Fiction that explores the monsters and strangers among us.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Enter the Secret World of the Strangers and Monsters Among Us


Delve into the secret world of the monsters and strangers among us. Here are examples from my novels:

Fulfillment: Satan and his minions; Nathan, an evil-possessed killer posing as a would-be lover; and Bezalel, a Captain of the King’s Guard who would kill anyone on the king’s orders, including innocent babies.

Hags: Denise Appleby, a hag as old as the middle ages and as young and pretty as a girl of twenty; Lionel Langdon, a merciless serial killer and rapist; Ahlman Brown, a demon posing as a wealthy philanthropist; Barbara Mathers, an attractive  young lady with a deep, dark secret; and of course, Micah Probert, the new guy in town who has a past.

Steel Pennies: Yes, there are strangers among us that we don’t recognize, killers and secret evil doers. Steel Pennies will test your prejudices and deductive reasoning skills as you learn who the killer is in this mystery thriller, hopefully before someone else is murdered.

Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters: With a title like this, you know you’re in for visits from strangers and monsters. Snpgrdxz is certainly a stranger with a name like that, but does this teenage alien shape shifter stand for good or evil? Throw in Turpelator in all his out of time manifestations and you have a daemon bent on trouble. Don’t forget all the creatures who go bump in the night in this nonstop action adventure, horror, scifi, fantasy, romance – yeah, you get the idea. And is Jennifer Hawkins the most dangerous evil-doer of them all? Or is she a sweet, innocent teenager? Or both? Find out when you read the Snpgrdxz series.

Offbeat writing
My offbeat writing style combines noir with a twist of humor. Here are the opening lines to get you started:

Fulfillment: A loud roar shook the house. 

Hags: From the mattress on the floor of the back bedroom of his antique Victorian fixer-upper, Micah Probert heard a far off scream.

Steel Pennies: I gawked at the eye holes, gasped, and dropped a chunk of somebody’s skull at Bob’s feet.

Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters: From where she stood at the foot of my bed, fifteen-year-old Jennifer Hawkins couldn’t miss, but would this sweet girl shoot me?

Is this place for real?
My stories take place in real neighborhoods, perhaps one near you. The exceptions are Fulfillment which is set in the ancient world and Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters which starts in Wheaton, an ordinary suburb of Chicago but moves quickly to an underworld that can best be described as Dante’s first circle of Hell. From there the time travelers, including a teenage space alien shape shifter, end up back in Wheaton but the time is 1923 and the strangers and monsters abound at every step of the journey. Hags is set in modern day Naperville, Illinois. Steel Pennies takes place in 1960 in West Chester, Pennsylvania, which is a university town located about 30 miles west of Philadelphia.

Characters who talk the way real people talk
Dialogue brings a story to life. Here’s a sample from Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters:

By the time we escaped Lincoln High that afternoon, the sun waited for us, the trees stirred, and the ninety-plus temperature blasted our faces. I offered Jennifer Hawkins a ride home.

“I can’t, Bryan. You have to stop asking me for a date.”

“It wasn’t an invitation for a date. It’s transportation. Gilbert will ride with us. We’re safe.”

“I don’t think I’m allowed to ride in cars with boys.” Gilbert’s falsetto pierced my ears as he tossed his backpack on the backseat of my mom’s Malibu.

“Gilbert, you ride with me every day.” I opened the front passenger door for Jennifer.

“Oh, right. What about Jennifer?” Gilbert jumped in the backseat.

“I don’t mind riding in cars with boys, Gilbert. I’m not sure I’m supposed to, and I’m forbidden to date them until I’m older.” Jennifer threw her backpack into the Malibu.

“How much older?” I asked.

“Not until I’m forty.” Give Jennifer credit. She kept a straight face.

I could feel my jaw bounce once on my chest.

Jennifer noticed I wasn’t breathing. “I’m kidding, Bryan. I’m supposed to wait until I’m sixteen.”

“Oh. So that’s why you said no to me?” I fumbled with my keys and dropped them.

“It’s a reason.” Jennifer hopped in the front seat while I put my tongue back in my mouth and pushed my jaw closed. My heart resumed beating. I took in the aroma of sweet flowers that wafted into the Malibu with her.

I located my keys by crawling under the car to coat myself with hot tarmac and gravel. Back in the Chevy, I drove north on Main Street through downtown across the railroad tracks and past the coffee shop and other stores of old Wheaton. Jennifer asked me to turn right at Jefferson. A few blocks later, she said to make another right. She pointed out one of those Victorians from the Middle Ages near the college and asked me to drop her off.

I pulled over to the curb and stopped.

She unlatched the door, but didn’t open it. Instead she gazed into my eyes. “Just because I’m not allowed to date doesn’t mean I don’t like you, Bryan Ganarski.”

She leaned across the seat and planted one full on my lips. I forgot about Gilbert in the backseat while Jennifer and I made out for a few minutes. We pulled back from each other. Jennifer flashed the biggest smile ever aimed at me by a girl, giggled once, and stepped out of my mom’s Chevy.

“I never did that before.” She galloped up to her front porch and disappeared inside her house.

I about peed my pants a minute later when Gilbert said, “Guess you guys are like a couple, now.”

I had forgotten about him. But it soon turned crazier. Not as insane as the midnight visits to my bedroom, but almost. As I pulled up to Gilbert’s house, Daniel Brickmaster said, “Hey, this isn’t where I live.”

I slammed on the brakes and checked the rearview mirror. Brickmaster grinned at me. Gilbert had vanished.


Interested? Click here.


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

What was Satan up to while God was about the business of saving the world?


What does Satan, as the most powerful demon in the universe, do to stop Jesus from saving the world when Jesus is too powerful to take on directly? As I contemplated that question, I pictured two answers that derive from the obvious fact that Satan failed.

My first vision showed scene after scene of a bungling demon trying to kill the child Jesus but something always comes up to destroy his best laid plans. Fans of Pinky and the Brain will know what I’m talking about here.

The second vision, the one that led me to write Fulfillment, was simple: Kill the mother.

Frank Peretti meets Stephen King in this tale of first century intrigue, mystery and evil beyond all imagining. Well, most imagining anyway. After all I did imagine it, didn’t I? And you will, too, when you read about how Mary lived in happy ignorance until that fateful day when she became the central figure in a drama beyond her wildest imaginings.

Angels we have heard on high
An angel announcement and a broken engagement catch an unwed pregnant teenager in a web of peril in an age when stoning was the punishment for fornication. Mary's situation attracts evil spirits, a king who would destroy any threat to his throne, the king’s unquestioning soldiers, and a would-be lover all bent on destroying Mary. Let’s also throw in a soldier who does ask questions, but asks them too late.

Mary’s journey, while steeped with betrayal and the foul stench of the ultimate demon, is a setup for an even bigger story. She discovers a lost love found, the promise of a newborn king, and a wealth of new friends from a dwarf with the heart of a warrior to the young mother whose husband and children face their own death sentence in a bloody massacre.

Moxie and connections
Fulfillment is the first century suspense drama with a huge twist of horror when Satan discovers he isn’t messing with an ordinary teenage girl. This kid has moxie and connections in high places.

If the thought of Satan out to get you isn’t enough to keep you awake at night, how about reading Fulfillment? It will. Click here to purchase the paperback or Kindle versions on Amazon.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Amazing New-Fangled Games


Amazing new type of game: Uses all text with no pictures.

No pix? No way!

Yes, way.

What’s amazing is the action pops up inside your head. No screen needed. And not only do you see the pictures but the whole thing comes alive like a 3D movie with surround sound.

But wait, there’s more.

These games don’t require an artist to draw the graphics so the game makers save a bundle on production and pass the savings on to you. Prices start as low as $.99. That’s 99 cents, less than a buck and you get the whole game, not just a teaser version. Check it out on Amazon

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Why Do We Even Celebrate Christmas?


Ever wonder why Christmas is so important to Christians when the real story of Christianity is the miracle of Easter morning when Jesus rose from the dead? In the world of horror stories where at least some of my novels hang out, rising from the dead is no big deal. Vampires do it every day. But in the real world, we only know of one person who pulled it off successfully.

Christmas is about the birth of the child who would grow up to become Messiah. Yes, the Easter story works better if the man rising from the dead was born in the first place, but his birth is a minor point hardly worth noting. One of the four Gospels doesn’t even mention the birth of Jesus. Another makes brief reference to it using the symbolism of poetry where we read, “The word was made flesh and lived among us.” (Say what?) While short on details, the author gets his theological point across to knowledgeable readers.

