Tag Archives: Flagler Beach

I Fought the Laws of Physics…and Didn’t Lose

Shortly after the Super Bowl I wrote a post to answer all the questions I was asked about the results. It saved me lots of time so I’m going to do it again regarding my recent lack of attendance on social media…

It all began on Saturday April 1, 2017 – and this not an April Fools’ Day prank…

It was a perfect morning for a ride.

Layla (my 2002 Harley Davidson Fat Boy) and I met a group of friends at the Oceanside (http://oceansideflagler.com/) for breakfast before riding through “The Loop” (http://ormondscenicloopandtrail.com/)  to Destination Daytona (https://www.facebook.com/DestinationDaytona/) for a “Biker Block Party”.

It was one of those days where the joy of riding and the company of good friends made the actual event irrelevant. We could have been at an insurance seminar and we would have had a good time.

It was a fun time, more so because of the people in attendance than the event itself. When the time came to hit the road, my brother and I began the twenty minute ride home. We live within five minutes of each other so we took the same route – US-1 north to Belle Terre Blvd.

About a mile from the intersection of US-1, Belle Terre curves sharply to the left – it’s a curve I’ve navigated more times than I can count. It’s actually one of those nice stretches of road where you lean your bike into it and really appreciate the fact that you’re on a motorcycle…

Ordinarily, when I approach this curve, I keep Layla closer to the double yellow line so when centrifugal force pushes us out to the right I’ve still got plenty of lane available.

Not this time…

This time, for some reason, I was closer to the right edge of the pavement when I entered the curve at about 50 mph.

The laws of physics being what they are (non-negotiable) Layla moved further to the right…

I watched my front tire cross the yellow line and it was immediately obvious that getting back on the pavement was not an option due to the aforementioned centrifugal force. I was about to find out exactly how well an eight-hundred pound Harley handled on grass and sand.

Not surprisingly, it didn’t do well at all.

For about ten seconds (which seemed like an hour) I tried to slow the bike down to a more manageable speed while I bounced along on the worst amusement park ride ever. At some point in the process the front tire hit a rut filled with soft sand and the ride came to an abrupt end. Layla went one way and I went the other. When I stopped rolling and tumbling I was about thirty feet away from her.

I picked myself up, not even entertaining the thought that I might be injured, and saw my brother running toward me yelling “Are you all right, are you all right?”

Then I noticed the pain.

It seemed to radiate out from my right shoulder…and it announced its presence with authority!

I shouted a few obscenities and waved to my brother to let him know I was, at the very least, not dead.

I walked/staggered around in aimless circles, still shouting obscenities, until another guy (whom I didn’t know) stepped up and started talking to me. He asked me if I was okay…to which I replied something to the effect of “Yeah…no…I don’t friggin’ know.”

He explained that he was an EMT (off duty) with military training and he wanted to assess my situation. After making sure I was intact he, along with his buddy and my brother, stood my bike up and got it back up to the road.

After taking a few minutes to collect myself, I assured my brother and the EMT that I was okay and ready to go home.

Layla was already running and waiting for me.

My brother and the EMT gathered up things that had gotten thrown around in the chaos (my sunglasses, Layla’s mirrors and a few odds and ends that had flown out of my saddle bags) before he and I rode home.

By the feel of the handlebars I deduced that they were bent when Layla hit the dirt. The clutch handle was broken but useable and both front blinkers were hanging by the wires (but still functional!).

We took it nice and slow for the three or four miles to my house and I told my brother I’d call him in a couple of hours to discuss our plans to go to a friend’s house for dinner later that afternoon.

I went inside and tried to relax a bit, but that wasn’t happening.

All of a sudden the pain I had originally thought was just a nuisance had become nearly incapacitating. My entire upper body was engulfed in a throbbing soreness the likes of which I had never experienced. I didn’t even want to take a deep breath. When I moved I heard/felt an odd clicking coming from my right shoulder and when I tried to take my shirt off I was treated to a fantastic new adventure in knee-buckling pain.

My initial thought that I just needed a hot shower and a nap was fading fast.

When I broke the news of my mishap to my girlfriend she told me I should go to the emergency room for X-rays – even if it was only precautionary.

I agreed.

So – to make a long story short – the X-rays showed a broken right clavicle (collar bone).

The two bones above my ribs are supposed to be one…

A subsequent visit to an orthopedic specialist resulted in the decision to surgically repair the break due to the way the two halves of the bone were misaligned.

