Monthly Archives: January 2013

Dethm8, Act II, ep 1

Act II

 

Bernard held the plastic Subway sandwich bag around his wrist like a weight. His wife had left him with a kiss this morning and said to him, “I made you Subway for lunch.” Deborah was always cute like that, making sure he had something for lunch even if she didn’t have time to cook it. But now, Bernard’s guilt weighed heavily on him.

Who was this person? How did he know? Bernard could only wonder. But the file sent to his email this morning had left no doubt. He knew. Bernard had read the email twice and had opened the attachments and stared at them openly minutes on end. The pictures, handwritten notes, evidence that would have branded him a horrible human being to everyone, most importantly Deborah. Even though it’d been years ago, well before he’d even known Deborah, she would leave if she found out. Bernard didn’t know if there was a statute of limitations, but he would be ostracized even if he didn’t go to prison. He was being blackmailed and there was nothing he could do go along with it. Bernard didn’t know if he should be thankful or frightened that the blackmailer hadn’t asked for money.  He was already stretched thin with the secret payments he was already making for his mishap on top of everything he paid for that Deborah knew about.

The blackmailer wanted to meet Bernard. He hoped it wouldn’t involve gay stuff, whatever he had to do.

But now, here he was, standing outside his blackmailer’s door. Bernard had passed a man who’d seemed lost as he’d walked down the block. He’d parked two blocks away and hadn’t given the person too much thought. He’d wondered if this was his blackmailer or if this was some person who just so happened to be walking by. Bernard had disguised himself, putting on some of his wife’s makeup and penciling in a mustache, hoping he wouldn’t be recognized even though he had never been in this part of the city. As he raised his hand to knock on the door the man he had passed on the street walked up behind him staying back five feet or so.

“You him?” the man asked Bernard. He didn’t know how to answer the question, considering he was a ‘him’.

“Uh, no. I’m not sure who you—”

“Cut the crap,” the man said. “I got an email this morning to be at this address at this time. Are you him?”

The sudden notion of camaraderie flooded Bernard. It hadn’t crossed his mind that there could be more than one blackmailee. But Bernard wasn’t in the mood yet to confess his darkest secret to a complete stranger.

“Maybe,” he said. “What of it?”

“Then maybe I should kill you now.” The man stared at him with suddenly dark eyes, a complete departure from his almost jovial expression a moment before.

“I’m not the guy,” Bernard said. “I guess he’s inside. I was about to go in.” The other man was much bigger than him, the threat of his imposing size sinking in.

Bernard knocked. The door swung inward a little and he took a subconscious step backward. The other man stepped in front of him, a gun in his hand.

“I’ll handle this,” the man said. “You just stay behind me. Don’t get lost.” The man eased into the front room of the house like a seasoned professional. To Bernard that meant either criminal or cop. He didn’t know which to be more afraid of. But he followed the man as he checked every doorway, peeked through every window until they made it to the back room of the house.

“There’s no basement, no upstairs,” the man said. “This is the only place left.
After you.” He let Bernard in front of him and now Bernard was really afraid. Could he have been the person who led him to this place? It was a really roundabout way to kill someone if that was his plan. If the man was on the up-and-up that meant he didn’t know who was on the other side of the door, either. But he was the one with a gun and how he moved through the house told Bernard this was a man who knew how to use his weapon.

He opened the door. Two men were inside. One sitting, one standing. The two looked back at Bernard like they’d been waiting on him. Considering what he been through to get here, he supposed they had.

“Come in,” the seated man said. “Both of you.”

The big man behind Bernard brushed him aside, aiming the gun at the man in the chair.

“Alright, motherfucker. Give it up. I’ll put a hole in you right now.”

The man continued staring at them as if the big man had said nothing at all. Bernard was sweating, he was completely out of his element. He didn’t know what to do, so he put his hands up to the level of his shoulders, letting everyone in the room know he was not about to try anything.

“Anthony,” the man in the chair began, “please go get us something to drink.”
The big man swiveled the gun over to Anthony aiming dead center at is chest.

