Monthly Archives: October 2014

What a Night for an Interview – Steve Boone of The Lovin’ Spoonful

Did you ever have to make up your mind?

That wasn’t meant as a question…it was my way of cleverly introducing this post.

Baby-boomers and rock-and-roll fans of all ages probably sang the words while they read them…or they’re humming the tune right now (and probably will be for the next few hours).

Most of you know who sang them back in 1966, or you used to know, but the band’s name is on the tip of your tongue.

For the record…it was The Lovin’ Spoonful.

The Spoonful had a pretty impressive run between ’65 and ’68 which included seven Top 10 hits and another seven in the Top 100.

You might say they were hotter than a match head

They were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000

Like many bands they also had their trials and tribulations…

Tomorrow night (Friday October 31, 2014) on my radio program I will have the bass player from the Spoonful – Steve Boone – live in the studio with me.

B Sides cover

We’ll be talking about all kinds of stuff, and playing some music in-between topics – beginning at 7:00 pm EST.

Tune in if you believe in magic…

spoonful 2

For those of you in Flagler Beach – you can listen on 97.3 FM and for the rest of the world, join us on the internet at www.flaglerbeachradio.com – you can also listen on your mobile device using the TuneIn app and searching Surf 97.3 FM.

If you’d like to ask Steve a question jump over to facebook and post it on the Tim Baker’s B-Sides, Deep Cuts and Cool Covers page.

 

As always – thank you for reading (and listening)

spoonful

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I Knew There was a Story to be Found at Biketoberfest

I just have two quick things for you today…

Well, actually – it’s just one thing, but it’s in two parts.

Part I;

I took part in a personal ritual over the weekend (October 16-19) called Biketoberfest.

Biketoberfest is an annual event here in this part of Florida. It’s centered in Daytona Beach, but its effects drift up to Flagler Beach (and to many other nearby communities).

Over the four days I did lots of riding, drank lots of beer and watched a lot of good bands. Biketoberfest is a great experience even if you aren’t a biker…just for the people watching opportunities alone.

At one particular venue called the Hog’s Pen (which is really nothing more than a large vacant lot across the street from The World Famous Iron Horse Saloon) there are several vendors set up for the event hawking their wares.

Iron Horse 2One of the spots is occupied by a dunking booth.

It’s about fifteen feet square, surrounded by netting to contain stray baseballs thrown by bikers whose aim isn’t what it should be. Nothing remarkable in and of itself, but…

On the collapsible seat is a guy wearing a clown costume insulting every person who walks by – hoping to get them mad enough to part with $5 in an attempt to dunk his ass.

drown the clown

The clown is the primary impetus of today’s blog.

His insults are not “family friendly” – he knows his audience, and there are no holds barred in his barrage of put downs. Appearance…sex…race…religion…color…sexual orientation…nothing is off limits.

Dozens of people gather around the booth just to hear what he comes up with next…and they are rarely disappointed.

As I stood there with some friends, in the back of the crowd, out of the line of fire, I decided that this clown needed a place in an Ike story.

Which leads us to…

Part II;

As you know (from reading this post) my current project is a collection of short stories about Ike.

After watching the clown insult people (and get dunked a few times) I decided that he needed to be in a story…so for the rest of the weekend I tossed around some ideas in my head and on Monday I sat down and began writing.

Reading the opening of Biketoberdeath at The Inspired Mic - Oct 21, 2014

Reading the opening of Biketoberdeath at The Inspired Mic – Oct 21, 2014

I’ve written about 1,700 words so far – which probably equates to about one-third of the story.

Last night (Oct. 21) I read what I have so far at The Inspired Mic and the audience approved…and wanted to know what happens next.

I think it’s only fair that you – my virtual audience – be privy to the sneak preview, so I’m posting it here. The only thing you miss out on is hearing me read it…probably a blessing!

So – with no further ado – the beginning of…

Biketoberdeath

Leaving St. Augustine just before dawn, he felt like the only person on Earth…or at least the only one awake.

