Tag Archives: Flagler Beach

Good News, Bad News – Which Do You Want First?

If somebody says to you “I’ve got good news and bad news” it’s perfectly understandable to brace yourself for the bad news, regardless of their claim that it will be accompanied by good news. I mean, let’s face it, if the bad news wasn’t really all that bad, they wouldn’t need to give you good news to wash it down…

Right?

Well, I hate to do this to you, but…

I’ve got some good news and I’ve got some bad news.

Now – before you brace yourself too much, let me say this in my defense, my bad news is offset by several pieces of good news.

Its A Trap GIF by Star Wars - Find & Share on GIPHY

I know…it still sounds like a trap, but I’m hoping it won’t be as bad as all that.

So let’s rip the band off right away and get to the bad news…

As you may know, I’ve been working on my tenth novel, 24 Minutes, for a while now.

The goal was to have it released in the beginning of December.

Here it comes – brace yourself.

The release of 24 Minutes will be delayed, possibly by several weeks.

Believe me, I wish I didn’t have to make this announcement, but in the past six months my writing time often had to be put on the back burner (beginning with two months without the use of my right arm back in April).

Oh, and I almost forgot…another piece of bad news for some of you, 24 Minutes has no Ike.

I know – blasphemy!

Lemme ‘splain…

24 Minutes is a complete departure from my previous works. There’s no tongue-in-cheek caper threatening to rob Flagler Beach’s tourists of their peaceful piece of Nirvana, which means there’s no need for Ike to save the day.

In fact, in 24 Minutes there is no hero to save the day, per se. It’s a story dealing with a very intense situation we hear about all too often these days – but that’s all I’m going to say about that.

So, now for all that good news I promised;

First, according to my awesome group of beta readers, 24 Minutes is my best work yet.

One reader said – “It was a little bit breathtaking for me. It’s a chunk of blatant reality playing out. It’s powerful. The reader can feel the passion that went into writing it.”

Needless to say, that was extremely flattering, and also a bit of a relief, because the entire time I’ve been working on it I’ve wondered if I was making a mistake by veering away from my bread and butter, Ike. That being said, hopefully it will be worth the wait for you.

That’s all well and good, but No Ike?

I know – it just doesn’t seem fair, which brings me to more “good news”…

I already have the “what if” idea for my next Ike story, so I’ll be getting to work on that as soon as 24 Minutes is released. My goal will be to have that released during the summer of 2018.

Still not enough good news? Well, try this on for size…

Ike, being the iconic hero he is, has found his way into a book I didn’t write!

That’s right – Ike will be gracing the pages of the soon-to-be-released action novel Blood Dawn, by California author Chris DiBella.

Blood Dawn is DiBella’s third novel and is scheduled for release on December 14th.

Check out this synopsis:

Four Russian submariners wash up on a Florida Beach in 1989, seemingly the survivors of a sunken vessel. The reason for their being in such close proximity to the American shoreline soon becomes evident, as an elderly couple overhears a conversation that leads them to believe there’s much more to the story than just a malfunction at sea. For over thirty years, the fabricated account of the soldiers’ tale remains a mystery. Sean Mercer and his partner, Pat Vigil, are in Colorado conducting research at Rocky Flats when they inadvertently stumble upon a massive tunnel system lying beneath an old nuclear facility. The discovery leads to questions about an unsolved mystery from decades earlier, but finding the answers they seek could lead them down a path from which they might not return. Upon ascertaining information about a Russian plot to smuggle a nuclear bomb into the United States, Mercer realizes there may be a link to the current conspiracy and the discovery about the past. The race is on to find the nuclear weapon and bring the madman responsible for the threat to justice, but will time run out before he and his partner can thwart the attempt to detonate a nuclear weapon on U.S. soil? Blood Dawn is the third installment in the NESA Files series featuring Sean Mercer and the rest of the NESA team.

Fair is fair, Mercer and Vigil were featured in my short story Jungle Boogie, part of the anthology Path of a Bullet. As for the specifics of how Ike fits in to Blood Dawn, well – you’ll have to read it to find out, but, if you like Ike, I think it will be worth your time.

For more information on Chris, and Blood Dawn – go to www.chrisdibella.com.

Finally, I won’t say this fits into the category of good news, but it’s certainly kind of cool…in Blood Dawn there is a character named Tim Baker. (Undoubtedly a suave, sophisticated, James Bond type whose feathers are never ruffled, even while he’s saving the world.)And, from what I’ve been told, he’s not just a throw-away character, he has a fairly significant part in the story.

So there you have it. I really don’t like sharing bad news of any kind, but hopefully this batch came with enough good news to offset it.

Stay tuned for further updates on the release of 24 Minutes

 

As always, thank you for reading

 

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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 white line at the outer edge of the pavement, 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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