For the rest of us, Christians and nonbelievers both, it’s enough to hear about the angel visit, the virgin birth, the shepherds and the wise men.  Meanwhile pass the gravy, and are you sure we opened all the presents? Oh, and what time did you say the game starts?

What we never hear about, until recently when I published Fulfillment, is how Satan tried to stop the birth of Christ in the first place. The genesis of Fulfillment (hee, hee, hee) happened the day it occurred to me that Satan knew Christ would be way too powerful to kill. Christ is the son of God so you have to figure he’s more of a Superman type than Batman, for example. (Surely you’ve noticed the similarities between Superman’s origin story and the biblical account of Jesus’s birth? And do you really want to start comparing Batman and Satan? Don’t go there because it gets scary. There’s a reason he’s called “The Dark Knight.”)

Instead, read Fulfillment, which one critic described as “the most unique version of the Christian Nativity story ever written.”

Click here to purchase the paperback and Kindle versions. What a cool present to give to your Christian friends.

Monday, December 8, 2014

What did Mary’s Mom and Dad say when she announced she was pregnant?


And followed that up by insisting that God was the child’s father?

What? Wait? God did it? Give me break. God’s a spirit. Spirits don’t have sex even when you consider both meanings of the word. (1. Doing it. 2. Having the tools to do it with.)

With Christmas around the corner, it's time to consider how the parents reacted when Mary made her big announcement.

Dad may have said, “Well, you know, Mary, that wasn’t a very good decision on your part. And who is this kid named God? I mean his very name is blasphemous. And when did you find time to do it with all your studies this semester? This is what comes from wearing such provocative short skirts. Why I can see your toes, for crying out loud.”

Not!

We don’t really  know what was said in that conversation, but you may rest assured old daddy was more than furious. We’re talking about the first century of the Common Era (C.E.) here. Good old A.D. as in anno domini. The rule with pregnant teenage girls in those days was you sent them out to the public square where everyone in town gathered around with their favorite rock in hand. They played catch with the pregnant teenage girl. And yes, everyone threw fastballs or rather fast rocks. The life expectancy of your average unwed pregnant teenager was three months for discovery followed by the local religious leader’s cry of “Play Ball!”

In Mary’s case, as a citizen of Nazareth, she could expect a crowd of about 10,000. The city was built on the side of a mountain at the edge of a cliff, so guess where Mary would have gotten to stand. A rock up the side of the head right before a sky dive sans parachute is not the best start to the rest of your life as a pregnant teenager.

Well, it didn’t look good for Mary if you were her dad or mom. Or one of the 10,000 volunteer rock throwers.

What was the scene like the morning Mary showed up for breakfast carrying her barf bucket for just-in-case?

Fortunately, you don’t have to wonder. I’ve already speculated for you in my novel of the first Christmas. Dad was more interested in throwing things than talking to Mary. Mom was more interested in calming dad down than in Mary’s little issue with tossing cookies in the morning.

And what about Satan? You may be curious about where he comes into the story. He does. Trust me on this one because despite what anyone may try to tell you, the great God of the universe really was the father of Mary’s baby. And you just know Satan would do anything to wreck God’s best laid plans. And he’d start by playing “Let’s kill the mother.”

Fulfillment is available in paperback and Kindle versions on Amazon. Click here.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Bells Ring Unceasing


Black hooded monks process through the streets of town headed across the shinning river. From our local church to their monastery they parade in prayer. Who are these womanless men hiding their faces and themselves from our world? Where do they live?

They ring their bells with every step as if each was an old-fashioned schoolmarm, yet no children follow unless to tease them with their taunts.  The tiny tolling bells haunt the morning time with their joy.  Local church bells peal along in time. High notes, low notes, soprano and baritone.

The bells toll the victory song. The victory is won. Who wins? God wins. To the victor belong the spoils. We are the spoils of God’s holy war against evil.

A defeated enemy claims no victory and takes no spoils. Who then can condemn another when all are God’s?

Do not condemn or condone. Simply live in God’s love. Love your neighbor. Do God’s will.

Carry the spoils of war in triumph in the victory parade. God’s people march boldly, with giant smiles gleaming in the light of God’s brilliance.

See the victory parade where no evil may enter. God celebrates the return of his people home. This is a glorious day. Peace reigns. Love rules. Bells ring in joy and triumph.

The black-robed monks, those visionaries of a future parade, process home as monsters in the bushes seethe and tremble with their blood dark eyes aglow. Waiting, waiting, waiting.

THE END

TO DWELL AMONG US
Free today for your Kindle. 

A course, wrinkled man fell back against the stone wall of the interior Temple room with a thud. An onslaught of arthritic pain combined with the raising of what little hair remained at the back of his neck set him on edge. The small lamp he carried splashed oil on his blue and gold linen robe.  

The sudden gust of air extinguished the flame on the room’s other light, atop a tall iron lampstand. Before he could relight it, the lamp flared sending flame and smoke to the high ceiling. The flash settled down as quickly as it had exploded into life. It sat upon the lampstand waiting while flickering amidst the ominous glow and dancing shadows.


To Dwell Among Us is the prequel to my novel Fulfillment, a retelling of the Christmas story as spiritual warfare. To Dwell Among Us features Zachariah, the elderly priest who ticks off an angel and becomes the father of John the Baptist. The story also introduces Mary, the girl chosen to become mother of Messiah.If the thought of Satan out to get you isn’t enough to keep you awake at night, how about reading To Dwell Among Us? It will. As always, horror with a touch of humor. Available free today for your Kindle. Click here to download your free copy.




SNPGRDXZ AND THE TIME MONSTERS
The first in my series of scary funny novels
 
From where she stood at the foot of my bed, fifteen-year-old Jennifer Hawkins couldn’t miss, but would this sweet girl shoot me? 


Hormones fly in this madcap misadventure. Is Bryan totally insane or is there a part of him that can still fall in love with one of the many versions of Jennifer, his time-traveling girlfriend? Find out when you read this love-crazed tale of friends who become stuck between the wrong time on earth and an underworld inhabited by an evil daemon, werewolves, nosferatu, trolls and more. Snipgrdxz and the Time Monsters features a teenaged space alien shape shifter who can be either a boy or girl depending on his or her mood. This full-length novel is funnier than an alien invasion and more frightening than first love. Learn more by clicking here.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Roar in the Dark


Episode 5 of Jude Nerdworthy, Teenage Monster Fighter, in One Bad Bite Deserves Another

Scroll down or click here to read from the beginning.

The laptop purred like a kitten with a head cold. At first, Marianna’s body rested on the DVD tray without movement, which made sense considering she had a silver bullet lodged in her brain. The laptop itself sat at a 45 degree angle to the ground due to the weight of Marianna Bucket’s dead body, despite her being a fiction character in a cheap novel with little or no literary weight.

But as the whirring noise increased in intensity, we held our ears. Marianna’s body faded down into the DVD tray. The tray slammed closed. The purring stopped. Albert’s silver bullet clinked to the ground.

“I really must replace that loud fan,” said Marvin Bloodleder. “But she’s still dead. Just doesn’t seem right somehow. Once you kill off a character, she’s dead.” Marvin muttered as he revved up the Pinto and vanished into the night.

Albert chased after his silver bullet as it rolled across the street, but he stopped when he noticed that large pair of red eyes.

A roar ruptured the blackness as the beast leaped from the bushes headed in our direction, red eyes blazing.

Albert fired his pistol, the one with the silver bullets, at the beast. The vile night monster yelped and ran off into the night.

“What was that?” Marylou asked.

“I’d say we have a werewolf to hunt down,” I said.

“I’m on it,” Albert charged after the beast.

Dorothy Minglebocker said, “I’m getting thirsty so I’ll just skedaddle now.

“But you won’t drink anyone in Warrenville, right?” I reminded her.

“Of course not,” she said. “I’m a bank robber, not a throat sucker.”

“We need to talk,” I said to Marylou.

“But not tonight. It’s late.”

“Let’s check on how your mom is making out with my oil change. She’s been at it a long time.”

Marylou strolled through her house stopping only once in the kitchen for a make out session by the sink. We continued our journey through her backyard.

Once we were inside the garage, Marylou said, “Why are there four feet sticking out from under your Malibu?”

THE END


TO DWELL AMONG US
Free today for your Kindle.


To Dwell Among Us is the prequel to my novel Fulfillment, the first century suspense drama with a huge twist of horror when Satan discovers he isn’t messing with an ordinary teenage girl. Mary has moxie and connections in high places. To Dwell Among Us tells the story of Zachariah, the elderly priest who becomes the father of John the Baptist. The story also introduces Mary, the girl chosen to become mother of Messiah.If the thought of Satan out to get you isn’t enough to keep you awake at night, how about reading To Dwell Among Us? It will. As always, horror with a touch of humor. Click here to download your free copy.