The wind rushed over his face and his ponytail tugged at the back of his head. The Atlantic Ocean, less than one hundred yards to his left, deposited a salty film on his riding glasses.

The rumble of his classic ’74 Shovelhead was lost to the wind, but he could feel it throughout his entire body. Intake, compression, power, exhaust…the powerful V-Twin beneath him worked at nearly 3,000 revolutions per minute, but screamed in one continuous roar.

Ike relaxed in the saddle, propped his feet on the chrome highway pegs and enjoyed the solitude of a morning ride on A1A.

By the time he reached the Flagler Beach city limits the sun was rising over the ocean, casting long shadows on the empty streets, and melting away what little chill hung in the air.

While most of Flagler Beach was still sleeping, merchants prepared for the coming day. Bar employees washed away the remnants of a frenzied Friday night, cleaning the slate and making it ready for the next wave of leather-clad, alcohol-infused partiers.

Day two of Biketoberfest was in the books, and while the media reported a largely successful event, focusing on the thousands of bikers descending on the area, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in out-of-state money, Ike was all too aware of the activities that didn’t receive any press thanks to a concerted effort by local authorities to make certain situations go away quietly.

There was no point in souring the public’s taste for such a lucrative source of tax dollars by making arrests after every bar brawl or issuing countless DUI’s. For one week out of the year the city commissioners recognized the value of selective leniency, and local law enforcement was encouraged to share in said attitude.

The courtyard dining area of The Golden Lion was deserted, with the exception of a few employees setting up for the day ahead. Saturday was typically the busiest of the four day event, so the crew had a few hours to make the restaurant look as though Friday night had never happened.

Ike righted a barstool on his way to the table under the stairs leading to the rooftop deck.

“Morning, Ralph,” he said, settling into a chair.

Ralph Donabedian looked up from Friday’s receipts and nodded. “Morning, Ike.”

“How’d we end up yesterday?”

“Close as I can tell, at least fifty percent up from last year.”

“Nice. Today should be even better. Perfect weather.”

“The money’s nice, but it’ll be good to have my parking lot back.”

Ike glanced across the street at the half-acre of tents and vendor booths. It was one of the few vacant lots in Flagler Beach and contributed to the popularity of The Golden Lion since patrons hardly ever had to worry about parking. During Biketoberfest Ralph converted it to a money maker by renting space to vendors, who paid handsomely to sell tee shirts, pins, patches and all sorts of Biketoberfest memorabilia. There was also a beer tent, so thirsty bikers could drink while they perused the vendor tents without having to walk across the street to the Lion.

Tucked into one corner of the lot was the only occupant allowed to use space free of charge, a dunk tank with a brightly colored sign encouraged passers-by to drown the clown. All day long a man in a clown suit sat on the collapsible platform hurling insults at the crowd, enticing them to plunk down five dollars for a chance to send him for a swim. The money collected was donated to a charity, the reason for Ralph’s generosity.

“That parking lot is a gold mine for four days every year. If I were you I wouldn’t complain about a few disgruntled tourists who eat somewhere else because they’re too lazy to park a couple of blocks away,” Ike said.

“I suppose I can’t argue that,” Ralph said, “but I could live without the depravity.”

“It’s just harmless fun…bikers blowing off some steam.”

“Four days of steam is…”

A scream shattered the morning stillness.

Ike spun in his seat looking for the source. Ralph maneuvered his wheelchair away from the table to see a woman standing in front of the dunking booth shielding a young child from the source of her terror.

Ike sprinted across the street.

“What’s wrong?” he asked the woman, who was now kneeling next to her frightened child, both of them crying.

She pointed at the dunking booth. “Ricky wanted to look inside the booth,” she managed between sobs.

The water in the booth was no longer crystal clear. Blood from the floating body of the clown had turned it a dull rust color.

Ike whistled and waved the bartender over.

“Tiki, get them inside and make them comfortable. Get them anything they want.”

“You got it, Ike,”

Ike made two phone calls—the first to the Flagler Beach Police, the second to his right-hand-man, Brewski.

