Tag Archives: Becky Pourchot

Path of a Bullet Now Available!

 

interuption

Just in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday…

Path of a Bullet – A Collection of Short Stories featuring Ike

is available for the Ike lover on your list…even if the Ike lover is you!

A year in the making – Path of a Bullet is chock full of nuts…as well as psychos, dirtbags and sleezeballs of all kinds, but don’t worry – Ike is there to save the day!

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I’m not going to toot my own horn about this collection, I’m going to let critically acclaimed author Seumas Gallacher do it for me…

‘…for afficianados of clever, solid, pacy action writing, PATH OF A BULLET is for you… a compilation of great short stories dressed up as a loose calendar of events spins around Ike, an improbable, roustabout hero… ex-Seal, six-feet-five, 275 pounds of muscle, carefree by nature, but caring by inclination… a modern off-white Knight in shining armour, likes his beer, his liquor, and his ladies… most of whom seem to have need of the self-dispensing justice and skills that his past has endowed him with… 

…Ike’s principal source of income comes from heavy duty collection work for a local bookmaker in Florida’s Flagler Beach and St. Augustine, and provides a baseline for the stories…

…Tim Baker’s ear for punchy narrative  runs through this rapid-fire collection, in which a few hand-picked author pals have also contributed… Ike is an enduring character you can’t help but take to, although some of his methods will have you wincing…

~Seumas Gallacher, Author of the Jack Calder crime series

To get your paperback copy of this must-have collection click here

and

For the kindle version click here

book tree

If one book isn’t enough Ike for you please visit my website – www.blindoggbooks.com – for the rest of the collection!

 

As always – thank you for reading

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Path of a Bullet is Locked and Loaded

I am very excited to announce that Path of a Bullet – A Collection of Short Stories featuring Ike will be available on December 1.

PoaB Cover

Acclaimed author Seumas Gallacher has read it and had this to say about it…

“…for aficionados of clever, solid, pacy action writing, PATH OF A BULLET is for you… a compilation of great short stories dressed up as a loose calendar of events spins around Ike, an improbable, roustabout hero… ex-Seal, six-feet-five, 275 pounds of muscle, carefree by nature, but caring by inclination… a modern off-white Knight in shining armour, likes his beer, his liquor, and his ladies… most of whom seem to have need of the self-dispensing justice and skills that his past has endowed him with… 

…Ike’s principal source of income comes from heavy duty collection work for a local bookmaker in Florida’s Flagler Beach and St. Augustine, and provides a baseline for the stories…

…Tim Baker’s ear for punchy narrative runs through this rapid-fire collection, in which a few hand-picked author pals have also contributed… Ike is an enduring character you can’t help but take to, although some of his methods will have you wincing…”

~Seumas Gallacher, Author of the Jack Calder crime series’

I was extremely flattered by that endorsement, and I’m fairly confident that Path of a Bullet will live up to Seumas’ praise.

This book was a year in the making. It contains 18 stories…but only 12 of them were written by me.

The other six were written by writer friends of mine.

For some of them it will be the first time their work has been published…making it a very special occasion indeed.

Over the past twelve months I had lots of fun writing my Ike vignettes, but I have to admit – it was just as fun working with the contributing authors too.

It was also very flattering that these writers thought enough of me and my work not only to become involved, but to write fan-fiction about my character. I can’t think of higher praise for a writer.

I’d like to share with you some of their thoughts about the experience…

Ann Marie Vancas

“This will be the first time I have ever been published.  My writing has mostly remained hidden.  It’s like having a crush you don’t want to reveal… But like love…once you know it’s right…you want to tell the world.”

Gi Arena  

“I’d like to thank fellow author and friend, Tim Baker, for giving me the opportunity to write about his elusive character, Ike. I had the best time pairing Ike with my character, Ruby. I hope you enjoy it just as much as I loved writing it.”

 Becky Pourchot 

“I must say, I never thought I’d be in a compilation of Ike stories. Action stories were never my thing. That said, I liked the idea of pushing myself out of my comfort zone. In the end I had a lot of fun with it. Who knows, someday I might even write more stories featuring the tough guy, hero.”

Lockie Young 

“It was an absolute pleasure working with Tim on this project. I tried to get behind the character of Ike, and figure out what he would want. I think I came up with just the down to earth guy to get Ike the goods he really wants.”

