Tag Archives: eyewitness blues

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

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Annoying Things Only #Writers Will Understand

It is said that writers are a different breed. Hopefully the word different isn’t used in place of a less ambiguous word…like warped.

I don’t know if writers can claim exclusive rights to such a label, but they definitely don’t fit neatly within most accepted classifications.

With that being said, I’d like to talk about some annoyances and problems only writers will understand, facepalm

because in many respects we are different—but not in a bad way. There are just some things that we deal with on an almost-daily basis that normal people would react to with a shrug and a “So?”

Here is a partial list of such things – but it’s NOT a Top Ten List

Temptations, Obligations and Favors:

If you’re like me, you have a full time job, and the majority of your writing is done on the weekends.

While your friends are firing up the grill, hitting the beach or taking the Harley out for a spin, you’re shuffling to your home office in your pajamas with a bagel and a cup of coffee thinking about your target word-count and hoping the muse hasn’t gone fishing.

We don’t complain about it – it’s the life we’ve chosen.

We voluntarily sacrifice our weekends to write because our day job prevents us from writing (much) during the week.

We intentionally avoid the extra cocktail on Friday night so we’ll have a (reasonably) clear head Saturday morning when we attack the keyboard.

Those two days of writing are precious to us and we’ll gladly become hermits in exchange for a few thousand words.

But…

Sometimes life happens.

It’s a struggle to resist the invitation from your (non-writer) best friend to go do that thing you love to do. I know, personally I’ve cursed myself many times for sitting on my Harley on a gorgeous Florida Sunday rather than sitting at my desk.

It doesn’t happen to me as often as it used to, but many of us, whether we like it or not, have families who don’t care how close you are to finishing the first draft of your Magnum Opus…you told them you’d do something and now it’s time to deliver on your promise.

Perhaps the most unfair trade of all…your best friend needs your help. moving

Maybe they’re moving, need a ride to the airport or they need a second set of hands while they shave the family ferret. Regardless of the magnitude of the request, you must weigh the potential production of your writing day against the chances you will need help painting the garage someday.

Phone calls, doorbells and other nuisance interruptions:

Here’s the way it usually happens…

You sit down at the computer to write. The dog has been walked, the cat is napping, the kids are in school (or maybe they’re napping with the cat), you have your beverage-of-choice, and your mind is primed for cranking out some serious words…

Soon the only sound in the house is the quietly hypnotizing click-click-click of your keyboard as the prose pours from the depths of your soul.

As you type, you subconsciously rehearse your acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize…it’s going that well.

That’s the moment it happens…

Without fail, as if the writing Gods are telling you “Not today, Shakespeare.”

The doorbell rings, your cell phone vibrates or a tornado hits.

phone call

The exact nature of the interruption doesn’t matter…it’s the fact that it happened during your groove, because by the time you go to the door to tell the intruder you aren’t interested in accepting Christ into your heart (although with the murderous thoughts stampeding through your head it might not be a bad idea to hedge your bets a little), then go to the bathroom (which you have been putting off for hours) and top off your beverage, then sit back down to continue with the magic…the magic has disappeared like a rabbit in a hat.

Try to tell a normal person about how something seemingly minor can be so disruptive and they look at you like you’re…different.

The Non-Sympathetic Spouse/Significant Other:

There is a fascinating metamorphosis which occurs in some (not all…some!) significant others.

When they meet you, the fact that you are a writer (seemingly) impresses the hell out of them. When they introduce you to their friends and family they always qualify it…“This is so-and-so…he/she is a writer.”

They are fascinated with the process. They ask all sorts of questions, offer assistance with critiquing, etc. and gush at the prospect of having a character named for them in your book.

The first time you have to cancel a date, or turn down an invitation to a couples’ night out because you’re writing they are understanding and sympathetic. The second and third time they are disappointed, but still respectful of your situation. Anything after the fifth time and you get the look.

If it becomes a regular occurrence your status in their social circle changes…

Where it used to be “my S.O. is a writer” (spoken with respect and adoration) it is now “they blew me off again because they’re still working on a stupid book which they’ll never finish but they think it’s this work of art, but they won’t let anybody read it until it’s finished…which will be the day after never!”

spouse

It’s amazing how quickly your writing can go from being a source of pride to a bone of contention.