So…after fifty-six and a half years without a single broken bone or major medical mishaps, I now find myself facing surgery to repair a broken collar bone.

It would be easy for me to complain about such bad luck…but I don’t see it that way.

From my perspective…I’m lucky to be alive.

I’ve always felt that I had something, or somebody, watching over me. There have been many incidents in my life where I should have been killed, or at least seriously injured, but I came away virtually unscathed.

This is another example.

I’m not saying a broken collar bone is a picnic…but it could have – should have – been much worse.

It’s only been four days and I’ve already told this story dozens of times, and the reaction I get is almost always the same…

“Oh, man, that sucks!”

To which I say “No. It doesn’t suck. Not only did I walk away from a motorcycle accident…I actually rode away.”

Layla an me on a better day

It would be easy for me too piss and moan about my crappy luck, but my guardian angel works too hard keeping me out of trouble for me to insult her (or him) by complaining.

So there you have it…I’ve been sidelined for a while. Just writing this post took about three times as long as it should have.

Thank you to all who have called, texted, messaged, etc asking if I was okay.

I am.

I’ll be back in full swing before you know it!

 

As always – thank you for reading

 

 

 

 

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Blood in the Water Splashes Down

bitw-cover-front

I don’t know about other writers but my mind sees stories everywhere.

If I see a shady looking guy in the produce aisle at the grocery store, I’ve concocted a story about global vegetable sabotage before I get to the pet food section.

My biggest – and only – complaint about this particular quirk is that I don’t have enough time to turn all of my story ideas into books. As a result, when it’s time to start a new project, the decision of which idea to work on next usually comes down to a choice between the most recent and the one that excites me the most.

After Full Circle was released in 2015 I needed a new project and, as usual I had several ideas to pick from.

Decisions, decisions…

This time it was fairly easy. I had a story idea that was not only recent, but one I was pretty anxious to write—and, believe it or not, the seed for it was planted in my mind way back when I was 17 years old.

At the time I had a pretty good job for a high school kid, and of course I had no bills, so, I was constantly looking for ways to spend my loot. A friend of mine had just started SCUBA diving, and was talking non-stop about what a blast it was…so…naturally I dove in (no pun intended).

A few years later I found myself married with a child on the way so there was no time (or money) for SCUBA diving, and all the expensive gear I had acquired was sold at a huge (disgustingly huge) loss.

I told myself I’d get back to it again someday.

Well, I did…about three years ago.

If you’re doing the math – that’s about a thirty year span.

At the risk of sounding cliché – it was like riding a bike. Once the rust was gone I felt like I had never stopped. And as a bonus…diving in northeast Florida beats the hell out of diving in Rhode Island!!

But I digress…

scuba-1

As I mentioned earlier, my mind is always looking for story ideas, so it was only a matter of time before I came up with an idea centered on diving. You would think that since Ike, my main character, is an ex-Navy SEAL it would be common for there to be diving in all of my books—and it is, but the diving has never been an integral part of the story – until now.

Right around the time Full Circle was released I was diving and spotted something shiny on the ocean floor. It turned out to be nothing, just light reflecting off a shell, but for a couple of minutes my mind took off, as would anybody’s, to the “T” word (treasure) and I immediately started fantasizing about the possibilities.

Then my author-mind kicked in, and I started considering some other, not so desirable, possibilities.

treasure

It’s that what if moment…

What if a guy was diving and found something really valuable, but it was something that somebody else didn’t want to be found?

This is what I came up with…

bitw-cover-front

Blood in the Water – my ninth novel – tells the story of Bob “Oscar” Oscarson, who finds a 300-year-old Spanish coin while SCUBA diving. Naturally he thinks his find is only the beginning. Unfortunately, he’s right—it’s the beginning of trouble the likes of which he never imagined.

In the book, we also see the return of Flagler Beach P.I. Steve Salem and his partner Val Casey (Backseat to Justice), who are investigating the disappearance of a retired architect from Rhode Island. Somehow their investigation connects them to Oscar and his mystery coin, and before long…there’s blood in the water.

Available in paperback  and  kindle.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I went to a training seminar about active shooters in the work-place and I’ve got an idea for a new book…

As always – thank you for reading

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Another Completed Manuscript – Another Free Novel

Blood in the Water/Water Hazard

 

 

It’s that time of year again…

The time when I write a blog post telling you how I’ve finished the first draft of my latest novel.

