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Hollywood Wastes Another Five Million Dollars

I’ve never written a movie review before, but as they say, there’s a first time for everything.

Movie spoilers are one of my biggest pet peeves so there’ll be none of that here. My only goal is to help you in your movie-watching decisions.

I happened to be home alone on Halloween this year and I had just finished a good book (The Last Detective by Robert Crais) so I decided I’d do something I’d never done on Halloween…watch a scary movie.

Perhaps a bit cliché, but it seemed like the thing to do.

I scrolled through NetFlix for a few minutes, avoiding the typical scary movie selections and settled on one that sounded promising, since it featured several things that I enjoy – SCUBA diving, sharks, vacations and good looking women.

The name of the movie was 47 Meters Down.

Synopsis:

Two sisters on vacation in Mexico decide to go shark spotting and end up trapped in a shark cage at the bottom of the ocean with very little air and several Great White sharks patrolling the water.

I didn’t want to waste the entire evening blindly scrolling through the entire NetFlix library, and the premise was intriguing enough, so I fixed myself a cocktail and hit play.

Where do I even begin?

I think we should start with something positive…the trailer was very captivating.

Okay – so much for positive…

Soon after American tourists Kate and Lisa meet a couple of guys in a Mexican nightclub, they decide to join these two strangers the following day SCUBA diving with sharks.

This is where the first red flag went up in my mind…you see, these guys aren’t associated with any reputable tourist operation…they just “know a guy.”

So the girls show up at the dock in the morning, and we meet the captain who will take them on their adventure (I didn’t even recognize Matthew Modine in the role of the captain). They take a skiff from the dock to the captain’s boat – second red flag – it looks like it’s staying afloat by luck. Then we see the shark cage! Red Flag number 3!! At least when Hooper showed up at Quint’s boat with his shark cage, it was shiny, aluminum and had flotation pontoons at the top. Our two heroines are about to climb into a rusty, steel cage that is probably older than both of them combined, but younger than the worn and frayed steel cable attached to it.

I suppose these things could be written off as foreshadowing – so let’s move on…

Javier and Louis (the two guys who talked the sisters into this party) go down in the cage first.

Now – maybe it’s just me, but since there is a suggestion of romantic interest between the four main characters, wouldn’t you think they’d go down boy-girl, rather than boys first, then girls?

Anyway…the girls finally get their turn (despite repeated objections from Lisa, who has never been diving before).

The cage is lowered to the pre-determined depth of five meters and all is good. Kate and Lisa are laughing, taking selfies and telling each other how awesome the experience is.

Meanwhile, I’m asking myself, how can they communicate with each other, and the boat, when their ears are not enclosed within the full face masks they’re wearing?

Oh well, movie magic, I suppose.

So after a couple of minutes, SURPRISE!, the tattered cable from which the cage is suspended snaps and sends the girls plummeting to the ocean floor, 47 meters down (such a clever title).

So here they are, after a panic-filled drop that seemed to last twenty minutes, (it was only about twenty seconds, but the director decided to show it in the style of an NFL replay booth) on the bottom of the ocean with one tank of air each, and they have to figure out how to survive and make their way back to the surface…

Being a certified SCUBA diver, I can say that this is where the real problems with the movie begin to rear their ugly heads.

The factual inaccuracies regarding diving are so numerous I don’t have time to list them all. All writers, myself included, rely on suspension of disbelief, but whoever was at the keyboard for this script didn’t even try to make it semi-plausible.

Every story needs a bad guy, so let’s look at the villains of the movie.

The sharks.

The (mostly CGI) sharks are portrayed as ruthless, predators lying in wait for a free meal. Apparently, if you’re a shark, you’d much rather wait for the two humans to come out of the cage than go after the countless smaller and slower fish within fins reach.

Chalk up another one for one of Hollywood’s biggest (and most inaccurate) stereotypes.

Our heroines have two options, stay in the cage until they run out of air and suffocate, or leave the cage and swim to the surface hoping not to become snacks for the sharks.

Like I said – no spoilers here, instead let’s look at the technical aspects of the film; the directing, lighting, camera work, acting, etc. were good, but not good enough to save a poorly written screenplay.

When you boil the whole thing down, my opinion of this movie is as follows;

There are many more worthwhile ways to spend an hour and a half than watching this movie. Cleaning the cat box, baking a nice roadkill-pot-pie, volunteering for clinical trials at the local STD clinic…the list is nearly endless.

On a scale of 1 to 10, I give it a one, only because Claire Holt (Kate) looks good in a bikini.

Perhaps the thing that bothers me the most is that Hollywood continually puts out this kind of crap as if they can’t find any good stories when there are thousands of independent authors out there with stories that would blow this garbage out of the water (pun intended).

47 Meters Down is about half as deep as this movie should be buried.

 

As always – thank you for reading

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Can You Believe it? More Free Books!!

What’s better than a #FREEBOOK?

Easy…Two #FREEBOOKs!

It’s been a month of giving and I’m not stopping yet!