No Seriously…How Much Do You Make?:

Probably the question that annoys independent authors more than any other is the dreaded…“So are you making any money selling your books?”

Using myself as an example…Many of my friends and family were aware of my first novel’s (Living the Dream) pending release, and within a week of the big day began badgering me about any new income I might be enjoying. It was more than a little demoralizing telling people that my first royalty check was for a whopping $2.01. It was more demoralizing when a few of them snickered at my attempt to hit the big time.

Many times I had to restrain myself from asking them “How many books have you sold?”

Now that I have ten books under my belt, and I have a semi-regular (if not huge) income, it’s a little easier to hear the question…but just as my success has changed over the years, so too has the question.

money

It starts off the same, but upon hearing that I am actually making, what I call, gas money – the questioner then proceeds to the dreaded follow up“Really? After all those books, that’s it?”

These people have no idea how narrowly they escape hospitalization.

My concern is the day somebody hits me with follow up #2 –“Don’t you think it’s time to quit?”

If and when that happens I may need bail money…just sayin’.

Fish or Cut Bait:

There is a tenet in the writing world that says “…in order to be a good writer you first have to read – a lot.”

Back in the day, before I started writing I read everything I could get my hands on (with some shameful exceptions). I would read during my lunch break, I would read after work, before bed, and it wasn’t unusual to see me reading in line at the DMV or the Post Office.

My favorite bookstore (The New England Mobile Book Fair – Newton Mass) probably closed early on the days I visited. Okay – that’s a slight exaggeration, but I don’t remember ever leaving there without spending several hours and at least a couple of hundred dollars. Going there was like a pilgrimage for me – for which I would save up the way most people save for vacations or new cars.

Once I started writing, my reading time gradually diminished as the amount of time I devoted to writing, and other writing related tasks (which we’ll discuss in a minute), took control of my spare time.

Trying to split time between writing and reading is like a fisherman who must decide between fishing and cutting bait.

cut bait

In order to catch fish you have to throw your hook in the water, but a hook without bait is just a hook, no self-respecting fish would be fooled! So that means you need to bait the hook. Many fishermen where I’m from use frozen bait—shrimp, squid, or some other bait-fish—which needs to be cut before being put on the hook, so cutting bait is a necessary chore, like reading.

I don’t know if this problem plagues other writers as badly as it does me, but one thing I do know…I miss cutting bait!

The (necessary) Evil that Writers Do:

Writing has become my drug of choice in the past six years.

It started as a way to pass time, but quickly evolved into the thing I don’t have enough time for (see above).

Ironically, the reason I don’t have enough time for writing is all of the peripheral duties which are part and parcel to the job, but do not contribute to the precious word count.

There are many such tasks, but they can all be placed into one category…Marketing.

That’s right…the M-word.

I’ve always said (well, not always – but for several years now) that writing the book is the easy part. Selling it is where the real work starts.

If you are independently wealthy marketing is simply something you pay others to do, but, as I stated somewhere above, my income from writing is donated to Big Oil every month. This means I am not only the head of the marketing department for Blindogg Books, I am also the graphic artist, the copy writer, the secretary and the gopher (I go for this and I go for that).

My job description includes, but is not limited to, the following;

  • Maintaining a presence on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Google +, and Pinterest
  • Promoting myself locally by attending social gatherings, networking events, open mic events and book signings
  • Designing marketing materials – e.g. bookmarks, posters for events, banners, tee shirts, etc
  • Attending book signings of other authors, whenever possible (quid pro quo)
  • Monitoring sales and adjusting marketing efforts accordingly
  • Researching new marketing techniques and how to make the best use of my time (yeah, right!)
  • Promoting other authors as much as possible (again – quid pro quo)
  • Maintaining a blog as well as monitoring the blogs of other authors for useful information on writing and (yeah, you guessed it) marketing

hats

These tasks are hardly things I would complain to my union rep about, but they are time consuming. I conservatively estimate that for every hour I spend writing I devote at least three to the above responsibilities. I would rather be writing, but if I didn’t do the leg work writing would be nothing more than a hobby—and I am not ashamed to admit (as I describe here) that, while I definitely enjoy writing, it surpassed hobby status during the third re-write of Living the Dream.