By now you probably know the routine, but let’s recap;

The draft is done, but it’s really just the beginning.

start finish

I’ve left it alone for a couple of weeks and sent it to my beta readers. This weekend I will read through it from start to finish and begin cleaning it up. When the comments from my betas start coming in I will go through it from start to finish for each one of them (there are 11). Some of their comments/suggestions I will use and some I won’t, but the value of their effort is immeasurable.

If you did the math you have concluded that, in the next two or three weeks, I will have gone through the manuscript about 12 times.

Once that process is done it will be sent off to the editor. While all that is going on I’ll be working with my cover girl (I love calling her that, but I don’t know if she knows I do!) Keri Knutson who will undoubtedly come up with yet another awesome cover. The editing process will take a month or so and then it will be ready for release.

At the time of this writing I am shooting for a September release.

Now let’s talk about this book – the next Great American Novel…

It’s called Blood in the Water and it marks the return of Flagler Beach P.I. Steve Salem and his partner Val Casey, who haven’t been seen since 2011’s Backseat to Justice.

BTJ cover

Also back in the thick of things is Ike – who had a brief cameo appearance in Full Circle, but hasn’t seen real action since Eyewitness Blues.

Blood in the Water opens with Steve and Val investigating the disappearance of Patrick Donahue, a sixty-eight-year-old retired Architect. Unfortunately, before their investigation gets very far, Donahue’s body washes up on the shore of Flagler Beach. Their missing person search is instantly transformed into a murder investigation.

Meanwhile, SCUBA divers Bob “Oscar” Oscarson and Nik Mostert, find a 300-year-old piece of Spanish gold with an unusual connection to a pair of college girls who disappeared thirty years earlier.

divers

The disappearance of Patrick Donahue, the missing college girls and the origin of the mysterious coin all come together in a fast-paced action story with bad guys, sharks and, of course, Ike.

Speaking of Ike…

In celebration of another completed manuscript I’ve decided to give away one of Ike’s earlier adventures – so Water Hazard will be FREE on Kindle until Wednesday, June 15th. It’s yours for the taking at this link – Water Hazard.

WH cover

So, to sum up;

Blood in the Water manuscript – done.

Water Hazard action novel featuring Ike – FREE

 

As always – thank you for reading

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The Release of Full Circle!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, I am pleased to announce the arrival of my eighth novel – Full Circle.

Full Circle front cover

Yes, the book which began some 27 years ago (read about that here) has finally become a reality.

You know what they say…

What goes around – Comes around.

goes around

This book is the proof – by virtue of its arrival and also in its theme.

Full Circle is about Karma – plain and simple.

In the first chapter we meet Joe Moretti Jr. and learn of his selfish, greedy and narcissistic ways…traits learned from his dead father. Joe treats Flagler Beach, Florida (home of all my stories) like his personal Monopoly board, and has no compunction eliminating anybody who gets in his way.

go to jail

After he receives a piece of news that threatens to unravel his empire, Joe goes into survival mode and hatches a plan to neutralize the threat – but he fails to consider one simple rule…every action brings about a reaction.

I’m sorry, but that’s all I’m going to tell you, other than this…in most of my novels Ike takes care of the bad guys. In Full Circle, the universe gives Ike some time off.

Here are the purchase links…

Full Circle – Kindle

Full Circle – paperback

 

As always – Thank you for reading

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A First Draft 27 Years in the Making #amwriting

Stop me if you’ve heard this before…

I finished the first draft of my latest novel.

Full Circle has, if you’ll pardon my turn-of-phrase, quite a storied history.

Cue the flashback music…

flashback

It all began in the summer of 1988.

Being a single parent with an eight-year-old son, I had very little in the way of a social life.

I also had very little in the way of money…so, I was on a constant quest to find new and creative ways to kill time.

One night, I don’t remember the exact moment, or what spurred the thought in me, I decided to write a book. It would be about Karma, more specifically, the old adage what goes around comes around. I actually had the title picked before I put pen to paper.

I’ve always been interested in the unexplained forces of the universe, probably as a result of watching The Twilight Zone during my formative years, so it seemed like a good theme for a book.

Twilight Zone

I dug out a spiral-bound five-subject notebook and a ball-point pen and started writing.

I had, what I thought, was a good concept, so I wrote about five chapters and gave them to my best friend’s wife ( an avid reader) and asked her to read it and tell me if I should keep going. She told me to continue, so I did.

Along around the fifteenth chapter I switched jobs and had to move, so the notebook went into a box and didn’t see the light of day for many, many months.