“Don’t move, Anthony.”

“My name is Skip,” the man in the chair said.  He didn’t look like a Skip. “I can assure you we are both snared in the same web as the two of you. I’m sure none of us wants to be in this room, in this house, under the circumstances. Anthony, tell these gentleman what you did. Anthony straightened. He looked like he was in his early twenties, but his eyes were haunted.

“I killed a man,” Anthony said. “And I let my father go to prison for it.”

The man lowered his gun after a long pause.

“How do I know you’re not lying?”

“Anthony, show these men your file.” Anthony very slowly turned away from them, making sure his hands were visible. The big man raised his gun halfway, prepared to fire if necessary, but he let Anthony turn to pick up a manila folder behind him.

The boy handed it over and Bernard took it. He opened it and quickly began reading. From what Bernard was able to scan, the file was definitive proof that the boy had murdered a Clifton Poindexter, whoever that was. The file was as meticulous as the one Bernard had received in his email.

There was no doubt in his mind that whoever had made this had also made his as well.

“I think this is real,” Bernard said to the man with the gun.

“How do I know you’re real?” the man said to Bernard. “How do I know you’re not all in on this together?”

Skip looked directly at the man with a gun.

“You know, don’t you? You’ve known ever since you walked into this house. Really, what is that gun for?”

Bernard look between the two man, wondering at the communication going on between them that was on spoken the big man let the gun down slowly insect.

“I can’t… I can’t let anybody find out.”

“And no one will,” Skip said. “So long as you do everything you are told to do, no one will. A few minutes passed with no one really doing anything.

Finally, Bernard asked, “So what are we supposed to be doing now?”

The man in the chair turned to Anthony again.

“The files.”

The boy scooped up a big stack of manila folders from the floor and set them in the man’s lap. Anthony left the room and Skip began to sift through them, pulling out two. He handed one to Bernard and one to the man with the gun.

“I don’t know what the end purpose of all this is,” the man said. “All I know is this is what we are supposed to be doing.”

Bernard speed read through his file, his eyes widening with each paragraph. It made no sense. Who was this woman and why was she so important? The file didn’t say anything about killing her, just finding her.  But it suggested hurting certain people if necessary to get what they needed. He looked over the man with a gun and saw similar expression on his face.

“What the hell?” Bernard asked.

The man shrugged. “But if this is what we have to do to get out of this I’m all in.

Bernard looked at the man in the chair. “So what’s your part in all this?”

“Mine is already done,” the man said. “I’ve had a bit longer to consider my role in this and I’m glad I’m finally done. Anthony?”

The boy slipped between Bernard and the man with the gun, a syringe in his hand.  Skip rolled up his sleeve and Anthony swabbed his arm before tying one of those rubber things around it.  He thumped the bend of Skip’s arm before slipping the needle into a vein and injecting the contents.

Skip watched until Anthony pulled it out.  Bernard turned to the other man who had an equally confused expression.  Skip’s head slumped onto his chest and Anthony felt for a pulse.  He shook his head before straightening.

“We have to get started immediately,” Anthony said.  “I have to call 9-1-1.”

“Whoa-whoa-whoa,” the man with the gun said.  “What for?  He’s just sleeping off whatever you gave him, right?”

Anthony turned slowly and looked at him.

“Are you—you’re kidding me—he’s dead?  The man took a big step out of the room, eyeing the needle in Anthony’s hand.  “What—you euthanized him like a stray cat?”

“His turn in the plan was finished,” Anthony said.  “It was what had to happen.”

The man aimed his gun at Anthony again.

“If you think you’re gonna use me up and throw me away like some pop can, you’re mistaken.”  The big man thumbed the hammer back.

“If we don’t obey the plan to the letter, it will be disastrous for us all. The blackmail was just to get us all here, but the consequence for disobedience is far worse.”

“Like a needle in the arm?” Bernard asked.

“Worse.”

Bernard didn’t want to know and didn’t ask.  Anthony had a look in his eyes that said something dire if Bernard and the other man weren’t on board with what he’d read in his file.  For some reason, the boy seemed far more dangerous than the man with the gun.