“Hey, we got a situation. Need you here A.S.A.P.”

He tucked his phone away and took the .45 from the waistband of his pants. Full clip, ready to go.

After the responding officers secured the scene and the medical examiner did his thing, two detectives interviewed the woman. When they were finished with her they stood at Ralph’s table. Ralph held a coffee cup with both hands while Ike ate a large breakfast.

“Do either of you have a statement for us?” the lead detective asked.

“I do,” Ike said. “These pancakes are fantastic.”

“That’s it?” the lead asked.

Ike shook his head. “No. I also think the coffee is pretty good.” He gestured toward Ralph with his cup. “New supplier?”

Ralph sipped from his own cup. “New blend. I think it’s called Jamaica Me Crazy, or something to that effect.”

“Listen…Ralph,” the detective said. “They just pulled a dead clown out a dunk tank on your property. I would think you’d have a vested interest in helping us find the killer.”

“Nothing personal, Detective Stanley,” Ralph said, “but I’ll put my faith in a higher power. I’m sure justice will prevail.”

“Who? Him?” Stanley pointed at Ike. “You think he’s going to solve this case before we do?”

Ralph finished his coffee and set his cup down. “By the end of the day, Detective, you will have determined the identity of the dead man from his fingerprints. You’ll probably know more about him than his own mother. Which means you will know that he was a recovering heroin addict and a former member of a notorious motorcycle club…”

“Gang…” Stanley interjected.

“You say potato. Anyway…I suspect his identity and history will put a damper on your enthusiasm to find his killer, a position that your superiors will support, if not officially, at least tacitly. That is not justice. That is politics. So if it’s a statement you’d like, write this down…At approximately 7:45 this morning Ike and I heard a woman scream. Upon investigating, Ike discovered a body in the dunk tank. He then called 9-1-1. The rest, you know. I’ll be happy to sign it when you’re done.”

Detective Stanley exhaled and shook his head. “If that’s the way you want it.”

“Good luck in your investigation,” Ralph said.

Brewski pulled up a chair. “I just passed two unhappy looking cops on the sidewalk,” he said. “You do that?”

“I can’t take all the credit,” Ike said. “Ralph did his fair share.”

“So what’s going on?”

“Super Cooper is dead.”

Brewski’s head cranked around toward the dunking booth, then back to Ike. “Dead?”

“In the water, as it were.”

“What happened?”

“Don’t know yet, but we’re going to find out.”

“How did he die?”

“Shot. Twice in the chest, then dumped in the tank.”

“Cooper pissed off a lot of people with his trash talk whenever he was in the dunk tank. The list of suspects could get pretty long.”

“That was my first thought. Maybe he called the wrong biker a fag or made one-too-many comments about somebody’s old lady, but when he was up there, insulting anybody who walked by, he was just a clown saying whatever it took to get people to drop five bucks and try to dunk him. It all went to charity and outside of that booth he was as harmless as a kitten. I could understand an occasional drunk taking a swing at him, but putting two in his chest…I think that was more than just a bruised ego.”

“So, something from his past, maybe? The gang he was with up north, what was it called?”

“The East Coast Mother Fuckers. It’s possible. The MF doesn’t take too kindly to members jumping ship.”

“Where are we supposed to start?”

“With his car. It’s parked out on A1A about two blocks down.”

“His car? Won’t the cops want to search it and then tow it away as evidence?”

