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Sunday, November 30, 2008

Good News and a Migraine Illustration

I had to delete all of my blogs related to Cold Blooded. I apologize, but it had to be taken out of the public domain. I’ve signed a contract with Wild Child Publishing for the novel rights. I’m hoping to start work on their edits in the next couple months.

The second reason for my blog today is pertaining to the picture above. Although I have blogged in the past about how I have been able to relieve first my wife, and then relatives, friends, and customers of migraine headache pain, I have been asked to provide a picture which I have done above. Press in and slightly massage your thumbs in as the picture shows. Do so in very small movements until you feel the small lumps, or large ones. While working to disperse these lumps, the sufferer may state they feel a lifting sensation, or a change in the migraine pain. This means you are in the right spot. I know how weird it feels when these lumps disperse. You must massage the thumbs in until you break them up. With a really severe migraine, you may have to ease off and massage the victim’s shoulders for a couple minutes to relieve the stress before returning with your thumbs to the base of their skull. Unfortunately, as I have stated before: no pain, no gain. It works, folks, and without even an aspirin. If the sufferer has had the migraine for days, they might experience some slight discomfort until their minds come to grips with the fact they don’t hurt anymore. It’s called memory pain, and will recede quickly. If you have specific questions, just e-mail me. I'll be happy to answer them. Know this. It's not rocket science, and it's worked every single time I've done it, literally thousands of times over the last thirty years. It takes patience, and communication.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Christmas Lights

I’ve been able to open my little Comic & Used Book hobby shop more lately, so I put up my Christmas lights. This was going to be simply a picture and caption; but I received my first decoration complaint last night while I was snapping this picture. A woman walked by, saw me taking the picture and stopped to see what I was doing. I thought maybe the lights in the near darkness had caught her eye. No such luck. She looked away from my store front to me with a look reminding me of the way Mrs. Shaffer, my old first grade teacher, stared at me when she caught me talking in class.

“Hi,” I greeted her as I opened the comic shop door to go in.

“You work in the auto shop next door, don’t you?”

“Yes, I do. Whenever I get finished over there, I try to open my comic hobby shop up for an hour or so.”

“Aren’t you afraid in this day and age to put up a Merry Christmas sign?”

“Should I be?” I always wondered if they had Merry Christmas sign police, and what they would do if they caught me. Maybe this lady was one of their undercover operatives. I resisted the impulse to tell her I was going to erect a manger scene in the front window. “I’ve been doing it for the last three years, and everyone who comes in the comic shop compliments me on the decorations. They’re not really gaudy or anything. They just look good in the dark.”

“Do you plan on putting up Menorah candles and Happy Kwanzaa?”

“No, but I don’t plan on telling the people who do, they need to put up Merry Christmas signs and a manger scene either.”

She started to reply, and then walked away, shaking her head. She probably recognized me as the cultural barbarian I am, and figured instructing me on diversity would be a waste of time. My sign probably wouldn’t have warranted a stop if I’d been inside instead of taking a picture for the blog. I would have given her one of the many free promotional comics I have for the kids… perhaps a Disney Uncle Scrooge McDuck one. :)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Different Perspective

Let’s take a look at the story from my last post ‘Partners’ through the eyes of the children, as those poor perverted psychopaths who kidnapped them suffer an abrupt end to their endeavors at the hands of that vigilante police officer, Connor Bradwick. :)

The tears made tiny lines down the little girl’s dirt encrusted face, as she tried to still her trembling lip, and squeezed her eyes shut. She had to be brave Billie had told her until he could get help; but Crystal didn’t think she could be brave much longer. Zeke was really, really mad, and Bess threw her, Jimmy, and Bonnie on the bed, saying she’d kill them if Billie didn’t come back. Now, Zeke and Bess were screaming at each other… something about how they should have killed Billie a long time ago. Crystal felt Bonnie scoot closer; and without opening her eyes, she hugged Bonnie tighter. Jimmy put his arm around Crystal as they huddled in terror on the bed.