 

Why Didn’t I Write that Down?:

I’ve heard it said that the faintest ink is stronger than the best memory.

I don’t remember where I heard it, because I didn’t write it down, which brings me to my next annoyance…

As writers we never know where or when inspiration will strike.

I’ve had ideas come to me at the weirdest times – the idea for Eyewitness Blues came to me while I was playing softball.

Luckily there was a pen and some paper in the dugout so I was able to write down the thought, lest it be lost forever…like some of the other ideas I failed to document.

If you spend any time on Facebook you’ve seen the meme which says “The biggest lie I tell myself…I don’t need to write it down, I’ll remember it.”

Believe it.

I suspect it has happened to every writer at one time or another.

You’re driving along digging a song on the radio and an idea for a novel pops into your head. You tell yourself you’ll remember to write it down when you get to your destination, but by the time you get there the only thing you remember is the moron who cut you off in traffic, or some other such nonsense.

Sadly, there have probably been thousands of great novels lost this way, because no matter how good your memory is, you still forget stuff. I have a better than average memory and I know I’ve lost a few best sellers.

You would think that, as writers, we would write things down reflexively…but you’d be wrong.

remember

Each of us carries a device in our pocket that has the capability to record random thoughts with the push of a button (provided you have the app), but do we use it?…nah. Too much of a hassle, and if we do remember to record our inspiration, we forget to play the recording back…our cellular service contract expires, we get a new phone and *poof* – your idea for the next Great American Novel is Gone with the Wind…so to speak.

 

I’m sure there are many more annoyances that plague writers, but unfortunately, I don’t have time to research and document them…I need to get busy writing.

I’m on the first re-write of Full Circle and I’ve surpassed my allotted blogging time for the week.

time to write2

 

As always – thank you for reading

79 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

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

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Presenting Chapter One of “Eyewitness Blues”

Eyewitness Blues, is now available!

The kindle version can be found here…

The paperback version can be found here…

In the meantime, I invite you to enjoy the first chapter:

Eyewitness Blues final cover

Eyewitness Blues

Chapter One

Martin wasn’t asking for his life to be a fun-filled ride down a water slide…he just didn’t want to feel like it was being flushed down a toilet every day. Even on those rare occasions when he seemed to catch a lucky break it wasn’t really luck, it was more like getting plucked from the toilet and dropped directly into the cesspool.

How else could you describe his current situation?

The ape literally held Martin’s life in his hands.

“Ple-e-e-ase,” Martin begged. He could feel the blood rushing to his head. If there had been any money in his pockets it would have fallen out.

Martin’s St. Cajetan medallion dangled in front of his eyes, but his attention was focused on the expressionless face of Lorenzo the ape Aponte. Lorenzo leaned over the parapet and looked down at Martin. Lorenzo could have been reading a menu or dangling a man eight stories above the asphalt, it was impossible to tell.

Martin tilted his head back and saw a blue minivan exiting the parking garage below. He looked back up at the ape.

“Please,” he tried again. “I’ll tell you. I’ll tell you. Please.”

Lorenzo released Martin’s left ankle, sending a bolt of panic through Martin’s body. He closed his eyes and waited for the impact with the ground. When he opened his eyes the ape was scratching his nose with his free right hand. He glared down at Martin and spoke for the first time.

“So talk.”

“Yeah, yeah!” Martin said. “I will! Just pull me up. Please.”

The wheels that had driven Martin Aquino to his current predicament had been put into motion a year ago with the seemingly innocent purchase of a used car. It had taken him months to save the money, nothing fancy, just a 13-year-old Honda with about a million miles on it, but at least he had a car.

Unfortunately, Martin hadn’t known that the dude who sold him the car wasn’t the rightful owner…he was the guy who had stolen it from the projects in South Providence where some idiot had left it sitting in front of a bodega with the engine running. The Rhode Island DMV hadn’t scrutinized the signatures on the paperwork any more than Martin had; a cursory glance at best, as long as the government got their money they were happy.

For a week Martin drove the car around, unaware that there was twenty-five pounds of pot in the trunk until the pot’s rightful owner, a guy named Mutt, showed up to claim his weed. Mutt gave Martin two choices…he could be buried in the car or he could work off his mistake. Martin wasn’t sure exactly what his mistake had been, other than buying the wong used car, but he knew for sure it wasn’t worth getting dead over.

