Sneak-peak at a work in progress

If you don’t hear from me for a while, please don’t think for a second my creativity has gone dormant. Or, I’ve abandoned you. I would never do that. The little wheels in the little mind are always turning, always searching for new story ideas, always reading, writing, trying to refine the craft and become a better writer.

Admittedly, I’ve had a lot of other projects to detract from writing lately. The weather here on Prince Edward Island has been beautiful over the summer. Sometimes I find it hard to keep myself indoors, at the keyboard, creating when the weather is so nice outside. After all, I have a beautiful forested, waterfront acreage to explore.

Additionally, I’ve ben renovating. Like crazy. Trying to make my house a home, make it the way I want it, an atmosphere calm and conducive to creativity. But, now the cold weather is here and the outdoor activities are less attractive. Yup, Old Man Winter is sweeping through, bringing wind, snow and, yes, cold. Brrrrrrrr!

So, post-renovations, post-exploring-the-forest-and-talking-to-decidedly-non-communicative animals, post-summer-fun-in-the-sun, what I have been doing, you ask?

I’ve written A Head for an Eye, my most researched novel ever. And, yes, I’m about to fire it off to my editor and push it down the publishing pipeline. But, recently I read On Writing, by Stephen King. He suggested putting a manuscript away for six weeks or so, picking it up with fresh eyes and reviewing it one more time, before letting the ruthless red pen of the editor start slicing and dicing. And that’s what I’m about to do now. Pick it up, see if I can improve it.

But first I want to finish the first drafts of Assaulted Souls 2 and Assaulted Souls 3, yet another project. I’ve turned my most popular post-apocalyptic (I love that genre) novel, Assaulted Souls into a trilogy. I’m oh so close to the finish line of Assaulted Souls 3, so maybe I’ll start blogging more when I’m done. And maybe I won’t. I guess when it comes write (yes, you guessed it, the pun is intended) down to it I would rather create another novel than post a blog.

But I just wanted to keep you, the reader in the loop. And I assure you I have not abandoned you; nor will I. At least as long as I remain on the sunny side of the dirt, or in this case the snowy side of the dirt. So, without any further adieu (trust me I’ll tell you more about Assaulted Souls 2 and Assaulted Souls 3 in future posts) here’s a synopsis of A Head for an Eye, and a sneak-peak at the prologue and chapter one.

Oh, I almost forgot. When it gets released, in about a month, it will be offered for a limited time for .99 cents before it goes up to its suggested retail price of $2.99. Get it while it’s cheap. Thanks for stopping by.

Synopsis and sneak-peak:

Matt Green’s peaceful capitalist life is shattered when a trusted property management company mismanages his portfolio, leaving him with vacant rental properties, civil litigation, mounting debts and the threat of criminal charges for harassment.

To add insult to injury, he meets an enigmatic and alluring woman, Angelique Augusto, on an internet dating site. After an intensely passionate two weeks, Angelique demands to know Matt’s whereabouts every hour of every day. In the midst of financial, legal and emotional turmoil, Matt receives a visit from a police detective who questions him in connection with the murder of a man Angelique met on an internet dating site.

Frustrated by the Canadian judicial system, his mounting litigation and his fear of being wrongly convicted of murder, Matt flees with Angelique to the lawless Sierra Madre of Mexico to reunite with Angelique’s long-lost sister, Gloria Alvarez.

Matt discovers Angelique is a Tarahumara Indian, a descendent of a peaceful and reclusive tribe with the propensity for fierce retribution when their cultural identity is threatened. Some call them the happiest and toughest race on Earth. Unlike the Canadian judicial system, the Tarahumara brand of justice is a Head for an Eye; steal from them and they kill you.

While Matt finds Angelique’s toughness and passion so endearing, her possessive and obsessive behavior lead him to suspect she’s completely insane, totally capable and willing to murder. He fears for his life after learning she’s still surfing dating sites and flirting with users. If that isn’t enough, she teams up with a drug cartel assassin and starts ordering hits on those she believes have besmirched her honor or the honor of her family.

A Head for an Eye juxtaposes the ruthless Tarahumara brand of justice with the questionable North American justice system, explores the mysterious Indian tribe said to have solved every problem known to mankind and delivers a terrifying and action-packed journey into one of the most murderous and lawless regions in the world.

A shockingly real, eye-opening and gritty tale.

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What it is to be Canadian

Anyone who knows anything about me, and trust me I’m far from a household name, knows that I spend my time living between Calgary, Alberta, and rural Prince Edward Island. Alongside my real estate investment consulting business, I work as a freelance novel editor and an author of predominantly horror fiction novels.

What I woke up to last Friday morning, June 21, was definitely horrifying. But it wasn’t fiction. It was real. A storm that originated in Denver, Colorado, had travelled to Calgary, causing torrential rains and massive flooding in the city overnight. At least 26 neighbourhoods representing about 100,000 people had to be evacuated. In High River, a small town outside the city that was hit hardest by the floods, at least three people were reported dead.

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CONCEPT TO CREATION

If you’ve never worked with a cover artist before, here’s some information that may save you a lot of time and money. I work with Johnny, a talented cover artist, whose day-job is a senior artist for Walt Disney Productions. He works sixty hours a week for Walt Disney, comes home, spends time with his family and then burns the midnight oil creating beautiful, evocative, and in my case menacing book covers.

Check out the latest cover for The Strap, my horror novel scheduled for release in about a month. Continue reading

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Terror in Ecuador

Don’t worry, it’s just a working title for another novel I’m writing.