Becky Heishman 

“I didn’t have to write a story for Tim Baker’s anthology. I’m a pretty fair writer with my own thing going on. But I believe in Tim Baker and his talent. I believe that his character, Ike, has the potential to become a cultural icon. So when the Tim Baker rocket ship is launched into the stratosphere, I want to be onboard.”

 Susan Toy 

“Bequia Blues, a pure piece of Ike fan fiction that takes the man to my Caribbean home of Bequia, was written and submitted for inclusion in Path of a Bullet, because Tim Baker assured me I’d be able to go on a date with Ike as payment. That I’d stay on the boat with him, go for dinner and drinks at The Golden Lion, meet Brewski and Mr. Donebedian, and ride on the back of Ike’s Harley down A1A. That hasn’t happened yet and I’m beginning to think it never will. I’ve been hearing rumours lately that larger-than-life Ike is actually, and indeed, a fictional character! And that he may not exist AT ALL!!! WTF??? This all proves you just can’t trust novelists, because they all lie like a dog!”

This was my first attempt at compiling an anthology, but the experience was so positive that I plan to make it an annual event.

I’ve even come up with a possible title for next year’s version…Muzzle Velocity.

I’d like to take this opportunity, once again, to thank all six of my guest authors for their hard work and dedication to the project and I’d like to thank you, the reader, in advance for supporting independent authors.

As always – thank you for reading

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Social Media Marketing for Indie Authors (and Dummies)

One thing I hear quite often from readers is that “writing a book must be hard.”

Well, it’s definitely not easy, but truth be told, writing the book is the easy part. It’s the “getting it out to the world” that’s the hard part.

Ask 10 Independent Authors about their marketing strategy and you’ll get 20 different answers.

The good news is, there is a ton of ways to promote your work. The bad news…you have to figure out which one(s) will give you the most bang for your buck.

I hang out with two other indie authors on a regular basis (Armand Rosamilia and Becky M. Pourchot) and we have devoted a lot of conversation time to the “best” marketing ideas. We’ve discussed ideas from newspaper ads to radio broadcasts, we go to art-related events regularly and we routinely harass local businesses into selling our books and hosting signings. We also discuss the value, or lack thereof, of giving bookmarks to potential readers (see Armand’s blog post about it here) and even the advantages, or disadvantages of giving books away.

After we’ve beaten the above ideas to death, and beyond, we move on to social media – which, although mostly free, is not without issues. There is no doubt about its value as a marketing tool, but be careful how you use it or it can do more harm than good. It’s taken me about 5 years to get a handle on it and I’m still no expert, but here are a few of the lessons I’ve learned so far…

 

Lesson #1 – The internet is free publicity…unless you count the old adage “time is money.”

time is moneySure – you can sign up for Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Goodreads and a slew of other social media sites and plug yourself until the cows come home – but how much time are you willing to spend every day keeping up with all of it. If you want to establish an on-line presence you have to be active. Keeping a facebook page dynamic enough to draw interest requires constant attention. Not letting your Twitter feed become stagnant takes time, and your Goodreads page isn’t going to remain up to date by itself. I think you see the way I’m steering the boat…

 

Lesson #2 – Using the internet is so easy a 12-year-old can do it…problem is, I’m not 12.

baby on facebook

I have enough trouble remembering 47 different user-IDs and passwords, never mind figuring out how to link my Facebook feed to my Goodreads page. Every time I try to update my website, it’s a two-hour ordeal, and before it’s over I have usually invented a handful of new cuss-words. And why can’t things look and act the same on my phone and Kindle as they do on my PC? I swear, the first thing I’m going to do after Steven Spielberg makes a movie from one of my books is hire an IT Department.