“Wha…what if Billie don’t come back?” Crystal asked Jimmy, finally squinting her eyes open slightly to peer up at her companion’s face. “Do you think they’ll kill us?”

“Billie’s coming back,” Jimmy whispered, keeping his eyes on the arguing Zeke and Bess. He knew when they stopped arguing, they’d be in trouble. “He can outrun Fred any day.”

“I…I want my Mommy…” Bonnie began to sob.

Jimmy quickly put a grimy hand over her mouth. “Shhhhhhh…. Bonnie… don’t cry. They’ll hear you. Bess’ll get the switch out.”

It was then they heard the camper door burst in against its latch. Four loud gunshots in rapid fire shattered the momentary silence, between when Bess and Zeke stopped shouting at each other, and Jimmy saw them turn toward the door. The boy watched in dread fascination as the bullets drove Zeke and Bess against the far wall, only to collapse like dancing rag dolls, as hell embraced them. A huge shadow edged into the light. Jimmy pulled at Crystal and Bonnie, trying to get them further into the corner where the bed butted up against the camper wall. Jimmy watched the big man come into view, his gun held out in front of him. It was a policeman. The stern faced man turned toward them and smiled, making a hushing gesture. The policeman searched around in the van, and then another shot startled the three kids. The policeman approached them slowly then, his hands making calming gestures. He knelt down next to the bed, without touching the children.

“Hi kids. My name’s Connor. Your friend Billie sent me. He said the monsters had you. I’m here to take you home.”

Bonnie, who had been staring wide eyed at Connor, burst into tears, and dove into Connor’s arms, her hands clasped tightly around his neck. Connor hugged the little girl back, reaching out with his free hand to pat Crystal’s hand, and squeeze Jimmy’s shoulder gently.

“Why don’t we all go outside, where we can meet up with Billie again. He’s real worried about you three.”

“Are…are they really gone?” Crystal asked, trying to see around Connor to where Zeke and Bess lay dead. “Mon…monsters can come back… and… and Fred’s still out there.”

Jimmy’s face twisted in fear, as Crystal reminded him of Zeke’s vicious younger brother. He clutched Connor’s arm, horrified Fred could surprise them at any moment. “We have to leave… we have to go now… Fred… he’ll…”

“Look at me, son,” Connor urged calmly, taking the boy’s hand in his. “I had the pleasure of making that particular monster extinct.”

“Really?” Jimmy stared hard at Connor doubtfully.

“Oh yeah,” Connor confirmed with a big grin. “We haven’t been introduced. You three know my name, but I don’t know any of yours.”

“I’m Bonnie,” the little girl on his arm stated, lifting away from Connor’s shoulder momentarily to smile at him.

“I’m Crystal,” the other little girl told Connor, and gestured at the boy. “This is Jimmy.”

“I have another arm for you Crystal, and Jimmy can climb aboard my back. I’ll ride you all out of this place in style,” Connor said, taking Crystal up in his free arm, and turning so Jimmy could hop on his back.

With all three children riding on arms and back, Connor carefully threaded his way through the camper door and out into the sunlight. He galloped a little, making the kids laugh as he transported them beyond the foliage at the overpass base. Connor knelt when they were in the open so Jimmy could get down. Jimmy yelped in delight, waving and dancing, as Connor put the two little girls on their feet, and a squad car with Billie waving from the window drove up and parked. Connor waited while Billie ran up.

“I told you… I told you I’d get help,” Billie said, as the other three kids swarmed him.

“Billie, you and your friends stay with my partner, Ellie,” Connor told the oldest boy, as Ellie hurried up next to the group.

“Watch the kids El, while I slip Dead Fred into the camper scene with his friends.”

Connor jogged to the patrol car; and a minute later, the younger children cried out. They saw Fred’s body draped over Connor’s shoulder as the policeman hurried past them. Ellie shushed the kids.