“All right,” Bernard said.  “I’m in.”  He looked at the man with the gun.  “You?”

His long pause was as nerve-racking as anything else.  Finally, he nodded.  “Yeah.  I guess I have to.”

Anthony’s face changed from grim sociopath, to a bright-faced twenty-something.

“Great!” he said.  “You guys know my name.  Introductions?”  He sounded downright cheery considering he’d just murdered a man with cold precision—even though that man had wanted to die.

“I’m Guthrie,” Bernard said.  It was his wife’s maiden name.  He looked at the man with the gun.

“Rocco.”  Bernard said nothing as the other man stuffed the gun back in his jacket, but ‘Rocco’ didn’t sound like a real name.  He smiled and held out a hand for Bernard to shake, then Anthony.  “Let’s get started.”

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Amazon Kills Tags – Taleist

http://blog.taleist.com/2011/05/31/tags-deleted-from-kindle-ebooks-what-did-you-expect/

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My New Quirk #amwriting

I’ve discovered something. It’s fairly recent, but I’ve begun touching my index or thumb to the tip of my nose when I’m in thought. I have no idea why I do this, but I began somewhere around two weeks ago.
I just realized I do this today and while it bugs me, it also clicked that this is something I can use. People do stuff all the time without realizing. Whether it’s a nervous twitch, an occasional limp, or chewing on a lower lip, people do things that attract the eye. And just like in my post about listening, as writers we should be paying attention to the things people do as well as what they say.
I’m not sure how this is going to manifest itself, but this whole nose-touching thing is going to wind up in something. Maybe it’ll wind up in Dethm8, which will be back tomorrow night!

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A Giant #Scam all #Authors Should Avoid

I wrote a children’s story about 12 years ago that has yet to see the light of day. It’s odd and I imagine, something all the publishers who received it didn’t know what to do with and so I’ve just shelved it. I break it out from time-to-time to shop it around and today I found an ad on Craig’s List that is just full of scam and I wonder how many authors have actually fallen for it. The two important factors to pick up on are the cost to author (y’know, the creative talent without whom the book would never have existed) and the percentage they pay in royalties. If I submitted Peter and the Little Boy Eater to these guys it could cost me as much as $6,000 for my efforts but I could get in return as low as 3% in royalties even though I’m at least 50% responsible for my book coming to life in bookstores. Does this sound anything like common sense to anybody? My first novel, The Ghost Toucher, was published by a small publisher who never asked me for dime one. All he asked was that I start a blog and establish a presence in social media. I bought a few copies to give out to family, but he even sold those to me at cost. Who are these guys and where do they get off?

Let me repeat for anyone who hasn’t read one of my prior posts on these Craig’s List rip-offs, NEVER pay a publisher or agent to read your work. Publishers should not be asking you for a financial commitment, they should be giving you one. Trust me, I’ve learned the hard way. And don’t pay a service to publish your work on Amazon for you. It’s so easy to do you’ll kick yourself if you pay and find out later.

But let me break down what they’re doing. They need a ‘select’ number of children’s book authors (ten according to the post). The word ‘select’ is used to give you that extra bit of stroke when (not if, but when) your manuscript is chosen. And it’s not going to be just ten. It’ll probably be many more times that number. In fact, it’ll probably be more difficult to not be amongst the chosen. This extra push probably helps them to acquire even more manuscripts than they would have otherwise. But they are inundated with authors who want them to publish their work–who are they, exactly? Notice how there is no mention of their company at all. Do you think Penguin would do that? And not to say there aren’t legit publishing opportunities on CL, but if you were really in demand to that degree, why bother advertising on this site? And think about the conflicting statement. They are ‘inundated’ on the one hand, but on the other, they have ’10’ spots available. That’s like saying your restaurant is all sold out of hamburgers, but they have ten ‘exclusive’ patties for the right customers.

