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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Something New and Blue

As the year end seeped into my conscious thought this morning, accompanied by the usual stroke of reality until I can get my fingers on the keyboard's fictional escape, this poem blasted in on the changing year and times - bittersweet awakening to label what lies ahead.

I can see her smile so far away.
Eternity blinks in shadowed hours.
Only darkness remains of yesterday,
Grainy visions where time cowers.
Beyond my grasp her reaching hand,
Into blackness, despair now guides.
Hope filled vistas, now barren sand,
On evening’s tide, death soon rides.
Cold bleak mornings, dreams shattered,
Leaving gray dawn’s sad leeching care.
Strong fists tremble, only she mattered,
Her laugh, her touch, in our secret lair,
Where once we built a castle to abide,
With love we thought lasting forever.
Death’s parting shot, no place to hide,
Done in Reaper’s web, not so clever.
Alone once again, as in youth long past,
Day yet to face with promises to keep,
In dull acceptance of fearful fate cast,
I await with open arms dreamless sleep.
Final lesson learned after all these years:
Nothing lasts forever, except our tears.

A final farewell to my wife Joyce in this 2014 year of hell's kiss, loved one beyond measure... and beyond time. Yeah... baby, you will be missed to the end of days.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Sale on Series

I hope everyone had a beautiful Christmas. Progress on Hard Case Book V: Blood and Fear is going very well for a mid to late February release. John Harding and crew are working to keep me sane through this very different holiday. Three of my series book one novels are on sale through the New Year for only 99 cents. A reader can get in on the ground floor of HARD CASE, RICK CANTELLI, P.I., or the New Adult series genre DEMON. They're all full length novels, and not the 50k novellas popularly placed as full length nowadays. I pray you all have a healthy and happy New Year in 2015. 

HARD CASE - The John Harding Series

RICK CANTELLI, P.I.- The Rick Cantelli Series

DEMON - The Mike Rawlins and Demon the dog Series

Sunday, December 21, 2014


I passed the 58,000 word mark in Hard Case Book V: Blood and Fear tonight, the new John Harding series novel. Interacting with characters created out of my head with humor, violence, and situations where I can change reality is an endeavor of high entertainment. They laugh, love, chatter, kill, and live at my command. In return, they fog over the sharper edges of real life, helping me hold onto sanity at horrific times. Last blog I wrote about reviews, and the temptation to write according to what we think readers want, taking their every criticism to heart. Therein lies disaster. If any author wishes to find out what writer’s block is, simply sit at your keyboard, and try to write even a short story according to the myriad writing bibles, and reader preferences, heralded as the true way to success on any given day – they change continually, so pick any day. I guarantee that author will find the meaning of writer’s block.
That same writer could sit down at the keyboard the next day, close the writing bibles, turn off the head chatter wondering whether your creation will impress Stephen King, and stop reading what publishing gurus are saying is the next big thing. Then start writing what I’ve always encouraged, a story that makes your blood pound, your fists clench, your eyes tear up, or sends you into laughing fits. When you look away from the screen you’ll have a couple thousand words wondering where the hell they came from, and you’ll realize you had a good time while they were magically shooting from your head to your screen.
The competition in the market now is so intense, no one knows what will succeed or not succeed. I believe it is better to have a day-job, and enjoy the hell out of creating stories, rather than embrace what I call ‘The Tortured Writer’s Syndrome’. We may have varying levels of success, or not have success at all, but that’s not what writing means – not to me anyway.  :)

Christmas draws near. Every Christmas I wrote my now deceased angel Joyce a long poem, with rhyming highlights of the year past, with usually much humor, and a little poignancy. I celebrate/endure Christmas for the first time in over forty years without her. I’ll end tonight with a part of the poem I did for her last Christmas. Rest in peace, baby.
In this sweet season of memories past,
With silver bells, and gifts that don’t last,
I look to you for my own Christmas role,
Where like me, years have taken their toll.
We echo each other’s unspoken thoughts,
So many years together, connecting the dots.
We lasted through sickness and life’s grief,
To forge a bond making our setbacks brief.
With the Lord’s blessing we’ll soldier ahead,
Enduring it all until taking to our final bed.
Laughing at the speed our short years go by,
Caught within the aging time warp we sigh,
Watching our hours spinning away to dust,
Hand in hand we face the final wind’s gust.
Love is too weak a word describing our end.
Through all the years you’ve been my friend.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Novel Characters

I realize many authors avoid reading reviews, because mixed in with legitimate readers skulk the dreaded ‘Book Killers’, well documented non-readers there for one purpose – knock down sales of a novel gaining popularity. I’ve done blogs explaining who does this and why with news articles, and even admissions from publishing house interns. I would rather discuss the readers who find something disenchanting about an author’s wares.

Every now and then I will get either a review or e-mail claiming my characters from series to series are the same. It would be silly for me to defend the different main characters’ personalities in John Harding’s Hard Case series, Nick McCarty’s Cold Blooded series, Mike Rawlins' new adult Demon series, or Rick Cantelli’s P.I. series - or for that matter the main characters in my many stand alone novels. They all have distinguishing features, but they do also have many similar ones, especially in parts of their belief systems. They are loyal to a fault, violent, and love America. They many times fight similar enemies, because the world around them at this time is fighting a common enemy, Islamists – but they also battle common street thugs, serial killers, child predators, and other assorted bad people.

Let me defend the similarities this way. I grew up reading Robert E. Howard, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Mickey Spillane, Donald Hamilton, John D MacDonald, Ian Fleming, and a host of other writers in a similar vein. The ones who wrote a number of series like Howard and Burroughs, naturally built them around larger than life, pulp fiction heroes. A reader finishing Burroughs’ Tarzan series, Mars series, and Pellucidar series for example would find very similar characteristics amongst his main characters, as indeed the reader would in Howard’s Conan, Solomon Kane, and El Borak to name only a few. I looked forward to those heroic pulp fiction characteristics whenever I started one of their works.

Real reviews make me think and question, but they won’t make me change. I have no intention of ever creating a mentally tortured main character like many of Hemingway’s characters or Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure – again, just to name a couple. Hemingway and Burroughs wrote in nearly the same time period, as did Howard, although Robert E Howard unfortunately took his own life at an early age. They chose to write in different genres, and while I liked some of Hemingway’s works (The Old Man and the Sea was my favorite) I loved everything Edgar Rice Burroughs and Robert E Howard wrote. If Hardy wrote Jude the Obscure in this day and age for the Amazon marketplace, I would know within minutes of perusing the ‘Look Inside’ feature that ‘Jude’ was not for me.

To my writer friends, don’t avoid the reviews because a few book killing trolls appear. It means you’ve gained popularity. Also don’t change what you love to write because avid readers make criticisms of what you do. There will always be readers who didn’t sample your wares in the ‘Look Inside’ feature, and decide to take a few legitimate shots at you based on their legitimate outlook. Enjoy them all. It means people read what you wrote, and even if they didn’t like it, the content prompted them to make time for writing a review. We write to above all else please ourselves. Otherwise the editing would drive us to the brink of insanity.  :)