“Now don’t you pay no attention,” Ellie knelt down with the kids. “My partner needs to rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic.”

“Is Connor going to get into trouble?” Billie asked.

“I don’t know, and he don’t care, so we’ll see what we’ll see,” Ellie chuckled. “The important thing is all of you are going home.”

“Well, I didn’t see anything,” Billie smiled, and turned to the other children. “We didn’t see anything, did we?”

Ellie laughed as three little heads moved side to side in sync.

“I don’t want you kids worrying about stuff,” Ellie told them. “You all say whatever you want when the questions get asked. My partner and I can take care of ourselves.”

“I’ll tell them he killed the monsters,” Crystal said simply.

“He killed the monsters,” Billie repeated, nodding in agreement.

“He killed the monsters,” Jimmy signed onto the verbal pact quickly.

“Yep,” Bonnie added.

“Works for me,” Ellie said, standing as Connor approached.

Connor waved, as he went by, a big smile pasted on his face. “I’m calling it in, El. I was attacked in the camper, and barely made it out with my life. Unfortunately, there were casualties. How are you and my little buddies getting along?”

“Just fine,” Ellie answered.


At Highland hospital, the children refused to be separated. The nursing staff cleaned them up, while two pediatricians completed examinations into their general health. Two burly police officers guarded the door against unwanted visitors. They straightened hours later when Sergeant Donaldson approached them.

“Hey Mac,” Donaldson nodded at the older policeman at the door, “you and Ed here have any trouble today?”

“Not so far,” Mac answered. “A few reporters tried us on for size; but we expected company, what with it getting out over police ban.”

“What’s the story,” Ed asked in a hushed voice. “We heard Connor…”

“The investigation is ongoing,” Donaldson cut the officer off with an impatient gesture. “Don’t be screwin’ this up with rumors, Williams. I’m only here to meet the parents of the youngest child, Bonnie Demarco. They’re flying in from Carson City, Nevada. The other parents won’t be here until tomorrow morning. We found a shitload of stuff on a nationwide child pornography ring on the laptop one of those slimeballs had in the camper.”

Fifteen minutes later, as Donaldson filled in the other police officers on what they found where the children were rescued, a wild eyed couple rushed down the hall from the elevator. Donaldson stepped out to intercept them.

“Mr. and Mrs. Demarco?”

“Yes… where’s my baby?” The thin blonde woman demanded. “Is she okay… we…”

“Your daughter’s fine, Ma’am,” Donaldson said calmingly. “You two are the first to arrive, and the kids insisted on staying together. When you get in the room, please try to remember the other kids are waiting for their parents too. There are two nurses in with them, and my men here will make sure no one bothers you.”

“Oh… thank God,” the woman sobbed, trying to calm herself as the living nightmare would soon be over.

Donaldson moved aside.

“What about her kidnappers?” The husband asked, putting an arm around his wife, the haggard helplessness being replaced on his features by a look from the dawn of mankind.

“They were killed during the rescue,” Donaldson answered simply. “Please keep that to yourselves, as we try to keep a lid on this with the press.”

“Gladly,” the man shook Donaldson’s hand gratefully.

“We…we were afraid Bonnie would have to…to give some kind of testimony,” the wife said, opening the hospital room door almost fearfully.

“No Ma’am, the people who kidnapped your daughter are awaiting judgment elsewhere,” Donaldson replied, closing the door behind the couple.

“Where’s Connor, Boss?” Mac asked.

“I believe he and the redoubtable Officer James are celebrating today’s rare triumph of the law somewhere adult beverages are served.”