SNPGRDXZ AND THE TIME MONSTERS
The first in my series of scary funny novels
 
From where she stood at the foot of my bed, fifteen-year-old Jennifer Hawkins couldn’t miss, but would this sweet girl shoot me? 


Hormones fly in this madcap misadventure. Is Bryan totally insane or is there a part of him that can still fall in love with one of the many versions of Jennifer, his time-traveling girlfriend? Find out when you read this love-crazed tale of friends who become stuck between the wrong time on earth and an underworld inhabited by an evil daemon, werewolves, nosferatu, trolls and more. Snipgrdxz and the Time Monsters features a teenaged space alien shape shifter who can be either a boy or girl depending on his or her mood. This full-length novel is funnier than an alien invasion and more frightening than first love. Who could ask for more?  Learn more by clicking here.


Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Runaway Character


Episode 4 of Jude Nerdworthy, Teenage Monster Fighter, in One Bad Bite Deserves Another

Scroll down or click here to read from the beginning.

A late model Ford Pinto showed up (I said it was late) and double parked. Local Warrenville author Marvin Bloodleder climbed out of the ripped and torn vinyl and cloth seat. “Okay, hand over my runaway character. She will be severely punished. I hope she hasn't turned anyone into a werewoman or anything nasty like that.”

Marvin gazed about our little crowd. His eyes stopped on Phil in his hairy legs and micro mini. “Oh, sorry about that. Marianna Bucket will receive an extreme reprimand for this.”

“Ahem,” I said because there’s really not much else to say at a time like this while pointing to a dead body on the street.

“Oh my,” said Marvin. “You’ve killed off my character. You can’t murder someone else’s character. That’s my job. How am I supposed to write a novel with one of my characters dead?”

I shook my head as I stated the obvious. “As a writer, Marvin, you can resurrect a character. Just rewrite the chapter where she died.”

“But she’s dead,” Marvin protested. “How am I going to put her back in my novel with her laying here dead?”

“Shouldn’t that be lying here dead?” Marylou asked despite having flunked English last term.

“What’s the difference, she’s dead, ain’t she?” asked Marvin.

“You’re the writer. I thought you’d want to get it right. Lay requires a direct object,” said Marylou who obviously studied her grammar over the summer or started visiting Grammar Girl online.

“Nevermind about that, Marvin. Lay your laptop down next to Marianna Bucket’s bullet riddled body and open your DVD drive.” I said.

“Don’t forget to return my silver bullet,” Albert said.

Marvin opened his laptop, entered his password and brought it up. Next, he opened his DVD drive so the little tray slid out. “Now what?”

“Park Marianna Bucket’s dead butt on the DVD tray and your PC should do the rest,” I said.

“Yeah, try to do this with a Mac,” said Albert.

Meanwhile, those two large red eyes continued to stare our way from across the street.

Please click here to continue.

NEW NOVEL

From where she stood at the foot of my bed, fifteen-year-old Jennifer Hawkins couldn’t miss, but would this sweet girl shoot me? 


Snipgrdxz and the Time Monsters features Snpgrdxz, the teenaged space alien shape shifter who can be either a boy or girl depending on his or her mood. Hormones fly in this madcap misadventure. Is Bryan totally insane or is there a part of him that can still fall in love with one of the many versions of his time-traveling girlfriend? Find out when you read this love-crazed tale of friends who become stuck between the wrong time on earth and an underworld inhabited by an evil daemon, werewolves, nosferatu, trolls and more. Learn more by clicking here.



HAGS SPECIAL OFFER: Only 99 cents US today for your Amazon Kindle

From the mattress on the floor of the back bedroom of his antique Victorian fixer-upper, Micah Probert heard a far off scream.

After 15 years in prison, Micah Probert returns to Naperville, Illinois, where he discovers a human-sized faerie flitting about in his backyard, a dead body behind his house, a pesky ghost in his kitchen, and a local coffee shop serving the darkest roast this side of hades. And that's just for openers as Micah learns his young girlfriend is a hag as wicked as any from medieval times. A demon, a secret second hag, and an ex-girlfriend out for blood enliven the action.  Will Micah learn the powerful secret to defeating the evil mounted against him in time to save Naperville while also clearing his name and convincing his ex-girlfriend he didn't rape her little sister? Learn more by clicking here.

"It's like stepping into a Peretti novel, where the characters of the book are joined by the unseen characters - angels and demons.” – Becky Davis

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Permanent Fix in Silver


Episode 3 of Jude Nerdworthy, Teenage Monster Fighter, in One Bad Bite Deserves Another

Scroll down or click here to read from the beginning.

At six-four, Philomena was a curvaceous beauty unlike her usual situation as Phil the six-four, 275-pound left tackle. It’s what happens when you become a teenage weregirl.

“I can’t play football like this.” Philomena moaned.

“Of course you can play football,” said Marylou. “They can’t stop you just because you’re a girl sometimes. You’re only a girl at night during the full moon. How many times does the team play under the full moon during the season? Not many, I can tell you that. Besides, the guys might like having a girl player in the locker room once in a while. Wait. That didn’t come out right.”

I bailed my girlfriend out of the corner she talked herself into. “I can fix you permanently with a silver bullet. My friend Albert Bringlebaum usually carries at least one gun with silver bullets. He keeps wooden bullets in another. And he has several of your basic lead bullet automatics in his backpack. They really need to install metal detectors at school.”

“Don’t you have anything that can reverse the spell?” Phil or Philomena asked.

“I’m a monster fighter, not a creature repairman. What else were you ladies expecting from me?”

“I’m not a lady,” shouted Phil or Philomena.

“What were you sluts expecting from me?” I repeated.

“Why don’t you not kill us like you did my brother Ferdy?” Dorothy asked. 

“Cousin Ferdy asked for it when he decided to suck blood in Warrenville, Illinois,” Marylou said.

“Tell you what,” I said. “Refrain from sucking, biting, scratching or in any way devouring the citizens of Warrenville and I’ll let you live. You’ll continue in your undead mode. But at the first sign of trouble, you’ll deal with me.”

“But what about my girliness?” Phil or Philomena moaned.

“I’m sorry, but I already have a girlfriend,” I said.

“So do I,” said Phil or Philomena. “She doesn’t need a girlfriend. She wants me, the real masculine me.”

“Well, now that you mention it, Philomena, I’m a vampire. I make no distinction between boys and girls. It’s all the same to me,” said Dorothy.

“Really?” asked Philomena. “Let’s go back to your house so we can talk alone.”

Phil or Philomena embraced Dorothy, but at that moment, the smaller pair of eyes across the street floated in our direction until we could make out Marianna Bucket as she charged at us. She snagged Phil or Philomena and bit him or her on the neck nearly taking his or her head off, but not enough to kill him or her, just enough to cause a big blood flow.

“Oh, how lovely!” Dorothy licked up the werewoman blood while Phil's or Philomena’s neck healed at werecreature speed.

“Look, I’m all better,” said Phil. Philomena was no longer present. Instead she was past if not tense. Unfortunately, Phil was still dressed in Philomena’s tiny dress. It helped that it was dark out, but not enough to hide his hairy legs, and he still better not bend over.

“And I’m well-fed,” said Dorothy.

“No, I’m all better now. By biting me a second time, that werewoman cured me.”

“You mean the cure for werewomanry is a second bite from the same werewoman?” I asked.

“Yes,” said Phil.

“Well, what have we here?” a voice asked out of the darkness.

“You’re here,” said Marylou.

Albert Bringlebaum approached us with more weapons than a wealthy insurgent. “Yes, darling.” Albert planted a huge one right on Marylou’s luscious lips. I mean a kiss, not a gun. Regarding whether my girlfriend Marylou’s lips are luscious, trust me, I know. But when did Albert find out about Marylou’s lips?

Albert backed away from Marylou as he pulled a gun from his belt.

“I don’t like the looks of this,” said Marianna Bucket.

“Neither do I. Why’d you kiss him like that, Marylou?” I asked.

Albert shot Marianna between the eyes. Her eyes, not his.

Across the street, the giant pair of red eyes blinked.

Click here to continue...


NEW NOVEL

From where she stood at the foot of my bed, fifteen-year-old Jennifer Hawkins couldn’t miss, but would this sweet girl shoot me? 

