Tag Archives: murder

The True Meaning of Free Choice

It’s time to make a choice.

Between you and me, I hate this crap. I hate arguing with the people I like and respect because of differences of which one is better and which one is the certain ruination of all that is good and holy.

I can’t wait until it’s over and the only thing left to argue about is football.

In the meantime – I have another choice for you.

The difference is – with this choice you can choose one, the other – or both! You can also choose neither if you want, but then you would be passing up free stuff!

That’s right…FREE STUFF!

Lemmee ‘splain…

As you may, or may not know – my ninth novel (12th book when you count short stories and novellas) was released earlier this month. It’s called Blood in the Water and it’s available in paperback here and kindle here.

bitw-cover-front

 

So far it has been receiving high praise – but that’s not what I’m here to tell you about.

Several books ago I started a bit of a tradition of giving away a book in celebration of the release of a new one. So – since I have just released a new book it’s time to give one away – BUT – since it’s the season of choices…I’m giving you a choice.

Beginning tomorrow (Nov. 2, 2016) and running until Sunday (Nov. 6, 2016) my novels No Good Deed AND Full Circle will both be available for FREE download.

No Good Deed is (technically) the sequel to my first novel Living the Dream, but the story stands up well on its own. It isn’t necessary to read Living the Dream to enjoy No Good Deed (but it does provide background of the main characters).

I often call No Good Deed the “red-headed-stepchild” of my books.

Why, you ask?

There’s a good explanation, which you can read about here, but it has nothing to do with the quality of the story. I think it’s a really good story (as you would expect).

Full Circle is a novel that was twenty-seven years in the making – you can find out what that means here. Prior to the release of Blood in the Water it was the general consensus of people I spoke to that Full Circle was my best book.

Here’s your chance to find out…

So there it is – I invite you to take part in the process. You have a choice, but the good news is, you can’t go wrong either way!

 

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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Je suis Charlie

je suis charlieI have loved satire since I was old enough to laugh.

I loved satire even before I knew that using humor to draw attention to serious issues was called satire.

In my lifetime I have learned more about the world through humor than all other news sources combined.

Johnny Carson, David Letterman, PJ O’Rourke, Dave Barry, Stephen Colbert, George Carlin, The Onion…these are my most trusted sources of information. The first time I saw The Daily Show (going way back to the days before Jon Stewart was the host) I thought it had been created specifically for me.

http://thedailyshow.cc.com/full-episodes/bfns01/january-7–2015—ava-duvernay

For many years I hid this fact from almost everybody I knew for fear of being seen as uneducated, uninformed or just a clown who pretended to know what was happening in the world.

Second to the comics, my favorite part of the newspaper has always been the political cartoons.

That’s why the Charlie Hebdo massacre disturbs me so much.

http://abcnews.go.com/International/charlie-hebdo-profile-satirical-french-newspaper/story?id=28055374

I just can’t fathom a hatred deep enough to justify murder – and in my opinion this was nothing more than murder. Nor can I imagine killing somebody because they dared poke fun at my religious or political views.

little weapon

I don’t have anything profound to add to the trillions of bytes already shared regarding this tragedy.

I remember, as a child, listening to my grandfather talk about the state of the world (Vietnam, Nixon, hippies, Russia, etc). According to him, we were on the fast track to self-destruction.

I can’t imagine what he would say today – and I wonder if my own granddaughter will be saying the same thing about me 50 years from now.

To tell the truth – I hope she is – because at least that will mean that we didn’t destroy ourselves in the post 9-11 lunacy that had her grandfather so concerned.

As always – thank you for readingbleeding pencil

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I Knew There was a Story to be Found at Biketoberfest

I just have two quick things for you today…

Well, actually – it’s just one thing, but it’s in two parts.

Part I;

I took part in a personal ritual over the weekend (October 16-19) called Biketoberfest.

Biketoberfest is an annual event here in this part of Florida. It’s centered in Daytona Beach, but its effects drift up to Flagler Beach (and to many other nearby communities).