 

Lesson #3 – Be careful with your content…you won’t sell a book to someone who thinks you’re an a$$hole.

political postsWhether you’re on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, LinkedIn or Pinterest it is wise to avoid controversy. I used to enjoy engaging people in “spirited debates” on Facebook, but Armand finally convinced me that it was not the best business decision, since I ran the risk of alienating people who had opposing viewpoints. Yes, I am entitled to my opinion, as is everybody, but by voicing those opinions I was running the risk of pissing people off, so I backed off and now I only engage in non-controversial (for the most part) discussions. I suppose if I were Stephen King, I wouldn’t care about it, but…

 

Lesson #4 – Sure, the idea of being on the internet is to sell books…but don’t actually ask people to buy them.

salesman

Talk about contradictions, right? You want to use the internet to reach the world and sell your book (or song, or painting, or whatever), but if you do nothing but bombard the feeds with “buy my stuff” posts your sales numbers will be less than staggering. You might as well put on a cheap suit and shout “…but wait! There’s more!!” Nobody likes a high-pressure salesman. Social media is meant to be, as the title implies, social…so socialize (bearing in mind Lesson #3). Share content that is interesting, funny, philosophical or thought provoking…then every now and then slip in a casual reminder that you happen to have something for sale.

 

Lesson #5 – Social media is a two-way street…make sure you go both ways.

two way

Imagine you meet somebody at a party, begin a discussion and within minutes you realize that this person talks about nothing but themselves. Pretty soon you’d be wishing for somebody to interrupt so you can casually slip off to the bathroom. Social media is no different. Don’t be “that guy” (or girl). Contribute to conversations you didn’t start, acknowledge pictures of peoples children or pets with a “like”, “favorite” or “+1” (whatever the case may be). Show people that you’re interested in them and they will respond in kind. Pretty simple, actually.

 

Lesson #6 – If you can’t be original…at least add some creativity when you plagiarize.

duplicate original

There’s really nothing new under the sun, and social media drives that point home like a sledge hammer. There are going to be times when you share a picture, retweet an article or repin an item. There’s nothing wrong with that. Just try to do it in such a way that doesn’t leave you looking like a parrot. Mix it up, add some original content and try to make it (at least partially) your own. If you’re creative enough to write a book, you should be creative enough to come up with a caption more original than “LOL” under the picture you stole form your high school buddy. And try to avoid reposting content that has been around the block a thousand times…

I think that’s about enough for now. One other lesson I’ve learned about the internet…don’t overshoot the attention span of your audience!

And speaking of the internet – here are links to connect with me out there on the interweb – stop by and say hello.

Facebook

Twitter

Goodreads

Amazon

Pinterest

LinkedIn

Website

And if you want to find me quickly, do a search for #Ike

 

As always – thank you for reading.

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Unraveling by Becky Pourchot

You may vote by “liking” my facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/BlindoggBooks and putting a “like” under the link to this story OR by placing a comment below. Please vote only once, duplicate votes will not be counted. Thank you! ©Becky Pourchot 2013 – Used with permission

Margo had just finish a masterpiece—at least that’s what she called it.  In thick, wooly browns and yellows Margo had knit herself a sweater with stitches so tight, so perfect, not even the coldest Arctic wind could penetrate it.  As she tied the final knot, her cats Roquefort and Marley wandered along the ledge of the couch to get a closer look. She held her boxy accomplishment up to show them.

“What do you think guys?” she said to her sweet felines.

Both of them blinked.  They weren’t interested in the sweater. She sighed, folded her work up neatly and laid it on the couch.  There was a routine to follow.

In the bathroom Margo approached the twelve amber bottles lined up in military fashion on her counter.  Reaching for the one labeled doxorubicin hydrochloride, she awkwardly twisted the child safe lid open, aware of the irony that there never would be any children to protect from these poisons.  Margo dropped two pills into her hand and her stomach lurched—a Pavlovian response, she figured.

She took the pills and slapped her hand against her mouth, catapulting them down her throat. Apparently her swift move wasn’t quick enough this time and she tasted a sharp bitterness on her tongue.  She winced, but still swallowed them without water, letting herself feel as the two hard lumps slowly creeped down her throat.

Modor, her calico cat rubbed against Margo’s feet asking to be picked up. In her arms he did as always, rubbing his jaw against hers, stretching his soft jowl into a kitten smile and purring loudly.

As Modor and Margo enjoyed their moment, Smeigel the Siamese came into the bathroom, dragging Margo’s favorite roll of wool with the playfulness of a kid on a playground.

“Smeigel you naughty, naughty boy you”  She put down Modor and rolled up the wool.