Snipgrdxz and the Time Monsters features Snpgrdxz, the teenaged space alien shape shifter who can be either a boy or girl depending on his or her mood. Hormones fly in this madcap misadventure. Is Bryan totally insane or is there a part of him that can still fall in love with one of the many versions of his time-traveling girlfriend? Find out when you read this love-crazed tale of friends who become stuck between the wrong time on earth and an underworld inhabited by an evil daemon, werewolves, nosferatu, trolls and more. Learn more by clicking here.



HAGS SPECIAL OFFER: Only 99 cents US today for your Amazon Kindle

From the mattress on the floor of the back bedroom of his antique Victorian fixer-upper, Micah Probert heard a far off scream.

After 15 years in prison, Micah Probert returns to Naperville, Illinois, where he discovers a human-sized faerie flitting about in his backyard, a dead body behind his house, a pesky ghost in his kitchen, and a local coffee shop serving the darkest roast this side of hades. And that's just for openers as Micah learns his young girlfriend is a hag as wicked as any from medieval times. A demon, a secret second hag, and an ex-girlfriend out for blood enliven the action.  Will Micah learn the powerful secret to defeating the evil mounted against him in time to save Naperville while also clearing his name and convincing his ex-girlfriend he didn't rape her little sister? Learn more by clicking here.

"It's like stepping into a Peretti novel, where the characters of the book are joined by the unseen characters - angels and demons.” – Becky Davis



Thursday, October 23, 2014

Who You Gonna Call?


Episode 2 of Jude Nerdworthy, Teenage Monster Fighter, in One Bad Bite Deserves Another

Scroll down or click here to read from the beginning.

Marylou ignored the four red eyes hiding in the bushes across the street. She turned away from me to speak into her cell. “Albert, can you bring your gun collection to my house right away. Sure, six should be enough if they’re fully loaded. Great. See you.”

“Since when do you have Albert Bringlebaum on your direct dial?” I asked.

“Pay attention to your clients,” Marylou said.

“I don’t have clients. I have friends in trouble.”

“Help that friend in trouble,” Marylou said.

I turned to the tall girl. “What happened to you?”

“Marianna Bucket,” the tall girl said.

“But she’s a fiction character in Marvin Bloodleder’s novel series Dawn of the Dimwits.” I knew I made a mistake as soon as I spoke.

Marianna Bucket escaped from the first draft of Bloodleder’s latest in the series, The Bitcoin Conspiracy, about a vampire who sucked money and invested it in the illicit drug industry.

“After you helped Mr. Bloodleder capture Marianna Bucket, he rewrote her part to make her a guy turned into werewoman. It was his way of punishing her for running away. But the guy character he wrote was gay and his big thing in the novel was to come out during the high school prom.”

Marylou played with the speed dial on her cell again. “Marianna didn’t like the idea of playing a gay male character with a big thing at the prom. If she was going to be a guy, she wanted to be a hunk who liked girls.”

“Who are you calling this time?” I asked.

Ignoring me, she spoke to her cell. “Marvin, we’ve got your runaway character. Yes, again. Come and get her. It doesn’t matter if she’s supposed to be gay and a he.”

“What are you doing with Marvin Bloodleder on your direct call?” I asked.

Marylou ignored me again. “Just get to the point, Phil or whoever you are.”

“I’m thinking of going by Philomena. That way I won’t have to get a new driver’s license.” The tall girl crossed her legs at the ankles despite her standing position.

“And the point is?” Marylou asked.

“Marianna escaped from Mr. Bloodleder’s novel again. She fooled me into thinking she was an Ebola nurse escaped from Dallas who needed a hug. That’s when she bit me.  Now, look what happens to me when the moon is full.” Phil or Philomena gestured to indicate her lovely self.

“What? You look great to me,” I said as Marylou punched my sore left ribs.

“I can’t play football like this?”

“And why are those four red eyes staring at us in the bushes across the street. I’m especially curious about the really big pair of eyes,” I said.

Click here to continue...



Tuesday, October 27! Whoa, Paul, That's a long wait. 

No worries, mate. It'll be here by next Tuesday. In the meantime, you can enjoy more monstrous fun, by downloading Egbert, a tale of vampires in Chicago. It's a best seller for Kindle vampire stories on Amazon this week (free category -- go figure) Click over to Amazon for the free download.






NOVEL FOCUS: Snipgrdxz and the Time Monsters, features Bryan Ganarski, Jennifer Hawkins, Gilbert Armstrong, and of course, Snpgrdxz, the teenaged space alien shape shifter who can be either a boy or girl depending on his or her mood. Hormones fly in this madcap misadventure. Is Bryan totally insane or is there a part of him that can still fall in love with one of the many versions of his time-traveling girlfriend? Find out when you read this love-crazed tale of friends who become stuck between the wrong time on earth and an underworld inhabited by an evil daemon, werewolves, nosferatu, trolls and more. Learn more by clicking here.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The Weregirl of Warrenville


Episode 1 of Jude Nerdworthy, Teenage Monster Fighter, in One Bad Bite Deserves Another

Phil Nimmocker found out what happens when a teenage weregirl bites you. His other problem was he didn’t have a sister to borrow a dress from whenever the moon went full. And we’re not even going to think about the dress size his mom wears now that menopause has kicked in.

Phil played left tackle for the Wheaton Warrenville South High School Tigers so as you can imagine he was a big guy even as a sophomore. Six-four, 275 about covers his height and weight. He dated Dorothy Minglebocker despite the difference in their age and cuspid size.

Dorothy had no problem fitting into the sophomore class again this year. She’s been an on-again, off-again cheerleader for the high school team since the mid-eighties when she first began to twinkle and prefer rainy, overcast skies during the day.

The trouble began the night of the full moon last month. My girlfriend, Marylou Brombach, and I occupied the living room couch at her house while her mom changed the oil on my car out in the garage. We were in the midst of typical Friday night boy-girl tongue-related activities when Gloria Beeswax burst in without so much as a doorbell ring. Gloria was the cheerleader who calculated that one cheerleader plus one high school football team added up to a good time was had by all.

“Oh, I like where your hand is headed, Jude,” said Gloria.

“You better be interested in Jude Nerdworthy’s monster fighting skills rather than his digital dexterity while rounding my third base. Besides, the sliding position of Jude Nerdworthy’s hand is not the reason you barged into my house, is it, Gloria?” Marylou asked.

“You guys have to see this. Come.” Gloria spun on her well-formed heels and returned to Marylou’s front porch.

Marylou sighed. I removed my hand and together we followed Gloria who led us down to the sidewalk where we spotted Dorothy Minglebocker holding hands with an attractive, six-four teenage girl who looked like she could be Phil Nimmocker’s sister if he had one. Unlike Phil, this girl was curvaceous in a near perfect way. The new girl wore a lacy black dress that would have qualified as a short skirt on a girl a foot shorter than her six-four height. On the new girl, we were talking sexy t-shirt and better not bend over.

“Jude, you have to help me,” Dorothy said.

“I have a stake in the kitchen and a large wooden mallet,” I suggested.

“Not me, silly. My boyfriend needs your help.” Dorothy retracted her fangs along with her smile.

“Where is he?” I asked.

“Right here. Say hello, Phil.” Dorothy leaned in close to her lofty friend.

The towering girl holding Dorothy’s hand said, “Hello, Jude.” Her soft, sultry voice stirred more than my imagination.

Marylou elbowed me in the ribs as my imagination shrunk down to normal size. She yanked her cell out of a pocket in her skirt.

“Who are you calling?” I asked. “And what are those four pairs of red eyes across the street in the bushes. I’m especially curious about those two really big eyes.”

Click here to continue reading...




For more monstrous fun, download Egbert, a tale of vampires in Chicago. It's number 10 on the US best seller list for Kindle vampire stories today on Amazon (free category -- go figure) Click over to Amazon for the free download.





NOVEL FOCUS: Snipgrdxz and the Time Monsters, features Bryan Ganarski, Jennifer Hawkins, Gilbert Armstrong, and of course, Snpgrdxz, the teenaged space alien shape shifter who can be either a boy or girl depending on his or her mood. Hormones fly in this madcap misadventure. Is Bryan totally insane or is there a part of him that can still fall in love with one of the many versions of his time-traveling girlfriend? Find out when you read this love-crazed tale of friends who become stuck between the wrong time on earth and an underworld inhabited by an evil daemon, werewolves, nosferatu, trolls and more. Learn more by clicking here.