Over the four days I did lots of riding, drank lots of beer and watched a lot of good bands. Biketoberfest is a great experience even if you aren’t a biker…just for the people watching opportunities alone.

At one particular venue called the Hog’s Pen (which is really nothing more than a large vacant lot across the street from The World Famous Iron Horse Saloon) there are several vendors set up for the event hawking their wares.

Iron Horse 2One of the spots is occupied by a dunking booth.

It’s about fifteen feet square, surrounded by netting to contain stray baseballs thrown by bikers whose aim isn’t what it should be. Nothing remarkable in and of itself, but…

On the collapsible seat is a guy wearing a clown costume insulting every person who walks by – hoping to get them mad enough to part with $5 in an attempt to dunk his ass.

drown the clown

The clown is the primary impetus of today’s blog.

His insults are not “family friendly” – he knows his audience, and there are no holds barred in his barrage of put downs. Appearance…sex…race…religion…color…sexual orientation…nothing is off limits.

Dozens of people gather around the booth just to hear what he comes up with next…and they are rarely disappointed.

As I stood there with some friends, in the back of the crowd, out of the line of fire, I decided that this clown needed a place in an Ike story.

Which leads us to…

Part II;

As you know (from reading this post) my current project is a collection of short stories about Ike.

After watching the clown insult people (and get dunked a few times) I decided that he needed to be in a story…so for the rest of the weekend I tossed around some ideas in my head and on Monday I sat down and began writing.

Reading the opening of Biketoberdeath at The Inspired Mic - Oct 21, 2014

Reading the opening of Biketoberdeath at The Inspired Mic – Oct 21, 2014

I’ve written about 1,700 words so far – which probably equates to about one-third of the story.

Last night (Oct. 21) I read what I have so far at The Inspired Mic and the audience approved…and wanted to know what happens next.

I think it’s only fair that you – my virtual audience – be privy to the sneak preview, so I’m posting it here. The only thing you miss out on is hearing me read it…probably a blessing!

So – with no further ado – the beginning of…

Biketoberdeath

Leaving St. Augustine just before dawn, he felt like the only person on Earth…or at least the only one awake.

The wind rushed over his face and his ponytail tugged at the back of his head. The Atlantic Ocean, less than one hundred yards to his left, deposited a salty film on his riding glasses.

The rumble of his classic ’74 Shovelhead was lost to the wind, but he could feel it throughout his entire body. Intake, compression, power, exhaust…the powerful V-Twin beneath him worked at nearly 3,000 revolutions per minute, but screamed in one continuous roar.

Ike relaxed in the saddle, propped his feet on the chrome highway pegs and enjoyed the solitude of a morning ride on A1A.

By the time he reached the Flagler Beach city limits the sun was rising over the ocean, casting long shadows on the empty streets, and melting away what little chill hung in the air.

While most of Flagler Beach was still sleeping, merchants prepared for the coming day. Bar employees washed away the remnants of a frenzied Friday night, cleaning the slate and making it ready for the next wave of leather-clad, alcohol-infused partiers.

Day two of Biketoberfest was in the books, and while the media reported a largely successful event, focusing on the thousands of bikers descending on the area, spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in out-of-state money, Ike was all too aware of the activities that didn’t receive any press thanks to a concerted effort by local authorities to make certain situations go away quietly.

There was no point in souring the public’s taste for such a lucrative source of tax dollars by making arrests after every bar brawl or issuing countless DUI’s. For one week out of the year the city commissioners recognized the value of selective leniency, and local law enforcement was encouraged to share in said attitude.

The courtyard dining area of The Golden Lion was deserted, with the exception of a few employees setting up for the day ahead. Saturday was typically the busiest of the four day event, so the crew had a few hours to make the restaurant look as though Friday night had never happened.

Ike righted a barstool on his way to the table under the stairs leading to the rooftop deck.

“Morning, Ralph,” he said, settling into a chair.

Ralph Donabedian looked up from Friday’s receipts and nodded. “Morning, Ike.”

“How’d we end up yesterday?”

“Close as I can tell, at least fifty percent up from last year.”

“Nice. Today should be even better. Perfect weather.”