When I finally dug it out and decided to get back to it, my life was as hectic as a beehive in a tornado, so, needless to say, the notebook went back into the box.

You know how “life happens”?

Well, it kept happening to me for about eighteen years, at which time I found myself moving again…this time from Rhode Island to Florida…and the notebook was all but forgotten.

Six months after landing in the Sunshine State I had a dream which turned into my first novel, Living the Dream. Shortly after it was released, while writing Water Hazard, I remembered the book I had begun all those years ago and decided to make it my next project.

It was a good plan, but you know what they say about the best laid plans.

plans

After Water Hazard came Pump It Up, then No Good Deed, then Backseat to Justice and so on…

Last August, when Eyewitness Blues was released I decided it was time to finish what I had started.

I was in the process of getting Path of a Bullet ready for December release, so January 1, 2015 seemed like a good day to start the project.

I say start rather than finish for a few reasons:

  • My writing skills left a lot – A LOT – to be desired in 1988
  • The story was more than 20 years old, so it needed to be modernized
  • After reviewing what I had written I realized I had tried a little too hard to write an epic novel
  • While writing the original I had been afraid to think outside the box

So, as the new year began, so did my new incarnation of Full Circle (the title is the only thing that has remained from the original, aside from the central theme). By the end of January I had written a paltry 3,000 words and when Febrauary ended I had only doubled my output. March was a particularly bad month for me so when April began my word count hadn’t moved.

I began to wonder if somebody up there was trying to tell me something…

It would have been ironic, don’t you think, if some unknown force was trying to stop me from writing a novel about some unknown force that causes things to happen?

Perhaps, but I wasn’t going to accept that, so I imposed a moratorium on non-essential extra-curricular activities and spent every spare minute I had at the keyboard with the goal of finishing the first draft by June 1.

If I could do that, I could get it to my beta readers and hopefully get it back from them before July, which would allow me to get it to the editor before August so it could be released (hopefully) before November.

I’ll be honest…there were times when I thought I was asking a bit too much of myself.

Would I be able to, essentially, write an entire novel in two months?

Well…I missed my target date by one day.

writer's clock

I finished the first draft of Full Circle on June 2.

By the end of the day on June 3 it will be in the hands of my beta readers and the book I began writing in 1988 will be that much closer to completion.

I guess there are two ways to look at it…

You could say that, for all intents and purposes, I wrote Full Circle in two months—or—you could say it took me twenty-seven years.

finish

Either way – I’m extremely happy with the finished product and I hope you will be too!

Look for Full Circle in the late fall of 2015!

 

As always – thank you for reading

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Happy New Year – FREE Books Here

My last blog post of the year will be very short…and (hopefully) very sweet.

As my way of thanking you for your support, encouragement and friendship over the past year (and beyond as it applies!) I am offering not one…but TWO free kindle downloads until Midnight Sunday!

Did I mention they are both FREE??

free

 

 

 

 

 

 

Download my first novel Living the Dream

Living the Dream

And the sequel No Good Deed

No Good Deed

Both for FREE!!

Download them, enjoy them, tell your friends to download them, share this post with the world…the more the merrier!!

That’s it…you may now resume normal behavior (whatever that may be).

Have a happy and safe new year!!

2015

As always – thank you for reading

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2014 Review – It Was a Very Good Year

Once again we are watching yet another year fade away in the rearview mirror.

Sometimes I think there is some sort of universal phenomenon that causes the years to go by faster as we get older. Sort of like a roller coaster…the long slow climb up that first hill is followed by a neck-breakingly fast plummet which really makes you appreciate the scenery you ignored on the way up.

Anyway…I digress.

2014 is in the books and it’s time for the annual recap.

From the perspective of my writing career, I have to say that 2014 was, by far, my best year (to date).

Let’s run down the highlights (in no particular order):

 

5-Digit Territiory

I joined Twitter in October, 2009 – shortly after my first novel was released – because I had heard it was a good way to network and market.

At the time I looked at networking and marketing the way a St. Bernard looks at catnip.

When I met Armand Rosamilia a year later I think I had about 80 twitter followers. Armand showed me how to use twitter and, most importantly, how to avoid being intimidated by its rapid fire, life-at-a-million-miles-an-hour pace.

Within a month I was up to 600 followers.

Here we are, just four years later and I have crossed the 10,000 follower mark – something I never thought possible.

twitter 10k

I thank you all for your support! I am truly appreciative for every single twitter follower as well as facebook fan and everybody else connected to me through social media.