Friday, October 10, 2014

How to Take Your Dialogue to the Next Level


Yesterday, I wrote about how to enhance the dialogue you write by thinking more about how people often only half listen in a conversation. I suggested asking leading questions to force the other person to more fully participate in the conversation. Last night at my writer’s group, I gave an exercise in three parts. In part one, we wrote a monologue. In part two we revised the monologue as a dialogue with two speakers. The third part of the exercise was to revise the dialogue to indicate that the second person was only half listening. The first speaker was permitted to ask leading questions. The prompt for the exercise was: I won’t see you until…

It was a timed exercise so I skipped the quote marks and tags. Here is my result for part three.

I won’t see you until Danny comes back from that Jupiter trip –

Wait. Danny went to Jupitor?

Yeah.

What’s he doing on Jupitor?

I don’t know. Something about picking up crops or plants or trees or whatever they grow up there these days.

Oh, that reminds me. Mom picked up the coolest oak cabinets for the kitchen at ISOGS.

No, no, you’re missing the point.

What? You said trees. Naturally I assumed you meant oak. They’re the only ones that grow in outer space.

Wait. I wanted to tell you I love you.

You what? This isn’t about my mother’s kitchen, is it?

You’re spoiling the moment, darling. Don’t you feel what I feel?

Did you say you wanted to tell me something about loving me? No, that couldn’t be right? What were you saying?

I wanted to tell you I love you because, frankly, that’s the way they do it in vampire  movies, and well, I have a little confession to make.

Vampire movies? Oh, that reminds me. Did you see Dawn of Dead Blood Suckers yet?

You watch vampire movies?

Yeah, you knew that, right?

Noooo. Since when?

Last Saturday. George Nipster took me.

Wait, you went out with George?

Yeah.

I thought we were dating?

We are? Oh, I thought we were just friends.

Well, I am a vampire. We don’t do friends. Well, we do friends, but we don't have any.

I thought you were a werewolf. Danny said to watch out because you’re a real wolf.

Yes, I know you think I’m a werewolf, and I am. But then Gilrod bit me the other week, and now I have to leave for Space Station Alpha. I think I’ll always be under a full moon up there –

Hold on. You’re going to the moon?

No, Space Station Alpha.

When did you become a space junkie?

When I became a werewolf I got that free scholarship to NIU where all the animals go.

So are you a vampire or a werewolf?

So yeah, exacty. I’ll be a blood sucking werewolf in space. Or I’ll bite all their heads off and then suck their blood, but either way it won’t be pretty when Danny returns from Jupitor with that cargo ship load of wolfsbane and oak stakes.

Aren’t you allergic to that stuff?

Sure, but I can avoid the wolfsbane. All I have to do is not drink any poisoned Tang. But the oak stakes? One or two I can catch but a cargo ship loaded with them?

***

Did you download your $0.99 copy of Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters yet? Today on Amazon for your Kindle. Click here and be sure to pass the link on to your friends.


Thursday, October 9, 2014

Why Do Characters Ask Questions?


On the surface, you may be wondering why I would even ask a question about questions. Characters ask questions because they need an answer from another character in the story. Pretty simple, right?

Not.

Consider when a sales person or teacher asks you a question. By sales person I’m not thinking of those pesky telemarketers that call you in the middle of your dinner. I’m thinking about professional business development people who are tasked with finding new customers and serving existing customers for your company or any company for that matter.

The sales rep needs information to guide you to make the best decision about a purchase for the needs of your business. The sales rep asks a lot of questions about those needs. But if you listen closely to the conversation, there is something else going on. The sales person has to be a good listener and asking a question forces the sales person to listen to you instead of “selling” you.

But it works the other way around. If the sales person tries to tell you or “sell” you on a product, you’ll only half listen. You have better things to think about then listening to some sales rep natter on about a product you’re only half interested in, in the first place. The smart sales rep asks instead of tells. You’ll hear questions like:
  • How would it feel to never have to worry about digital security breaches again?
  • How would a new digital security breakthrough fit into your network?
Such questions are conversation starters. When a sales rep opens a dialogue, the customer listens and responds. The exchange will be in the form of brief statements and more questions. For the sales person, this dialogue will guide the customer in making an informed choice about their purchase.

BTW, the questions above are the type we ask at FXX Enterprises about our new digital security solution, DVNC, which prevents the kind of security breaches you hear about every day in the news. This, of course, raises another question: Why aren’t more of those big box retailers, restaurant chains, banks and medical offices calling us yet? Learn more by visiting our FXX website by clicking here.

The same thing applies to a teacher or college professor. If your instructor drones on with a lecture for the whole class period, you’re likely to be found among those students snoring away in the back of the room or among the note exchanging lovers. Either way, you’re not going to ace that next exam. But if the teacher asks leading questions, you are more likely to become engaged in the topic leading to that A. (They still give As, don’t they?) 

Let’s bring this Q&A back to writing dialogue in fiction. If people only half listen, then how realistic is it for your characters to have a lovely conversation as though they have nothing else on their minds to distract them? Instead of trading facts and opinions in a nonstop back and forth of data dumping, have your characters raise leading questions that force the other character to respond.

Your characters, like people everywhere, have to focus to answer a question. If a character isn’t focused on the conversation, asking a question will make this obvious and help restore the listener’s focus.

To add realism to your dialogue, have a distracted character not listen. Have the other character call out the non-listening one. While you’re engaged in writing realistic dialogue, avoid long lectures by your character by breaking the information up into a back and forth conversation. (There are exceptions of course, but in general, short and spiffy is better than long and “Oops, I fell asleep. What were we talking about?”)

Why haven’t you downloaded Snpgrdxz yet?
My full-length new novel, Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters, is going for less than a buck for your Kindle this week on Amazon. You only have today and tomorrow. So what gives? Why wouldn’t you click on over to Amazon right now and check this deal out?



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

How to Get to Know Your Characters


The Write Time Writer’s Group in Geneva, Illinois, discussed ways to get to know a character in preparation for writing a novel. With Nanowrimo coming up in November, these ideas may help you prepare to write a novel in a month.

Here’s our list:
  1. Give them their own goals.
  2. Identify personal theme songs for each character.
  3. Write a voice summary for each character. As an author, you have a voice. Your characters need their own voice to help you distinguish them from each other.
  4. Interview your characters. This is one of my favorites. As my character answers a series of questions, her personality, mannerisms and speech patterns emerge.
  5. Rewrite the Gettysburg Address as the character. This gets at the character’s voice and personality.
  6. Diagnostic – Use DSM for mental disorders – working reference for physicians, psychologists, social workers, attorneys, etc.
  7. What else is going on in your character’s life? This is the backstory that doesn’t make it into your novel, but helps you get to know the character.
  8. Which Hollywood actor would play your character? Basing your character on an actor provides a built-in character description.
  9. Write the story and the characters will reveal themselves. At the end of first draft, you will know your characters. Make adjustments as part of the editing.
Explore the characters in my new horror humor novel, Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters, today for less than a buck for your Amazon Kindle. It’s nonstop action, nonstop monsters and nonstop laughter when you visit the crazy world of Snpgrdxz, the teenaged alien shape shifter, and his high school buddy Bryan Ganarski. And don’t forget Jennifer Hawkins. A guy has to have someone to fall in love with even if she does shoot at you, right? Click here to learn more.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Curse of Dracula


Grummuglefix.

That’s what I say when I’m angry like when some smart alec stakes my heart while I’m dead. But you didn’t stop by to hear me curse. I am Dracula, Count of Transylvania. My people hate me because I charge high taxes. The town councils complain.

“What do you think?” they ask. “Do you expect blood from a stone?”

But I say, “Of course not. I have you for that. I don’t take all of your blood, just a little to pay for my many services to you like keeping out barbarian invaders from the north and civilized invaders from the south. And west? Don’t even ask about the west.”

Things run great in my country. People are happy once their bite marks heal up. I only take a little bit. It’s good for them. They make new, healthy blood.

Things went bad for a while when the Communists took over, and I was no longer Count Dracula. Instead, I became Comrade Dracula, Commissar of Transylvania.

But the people hated me because I charged high taxes. Comrades from Moscow said I had to share my castle with the workers. “It’s too big for one man with only three living dead wives,” they said.

I offered the villagers the opportunity to spend their nights in Dracula’s castle. Villagers all said, “No thank you. Your castle is too far from the factory.”

So the Communists fell after only 75 years in power. That’s like a long lunch break for me. I went into exile like all good former commissars. By the way, there’s no such thing as a “good” commissar. This explains why communism failed.

I moved to England and married the daughter of an earl. We were happy until she wanted a baby. I found a teenage baby for her. She became a nice daughter for Dracula and his lovely bride.

Grummuglefix.

She found out about boys.