“Yeah, about that…nobody told them about the car. You know how these things are…people forget stuff. Happens all the time.”

~~~

The rest of the story will be available in my upcoming anthology “Path of a Bullet – A Collection of Stories Featuring Ike”.

It will be available on or about December 1.

As always – Thank you for reading

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Book Giveaway – Eyewitness Blues

According to Mr. Big (the villain in the 1973 James Bond movie Live and Let Die) “when entering a fiercely competitive field one finds it advisable to give away free samples.”

Sounds like good advice to me – so I’m going to give away some books.

Of course, Mr. Big was giving away heroin in an attempt to corner the market…and the heroin trade is a little more cut-throat than the book business…but I still think it’s a good idea.

Mr Big

So to make a long story short, beginning on October 13 and running through November 13 you can enter for a chance to win one of five signed paperback copies of Eyewitness Blues on Goodreads.

The contest is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada. You will have to join Goodreads also – but that’s free and easy – and it’s a good way to find some new authors and books. You can see for yourself by clicking this link.

As I said – I’ll be giving away five copies of my latest novel Eyewitness Blues.

Eyewitness Blues final cover

Eyewitness Blues is the story of Martin Aquino – a down-on-his-luck everyman from Rhode Island who has taken one wrong turn after another on the road of life. The icing on the cake comes when he finds himself up to his eyes in debt with a ruthless mob boss.

In a flash of inspiration Martin decides that the Witness Protection Plan will give him a fresh start with a clean slate.

Problem solved.

Except for one minor detail…he hasn’t witnessed anything.

That’s when things get interesting.

The action starts in Warwick, Rhode Island and takes Martin all the way to the small, beachside community of Flagler Beach, Florida.

So far Eyewitness Blues is very popular with readers and is already getting some great reviews.

One reader said Eyewitness Blues grabs “…readers by the collar, taking them through a merry maze of characters and plot turns before letting go at the end.”

At the very least, I guarantee you it’s worth the five minutes it will take to enter the contest!

Click this link to enter…and I wish you the best of luck.

enter to win

As always – thank you for reading

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How a Quote from Ray Bradbury Turned into My Next Project

Without question the most common question asked of an author after the release of a new book is (in one form or another) “So what are you working on now?”

With the release of Eyewitness Blues only a month in the rear-view – I’ll save you the trouble of asking.

Eyewitness Blues final cover

I am working on, and almost finished with a collection of short stories about Ike. (Who is Ike? Click here.)

Actually – I started working on it just before Christmas 2013 when I needed a short story to read at The Inspired Mic (an open mic night for writers here in Flagler Beach). Since the event was taking place two weeks before Christmas I decided to write a Christmas themed story. It was a fun little piece called Don’t Call Me Carol and the audience really enjoyed it.

Around the same time I submitted a short story to a horror anthology called State of Horror: New Jersey and the organizer suggested I start an anthology of my own, maybe writing one story for each holiday throughout the coming year and releasing it before the following Christmas.

I thought it was a good idea, but I wasn’t sure I’d have time since I was in the middle of writing Eyewitness Blues.

Then, quite serendipitously, I came across a quote from Ray Bradbury ( a pretty good writer) which said “Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.”

It made sense so I decided to give it a try. (Here’s a blog post I wrote about this anthology while it was still in its infancy)

I had already written the Christmas story, so I followed up with a New Year’s story. The “one story per week” goal was a bit ambitious for me while simultaneously working on a novel, but I wrote as many as I could…

Now that I’m nearing completion of the project I understand Bradbury’s logic about the short story.

He believed that writing short stories teaches a writer to be constantly looking for ideas. He also said “every week you’ll be happy, because by the end of each week you’ll have something to show for your efforts.”

Not surprisingly – he was right. I really enjoyed the entire process and I’ll probably keep doing it and maybe release a collection of Ike stories every year.

Then there was an added bonus…In addition to the stories I’ve written I’ve also received a few stories from other authors about Ike. The fact that other writers wanted to write stories about my character was pretty cool. How could I say no?

I plan to release the collection before Christmas.