“The money’s nice, but it’ll be good to have my parking lot back.”

Ike glanced across the street at the half-acre of tents and vendor booths. It was one of the few vacant lots in Flagler Beach and contributed to the popularity of The Golden Lion since patrons hardly ever had to worry about parking. During Biketoberfest Ralph converted it to a money maker by renting space to vendors, who paid handsomely to sell tee shirts, pins, patches and all sorts of Biketoberfest memorabilia. There was also a beer tent, so thirsty bikers could drink while they perused the vendor tents without having to walk across the street to the Lion.

Tucked into one corner of the lot was the only occupant allowed to use space free of charge, a dunk tank with a brightly colored sign encouraged passers-by to drown the clown. All day long a man in a clown suit sat on the collapsible platform hurling insults at the crowd, enticing them to plunk down five dollars for a chance to send him for a swim. The money collected was donated to a charity, the reason for Ralph’s generosity.

“That parking lot is a gold mine for four days every year. If I were you I wouldn’t complain about a few disgruntled tourists who eat somewhere else because they’re too lazy to park a couple of blocks away,” Ike said.

“I suppose I can’t argue that,” Ralph said, “but I could live without the depravity.”

“It’s just harmless fun…bikers blowing off some steam.”

“Four days of steam is…”

A scream shattered the morning stillness.

Ike spun in his seat looking for the source. Ralph maneuvered his wheelchair away from the table to see a woman standing in front of the dunking booth shielding a young child from the source of her terror.

Ike sprinted across the street.

“What’s wrong?” he asked the woman, who was now kneeling next to her frightened child, both of them crying.

She pointed at the dunking booth. “Ricky wanted to look inside the booth,” she managed between sobs.

The water in the booth was no longer crystal clear. Blood from the floating body of the clown had turned it a dull rust color.

Ike whistled and waved the bartender over.

“Tiki, get them inside and make them comfortable. Get them anything they want.”

“You got it, Ike,”

Ike made two phone calls—the first to the Flagler Beach Police, the second to his right-hand-man, Brewski.

“Hey, we got a situation. Need you here A.S.A.P.”

He tucked his phone away and took the .45 from the waistband of his pants. Full clip, ready to go.

After the responding officers secured the scene and the medical examiner did his thing, two detectives interviewed the woman. When they were finished with her they stood at Ralph’s table. Ralph held a coffee cup with both hands while Ike ate a large breakfast.

“Do either of you have a statement for us?” the lead detective asked.

“I do,” Ike said. “These pancakes are fantastic.”

“That’s it?” the lead asked.

Ike shook his head. “No. I also think the coffee is pretty good.” He gestured toward Ralph with his cup. “New supplier?”

Ralph sipped from his own cup. “New blend. I think it’s called Jamaica Me Crazy, or something to that effect.”

“Listen…Ralph,” the detective said. “They just pulled a dead clown out a dunk tank on your property. I would think you’d have a vested interest in helping us find the killer.”

“Nothing personal, Detective Stanley,” Ralph said, “but I’ll put my faith in a higher power. I’m sure justice will prevail.”

“Who? Him?” Stanley pointed at Ike. “You think he’s going to solve this case before we do?”

Ralph finished his coffee and set his cup down. “By the end of the day, Detective, you will have determined the identity of the dead man from his fingerprints. You’ll probably know more about him than his own mother. Which means you will know that he was a recovering heroin addict and a former member of a notorious motorcycle club…”

“Gang…” Stanley interjected.

“You say potato. Anyway…I suspect his identity and history will put a damper on your enthusiasm to find his killer, a position that your superiors will support, if not officially, at least tacitly. That is not justice. That is politics. So if it’s a statement you’d like, write this down…At approximately 7:45 this morning Ike and I heard a woman scream. Upon investigating, Ike discovered a body in the dunk tank. He then called 9-1-1. The rest, you know. I’ll be happy to sign it when you’re done.”

Detective Stanley exhaled and shook his head. “If that’s the way you want it.”

“Good luck in your investigation,” Ralph said.