Maybe you have seen her at the high school dance. She’s the one with the two big teeth up front. No braces.

My wife likes our teenager but wishes for a real baby still. I explained how vampires can’t have babies. You have to be human. Instead, please enjoy our teenage daughter. See she’s having nice romances with teenage boys and werewolves.

Our daughter is a nice girl. She brings her girlfriends home for a pajama party. We serve them snacks, sodas, booze and drugs. Then we suck their blood.

Before dawn, we send our daughter’s friends home happy. Later they make their mothers and fathers happy. Unfortunately, the authorities don’t like too much happiness, especially amongst their vampire neighbors. So as the police pound stakes during the day, I move the family back home to Transylvania.

Grummuglefix.

My three old wives do not like my new family, but I tell them we are one big happy family whether they like it or not. I remind them that Count Dracula can pound a few stakes just like Englishmen.

My teenage daughter adapts quickly to Transylvania. She loves dating the local boys at night.

Meanwhile, I am no longer Commissar as I said. Instead, I am Count Dracula again except now we have democracy. I am a very democratic count. I tax everyone equally. It’s only fair. Oh wait. I am progressive democrat. I tax rich people more equally than poor people. And I support health care plan because we need a nice hospital with a big blood bank.

***

Speaking of vampires…
Did you know that my new novel, Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters, is chock full of vampires? It’s loaded with trolls and a wide range of other strange monsters. It’s a horror story blended into a time travel journey. Snpgrdxz is pronounced as if spelled snip-grid-ix. Begin by reading the free chunk you can access by clicking on the book cover on Amazon by clicking here.


Monday, October 6, 2014

Snpgrdxz and the Discount Offer



Purchase Snpgrdxz for just 99 cents today.

The modern novel is about two things: action and emotion. Action moves the story along so that you can’t put it down because of the nonstop forward motion. Emotion is about laughter, joy, excitement. It’s about anger, fear and angst. It’s about the exhilaration of needing to know what will happen next. Above all, it’s about falling in love with one person in one place, and with one book, one author. For love conquers everything including the monsters who’d love to kill us, eat us, or transform us into something unspeakable in the world of Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters.

What if one night that teenage girl you have a crush on appears at the foot of your bed, pistol in hand, and threatens to shoot you? But your best friend and a terrorist burst into your bedroom and kill her in the nick of time? But the next night this same girl shows up in your bed again? This time she’s ready for love. When did your dead crush become your girlfriend? Wild dreams? Since when did your nightmares leave actual bullet holes and blood stains behind?

Join the crazy journey of Bryan Ganarski, Jennifer Hawkins, Gilbert Armstrong, and of course, Snpgrdxz, the teenaged space alien shape shifter who can be either a boy or girl depending on his or her mood. Hormones fly, earther and other, in this madcap misadventure.

Is Bryan totally insane or is there a part of him that can still fall in love with one of the many versions of his time-traveling girlfriend? And will Bryan work up the gumption to kiss Jennifer in front of the whole sophomore class like she asked him to? She did ask him, didn’t she?

This love-crazed tale of time travel features a group of friends who become stuck between the wrong time on earth and a troll world filled with monsters far worse than those pesky tiny bridge trolls and the really tall, hairy mountain trolls. An evil daemon, werewolves, nosferatu, and a few ghosts are among the many monsters waiting for you in Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters. It’s the first novel in my new sci-fi/fantasy horror series.

Enjoying a great read begins with action and emotion. Act now to purchase Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters on Kindle today for only $0.99 US. Save $2 US and pay less than a buck. Such a deal! Don’t miss out on it. Click here now.

You can get all emotional later as you read Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters.


In case you missed it, here’s the link to my new novel on Amazon: Click here.

Friday, October 3, 2014

A Modern Warrior Woman


Jennifer Hawkins discovers her role as the warrior attracted to a cowardly boyfriend in Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters. Jennifer protects and lifts up her boyfriend while displaying the courage to become the only female member of the time travelling team searching for the lost Maria Gonzalez. She serves as the conscience of the group while retaining her nickname of Wild Thing. It’s Jennifer who dispatches two of the mobsters who attack in 1923, and she is the one who serves as nurse to a wounded Bryan Ganarski. (BTW, you’ll want to check out this scene as described in a first-person point of view by Bryan after he is wounded in the head. It makes for an interesting Tour de Force.)

Jennifer meets herself on her time journey and the two Jennifers travel together without having the time-space continuum collapse. Apparently the universe can abide a paradox. 

One of the things to watch for as you read my Snpgrdxz (pronounced like it's spelled Snip-grid-ix) series of novels is the way the two main Jennifers (there are others that pop in from time to time) grow in two different directions with one becoming a strong female warrior while the other descends into evil.

By having two versions of the same strong female character, I’m able to explore the way any of us can choose evil or good actions. Snpgrdxz also provides a humorous way to examine the theme of good and evil in our modern culture which dismisses this kind of contrast as primitive Bronze Age thinking. In a world that approves of our actions as “lifestyle choices,” the Snpgrdxz novels show that not all choices are for the good and not all actions give life.

Read the free portion of the first novel in the Snpgrdxz series, Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters, by clicking here for the book on Amazon.

And while you’re on Amazon, be sure to download the Kindle version of my most downloaded short story Little Miss Forgotten. It reached number 33 on Amazon this morning and today is the last day it's free.

Today’s Nostalgia Post: How can a Christian write a story where a character commits a murder? Take a deep dive into a philosophical issue. Click here.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Girl with the Killer Kiss


You have to be realistic. Like all other organizations, whether for profit or not for profit, the idea is to promote your services in the most attractive way. For example, would you voluntarily kiss a monster in a floor-length hoodie? Or allow the same monster to kiss you full on the lips?

When it comes to applying the kiss of death, wouldn’t the victim be more likely to respond to the advances of an attractive young person?

What we have here is the basis for my short story, Little Miss Forgotten, a tale about a death angel who takes her vacation in the real world where you and I live. The story is set during the Vietnam War era when death angels were especially busy and their vacations well-earned. What happens when a vacationing death angel meets a regular guy in search of love?

Find out by reading Little Miss Forgotten. It’s available today free on Amazon. Download your free copy by clicking here.

Today’s Nostalgia Post: Mosquitoes. The season isn’t over yet, so let’s take a quick look at mosquito prevention humor from August 2009. Click here.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Death Takes a Vacation


We often think of death as an angel sent to take away your soul to judgment, leaving your body as an empty shell for the fire pit or burial ground. But the world is so overrun by people that one angel simply can’t snatch all the souls fast enough, especially in a war zone. So what’s Death to do?

It turns out the Death Department operates a whole cadre of death angels, each assigned to its own territory and given a quota to  meet. Death angels, known in the Vatican archives as Deathabus, circle about their area of responsibility to snag those souls ready for the great beyond.

On occasion, the Deathabus is authorized to take a vacation. Now, you may be picturing the agent of Death as this mysterious skeletal creature wrapped inside a floor length hoodie, but nothing could be farther from the truth. The angels of death, all of them, are either handsome young men in appearance or attractive, well-figured females. The one who kisses you depends on your preference. Death knows your secret desires to be sure.

Learn more about the deathly kiss of greeting by reading Little Miss Forgotten. It’s available today free on Amazon. Download your free copy by clicking here.

Today’s nostalgia post: Day 1 describes the first day of a road trip taken by my adult son Joseph and me back in 2009. In this post, I channel Robert M. Pirsig despite my then desire to wax Hemingway-esque. Click here to read.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Little Miss Forgotten


My writing style has evolved over time as has reader tastes. Novels I write today begin with a strong hook. For example, my new novel Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters, begins with this line:

From where she stood at the foot of my bed, fifteen-year-old Jennifer Hawkins couldn’t miss, but would this sweet girl shoot me?

The idea of the opening hook is to entice you into wanting to know what happens next. Will Jennifer Hawkins pull the trigger? There was a time when a story about a teenage girl and a gun would end up with the girl not firing. But this is a 21st century girl who has been raised in an era of high violence, often meaningless, involving teen-on-teen crime.

So does Jennifer pull the trigger? The odds are very high that she does, but I’ll let you find out for yourself when you read the free portion by clicking the book cover on Amazon. Click here to visit Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters on Amazon. BTW, Snpgrdxz is pronounced as if spelled Snip-grid-ix. It’s all explained in the novel.

This brings us back to Little Miss Forgotten, a strong female character who appears in my short story of the same name. This is an older story of mine, and it features a more languid opening style of stories written decades ago when readers preferred a little more setup before the action blazed hot.

