Tag Archives: short stories

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

 

Advertisements

9 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Path of a Bullet Now Available!

 

interuption

Just in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday…

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

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

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

10807997_4705964944190_673894021_n

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

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

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

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

~Seumas Gallacher, Author of the Jack Calder crime series

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

and

For the kindle version click here

book tree

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

 

As always – thank you for reading

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Path of a Bullet is Locked and Loaded

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

PoaB Cover

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The other six were written by writer friends of mine.

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

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

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

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

Ann Marie Vancas

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

Gi Arena  

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

 Becky Pourchot 

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

Lockie Young 

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

Becky Heishman 

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

 Susan Toy 

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

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

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

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

As always – thank you for reading

5 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

How a Quote from Ray Bradbury Turned into My Next Project

Without question the most common question asked of an author after the release of a new book is (in one form or another) “So what are you working on now?”

With the release of Eyewitness Blues only a month in the rear-view – I’ll save you the trouble of asking.

Eyewitness Blues final cover

I am working on, and almost finished with a collection of short stories about Ike. (Who is Ike? Click here.)

Actually – I started working on it just before Christmas 2013 when I needed a short story to read at The Inspired Mic (an open mic night for writers here in Flagler Beach). Since the event was taking place two weeks before Christmas I decided to write a Christmas themed story. It was a fun little piece called Don’t Call Me Carol and the audience really enjoyed it.

Around the same time I submitted a short story to a horror anthology called State of Horror: New Jersey and the organizer suggested I start an anthology of my own, maybe writing one story for each holiday throughout the coming year and releasing it before the following Christmas.

I thought it was a good idea, but I wasn’t sure I’d have time since I was in the middle of writing Eyewitness Blues.

Then, quite serendipitously, I came across a quote from Ray Bradbury ( a pretty good writer) which said “Write a short story every week. It’s not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.”

It made sense so I decided to give it a try. (Here’s a blog post I wrote about this anthology while it was still in its infancy)

I had already written the Christmas story, so I followed up with a New Year’s story. The “one story per week” goal was a bit ambitious for me while simultaneously working on a novel, but I wrote as many as I could…

Now that I’m nearing completion of the project I understand Bradbury’s logic about the short story.

He believed that writing short stories teaches a writer to be constantly looking for ideas. He also said “every week you’ll be happy, because by the end of each week you’ll have something to show for your efforts.”

Not surprisingly – he was right. I really enjoyed the entire process and I’ll probably keep doing it and maybe release a collection of Ike stories every year.

Then there was an added bonus…In addition to the stories I’ve written I’ve also received a few stories from other authors about Ike. The fact that other writers wanted to write stories about my character was pretty cool. How could I say no?

I plan to release the collection before Christmas.

Originally I had planned to call it An Ike for all Seasons…but an Ike quote from one of the stories gave me the perfect title. The quote, as spoken by Ike, was “The shortest distance between two points is the path of a bullet.”

There was an a-ha moment as soon as I wrote it…I knew I had the title of the book.

The Path of a Bullet

Then…another serendipitous moment…a photographer friend of mine (Marina Pierre) shared this image on facebook…

Path of a Bullet cover

As soon as I saw it I knew I had my book cover.

To quote one of my favorite movie characters (Oddball – played brilliantly by Donald Sutherland – in Kelly’s Heroes)…

oddball

As always – thank you for reading

9 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Kill Your Darlings (maybe I misunderstood)

“Kill your darlings.”

If you’ve been in the writing game for any length of time you’ve heard this quote. Some people attribute it to Allen Ginsberg, others to William Faulkner, some believe Stephen King said it. The earliest known use of the phrase actually came from Arthur Quiller-Couch, who used it in his 1913-1914 Cambridge lectures “On the Art of Writing.”

darlingsRegardless of who said it when…the context of the quote is the need for writers to be relentless in the editing of their work…to eliminate unnecessary fluff…to get rid of every paragraph, sentence and word that doesn’t contribute something essential to the story.

Given the work of King, Faulkner and the others, I’d say it’s advice worth following.

I think I may have taken it a bit too literally while working on a short story this week. The story will be included in my upcoming anthology tentatively titled The Path of a Bullet. The stories in the anthology will focus on my anti-hero, Ike. Most of them will be written by me and there will be a few written by other writers who happen to be fans of Ike.

As I was writing this particular story I decided to kill one of the characters who has appeared in all of my books.

The killing wasn’t necessary.

I could have made the story work without having a good character meet their demise.

It also wasn’t gratuitous.

I think the story is much better because of it.

Either way…it’s still tough to kill one of your darlings.

When I wrote my first novel, Living the Dream, I created what would inadvertently become a cast of characters who worked together to right wrongs perpetrated upon innocent people.

Living the DreamThe unlikely band of Samaritans is led by the aforementioned Ike, an ex-Navy SEAL who has a tendency to bend the rules a bit in order to see that order is preserved. As one reader described him in a review… “Robin Hood on a Harley.”