Brewski pulled up a chair. “I just passed two unhappy looking cops on the sidewalk,” he said. “You do that?”

“I can’t take all the credit,” Ike said. “Ralph did his fair share.”

“So what’s going on?”

“Super Cooper is dead.”

Brewski’s head cranked around toward the dunking booth, then back to Ike. “Dead?”

“In the water, as it were.”

“What happened?”

“Don’t know yet, but we’re going to find out.”

“How did he die?”

“Shot. Twice in the chest, then dumped in the tank.”

“Cooper pissed off a lot of people with his trash talk whenever he was in the dunk tank. The list of suspects could get pretty long.”

“That was my first thought. Maybe he called the wrong biker a fag or made one-too-many comments about somebody’s old lady, but when he was up there, insulting anybody who walked by, he was just a clown saying whatever it took to get people to drop five bucks and try to dunk him. It all went to charity and outside of that booth he was as harmless as a kitten. I could understand an occasional drunk taking a swing at him, but putting two in his chest…I think that was more than just a bruised ego.”

“So, something from his past, maybe? The gang he was with up north, what was it called?”

“The East Coast Mother Fuckers. It’s possible. The MF doesn’t take too kindly to members jumping ship.”

“Where are we supposed to start?”

“With his car. It’s parked out on A1A about two blocks down.”

“His car? Won’t the cops want to search it and then tow it away as evidence?”

“Yeah, about that…nobody told them about the car. You know how these things are…people forget stuff. Happens all the time.”

~~~

The rest of the story will be available in my upcoming anthology “Path of a Bullet – A Collection of Stories Featuring Ike”.

It will be available on or about December 1.

As always – Thank you for reading

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Banning Books is NEVER the Answer

It has been reported that Colorado school shooter Karl Pierson (Friday Dec 13, 2013) had been infatuated with the Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell.

shooting

Naturally, this has renewed the fervor of those who wish to do away with the 42-year-old book containing recipes for making homemade bombs and illicit drugs.

Powell has gone on the record saying that his Cookbook should not be printed or sold anymore. He claims that it was the “misguided product of my adolescent anger”, but the current owner of the book’s copyright refuses to stop printing it. (Powell never owned the rights to the book)

anarchist cookbook

I understand his reaction, although I don’t agree with it – I cannot imagine a book as the sole cause of people carrying out horrific acts any more than I blame art, movies video games or music.

Mark David Chapman (the man who assassinated John Lennon) and John Hinckley Jr. (the man who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan) were both said to have been big fans of J. D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye.

It’s no surprise that many people called for that book to be banned as well. In fact, many high schools refuse to teach it and it has become one of the most censored books in high school libraries.

lennon glasses

Once again, I understand the emotional response, but I refuse to believe that taking a book out of circulation will eliminate, or even reduce violent acts.

I admit, ashamedly, that I’ve never read Catcher, so I can’t say, from personal experience, that it is capable of inciting a person to violence, but I can say this… it sells around 250,000 copies per year, and has sold more than 65 million copies since it was first published.

That’s a lot of books…and only a handful of them have been directly associated with violent crimes.

The math doesn’t work for me.

Similarly, The Anarchist Cookbook has sold over 2 million copies. How many bombers and assassins have been linked to it?

Again, we seem to have a mathematical anomaly.

Out of curiosity, I purchased a copy of The Anarchist Cookbook. I wanted to see what all the hoo-ha was about.

I was rather disappointed.

The first half of the book is a bunch of self-righteous, adolescent rambling which basically amounts to don’t let the man keep you down and the second half is a bunch of crude, (at best) free-hand drawings of how to make drugs, bombs & boobie-traps along with some more horrible sketches and brief background information about guns. There is also a little bit about hand-to-hand combat – again, accompanied by the worst sketches imaginable.

To be honest…there is not one single thing in the book that a curious 12-year-old can’t find on the internet.

For that matter, there is so much more information available at a child’s fingertips today that the Anarchist Cookbook wouldn’t even make up a tiny fraction of it all.

Why aren’t people calling for the banning of the internet?

 censorship

As always – thank you for reading

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