Please tell me if I failed to do so, and I will launch right over. Unless I saw the tweet or Facebook status, I may not have known when it went live. 
Seriously, thank you.

Beyond that, I have been so busy with finishing this new novel, as well as working so hard at the day job as I transition to the new position, that I haven't had the time to visit your sites. Hopefully you have seen me drop by recently as I play catch up. If not, say hello and I'll head right over.

Lastly, I want to offer my pal and author Stant Litore a shout out. I haven’t had the time to do much reading of late, but during this hectic time I did manage to read his fabulous novel, Strangers in the Land. You may recall me saying in the past that I don’t care for zombie novels, but with Litore that’s okay - that isn’t what he writes. Oh, there are most certainly zombies in his stories (in fact, there are literally hundreds of them, if not more), but I defy you to call him a zombie writer. He is anything but that. As he told me recently, "it's always about the living more than it is about the dead."
There are so many good books out there that we cannot possibly read them all. Sometimes I like an author’s work, but too many other books keep me from going back to take another bite, as it were. When the writer is brilliant or doing work that shakes the foundations of what has come before, I find myself running back to them. This is the case with Litore. I loved Death Has Come Up Into Our Windows and continued to be impressed with What Our Eyes Have Witnessed.
However, just when one might have thought that the bar had been raised too high already, I read Strangers in the Land. My friends, this one is epic!
The Synopsis: Four must stand against the dead. The aging prophetess Devora. Hurriya, the slave girl. Zadok, a legend among warriors. And the widower Barak, who has sworn to defend his homeland from a migration of walking corpses greater than has ever been seen.
Devora is all too familiar with the unclean dead. She was there when her mother was pulled screaming from her tent by zombies. And when her mother rose, famished for flesh, it was Devora's hand that ended her hunger. Now Devora has struck an uneasy alliance with those she fears most among the living. Yet the strangers in the land must stand together if they are to rid the land of its curse.
Litore really outdid himself with this newest chapter in his Zombie Bible series. I’m not sure I have the words to express how utterly impressed I am with it. It is easily his best work, and as I said before – the bar had been raised pretty damn high. It is truly remarkable. The story is sweeping, gut-wrenching and heart-breaking. Anyone who absently calls it a "zombie" story deserves a slap to the head. That is only a small part of what this book truly entails. The prose is perfect, very often reading like poetry and I wouldn't have changed one word. I told Litore that I wished I had written down some of his sentences to show you, but I was too busy in the adventure that is Strangers. The work is on the long side, but you won’t notice.
Whether you enjoy zombie or not, if you like intelligent stories that are dark in nature, you absolutely must do yourself a favor and get into this series. This one reads as if it were one of the unearthed Dead Sea Scrolls or some lost tome to be discovered long hidden in the depths of the Vatican Library.
Convinced yet? Well, how about this: the author tells me that What Our Eyes Have Witnessed can be yours free if you sign up for Amazon’s Daily Kindle Deals e-mail. Follow this link and begin the adventure. I keep coming back. I think you will, too.
Once again, I thank all of you for your support and encouragement.
We’ll talk soon.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Seeing Ghosts

I suppose you can say this whole thing began and ended with ghosts. Not all my life, of course, but only all that ever really mattered. Everything before meeting Angie happened simply to get me prepared for our life together. No real living had occurred until that moment. After Angie died, I was left only with ghosts. Now tonight I lie beside another woman who is not my wife, and who I have yet to touch. I marvel at her even, peaceful breathing as I stare at the awful ghost that sits calmly, but menacingly, near the foot of the bed.
Aunt Flora is dead and has been for several months. There’s really no reason on God’s green earth why she should be here, in my home, a place she’d never visited in life, but here she sits just the same, and I’m sure I know why. Perhaps it has everything to do with her not having a home of her own any longer, or because she’s lost her husband once again. She seems to grin at me as if she can read my thoughts.
Now she nods dramatically to say that she can, indeed.
“What do you want, Flora?” I finally ask, whispering. I try to be as quiet as possible. It seems like a useless proposition. Peace is an illusion to me at this point; like something so far out of my grasp as to be laughable.
“You know what I want, Paul.” Her voice is low and calm, but seems to reverberate against the walls. “You know very well what I want,” she says as the all-too-familiar lightning flashes outside probe into the bedroom and illuminate her. A gust of wind rattles the window briefly. It must’ve been the reason I awoke in the first place. I’m pretty sure it was just wind, but who could know at this point? In any event, there’d be no more sleeping.

And so begins my third novel. It is entitled Seeing Ghosts. Last week I finally revealed the beautiful cover that Author and Cover Diva Maria Zannini crafted out of thin air. In fact, I’m pretty sure the same muse that gave me the novel also paired the cover with Maria.
Hello, Fire Enthusiasts. I hope this isn’t the first time you’ve seen this cover. I did my best to blanket the social networks last week, including sending out invites to the June release event. If you have just returned from a glorious week-long vacation…or perhaps I just did a terrible job and did not reach you, I hope you will use this link and sign up.
I am in the very last stages of the novel’s post-production. I am doing the last read through – and by that I mean I’m reading it aloud. I hate this part. It takes so long. *sigh* On the other hand I have used this time to add some final flourishes and have found some last minute corrections. Hopefully very soon I can begin to send out review copies.
I promise not to inundate you with excerpts in the few weeks we have remaining before the release, or thereafter. I will keep that to a minimum. I’m actually not one of those who likes talking about themselves all the time. Believe me.

In the meantime, I’ve got to get back to that post-production I was telling you about. Have a great week, and my thanks to all of you who have taken the time to share my cover or to invite your friends to my event. As always I really appreciate you all.
We’ll talk soon.