“Amen to that,” Mac said, leaning against the wall with a sigh.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Creature Features Rejection from 1987

I thought we all could use a chuckle today. This rejection letter came to me back in 1987. I’d been sending out my second novel, titled ‘The Void’ for a few years. My kids were little, and I’d only been an auto shop owner for four years. I sent my two novels out sparingly when I could afford it. When I was in high school, John Stanley hosted a late night horror fest called ‘Creature Features’. When I found his publishing company in California, I couldn’t pass up a chance to send him ‘The Void’. The rejection letter above seemed like a real letter, and he actually signed it in red marking pen. Finding it last week amongst my other stuff, I knew the story behind it, and the actual rejection letter with his signature letterhead of Creatures at Large would get a smile.

I’ve been looking for some of the rejection letters I received on my first novel called ‘Roc’, but without success. Boy, did I get some rough notes of rejection from that one. ‘Roc’ stirred more than a couple publishing people into sending me something beyond the usual form rejection. At least I knew from their letters, they had read it though. Well, have a good voting day. I voted at 7AM and there were only a handful of people there, so it only took about fifteen minutes from start to finish. :)

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Last Halloween Fiction

It was a fun Halloween with my Grandson. The following fiction has nothing to do with the people in the picture above. :)

Little Jake rushed up the walkway, sweating behind his plastic skeleton mask, peripheral vision at the mercy of unfortunately small eye holes. A witch and scarecrow nearly run him over in their haste to descend the porch steps Jake hoped to clamber up. He teetered on one foot as they brushed by him. In one horrifying split second of realization, Jake knew his next destination lie on top of the small white picket fence bordering the garden near the steps. Even the sight of pointed stakes rushing at him failed to loosen Jake’s grip on his pillowcase partially full of candy. Just as he decided to release the bag a scarred up hand righted him effortlessly, holding on to him until Jake regained his balance on the step. The hand patted his shoulder reassuringly.

“You almost ended up staked like a vampire, boy,” the low toned voice told him.

Jake looked up into his Grandfather’s eyes with relief. “Oh man… Pa, those kids bumped me. I thought I was goin’ down.”

“Not on my watch, kid,” Pa laughed, kneeling next to Jake. “What’s the rule on house approach?”

“Wait till the other kids get off the steps before I get on them,” Jake grinned into the weathered face. “You gonna’ tell Mom?”

“What… that I almost let you impale yourself on a fence stake? I think not. Just take it easy. We’ll stay out here until you’re ready to stop. Just remember, I’m not carrying you back to the house, so save some energy for the return trip.”

“I want you to carry me back on your shoulders, Pa,” Jake replied, knowing it would evoke some exasperation on his Grandfather’s part.

“I’ll get a stick and whup you like a mule first,” Pa told Jake with a sigh, knowing the boy was playing him. “Get movin’. This is the last house on the street. We’ll need to go around the corner.”

Jake laughed, and hurried up the steps to ring the bell. Pa looked at his six year old Grandson with undisguised pleasure. He had been the backup if plans fell through, and his daughter had to work. He took the train to Sacramento early, the moment she called. She had been planning on him going along with them; but with making sure Jake was picked up from school, and dressed in his costume, his trip had to be moved up a few hours. Having dutifully taken pictures and a few short movie clips where possible, the old man now settled into the routine of keeping pace with Jake to the doors. This year, the number of Trick or Treaters had been low, so the people with their lights on seemed very glad to see the kids they did get ringing their door bells; but apparently not in this case. When Jake returned from his candy excursion, he made a face while mouthing the word ‘sucker’. Pa smiled and took his hand.

“Beggars can’t be choosers.”

“Can you stay overnight, Pa?”

“Well… I…”

“Please… please!” Jake pleaded. “We’ll race cars and play cards.”

“Your Mom told me some friends of yours were coming over to watch movies with you. I don’t think…”

“They are?” Jake looked puzzled for a moment, and then his face brightened. “Wow, that’s great. Maybe it was a surprise!”

“Oh sure, kick old Pa to the curb.”

“You can stay too,” Jake looked up to make sure his Grandfather wasn’t really upset at immediately being displaced. He needn’t have worried. The old man was smiling wide enough for Jake to see it in the dull street lamp glow. “C’mon, Pa, you can talk to Mom while my friends are there.”