First – there is the Pre-Doomed-To-RepeatRelease Giveaway – which is now in its fifth week, and this week’s featured selection is Eyewitness Blues.

 

Eyewitness Blues is the story of Martin Aquino, a young man who believes the only thing that can save him from the black cloud hovering over his life is the witness protection program.

Unfortunately…he hasn’t witnessed anything.

This doesn’t stop him from trying though – and that’s where the fun starts!

But wait!! There’s more!

As promised last week – because the Boston Red Sox won the World Series we have yet ANOTHER #FREEBOOK to celebrate!

 

I understand that not all of you are Sox fans…that’s okay, I still want you to have a copy of Blood in the Water for FREE! (If you really hate the Sox you can pretend it’s just another #giveaway.)

Blood in the Water is the second installment in my Steve Salem series.

Flagler Beach P.I. Steve Salem and his partner Val came onto the scene in the extremely popular Backseat to Justice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Blood in the Water has them trying to solve three mysteries in one!

Both books are free from midnight tonight (Monday, Oct 29, 2018) until midnight Saturday (November 3, 2018).

If all goes to plan we will have one more giveaway before the release of the highly anticipated Doomed to Repeat – so stick around!!

 

As always – thank you for reading

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Time to Take Care of Some Unfinished Business – Another #FreeBook

Here we go – Week #4 of the Pre-Doomed-To-Repeat-Release Giveaway!!

I hope you’re enjoying the free books – and if you’ve already read them – I hope you’re telling others to get them while they’re free!!

Before we get to the next giveaway – here’s a little info for those of you wondering how long the giving will continue;

As you know – I started the giveaway the day I sent my new book – Doomed to Repeat – to the editor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The plan is to give away one book per week until Doomed is released.

Progress Report:

My editor – the amazing Karin Nicely – has returned the manuscript to me with her first round of edits. I am going through the edits and incorporating them into the work – once I finish (should be by the end of the week) I will send it back to her for round two. The process will repeat and possibly again for a third round if necessary.

Bottom line – I estimate two or three more weeks of free books…so get ‘em while they’re hot!! And don’t forget to tell your friends, family, coworkers, Uber drivers and strangers on the street about them!!

Back to business;

This week’s featured selection is Unfinished Business.

Unfinished Business – Free 10-23-18 thru 10 -27-18

Unfinished Business has an interesting background. It was my first novel not to feature Ike and the rest of the Flagler Beach regulars. Ike makes a brief cameo – but has very little bearing on the actual story.

 

Unfinished Business is sort of the intersection of my usual stories – and The Twilight Zone. It involves a mortician who, for reasons unknown to her, must carry out the dying thoughts of the bodies she embalms.

Speaking of The Twilight Zone – a very interesting (and a little spooky) thing happened to me while I was writing it – check it out here – it’s worth the read…

One final thought…October means it’s time for the Fall Classic and this year my team – The Boston Red Sox – are in the World Series. So if they win there will be an additional giveaway coming your way!

 

And this concludes today’s blog post…

 

As always – thank you for reading

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This Week’s #FREEBOOK – Backseat to Justice

Welcome to week #3 in the Pre-Doomed-to-Repeat-release Giveaway!

The first two weeks (Water Hazard and Pump It Up) have been great successes – with more than 300 books given away – but I have a feeling this week will top that number.

This week our FREE BOOK is Backseat to Justice.

 

Point of interest about this book…actually – two points of interest:

Point one: Backseat is the book that wasn’t supposed to be.

Lemmee ‘splain – Back in 2011 (I think) I was waiting for Pump It Up to come back from the editor so, out of boredom, I started writing a story on my blog. The idea was to write a chapter each week (like a Charles Dickens serial) and just leave it there. I was making it up as I went along and putting it out there for my blog readers. As the story grew – so did the interest in it.

People were really digging it!

By the time I finished it the overwhelming consensus was that it should be published and released.

So I did.

Lo and behold – point of interest #2 – to date, it has outsold each of my other 10 books, and it still remains one of my best sellers.

And that is why I think I’ll probably give away lots of copies.

Maybe it’s the title…maybe it’s the cover (both pretty cool if I do say so myself) or maybe – just maybe – it’s a really good story.

I’ll tell you what – download your FREE copy and you tell me.

DisclaimerBackseat has 29 reviews on Amazon – but to quote that song from Sesame Street – one of them doesn’t belong!

That it. Backseat to Justice is FREE starting at midnight Monday October 15, 2018 until midnight Saturday October 20, 2018.

 

Go get it!

 

As always – thank you fro reading

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Pump It Up – for Free!!

Welcome to week #2 of the my-new-book-will-be-released-soon-so-I’m-giving-away-a-free-book-each-week-until-it’s-out giveaway!

 

This week’s offering is my third (or fourth, possibly fifth depending on how you look at it) novel, Pump It Up.

Pump It Up takes Ike and Brewski into the underworld of back room cosmetic surgery.

Sadly, this book was based on a real-life news story.

