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Friday, March 30, 2012

Series Thoughts

My sequel to Demon, the yet unsold YA/Paranormal gem I’m querying, reached the 18,000 word mark yesterday. The way it’s progressing, I might have it done faster than any of my previous novels, making me believe I can probably create a three book series without freezing up with some sort of block. I’ve always wanted to do sequels and left room to go into them at the end of every novel. Reality being what it is, I didn’t think it a good idea to make a sequel to a novel unless the first book in the series was selling like hot cakes.
With Demon, I figure whether I sell it or not, if I worked on a three book series I would be accomplishing something I haven’t done before. With self-publishing so easy, I’ll always have that avenue if it doesn’t get contracted. Writing projects have always been easy for me once I start one, but they become an obsession once started. Just as I can’t start reading a book without finishing it, I can’t start writing one without finishing either. That can be tricky and although the pressure is off when there’s really no deadline to get done, the incentive is also missing. I’ve always wondered how neat it would be to have millions of readers waiting anxiously for the next book in a series I’m writing. I don’t read Harry Potter books because just the names kick in my barf reflex, but I can imagine how fantastic it would be to have a fan base like JK Rowling. I do read Janet Evanovitch’s Stephanie Plum series, and I do enjoy hearing when she has a new one out.
Name recognition and a million strong fan base – the Holy Grail of writing. Rather than bathing in its light like Sir Galahad, I think I’m going to reconcile myself to just glimpsing its fuzzy image like my hero Lancelot. Otherwise, I’ll never finish the series. :)
My friend, Author RJ Parker, reviewed my political intrigue novel SOTELLO with five stars once again. His review really hit everything I’d hoped would cast a spell over readers. I’m in a war with AuthorHouse over getting the digital offerings of my books with them available. Daily calls and e-mails are not helping the cause so far, but I will persevere. I’ve already demanded the original galleys and hope to have them in my possession soon. Please click the yes button on the helpful review for RJ.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Second Stage

Yep, the second stage has begun. I guess the rain kept them away for a night. This morning I found the taggers had visited me last night. I will of course send a picture and alert the Oakland Police that our neighborhood has garnered the attention of the local thugs. They will of course be helpless to do much since there are a lot fewer police officers around thanks to the city of Oakland’s political suicide plan, where they tax the businesses out of existence and coddle the ‘Occupy’ morons to the tune of millions they’ve stolen from us few surviving citizens still here.

Now, the battle of attrition begins. They tag us, break in to unattended houses, and make their presence known to the shop keepers and cafes in the neighborhood while passing out low priced samples of whatever drug commodity someone up the chain wants them to distribute. My friend and long time customer Dave heads our neighborhood watch, so I have to call him up to let him know this morning. I noticed they tagged a few other places besides mine. Our first weapon is clean-up the moment we get tagged. Second is Dave starts pressuring for whatever police presence he can get from the already undercut and outnumbered OPD. Third is we report the stop-in scouts like I had and don’t pass them off as a joke in a blog like I did. My bad. I should have called Dave and the police so the first report would make them take the tagging incident more seriously.

We nearly lost our neighborhood a few times in the past, where the buildings remained tagged, burglaries were common place, hoodlums roamed up and down 38th terrorizing people in broad daylight, robbing shop owners, and gunning other thugs or kids with the wrong colors on down in the street. It was Dave, and some of the other long time residents who demanded the political idiots running the city start enforcing the law before we were wiped out, that finally turned the tide of battle. They allowed the police to bust the crack-houses across the street from me, put the career criminal parolees back in prison, and arrested the gang taggers making our neighborhood look like a ghetto.

My part in the battle was limited because I don’t sleep in the shop, although I had to sleep up on the roof a few times with my shotgun during a couple of the worst incidents. My shop was the safe zone for kids walking home from Allendale Elementary up the street from me on Penniman. On bad days I won’t go into, they knew they could use the phones, stay in my office, and sometimes wait until I closed to catch a ride home. I was taking care of my own kids at the shop so their parents knew it was safe. No thugs were allowed in front of or inside my shop and I enforced that rule in any way I had to.

Our neighborhood right now is the best I’ve ever seen it, thanks to guys like Dave. We have many families in the area with kids walking everyday to school. I don’t plan on allowing it to descend into hell again, and neither are my neighbors. If the hoodies want to find out how uncaring I am about their innocent plight to become full fledged gang-bangin’ idiots, bring it. We unfortunately don’t have ‘stand and defend’ here, but we will anyway.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


It’s apparent the 38th Avenue gang has decided to reassert their authority up here at my end because of an encounter I had yesterday. I’m guessing here, because the two gentlemen involved used the same tactics as I’ve seen over three decades. They approach by passing by a couple times making my motion detector ding, heralding their method. They then peek in from each side of the big front pull up door thinking I’m not aware of them. Been there, done that. While they’re scoping out the inside of the shop I move around the Honda I’m working on and over to where I can approach the outside door under cover of my office’s outcropping. When they slither in from either side, I’m waiting. I come quickly out to say hi.
“May I help you?”
They’re like deer in the headlights.
The one on the right starts mumbling in rapid fire nonsense. I greet this verbal dance as I have many times in the past, by gesturing for calm and slowing down of the pace.
“Slow down. I haven’t understood a word you’ve said. Start over and tell me how I can help you. What kind of car do you own?”
“No man, it ain’t like that,” the one on my right says. “We’re wonderin’ if you’re hirin’.”
“Sorry, this is a one man shop. Plus, sneaking into a potential employer’s business is probably a bad idea. You might want to try a more straight forward course.”
Yeah, this conversation is not going anywhere. “Anything else I can help you with dealing with cars or trucks?”
“No man, but we need to borrow bus money to get up to MacArthur.”
“I don’t give out money here. I fix cars and trucks for money. Besides, it’s less than a mile to MacArthur. I think you two young men can walk that far.” They don’t move forward so I’m figuring they’re just a scouting party. Then I get surprised.
“It’s our hoodies! What’s next… shoot us down?!”
I start laughing. I can’t help it. Yeah, these two sterling citizens have hoodies, one a faded black one, and the other some puke green color. I actually didn’t notice because it was sprinkling and cool out yesterday, and these guys didn’t have umbrellas. The only time hoodies draw my attention is when someone walks in when it’s ninety degrees outside with a hoodie on and their hands stuffed in the pockets. I guess this is some new pickup line from the Florida investigation going on in the news. After Katrina I had a string of goofballs dressed in mismatched work helmets, orange vests, and beat-up tool belts hitting me up for money because they were stranded from hurricane Katrina.
The guy on the right starts cracking up too. He gestures at his buddy, who is still trying unsuccessfully to keep a straight face. “Le’s go.”
Just like that, it’s over. Of course now I’ll be watching the door more closely. As I stated earlier in the post, their method of checking out the building’s been done before numerous times over the years. I wonder if that hoodie ploy’s working for them anywhere. I’m also wondering if Oakland’s going to get looted and pillaged again due to whatever comes out of Florida. If so, our completely incompetent mayor Jean Quan will welcome them with open arms.