So he went to work for Mutt.

Martin became Mutt’s errand boy, making pick-ups, drops and, on more than one occasion, ripping people off for thousands of dollars on phony drug deals.

It was better than being dead—until Mutt ripped off the wrong guy.

Mutt’s victim worked for local mob boss, Don Gammino, and the ten grand they got from him was collection money. Needless to say, the mark didn’t live very long after Gammino found out about the con, but he did live long enough to tell Gammino about Martin.

And now the world was upside down—literally.

From Martin’s inverted perspective, the airliner lifting off the runway at TF Green airport looked like it was trying to land on its roof.

Martin’s stomach lurched momentarily when he felt sudden movement, but he felt a wave of relief when he realized he was moving up. The ape dropped him on the concrete deck and loomed over him. Martin froze, except for the trembling.

“Okay, ass-wipe, let’s hear it,” the ape said, “and it better be the truth or your last meal is going to be pavement.”

Martin nodded rapidly.

“His name is Mutt. He made me work for him, I had no choice.”

“Where can I find this Mutt?”

“He’ll kill me if I tell you.”

The ape reached for Martin’s ankle. “You either tell me what I want to know, or we find out if you can fly.”

The look in the ape’s eyes was enough to convince Martin. He told the ape everything he knew about Mutt—where his stash house was, where he hung out and where he liked to eat breakfast.

Lorenzo stepped over Martin to leave, pausing mid-step, his work boot hovering an inch above Martin’s face. Even though he feared his face was about to get squashed by Lorenzo’s size twelve, Martin became oddly fixated on a pebble wedged into one of the treads. The stomping never came. Instead, Lorenzo laughed and continued on his way to his car.

Only after Martin heard the tires of the ape’s car squealing on the level below did he pick himself up and brush the dust from his pants. “Jesus fucking Christ, I hate my life.”

He looked around to make sure nobody heard him. A seagull hovered high above him in the grey October sky. Martin watched it with envy.

“Just fly away,” he said. “God, I wish I could just fly away to an island somewhere. All by myself. No people, no problems.”

The chirp of a nearby car alarm snapped Martin out of his trance. A man in a trench coat, carrying a briefcase, approached a nearby BMW. Martin finished dusting himself off, drawing an over-the-shoulder glance from the man as he closed his car door and pulled away.

Martin rode the elevator to the ground floor and returned to his booth at the garage’s exit. The door of the other booth opened and Frank Edler crossed the garage exit lane.

“You were gone for a while,” he said to Martin. “You’re lucky Marco didn’t—whoa! What’s wrong? You look like death-warmed-over. What happened up there?”

“Nothing,” Martin said. “Don’t worry about it.”

“Don’t worry about it? If Marco had come by while you were up there, I would have been just as screwed as you. I have to worry about it.”

“Calm down, Frank. Marco didn’t come and I’m back. Let’s just get back to work.”

“You go up top with a leg-breaker for Don Gammino and come back a half hour later looking like death and I’m supposed to forget about it? I don’t think so.”

“Jesus, Frank. I got enough shit going on…I don’t need it from you, too.”

“I don’t care what you…”

A pickup truck pulled to a stop at Frank’s booth and the driver rolled his window down.

Martin motioned toward the truck with his chin. “Better take care of that,” he told Frank.

Frank looked over his shoulder at the truck. The driver looked back at him and waved his ticket.

“I’m not gonna get fired for you, that’s all I’m saying.” Frank stomped back to his booth.

A week later, just as Martin finished his shift and was about to leave work, a car pulled to a stop at his booth. Martin’s stomach clenched when Lorenzo rolled his window down and told Martin to get in the car. Martin was convinced that his life, as shitty as it might be, was almost over. With a strange mixture of fear and acceptance he got into the car.

To his great surprise, and even greater relief, the ape took Martin to see Don Gammino, who wanted to thank him for the information about Mutt, ensure him that he was in no danger and, surprise of all surprises, offer him a job washing dishes at his restaurant. It would mean some extra money, not a lot, but God knew he needed whatever he could get.

More than that, it meant he wasn’t going to die…not today anyway.

7 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized