My Bookshelf

Monday, December 23, 2013

Secret Santa for MY Friends?

Well, my blogger followers are AWESOME!!! I've gotten more hits over the last week than I've had all year!

For that, I'll give you a Merry Xmas gift, the epiphany in my upcoming novel Nightcrawler (available at Amazon through Black Rose Writing in January).

Love you guys!!!


     Sabrina drove back out to Staten Island after dropping Rita off in front of the Force of God Christian Church, leaving her to explain everything to the Pastor. Undoubtedly the police would ask Rita what happened at the apartment. Her story was that the women had been threatened by Hijo and fled the premises before calling 911. They would be left with Bobby’s tale about a ninja coming into the house and tying Hijo to the radiator before writing graffiti on the refrigerator. 

     She went back to the apartment to change into a T-shirt and jeans after taking a quick shower and grabbing a bag of rabbit food. She took the ten-minute drive to the BCC campus and headed inside to look over some contracts and proposals. She rode the elevator to the second floor and was somewhat surprised to see Jon Aeppli’s office light on in the darkened suite.

     “Hey, Jon,” Sabrina leaned into the doorway. “I hope your wife isn’t blaming me for this.”

     “I really didn’t try and give her much of an explanation,” Jon’s pale blue eyes bored into hers. “That friend of yours really made an impact tonight, didn’t he?”

     “Who was that, Hoyt?” she asked weakly, slipping into the armchair in front of Jon’s desk.

     “I take it you haven’t seen the news or gotten on the Internet.”

     “Well, not really.”

     “That Nightcrawler friend of yours attacked a man in his own home with a chemical weapon a few hours ago,” Jon was nettled. “The man happened to be a distant relative of the Mayor’s partner. He’s got the Mayor out for blood. The NYPD has an all-points alert out for the Nightcrawler. Your guy was crazy enough to leave a handwritten note on the victim’s refrigerator.”

     “You mean the Mayor’s a sissy?” Sabrina was wide-eyed.

     “That’s really not the issue here,” Jon leaned over the desk towards her. “Besides, if you hadn’t spent so much time partying over the last couple of years instead of watching the news, you would’ve known that. At any rate, the Mayor’s partner says his nephew was gassed because he was a black man living with a white woman, and the assailant allegedly told him that when he attacked him. He even said the zero tolerance note was a warning to blacks who date white women.”

     “That lying dog!” she exploded. “He beat her so bad she was taken to the hospital the night before! It had nothing to do with race, it was a warning to guys who beat on women!”

     “Now how would you know that?” Jon said gently.

     At once the tension boiled over, and Sabrina cupped her forehead as she covered her eyes, weeping softly. Jon got up from his desk and walked around, patting her shoulder comfortingly.

     “It’s okay, kid,” he consoled her.

     “It happened so fast, he made me so mad, and he was acting like he was going to hit my friend Rita,” she sobbed as Jon handed her a handkerchief. “He was treating that little boy so mean, and I knew he had just put that poor girl in the hospital. I knew I should’ve never gone over there, but they didn’t have anyone else and the Pastor couldn’t go. I was just so upset.”

     “Bree, you’re not telling me you’re the Nightcrawler,” Jon said in disbelief.

     “I didn’t say that,” she sniffed halfheartedly.

     “For crying out loud,” Jon walked over to the plate glass window and stared out unseeingly at the river. “What on earth have you gotten yourself into?”

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Santa Claws?

This one's just too good to be threw. I entered it in a 500-word short story contest at:

...but you probably want to see it anyway. Here goes...

No one knew where he came from or where he went at night. Everyone in the neighborhood just knew him as the smelliest bum who hit the local pub crawl. Rumor was he had served with the British Army, and he had a certain dignity to him with his upright posture and focused gaze. Only his long white hair and beard earned him the nickname of Santa Claus.
Things were still rough here in Belfast even in the 21st century, a decade and a half since the Good Friday Agreement had been signed. There were still the hardcore Proddies who would have one too many and run their mouths. There were an equal number of Caddies around who would force them to put up or shut up. Here at O’Beirne’s Pub on Lower Ormeau Road, I was the sheriff. I didn’t give a damn what was on anyone’s birth certificate. If you caused a scene, it’s my way or the highway.
It was thundering outside, not something a guy like myself who’s served in Iraq looks forward to. Making it worse was being here in Belfast. You don’t know whether it was a car bomb reminding you of a car bomb. I was getting ready to close down when Santa came in, always at the last minute. He had his left hand stuffed in his raggedy coat, probably from losing another fight. I could smell stale urine as soon as he closed the door behind him.
“Hey, I’m getting ready to close it down.”
“One beer and I’m outta here. Lemme dry off for a minute.”
I pulled him a Harp and set it down. He pulled his sticky change out of his pocket with his good hand and spilled it across the bar. I made a show of shaking my head as I sorted out the cost of the beer.
“I’m not foolin’,” I growled. “Finish this and we’re gone.”
“The peelers are all over the place down the block,” he advised me. “You better watch when you drive home.”
“Yeah, what do you think they’re up to now?”
“Same old crap. Some guy yapping away at another, running him down, calling him names. Happens every time.”
“I’ll tell, you, Santa, that’s no good reason to---“
“There you go. You know my name's Deroy,” he got belligerent. I wasn’t in the mood but I knew he didn’t like the nickname.
“All right, Dee-roy,” I stressed the last syllable. “Where’s the holiday spirit? People should be more forgiving, don’t you think?”
“They should be more giving,” he corrected me. “It’s not about receiving, it’s about giving. You should give people the respect they’re due.”
“Aww, gee,” I snorted. “Okay, let me offer my apology. Now what are you gonna give me this Christmas Eve?”
“Merry Christmas,” he pulled his hand out of his coat. It was black with blood, and he held a human heart that had a ghastly sheen in the dim light. “Ho, ho, ho.”

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Let The Author Do The Grinding?

Well, I've got Nightcrawler on the threshold of the printing press and Both Sides Now scheduled for early winter. Only I'm starting to wonder exactly what these editors get paid for.

Nightcrawler, as we recall, is about the exploits of Sabrina Brooks, chemical manufacturing heiress turned vigilante. Black Rose Writing made up a kickass cover and we're just about ready to go. Only we've got a bunch of run-together sentences (e.g. "Who dat?""Who say who dat?") which the formatter failed to space. Now the editor is asking me to make a list for him to go in and correct. Send me the template and I'll do it, I say. No thanks, just send me the list, he replies. You gotta be frickin' kiddin' me!!! No, this is how it's gonna go down. Wish me a joyous Saturday afternoon.

Both Sides Now is a romantic comedy, the story of a Hans Mortier knockoff based on the mid-60's wrestling universe. ETreasures' wunderkind has tossed me a laundry list of nouns, pronouns, adjectives and suffixes that I need to pull out before we proceed, Uh, and exactly what is your job? This is almost unacceptable, but considering I had to go in and format the whole manuscript of The Standard for Tenth Street Press as well as my own Tiara, if you want it done right you got to do it yourself. As the saying goes, if I would've known this I would've picked my own cotton.

At any rate, I'm going to be spending far less time doing exchange reviews and sending out e-mail promos this weekend. As for those editors, anyone know who's hiring? Next to being President of the USA, it's got to be the cushiest job in America.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Tiara - Ten Years After?

Why did the man throw the clock out the window? He wanted to see time fly. Remember that from grade school...?

Well, I didn't throw no damn clock out the window. It sure has flown, though. It's been ten years since my first novel, Tiara, was published. I was going to buy the rights back from Publish America and found out our ten-year deal expired. That made it a lot easier to put Tiara (10th Anniversary Edition) out on Create Space.

What changes can we expect? Well, the world's changed over the last ten years. There was 9/11, the Patriot Act, Osama Bin Laden geting whacked, among other things. Of course, it won't change a book about the Good Friday Agreement of 1998---all that much. There is a different world view, but not enough to change the omniscient narrative (all that much). There's still all the action, thrills and spills, exciting characters, snappy dialogue, and all that good stuff that makes a JRD novel. The book's a little longer than the original, which means there's more stuff going on. It's definitely one you won't want to miss.

You probably won't be comparing novels anytime soon. Since Publish America no longer has rights, the Amazon dealers are getting $40.00 (!!!) for the original. I'm letting it go for $3.00 as a holiday special, so---support your starving artist TODAY---

---before another ten years go by and some vulture gets forty bucks for this one.

Did you hear the one about why the guy threw the clock out the window?