 

Select Children’s Book Authors Needed (NY/LA)

Select Children’s Book Authors Needed
New York Based Children’s Book Publishing Company highly established and successful (both in content and sales) in search of a select number of children’s books and authors to add to its 2014/2015 Publishing Plan. Parent has three seperate imprints appealing to: 0-5 years /3-8 years and an LGBT family theme focus for 0-10 years. This is a full publishing company, however authors must be willing to offset some costs associated with production and most importantly Public Relations. Author’s financial commitment usually ranges from $1000-$6000- depending on title. Only 10 new projects will be accepted. To be seriously considered you must agree to work with Publisher to promote your work both with your time and your minimal financial commitment. We are inundated with authors who want us to publish their work– so please do not waste our time or yours if this is not something that fits your needs. Quality, the ability to sell your title to stores/book clubs and projects that fit our publishing plan our number one concerns.
Please submit your work, an email with why you think we might be a good fit for you (other experiences you have had in the past tying to sell your work to a bookstore or a publisher–if any) and the best way to contact you.
We receive thousands of submission–so please do not be offended if your work is not something we are interested in.
Best of luck in getting your book on bookstore shelves everywhere!
Regards

  • Location: NY/LA

  • Compensation: Publishling Company-3% to 8% of Sales

  • This is a contract job.

  • Principals only. Recruiters, please don’t contact this job poster.

  • Please, no phone calls about this job!

  • Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.

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Sequel Fever

I just had the realization all the upcoming movies I’m excited to see are sequels.  And there is no reason (so far) to believe they’ll suck like oh-so-many cash-ins that have come prior.  Here’s a breakdown of a few of the ones I know about so far:

Anchorman 2- first of all, it’s hard to believe the original is 9 years old.  That’s right, we first saw Ron Burgundy almost a decade ago.  I’m excited to see this movie because all of the main characters are back and everybody was funny, except Christina Applegate (who was necessarily the straightman to everyone else).  Will Ferrell comedies, when he’s hitting on all cylinders, are some of the funniest you could ask for.  Assuming you can stand Ferrell at all.

Captain America: The Winter Soldier- I loved the first one.  Comic book movies have made a rampaging return, save for that Wolverine movie (more on that sequel in a moment), culminating in the very awesome-filled 2012 with The Avengers, The Dark Knight Rises, and The Amazing Spider-Man.  I didn’t read this particular comic growing up and I don’t know a whole lot about the characters.  I’m looking forward to seeing how things play out.

The Wolverine- Now that Marvel Studios has thankfully abandoned the ‘X-Men Origins’ series of movies (considering First Class gave us all we needed to know regarding Magneto’s origin- I think he was planned to be next) they’ve gotten a different director to helm this sequel.  But what do we know about James Mangold, what has he done?  I was worried for a second, considering he was the director of Girl, Interrupted and Walk the Line, but he also directed the remake to 3:10 to Yuma, Identity, and Cop Land.

The Next Star Wars Trilogy- Because it’s Star Wars and George Lucas won’t be doing the writing or directing.

Mad Max 4- I really wanted another one with Mel Gibson as an older, grizzled, bitter Max.  But he went coo-coo, so they put Tom Hardy in his place.  Tom Hardy is awesome.  Just watch Bronson if you need evidence of this.

Sin City: A Dame to Kill for- I have every confidence Robert Rodriguez will make a great sequel even though they are in the middle of filming, a major character in the storyline has a replacement actor, and some roles haven’t even been cast yet.  Rodriguez described what they are doing as “…sort of piecemealing, shooting bits and pieces as actors become available.”  The fact the first movie came out 8 years ago proves there’s no rush to get this done and so long as they take their time and get everyone they want all the better.  But who, you ask, is replacing the larger than life Michael Clarke Duncan as Manute?  None other than Dennis Haysbert.  You might know him as the Allstate spokesperson with the voice like thunder on a day off or maybe even the first black President of the United States.

Kick-Ass 2- I wish I’d seen the first one at the theater.  Much better than I expected.  Somehow, Nicolas Cage’s Big Daddy character is in it even though he was apparently burned to death in the first one and they added Jim Carey as Colonel Stars and Stripes.  I don’t know why, but even the name is funny.