Margo stood up and caught herself in the mirror.  She barely recognized herself.  She’d probably lost forty pounds, but nothing about the weight loss made her want to call Jenny Craig for a photo shoot.  In fact without the added fat, she felt exposed, vulnerable.

She took one hand and smoothed her bangs across her forehead.  She was one of the lucky ones and still had her hair—though it didn’t matter much.  She was never one for caring much about looks, which is why she always kept her hair so short.  When people she met assumed she was a lesbian, she’d answer, “No, I just prefer cats.”  To her satisfaction, that usually scared them off.

She opened the shower door and turned on the faucet, letting the shower room steam up nice and hot.  She slipped off her sweats and stepped in.

Margo grabbed the bar of soap and lathered up her legs.  Lifting a razor she began dragging it upwards from her ankle to her knee. She paused, stared at the blond stubble, and wondered what her legs would look like if she stopped shaving all together.

What would it matter anyway? She thought.  No one would even know.

Interrupting her thoughts, she heard a thump, like something falling in the other room.

“Kitties?” she called.

Though she couldn’t see the bathroom door from the shower stall, she could hear it creak open, then an unfamiliar man’s voice spoke.

“Hey!  Sorry to bother you, but could you tell me where I am?

Margo screamed.

“Oh, no no no. “ he said apologetic. “I’m not here to scare you…”

The shower door opened by itself and Margo tried to cover her chest and thighs.  She stood frozen, exposed.

Apparently there was no one there, but the disembodied voice spoke again, “Hey.  Wow. You’re not dead.”

“Uh.  No…” Margo answered scared and confused.

“I’m sorry.  Looks like I’m not even on the right spiritual plan.” The voice laughed.  “Go figure.  Must have made a wrong turn at Albuquerque.”  The voice chuckled like he had just told the best joke ever.

Margo slowly, cautiously grabbed for the door and shut herself in.

“Sorry about interrupting your shower,” the voice said muffled behind the glass now. “Any chance you know how to get to the 16th dimension?”

Margo called back wearily, “I don’t know who you are… or why you are in my bathroom. But you need to leave.”

“Yeah, I would like to do that. But I don’t honestly know the way out of here,”  The man paused.  She heard the floor boards creak and he called from the other room, “What are you, some sort grandma or something?  Never seen so much yarn in my life.”

“I’m NOT a grandma.  I’m forty-five.  I knit.”  Margo said trying to entertain the man while she devised a plan to call for help.

“You knit?  That’s cool.  Mittens and booties and such?”

“No.  I make infinity scarves.  I sell them on Esty,”  she said with a proud sniff.  She reached for the faucet and turned off the shower.

“Oh!  Infinity…” The ghost said thoughtfully.  “Now that’s a concept I have yet to grasp.  I thought when I died I’d learn all the answers…”

The shower door opened by itself again, letting the cool air in. A towel, appearing to float in the stall hovered in front of her.  The door then shut allowing the steam to once again build up.

Margo rubbed her eyes firmly with her palms as if this would somehow wake her up from her bizarre hallucination, but when she removed her hands the towel still hung in mid air.

“This is just a side effect of the chemo,” she said to herself out loud.

The steam now seemed to cluster around the point where the towel magically hung and a forty-ish looking man appeared, translucent in the little shower stall.  He looked her up and down before handing her the towel.

She grabbed it and covered her body.

“What are you?” she asked.

“I’m Rob…Robert…Robby.  Whatever you want. I’m a wandering ghost. Been dead for I don’t know how long.”

“Well, whoever…er…whatever you are, I’d like you to leave.”

“I’m afraid that ain’t gonna happen, lady. As far as I can tell I slipped through a one way portal. We’ll have to wait for another one to open up. ”

Margo looked at the door, which Rob had inadvertently blocked with his ghost body. Rob saw her glance at it and politely stepped out of the way.

Out of the shower, she grabbed her clothes and headed for the bedroom, with the four cats trailing behind.  She shut the door and thinking she was free of the ghost, slipped on her clothes.

The voice began again, this time behind her.

“So, you some kind of crazy cat lady or something?” Rob asked.

“I’m not crazy…at least not up until today. I just like my cats,” she said bending down and petting them in defense.

“I’m a dog person. Or was.  Cats?  I dunno they kind of creep me out. They slink around all silently. You never know where they’ll show up.”