The story, in my hometown paper, was about a man who had been arresting for giving women breast, butt and lip enhancements using industrial grade silicone (aka caulking). That’s right. Industrial grade silicone…and sometimes the expanding foam stuff you see in home improvement stores. Needless to say – the procedures often ended in disaster.

After reading the story I knew there was a book in there somewhere!

Sadly, this practice is much more common than I knew, something I discovered while researching the book.

Pump It Up attempts to bring it to the light in a humorous way (as humorous as it can be, anyway).

The giveaway begins at midnight on October 8th, 2018 and goes until midnight October 13, 2018 – get your FREE copy and share this post with your friends, family and coworkers – because everybody loves FREE stuff!!

I hope you enjoy Pump It Up.

PS – Doomed to Repeat is on schedule for an early November release so stick around for more giveaways!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As always – thank you for reading

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Get Water Hazard for FREE!

Would you like a free book?

No strings attached…nothing to buy…no signing up for anything…no leaving your email address in a form so you get bombarded with SPAM for the rest of your life…just a free book.

That’s worth repeating – just a FREE BOOK.

Here’s the story…

Back in February (2018) I decided to give away a free book every week while waiting for the release of 24 Minutes.

I did so because 24 Minutes had taken so long to come out that I wanted to make it up to my readers somehow and thank them for their patience.

Now that my next book, Doomed to Repeat, is nearing completion (it’s in the hands of my editor at the moment) I have decided to give away a free book each week until it too is released.

I have also decided that this will be an ongoing tradition…each time I send a new manuscript to the editor I will give away books until said manuscript is released.

So, to start the giving…the first book up for grabs will be Water Hazard.

 

Water Hazard was my second novel, and it still ranks up there as one of my favorites.

It’s the book that really introduces Ike – even though he was in my first book, Living the Dream, he wasn’t what you’d call a major player.

Ike, an ex-Navy SEAL, is basically minding his own business when he suddenly finds himself in some pretty hot water (no pun intended) which begins with a pair of kidnapped teenagers and nearly ends in a watery grave for Ike and his friends.

It’s a pretty fast-paced, action story that will keep you turning the pages (so I’ve been told). there’s even a little romance thrown in for good measure.

The kindle version of Water Hazard will be free from October 2, 2018 (technically as of midnight on Monday Oct 1) thru midnight October 6 (that’s midnight Saturday).

So, if you’re new to the game, here’s your chance to start catching up.

If you’ve already read it, tell your friends, family and coworkers. Share this link (Water Hazard is FREE!) with everybody!!

Enjoy

 

As always – thank you for reading

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Please Judge This Book by its Cover

In my last post I announced the completion of the first draft of my next novel.

Since then it’s been read by my crack team of beta readers, and thoroughly picked apart. I’ve also gone through it several times to clean it up and plug the holes in the story.

I’m really excited about releasing this one, not only because this story appealed to me from the moment I conceived it, but because all of my beta readers have said it’s my best work.

In another week or so it will go off to the editor…a month or so later it will be released.

I’ve also renamed the book. Up until about a week ago I had been calling it Time After Time – a title that fit the story really well, but didn’t appeal to me at all.

After a lot of thought I have settled on the title Doomed to Repeat.

Both titles fit the story, but I prefer the new one. Only one of my betas disagrees with the change, so I’m happy with it.

While all this is going on I also initiated the cover design process – which is the reason for this post.

Here’s the thing…

We all know how important the cover of a book is. I once read that a potential book buyer will look at the cover of a book for ten seconds or less. If it appeals to them they’ll flip it over and give the back cover another ten seconds to convince them to buy it.

That’s it.

Twenty seconds (give or take) is how much time an author has to sell a book that probably took a year to write. Seems a bit unfair, but it is what it is. Of course, buying books on the internet is different, especially on Amazon where you can actually peek inside the book, but if the cover doesn’t grab you, you probably won’t waste your time peeking. In a perfect world we wouldn’t judge the book by its cover, but the world is far from perfect, so…

I need your help.

I’m going to show you the first conceptual cover design of the new book and I’m going to ask for your honest (brutal if necessary) opinion.

You see…I’ve gotten some feedback from my betas on it already and a couple of them expressed the same concern. I’m not going to tell you what their concern is, I want to know what you think.

So take a look at the cover…

 

 

Now read this blurb…

 

In a top secret bunker during World War II Hitler’s best scientists worked feverishly to complete a project code named Die Glocke (The Bell). Hitler was convinced that The Bell would change, not only the outcome of the war, but history itself.

But what exactly is The Bell?

Flagler Beach, Florida, 2019; Three men emerge from the surf. Two suffer from amnesia – the other is dead. The survivors decide it would be in their best interest to put some distance between them and the corpse. They meet Ex-Navy SEAL Ike, who befriends them and tries to help them with their memory loss.

When the body is discovered, a routine murder investigation turns into an international incident.

Ike has to figure out what the CIA, the KGB and a corrupt U.S. Senator want with his new friends.

It’s a race against time, and time is not on his side.

…now tell me what you think – please.

Be honest – brutally if you like. Don’t hold back – I’m really looking for honest input.

 

As always – thank you for reading

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