Dumb & Dumber To- If you need this comedy-gen sequel explained, I feel for you.

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Heartbreak Hotel #vampires #amwriting

So I finally finished plotting my first vampire novel, titled Heartbreak Hotel. It actually wasn’t supposed to be the first, I wrote a short story last year called Do Not See Me that I intended to turn into a novel. Still will at a later point, but HH is one of those that flowed out of me and I want to get it out while it’s still sizzling hot in my brain.
I need to do more in-print books as there is a building demand for signings and this tale will definitely be novel-length. Before fleshing it out I was thinking it would just be a long short story but there was a lot to explore with these characters.
My next stop is to call up a couple hotels to do some research. Best of luck to me!

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The Room

Just thought of a new story idea I’m not sure what to do with yet. It’s one of those self-plotters and may wind up being the sequel to Fleshbags. It’s called The Room is about five survivors trapped in a room with a legion of zombies just outside the door. Each person recounts what happened just before getting locked in. And they discuss what, if anything, they can do to get out.

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30 Minute Plan #1 on #kindle #lunch

Well, well, well. My short, 30 Minute Plan is #1 on Kindle. But let me qualify that. It’s free, first of all (all the more reason for you to download a copy!) and it’s ranked as #1 in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Fiction > United States > African American > Mystery. Hey, I’m still proud of that as an accomplishment and it bolsters the title even more in my mind to flesh out the story as a whole in a full-length novel. I have an idea—maybe I’ll sit down with it now that I’m done plotting my next story.

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What’s in a Name? #poem

One day he went mariah carey

And pulled an oj

We came in and found

What was left of the two of them

lizzie bordened all over the place

Everyone knew they had been

Pam and tommy leeing it all along

But we assumed he would just pull a hemingway

No one thought it would end like this

I can’t stop going all woody allen at the site of it

But she’s all clint eastwoody

It’s like Dracula binged and purged in here

I bet he walked in just as she was lewinskying him

I bet he already knew what had been going on

I bet he john pauled her

But seeing in person how she’d turned benedict arnold

Must have been too much to hillary clinton

But still, this was a complete buster douglas to us all.

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#Review of Draculas by @joekonrath @amazonkindle

DRACULAS (A Novel of Terror)

This was my second official e-book.  The first was another offering by Blake Crouch and Jeff Strand.  I forget the title offhand, but nevermind that now (it’s included with Draculas anyway).  Draculas is a rollercoaster.  It’ll take you up, it’ll take you down.  It’ll drink your blood (though I’m not sure if rollercoasters do that- been a while since I’ve been on one).  You’re going to love Randall Bolton and Clay Theel, the heroes (at least in my mind) of this story and how they don’t let things like thinking get in the way of getting the job done.  Yes, this will make you laugh, but it’ll have you afraid to put your Kindle down (or whatever your choice of e-reader; I printed mine out, but I’m special like that). 

 Mortimer Moorecook, whose surname name I’m certain is a misspelled double-entendre, is the blame for the slaughterhouse that becomes Blessed Crucifixion Hospital, but you’ll hardly have the time to blame him.  Draculas will be flying at you left and right with scythe-like teeth set to rip you to shreds.

 As a writer, I have got to admit I would love to be a part of this franchise (surely you couldn’t think by the end of this story that is the end) as this is one of the most original vampire stories I’ve read in a long time and since reading Interview with the Vampire and I’ve read exactly 3 novels in that genre.  So I’ve got my VampCred, in case that was in question. 

 Crouch, Strand, Wilson and the other guy won’t disappoint (I looked it up; Kilborn).  I’m only sure that Crouch wrote the first section, but each author hands off the story into very capable hands as there is no lag in the fear or action.  You’ll find yourself rooting for the good and poopooing evil.  Pick up–click a copy as soon as it is available.  It’ll be the best $2.99 you’ve spent this side of a Big Mac and it won’t raise your cholesterol nearly as much.

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