“Maybe… we’ll see…”

Jake felt his Grandfather’s hand pull him to a stop as they neared the dark street corner. He heard loud talk and laughter accompanied with rough language Jake knew his Mom would not like. The old man shifted his grip to the boy’s shoulder, waiting patiently as the voices neared them. Pa looked around, realizing he and Jake were the only two on the street now. A group of five young men, cavorting around each other with animated gestures as they walked, reached the corner in front of the old man and Jake. Pa’s caution flowed into Jake. Instead of asking questions, the little boy kept silent. The teens didn’t see them until they had nearly crossed the street. One did, and a hushed, furtive discussion followed quickly, with the group slowing down. Pa turned around, taking Jake’s hand, and guiding him back the way they had come. It was too late.

“Hey man…” one called out, as the group turned down the street toward Jake and his Grandfather. “What time you got?”

Jake felt Pa release his hand; and saw him turn toward the voice, taking something out of his pocket. He saw his Grandfather’s wrist flick, and a seven inch blade clicked smoothly into place. Pa held it slightly behind his right leg so none of the teens could see the movement. Jake took a step back, only to feel the old man’s other hand reach back to squeeze his shoulder comfortingly.

“It’s 7:30.”

“You didn’t even look, man,” the teen laughed, as his friends spread out to either side of him.

“I looked just a moment ago.”

“Look again.”

“It’s 7:30,” Pa repeated, not glancing away. “If you don’t like the time I give you, ask someone else.”

“You ain’t too fuckin’ friendly, Gramps,” the teen retorted, starting to move forward.

Pa took his hand from Jake’s shoulder, the camera bag sliding to the sidewalk. He gestured for the teen to stop. “That’s far enough. I don’t want to kill you, young man, so take your friends and move on.”

“You’re going to kill us?” The teen repeated incredulously.

“Just you, kid,” Pa told the teen. “My job’s to get my Grandson home, safe and sound, or die trying. Move toward us, and I gut you like a fish. Then I’m goin’ to get me some of your friends here.”

“The old man’s nuts, Derek,” one of the others said, not liking the way their little gag was playing out. “Let’s go.”

“He’s bluffin’, Cal,” Derek snorted, trying to sell his bravado unconvincingly, as the others retreated a few steps. “Don’t be pussies! He can’t touch us. He’d go to prison.”

“Been there… done that,” Pa’s voice rasped out, decades of polite society falling away from him, as sheer menace overcame logic in an instant. “Not impressed.”

“You’re on your own,” Cal said, turning and hurrying away up the street, with all but Derek following his lead.

Derek’s hand moved toward his jacket pocket; but stopped abruptly, when Pa’s hand came from behind his right thigh, the blade gripped low and ready. In what little light glinted yellowy off the knife, Derek realized he stood a split second away from death. The teen backed away. It was nearly too late, as the old man’s body tensed. Peaceful conclusions no longer interested Pa. Jake’s cold hand covered his Grandfather’s. Deadly anticipation drained away from the old man, and reality blanketed him. The old man watched Derek turn and jog toward his companions.

“Pa… can we still hit another street?” Jake asked, trying to keep his voice from trembling.

“I don’t know if that’s a good idea, Jake,” Pa replied truthfully, the knife disappearing from his hand in what seemed like a magic trick to the little boy.

“We… we could hurry up to the four corners… you know… where the pizza place and grocery store are. There’re lots of lights and people.”

“I guess that’d be okay,” Pa agreed, picking up his camera bag.

“Don’t worry… Pa, I won’t tell Mom about those guys. You’ll have to carry me home on your shoulders though,” Jake stated, taking his Grandfather’s hand again as they rounded the street corner.

“Why you little…”

“Halfway?” Jake bargained.

“Deal,” Pa sighed. “I hope your Mom has some Advil in the cupboard.”