“Yeah. I know how that can be,” Margo said staring her hallucination down with a slight smirk.

“Sorry about that.  I’m not used to hanging out with living people these days.”

“So…you normally hang out with dead people?” Margo said deciding now to indulge her delusion.

“Yeah.  Ghosts and spirits and what not.”  Rob looked around her bedroom and took note of the framed photographs of cats dressed in doll clothes.

“Please tell me you don’t spend your days home here knitting cat clothes,” he said.

“I don’t knit cat clothes…not often anyway. But I do make sweaters. Human sweaters.” Margo said. She walked into her living room and picked up her crowning acheivment.

“This is my masterpiece,” she said looking at a faint, ghostly image of a man that hovered in the corner.

“See the intricate stitch work?  The lattice design?” she added.

“No offense or anything,” Rob said playfully, “but it looks like my uncle barfed kielbasa all over it.”

Margo pulled the sweater out in front of her and looked at it closely, then started to laugh.

“Kielbasa, huh?”

“You know I mean it in the nicest way.”  Rob chuckled.

Margo laughed with him. Really, there was nothing much left to do in her life but laugh.

“I guess it doesn’t make sense to be making a sweater, living here in Florida, does it?”  she said as her laughter turned into an uncomfortable coughing fit.

“You’re not well, are you?” Rob asked seriously.

“No.  Not really,” Margo answered, though for some reason she kept smiling. “Stage 4 cancer, they say.”

“That sucks. You got kids?  Family?”

“All I have is my ninety-three-year-old mom.  She’s in a home with Alzheimer’s.  I’ve got an ex-husband. He was a real winner…allergic to cats. Go figure. No kids. Just my cats. That’s all.”

“So what’s your prognosis?” Rob asked.

“The doctor gives me four months or so. The meds may help a little…you know, add a few months, but honestly it feels like they’re destroying me.”

“What are your plans after you die?” Rob asked seriously.

“The kitties will go to my friend Beth. The rest of it all gets donated.”

“No,” the ghost corrected her. “I don’t mean your plans here…I mean your plans after you die.”

“Is that a choice?” she asked with a curious smile.

“Yeah.  I mean, do you want to hang around here as a ghost, do the heaven thing, get reincarnated, travel transdimensionally, etcetera, etcetera…?”

“Ooh!  I don’t know,” Margo said. For the first time she was feeling a little excited about her impending death. “Travel sounds good?  Is there a Travelocity site for the recently departed?”

Roy laughed.  “You know, you’re not the freaky cat lady I first took you for.”  He smiled at her.

She paused and looked at him with growing warmth.  The ghost was overweight and seriously balding. He was no Tom Cruise, for sure, but there was something charming about him.

“You know whatever they tell you—four months, ten months, whatever—you go when you’re ready,” Rob said.

“How will I know?” she asked, surprised at the calm tone in her voice.

“You’ll know when you can let it fall behind you…when you let yourself become unbound.”

Margo smiled and nodded. The thought of relinquishing control suddenly felt very good.

“You know, you’re right about this sweater.  It’s awful,” she said.  “Why am I making sweaters anyway?  I live in Florida for Christ’s sake!”

She looked at the ghost with a knowing smile, picked up her sweater, and began searching for the little final knot that had marked the sweater’s end.  Slowly, carefully with her finger nails she pulled the knot free and began to pull and pull, releasing the tight, elaborate knitting she had spent a life time learning to master.  The yarn unraveled itself into a pile on the floor and she watched as Smeigel played in it with a passion.

Margo pulled at the last and final binding and dropped the wool to the floor, completely satisfied.  Her hands were empty.

A commotion came from the bathroom and she found Modor and Marley knocking all of her medications on to the floor.  A little bit perturbed, she bent down and picked a bottle up.  But just as she began to place it on the counter, she paused.  Rather than returning it to its designated spot, she turned to the trash can and tossed it in. One by one she collected the bottles and threw them all away.

Stepping to the trash, she gazed at the twelve bottles laying in no particular order, one on top of the other in the midst of discarded Q-Tips and cotton balls…and in that moment she felt it.  The release.  The unbinding.

Excited, she ran into the living room and called out, “Hey Rob, I did it! I’m ready!”

But when she made it to the room, Rob was gone.

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