Originally I had planned to call it An Ike for all Seasons…but an Ike quote from one of the stories gave me the perfect title. The quote, as spoken by Ike, was “The shortest distance between two points is the path of a bullet.”

There was an a-ha moment as soon as I wrote it…I knew I had the title of the book.

The Path of a Bullet

Then…another serendipitous moment…a photographer friend of mine (Marina Pierre) shared this image on facebook…

Path of a Bullet cover

As soon as I saw it I knew I had my book cover.

To quote one of my favorite movie characters (Oddball – played brilliantly by Donald Sutherland – in Kelly’s Heroes)…

oddball

As always – thank you for reading

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Kill Your Darlings (maybe I misunderstood)

“Kill your darlings.”

If you’ve been in the writing game for any length of time you’ve heard this quote. Some people attribute it to Allen Ginsberg, others to William Faulkner, some believe Stephen King said it. The earliest known use of the phrase actually came from Arthur Quiller-Couch, who used it in his 1913-1914 Cambridge lectures “On the Art of Writing.”

darlingsRegardless of who said it when…the context of the quote is the need for writers to be relentless in the editing of their work…to eliminate unnecessary fluff…to get rid of every paragraph, sentence and word that doesn’t contribute something essential to the story.

Given the work of King, Faulkner and the others, I’d say it’s advice worth following.

I think I may have taken it a bit too literally while working on a short story this week. The story will be included in my upcoming anthology tentatively titled The Path of a Bullet. The stories in the anthology will focus on my anti-hero, Ike. Most of them will be written by me and there will be a few written by other writers who happen to be fans of Ike.

As I was writing this particular story I decided to kill one of the characters who has appeared in all of my books.

The killing wasn’t necessary.

I could have made the story work without having a good character meet their demise.

It also wasn’t gratuitous.

I think the story is much better because of it.

Either way…it’s still tough to kill one of your darlings.

When I wrote my first novel, Living the Dream, I created what would inadvertently become a cast of characters who worked together to right wrongs perpetrated upon innocent people.

Living the DreamThe unlikely band of Samaritans is led by the aforementioned Ike, an ex-Navy SEAL who has a tendency to bend the rules a bit in order to see that order is preserved. As one reader described him in a review… “Robin Hood on a Harley.”

Ike is the right-hand-man to a wheelchair bound bookie named Ralph Donabedian. Despite the fact that Ralph is, for all intents and purposes, a criminal, he is the unofficial mayor of Flagler Beach. Nothing happens in the small beachside community unless he allows it.

Whenever Ike needs help he calls on his best friend, and resident bad-ass, Brewski. With ties to a local motorcycle gang and a bit of an attitude problem, Brewski tends to lean toward a shoot first, shoot again, have a cigarette, and then ask questions policy. Fortunately, Ike keeps him reined in…most of the time.

Perpetually perched on the back of Brewski’s Harley is Didi—a wise-cracking, chain-smoking, no-nonsense biker-bitch who would like to slap the stupid out of everybody (because everybody is a dumb-ass).

Making fewer appearances than the others, but nonetheless an important member of the group is Bob Butler. Another close friend of Ike’s, Bob Butler (who is always addressed by both his first and last names, never one or the other) is an honest family man who turns a blind eye to some questionable tactics out of respect for Ike’s motives.

So, as I was saying…I recently wrote a short story for my Ike anthology and I decided that it was time to kill one of my darlings.

I’m not going to tell you which one, you’ll have to read the book to find out. For now I’ll just call them “X” (pretty dramatic, huh?).

I will tell you this—it’s not Ike – that would be like Elmore Leonard killing Raylan Givens…Robert B. Parker killing Spenser or JK Rowling killing Harry Potter.

Moving forward I’ll have to figure out what, if anything, I should do to fill the void left by X. Fortunately writing books is not like cooking. If you don’t have a key ingredient required by your recipe you could end up tipping a driver for delivering your meal.

With books, the loss of a character does not have to be the end of the story. In fact it could lead to a new, maybe even better story.

I guess we’ll find out when I write my next book.

Between you and me, I’ve already got an idea of how to move forward and I’m pretty sure it will be a seamless transition.

In the meantime, The Path of a Bullet is scheduled to be released before Christmas. My beta-readers have enjoyed all of the stories so far, so I’m sure you will too.

This is not the cover of Path of a Bullet...it's just a cool picture.

This is not the cover of Path of a Bullet…it’s just a cool picture.

 

As always – thank you for reading

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