Ike is the right-hand-man to a wheelchair bound bookie named Ralph Donabedian. Despite the fact that Ralph is, for all intents and purposes, a criminal, he is the unofficial mayor of Flagler Beach. Nothing happens in the small beachside community unless he allows it.

Whenever Ike needs help he calls on his best friend, and resident bad-ass, Brewski. With ties to a local motorcycle gang and a bit of an attitude problem, Brewski tends to lean toward a shoot first, shoot again, have a cigarette, and then ask questions policy. Fortunately, Ike keeps him reined in…most of the time.

Perpetually perched on the back of Brewski’s Harley is Didi—a wise-cracking, chain-smoking, no-nonsense biker-bitch who would like to slap the stupid out of everybody (because everybody is a dumb-ass).

Making fewer appearances than the others, but nonetheless an important member of the group is Bob Butler. Another close friend of Ike’s, Bob Butler (who is always addressed by both his first and last names, never one or the other) is an honest family man who turns a blind eye to some questionable tactics out of respect for Ike’s motives.

So, as I was saying…I recently wrote a short story for my Ike anthology and I decided that it was time to kill one of my darlings.

I’m not going to tell you which one, you’ll have to read the book to find out. For now I’ll just call them “X” (pretty dramatic, huh?).

I will tell you this—it’s not Ike – that would be like Elmore Leonard killing Raylan Givens…Robert B. Parker killing Spenser or JK Rowling killing Harry Potter.

Moving forward I’ll have to figure out what, if anything, I should do to fill the void left by X. Fortunately writing books is not like cooking. If you don’t have a key ingredient required by your recipe you could end up tipping a driver for delivering your meal.

With books, the loss of a character does not have to be the end of the story. In fact it could lead to a new, maybe even better story.

I guess we’ll find out when I write my next book.

Between you and me, I’ve already got an idea of how to move forward and I’m pretty sure it will be a seamless transition.

In the meantime, The Path of a Bullet is scheduled to be released before Christmas. My beta-readers have enjoyed all of the stories so far, so I’m sure you will too.

This is not the cover of Path of a Bullet...it's just a cool picture.

This is not the cover of Path of a Bullet…it’s just a cool picture.

 

As always – thank you for reading

8 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized

Now Biff, Don’t Con Me (the story behind my next Ike story)

A few weeks ago I turned my TV on in the middle of an ION Television marathon of the program Leverage.

Even though the show originally ran from 2008 – 2012 this was my first time watching.

Since there wasn’t really much else on, I decided to watch an episode and see if it was any good. The first episode had me interested enough to watch the second, and before I knew it I had watched five more.

leverage

The show was basically a rehashing of Mission Impossible (one of my all-time favorites), with the biggest change being that the Leverage crew was not employed by a covert government organization…they were a group of con-men, grifters and thieves with a penchant for playing Robin Hood.

I really enjoy the way the team uses confidence (con) games to restore justice after a rich and powerful bad guy has screwed a “little guy”.

Flashback…When I was 13 the mother of one of my friends took us to see The Sting (Paul Newman, Robert Redford – 1973). Most of the movie was way over my head, until it ended, and I saw that final puzzle piece drop into place, completing the picture of the ultimate con. I left the theater thinking it was about the best movie ever.

Today, nearly 40 years later, I still think it’s one of the best movies ever (Jaws notwithstanding).

Where am I going with this?

Good question…

Yesterday (April 2) was the 40th anniversary of the night The Sting won seven academy awards, including Best Picture – a fact I shared on my Blindogg Books facebook page’s daily “On this day” in history post.

Sting

Last night I watched an episode of Leverage before I went to bed and the combination of the two must have triggered a subconscious response, because when I woke up this morning I had an idea for a new Ike short story (not the first time I’ve gotten inspiration from a dream).

For those who don’t know, in addition to releasing my seventh novel this summer, I also plan to release a collection of short stories about Ike before Christmas. I’ve already written seven stories for the collection, this will be number eight. My goal is to have at least 20.

Ike is developing quite a following so I’m bowing to pressure and giving his fans something to hold them over until book number eight.

So what was my story idea?

Not gonna tell ya…

If you want to know the story you’ll have to buy the anthology when it comes out, but I will tell you that there will be two con-men who think Flagler Beach would make a good place to set up shop…until they run into a complication named Ike.

Ike shirt front

The “research” for the story has me hoping that my computer’s search history is not being monitored by law enforcement.

Interesting side note…con men have been around for a really long time – we’re talking centuries, probably longer – but many of the classic cons haven’t changed much at all. It’s pretty fascinating stuff, and goes to show that, while we may think the human race has advanced over the years – for all intents and purposes human behavior hasn’t.

That’s about all I have for you today…

 

 

As always – thank you for reading

3 Comments

Filed under Uncategorized