Here is the opening:

"Do you wanna dance?" Okay, it was the name of a top ten hit, and today's kids would sneer if they heard me, but in 1967 it worked.

She hesitated. She frowned. She stared for what seemed an eternity, (about three seconds). "Sure, why not?"

I don't remember the song. The band was on break, and the young kids who worked as house deejays were playing records. It was a fast one. You just didn't ask a girl to dance a slow one the first time. You had to dance a couple of fast ones first. At a nice suburban Catholic church hall like Holy Cross, a girl accepting a slow dance was giving you an invitation to climb all over her.

We danced that first one, and then a few more fast dances. They were the usual Mashed Potato, Watusi and Stomp. Then a slow one came on, my all-time favorite: "Angel Baby" by Rosie and the Originals. (High falsetto, andante: "It's just like heav-en, be-ing here with yo-oo, 'cause you're like an an-gel, too good to be true-oo, but after-ah-all, I love you, I do-oo, An-gel Ba-by, my An-gel Ba-by," etc.) These lyrics won’t mean much to you unless you already know the song, but trust me, the tune was great for slow dancing.


***

Set during the Vietnam war era, the rest of this short horror fiction is yours free for your Kindle by clicking here today. Beware the kiss of death and as always, stay away from those pretty little blondes.

Okay, you don’t have to avoid the blondes, but you still have to watch out for that one kiss from Little Miss Forgotten that will change your life forever. Click here for the free download.

Today’s nostalgia blog post is from May 22, 2009. Click here for a sweet yarn on yet another strong young lady and my take on wisdom.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Celebrating the Fifth


I’m celebrating the fifth year of this blog with a series of special offers beginning this week with my short story Little Miss Forgotten, which is a free download all this week on Amazon. Usually my short stories sell for $0.99 so this represents a stupendous savings of nearly a buck.

I’ll tell you more about Little Miss Forgotten as the week goes on. In the meantime, you can download your free copy by clicking here.

Other special offers to look for include the Kindle version of Book 1 of my new Snpgrdxz (say “Snip-grid-ix” series) which you can purchase for only $0.99 next week, marked down from the usual $2.99 on Kindle. If you can’t wait, you may purchase it now by clicking here

I’ll be giving away more short stories in the coming months. And look for some of my novels at a discount. I’ll also launch two more novels in the Snpgrdxz series in time for the holidays.

Enjoy. Don’t forget to click here for your free download of Little Miss Forgotten for your Kindle.

Today’s Nostalgia Post: As part of this week’s celebration of five years of blogging, I’ll link you to some of my favorite oldie but goodie posts. My first blog post appeared on April 17, 2009. In that one, I ask “Am I There Yet?” which is a lighthearted look at the art of blog posting and my entry into the realm.  You can read post number one by clicking here.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Strong Women Make Great Lovers


Penny Durkin is the most complex female character I’ve created to date. She starts as a conniving teenager bent on seducing a younger teen only to discover that she falls in love with him in a reversal of the Romeo and Juliet story where Romeo is the older one of the couple. Steel Pennies has a plot that leads Penny to become a suspect as well as a potential next victim. Her strength of character comes across in the climatic final chapters of the story. She loves Tommy McConnell while attempting to protect her younger brother from an abusive father and older brother. She deals with her own pregnancy resulting from a previous relationship with a victim of a serial killer. Penny also deals with her mother’s rejection and the racial tension that flares in her mixed community. Steel Pennies has a blockbuster ending with Penny in the middle of the action.

Another strong female character in Steel Pennies is Chiamaka, which translates as “God is beautiful.” Chiamaka is a 13-year-old proto Angela Davis-type character. She has no problem telling you what she thinks and how she feels.

Steel Pennies is a story of the human monsters that haunt our world. The story could have been ripped from today’s headlines, but is set in an earlier era when the monsters were us as well as the crazies who brought down death and worse upon their innocent victims.

You can read a large chunk of Steel Pennies free by clicking on the book cover on Amazon.

If you’re ready to check out the free portion of my latest novel, Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters, click here for the book on Amazon.

Both stories are laced with the humor that characterizes my treatment of the madness of life.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Strong Women Make Strong Monsters


Peevy O’Malley in Hags plays a minor role compared to my other female characters. She was the teenage girlfriend of Micah before he spent fifteen years in prison. Upon his return at the start of the story, she rejects him. Micah finds love where he can, but through it all, Peevy remains strong willed so that in the end… well, you’ll have to read this story for yourself. The other women in Hags may be hags, but they are strong hags. They do not hesitate to display their feminine wiles or their hag witchcraft powers. Perfect for Halloween.

The popular horror stories today emphasize the romantic notion that there are good monsters and bad monsters. Just because Stefan is a twinkling day walker vampire doesn’t necessarily make him evil, does it? He rarely drinks human blood anymore. And Carl the werewolf is just a misunderstood teenager bent on a few hairy adventures whenever the moon is full. Okay, so a few people may get hurt or killed along the way, but really, these monsters just want to love their human girlfriends and live their lives unhindered by their evil fellow monsters or the local sheriff or vampire killer. Is that asking too much?

Yes, it is. In my stories, you will recognize the monsters for what they really are – evil demonic presences bent on the destruction of humankind. My monsters cling to the darkness in fear of the light. My female monsters in stories like Hags may be strong women, but they are evil just the same. Demons, whether in the shape of hellish feigns or twinkling vampires, always have the same ambition to destroy God’s creation, especially by leading humans to join them in hell.

So if you enjoy a story where monsters truly are the bad guys and humans are the good guys, then you’ll enjoy my stories. And the strong characters in Hags.

You can read a large chunk of Hags free by clicking on the book cover on Amazon. Click here for the book page.

If you’re ready to check out the free portion of my latest novel, Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters, click here for the book on Amazon.

Both novels offer a humorous look at the horror genre, but the characters are genuine and crafted for a serious take on the struggle between good and evil in a world caught up in the midst of spiritual warfare where the battles are often fought just beyond our ability to experience them through our five senses.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Strong Women Make Strong Stories


In Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters, Bryan Ganarski kisses Jennifer Hawkins in front of the entire sophomore class. The next thing you know, Bryan is flat on his back on the floor.

Jennifer has slugged him on the jaw.

Women don’t have to bash a guy to prove they are strong, but it helps. More often in fiction a strong woman grows out of a scared young lady facing danger beyond her comprehension. The strong woman has the strength to face her circumstances, no matter what. And she grows by her experiences.

With four novels under my belt, I can see a trend of strong female characters. These include Mary of Nazareth in Fulfillment, Peevy O’Malley in Hags, Penny Durkin in Steel Pennies and Jennifer Hawkins in my latest novel Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters. They each display strength of character and a will to survive that serves them well in their stories.

Fulfillment: Mary
In Fulfillment I try to bring the Christmas story to life for modern readers. The real story of Mary is one of the most fascinating plot lines in history as she travels from innocence to the experience of motherhood while retaining her virgin status.

As the main character of Fulfillment, Mary of Nazareth faces down Satan while pregnant with the future Messiah. Mary starts as a very young girl with no experience dealing with evil, but evil shows up just the same. From the novel’s opening scene onward, demons seek to destroy the woman who would mother a savior. Mary matures in strength and character as she accepts an angel’s invitation to become the mother of Jesus. She deals with an initial rejection when her parents learn that she is pregnant by someone other than her fiancĂ©. Her fiancĂ© rejects her only to change his mind later. By standing her ground against the evil that attacks her, she brings an odd assortment of characters to her side as her defenders.

I’ll write more about my female characters in future posts. For now, you can read a large chunk of Fulfillment for free by clicking on the book cover on Amazon. Click here.

If you’re ready to check out the free portion of my latest novel, Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters, click here for the book on Amazon.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Words That Bite


Did you know that robots scour the Internet with nothing better to do than seek out and copy words and reveal those words to their mad scientist bosses? These mechanical beasts look like tiny metal spiders bearing little resemblance to the spider bots in Minority Report, the eye-popping film featuring Tom Cruise.

Here is one of the words you must avoid: “at” or as it is more popularly known online “@.”

You would think “at” would be a simple enough word as to be innocuous, but innocuous is too big of a word to describe a little word. Matters become worse if you happen to forget to leave spaces between your words like the automatic random space skipping feature built into Windows 8.

For example, if you type a simple sentence like eat@joes.com, you not only will lose your spaces, but you also will flunk that English test you’re taking at this moment for using “@” instead of “at.” While checking out the "@,"you’re bound to notice the dot (also known as a period or end stop depending on whether you are writing in English or American). You may be wondering about the reason I asked you to notice the dot in the first place in the previous sentence. No reason except I want you to notice it. Dot itself is a transliteration from the original Geek and just goes to show what can happen if you don’t have any English majors on your team. Always hire an English major if only to keep your words honest.