 

An Audiophile’s Dream

When 2013 ended I was doing two radio shows on Surf 97.3.

Tim Baker’s B-Sides, Deep Cuts and Cool Covers (Friday night from 7-8 pm) was in its infancy and I was also partnering with Armand on Friday Night Writes (Friday nights from 8-10 pm).

In the early months of 2014 Armand’s schedule took him away from the show, leaving a two hour void in Friday night’s programming. B Sides cover

This void gave birth to The Tim Baker Friday Night Music Extravaganza.

At the suggestion of station manager DJ Vern I took over the 8-10 block, flying solo and replacing the writing-related talk with good ole’ fashioned rock and roll.

The show airs on Friday’s from 7-10 pm EST on Surf 97.3 FM and http://www.Flaglerbeachradio.com. It has been fun for me since day one and has developed a loyal, if not somewhat rabid, following!

Every Friday night I spend “the best three hours of my week” entertaining people with music, but even if nobody was listening I would still love doing it (although DJ Vern might not be too thrilled)!!

 

Oh! The Horror!!

Those who read my work know that my genre (the one that defies classification) will never be confused with horror, yet 2014 saw me contributing stories to two horror anthologies.

The first story was called Dying Days – Angel and appeared in the anthology Still Dying 2… an anthology of stories released by Armand Rosamilia based on his Dying Days zombie series.

I also submitted a story called Road Wearier to a collection of short stories called State of Horror – New Jersey. SoH New Jersey

I surprised many of my readers with these stories, and to tell the truth, I surprised myself a little too!

 

Singin’ the Blues

In the fall of 2014 I released my 7th novel – Eyewitness Blues.

Eyewitness Blues is the story of Martin Aquino, a young man with less sense than luck, and a knack for landing in bad situations.

Convinced that his life is beyond salvage, Martin decides the witness protection program will provide him with a fresh start.

Sort of like hitting the reset button.

Eyewitness Blues final cover

Unfortunately he hasn’t witnessed anything and things go downhill from there!

Practically from the day it was released Eyewitness Blues has been receiving great feedback.

Several readers have told me that, of all my books, it is their favorite. The reviews on Amazon are extremely flattering.

 

The Off-White Knight Rides

It seems that Ike took on a life of his own in 2014.

The final project of 2014 was a collection of short stories featuring my enigmatic anti-hero.

The book is called Path of a Bullet – A Collection of Short Stories featuring Ike.

The title came from a quote (by Ike) in one of the stories where he tells his compadre, Brewski “The shortest distance between two points is the path of a bullet.”

Florida author Susan Nicholls  penned a very nice foreword for the book and internationally acclaimed author Seumas Gallacher wrote an amazing review.

Six other writers contributed their own stories about Ike to the book. I don’t know how other writers feel about fan fiction, but I take it as a huge compliment. The fact that my character made enough of an impression on other people to inspire them to write their own stories is incredibly flattering and (at the risk of sounding cliché) why I write!

10807997_4705964944190_673894021_nSales of the “Ike has my back” tee shirts were better than expected too!

The Ike Anthology has been so well-received that work has already begun on the 2015 edition. I plan to write at least twelve stories for it and there will be additions from 11 other others.

Stay tuned for a blog post in the very near future formally announcing the other participants.

 

Speaking of 2015

I am hardly a prognosticator, but I’ll do my best to let you know what’s on tap for 2015…

The aforementioned collection of Ike short stories is planned to be released in early December and is tentatively being called Muzzle Velocity.

Many of you have heard the story of my ill-fated, 1988 attempt to write a novel called Full Circle. Well the time has come to drag Full Circle out of the closet and give it the attention it deserves.

From the day I began scribbling it down in a spiral-bound notebook all those years ago I have always felt it was a book that needed to be written – and now its time has come.

I have spent the past few weeks gathering & reviewing the 15 or so chapters I had written back in the day. I’ve also been going over the many thoughts & notes jotted down on everything from post-it notes to cocktail napkins (and never thrown away!) as well as compiling some new ones. As soon as the holiday madness dies down I will be diving into Full Circle. If all goes well it should be available in the fall of 2015.

I also have an idea for anBTJ coverother Steve Salem (he of Backseat to Justice) novel and I am going to try to crank that out as well.

Hopefully, a year from now I’ll be writing a recap about all three of those projects!

 

Thank you to all of you for sharing 2014 with me. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support.

I hope each, and every one, of you are blessed with peace, love and prosperity in 2015!

 

As always – thank you for reading

 

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