And never place words ending in “por” next to the word “no” as in “Bob came home last night in a drunken stupor. No!” The bots, being horny little devils, will inevitably fix your grammar, spelling and punctuation as they assume you typed your stuff in Windows 8 and hadn’t got around to the editing yet. As a result, the bots will translate your simple story bit into “Drunken Stu’s porno.” You’ll notice most of the letters match, but the spacing and such have all gone different. And of course Bob changed his name to Stu.

Putting this advice together in a more or less typical story line, we read “Don’t eat at Joes or dot calm girls because someone may mistake you for a porno star named Stu of Bob." BTW, the bots, I’m quite sure, have rendered “more or less” as “moralless” by now, which is not an actual word, but that has never stopped people from using it as in “Helen is a moralless bioche for running off with that dude (dewd) from Troy.” The other possibility is the bots will interpret “more or less” as “moralist” as in “That Helen is some moralist. Did you see the way she fought off that dude (dewd?) from Troy?”

How do you fix those pesky bots invading your online presence? Here I do not mean “repair” when I write “fix.” I am, of course, referring to the concept of total destruction of the bots. It’s the only way.

How do you fix the dreaded Internet spider bots, you ask? Give them something they can’t read, but you can like…

Snpgrdxz

and the Time Monsters


Click here.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Where is Snpgrdxz?


My new novel was supposed to be launched the other day, but one of my characters hi-jacked my blog when I wasn’t looking. Claiming to be my nephew, which he’s not, this young character told you more than you should know about Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters and most of it may or may not have been true.

By focusing on his own adventures, Bryan Ganarski neglected to introduce you to Snpgrdxz, the space alien teenage space shifter. Bryan pretty much does this in my novel also. He’s supposed to be Boswell to Snpgrdxz’s Samuel Johnson. But instead he spends way too much time telling you about Jennifer Hawkins, the sophomore he has this huge crush on.

With Bryan you learn more about Jennifer than you want to know, like the location of that birthmark she’d prefer to keep to herself and the multiple versions of herself. That was supposed to be kept secret. Wait until the NSA hears about that one. They don’t believe in time travel in Washington. If they did, they’d figure out how to balance the budget, but that’s another story.

According to my outline, Snpgrdxz is supposed to be the story of an alien shape shifter stuck on earth for decades. His big problem is the U.S. government which wants to capture him so they can slice, dice and dissect him. Bryan Ganarski is supposed to run away with Snpgrdxz and record his adventures while narrowly escaping the men in black.

But that’s not what happened.

Teenagers.

Who knew there was a time portal hidden under Lincoln High School in downtown Wheaton, Illinois? Well, actually the trolls knew about it.

And Maria Gonzalez obviously when the trolls kidnapped her.

And Mr. Romano, the art teacher, must have known about it because he’s the one who led the gang to the Wheaton When Portal in the first place. But none of this has anything to do with running away from those pesky guys in the black suits.

Oh well. That’s what you get when you leave a kid in charge of your story.

Go ahead and read this sci/fi time journey adventure romance thing. I have to admit the love story is romantic, except for the parts where people get shot at… and hit by real bullets. And attacked by monsters. But hey… no wait. You know too much already.

Just read the darn thing and you can let me know how you liked it later. Meanwhile, I’ll see what I can do to bring back that part about the feds chasing Snpgrdxz in a future novel in this series.

Click here.


Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Snpgrdxz Has Landed


Jennifer Hawkins crept into my room last night and plopped on my bed. We talked after midnight on a school night. In her jammies. Bare legs hanging out. That Jennifer Hawkins. The one with the long, straight brunette hair and fat ruby lips and high cheek bones. A bit on the skinny side but tall. Principal Hawkins’ daughter. Old Mrs. Hawkins, the choir director at First Pres’s, daughter.

I know this stuff is hard to believe, but I swear I'm not making it up. My name is Bryan Ganarski, BTW, and I don't make stuff up unless my old man asks me a question.

You’re reading this because my Uncle Paul said I could use his blog account. There’s no way I’d post this where Jennifer Hawkins could see it. Or her mom or dad. Or any of her girlfriends. Or the guys. Well, I guess it's okay if the guys know.

I don’t even know why I’m telling you my story except Uncle Paul said everybody would figure it was just part of that new novel he wrote.

Right.

Like you can write a novel on a blog.

So there I was with Jennifer Hawkins, the prettiest sophomore at Lincoln High, getting mighty friendly at one-thirty in the morning. She grabbed my face in her hands and made me look up into her big, brown bedroom eyes. That’s what Uncle Paul calls girls with big eyes. Bedroom eyes. Especially if they’re all drooping and wet like you better hurry up and kiss me or something lame like that.

Uncles.

Anyway, Jennifer stared me eyeball-to-eyeball as I melted. “Hi, Bryan. Guess you’re wondering what I’m doing in your bedroom in the middle of the night, huh?”

“Kinda.”

“Yeah, well, I guess I like you.”

If you’re expecting a major make out session, you’d be right except this was all a freaking dream. The real story began when I opened my eyes, like I said in the middle of the night, except Jennifer Hawkins wasn’t making kissy face with me. 

In the real world, the teenage girl you have a crush on wakes you up late at night because she wants to blow your head off with the Glock she’s pointing your way.

Welcome to my world.

Yes, she pulls the trigger, but I’m not about to tell you anymore here because I’ve already used up my allotment of words for this blog post so you’ll just have to read it for yourself.

Who knows? Maybe Jennifer will love me tomorrow night.

Snpgrdxz.

And the Time Monsters.

Click here.

Friday, September 5, 2014

News Flash: Bad Decisions


Guest Post by Susan Price

Who doesn't enjoy complaining about Fools responding to Crises with Bad Decisions? News Flash: Bad Decisions, a party game currently under development by Diamond Dust Dreams, encourages you to enjoy doing that. This card game involves combining news-lead or headline sentence “teleprompt” cards with cards listing generic categories of famous (or infamous) people as the fools, crises ranging from mundane to outrageous, and flagrantly Bad Decisions for you to combine into amusing mini-stories.

News Flash: Bad Decisions plays like a cross between Apples to Apples® and Mad Libs®, with each prompt card playing differently every time because the News Anchor (judge) gets to set up every story. The finished game will have 200 cards each in the Fool, Crisis and Bad Decision decks - and 60 teleprompter cards. With a PG13 approach for selecting crises and bad decisions (from actual news stories), Diamond Dust Dreams expects its newest game will give the much racier Cards Against Humanity strong competition as the next must-have party game.

Diamond Dust Dreams is still in its startup phase. With substantial capital already tied up in printing its first game, Kitsune: of Foxes and Fools, the company has turned to Kickstarter to get News Flash: Bad Decisions off the ground. By contributing as little as $10 to the Kickstarter project, you’ll qualify for reward levels with direct input into the creation of additional Fool, Crisis, Bad Decision and Teleprompter cards. All supporters giving $10 or more may suggest topics for future Bad Decisions games, such as: horror movies (“went into the woods alone - at night”), thriller/scifi (“pressed the red button”), modern European history (“invaded Russia in winter”), and biotech (“cloned what?”).

The Kickstarter goal is $20,000, enough to cover the down-payment on a full production print run, so News Flash: Bad Decisions can go on press as soon as the team finishes proofing the final prompt and play decks, including cards suggested by Kickstarter supporters. Game stores are already expressing interest in News Flash: Bad Decisions, although even with the Kickstarter, the company cannot guarantee the game being delivered by Christmas 2014. That said, it could be printed in time to become the hot new Valentine’s Day gift in 2015.

Join our supporters and learn more by checking out the Kickstarter for News Flash: Bad Decisions. This Kickstarter ends September 21, 2014 so please click now. Send comments to Susan Price

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About the Guest Author
Susan Price is a long-time editor and writer. She has edited both fiction and nonfiction books, including Brian Basilico’s book, It’s Not About You, It’s about Bacon, which was named the 2014 Small Business Book Awards Community Choice Winner in the category of Social Media. Her own fiction and poetry is as yet unpublished, although she did win a short story contest run through the Bloomingdale Public Library in 2000. Most of her writing and editing skills now focus on developing and promoting games for Diamond Dust Dreams Inc.


Snpgrdxz
Meanwhile, for a timely return to my world, Snpgrdxz and the Time Monsters is ready to read. Visit Amazon and enjoy.