It might not be as terrifying as it sounds. But, on the other hand, I’m a horror writer after all. One of the highest compliments a reader can pay me is to say my work truly scared them. It’s something many horror writers strive for, but probably few ever attain. One reader who recently read Rule 14, my latest horror, said she was truly stressed and scared reading the work, which she also enjoyed. After I got over my concern for her mental health, I have to admit I was pretty elated about the compliment.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; positive feedback is the fuel that keeps my creative fire burning. But, alas I digress. Except for the burning part, or in this case burn-out. I’ve kept such an insane writing schedule this year, the rate of production has started to take a toll on my health. I’ve hit the wall a few times, only to recover for a few days and start anew. I’ve often tweeted; write, write, write. Rest, rinse, repeat. It’s easy to say, quite another to do consistently.

I also found my inspiration waning ever so slightly. Too much time at the keyboards, and not enough time actually living. I started thinking about it recently and realized that an adventure was exactly what I needed to reignite that spark and passion. Isn’ t the story much more poignant if it has its roots in actual experience? I suppose one could debate that until they are blue in the face. But I won’t bother. To my mind, it is, or at least it’s what I need right now to refuel that creative engine, tune it up so it’s firing efficiently and effectively on all cylinders again.

See, experience, enjoy life and write about it; in an exotic and dramatic country.

That’s the plan anyway. Hence, the trip to Ecuador. In a few days, I’ll be leaving the frequently frigid winter of Canada and flying into Ecuador. Quito, to be precise, the capital of the country. I’ll be gone almost two months and it should be plenty of time to explore the many wonders of the most biodiverse country on the planet (it’s said to have more plant and animal species per square mile than any other country in the world).

Sure, a few people say I’m crazy. Things like, “You spent all that time cranking out all those titles, now you should be working hard on marketing them.” To that, I say screw it. With any luck, over time the art will stand on its own. If not, at least I’m enjoying the ride; hell addicted to the ride. Besides, how often will I get an opportunity to travel to a Quichua Indian village deep in the Amazon jungle and witness a traditional shaman healer perform his magic?

Obviously a rhetorical question. We only have one finite life. At least in the physical realm. Who the hell knows what happens after that. And I believe travel is not only the best education a person can get, but in my case a necessary accelerant to refuel my fire for writing; inspire me with dramatic, educational and (let’s hope anyway) compellingly entertaining material.

I plan on spending some time in Quito, a city rich in history and culture, situated high in the Andes and surrounded by picturesque mist-covered mountain peaks. Then it’s off to The Oriente, a vast jungle landmass with unparalleled biodiversity and spectacular awe-inspiring, raw beauty. Nature, truly at its finest.

Also on the itinerary is The Galapagos Islands, a wonder of nature that, according to Lonely Planet, “might inspire you to think differently about the world…Nowhere else can you engage in a staring contest with wild animals and lose.” The animals have no fear of humans.

Also on the list is the big modern city of Guayaquil, the gateway to the Costa Del Sol, where Esmeraldas, Isla de la plata ( the poor person’s Galapagos), Montanita, Canoa and Manta make the cut but not necessarily in that order. The beauty of the itinerary is that it is not etched in stone. If I like a particular place, I may just decide to hang around a little longer. I know that after the initial sightseeing burst of activity, I’ll be looking to lock in a peaceful hotel by the beach in some sparsely-populated village where I can admire the ocean view daily and tap into its seductive beauty to inspire the creation of more words.

Perhaps more important than the sights, I hope to meet locals and pick their brains to find out what makes them tick, what are the things they hold dear to their hearts, what motivates them, and what are they really like on the inside. I’ve often said when the world becomes too boring, mundane or stressful, I tend to retreat into the familar comfort of my wild imagination. But not this time. This time, I’ll also be retreating into a country vibrantly alive with beauty, culture and history and a resilient people who, so I’ve read, are inherently friendly and happy for the most part.

At least I can talk the talk (it’s a Spanish speaking country and I’m fortunate to be conversant in the language). Time will tell if I can walk the walk. But the journey has already started. In Terror In Ecuador, 17,000 words later, the stage has been set for my arrival in Ecuador. The story will unfold as my adventure unfolds. Perhaps reality will be stranger than fiction. And the beauty of creating that way, is it’s unstructured, passionately raw and real; elements many writers claim constitute the ingredients of a good yarn. Look at Hunter S. Thompson.

Who knows, on Christmas day, I might find myself having dinner with a poor Ecuadorian family and I might be the one playing Santa Claus bearing gifts and food. To truly be able to provide for others less fortunate on this important holiday would surely bring me a joy and satisfaction unmatched by any Canadian Christmas celebration.

Without further adieu, let the adventure begin.

Happy holidays! Feel free to offer comments, advice or travel tips in the comments section below.

And, as always, thanks for stopping by.

 

 

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The toughest race on Earth

They have been called the toughest race on Earth. “The greatest race the world has never seen (Christopher McDougall). ” They are a mysterious, peaceful and spiritual race of people who live off the land and have largely resisted the exploitatve advances of modern day civilization and a commercial economy. They can drink excessive amounts of corn beer well into the night, wake up the next morning and effortlessly run barefoot sixty miles or more through treacherous mountain terrain (you wouldn’t want to see me the morning after excessive drinking). They have been called the greatest runners on Earth. They are the personification of the notion of a simple life, wildly juxtaposed with our desire to accumulate material possessions and complicate our life with the stresses of modern day society.

Who are they? They are the Tarahumara Indians.

They live in what some travelers call a hostile and unforgiving landscape, the Sierra Madre Occidental or Sierra Tarahumara mountain range in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico. They number about 70,000 and most still practice a traditional lifestyle, living in cliff overhangs, caves, or in some cases small cabins constructed of wood or stone.

Their staple crops are corn, beans and squash and they rarely eat meat, knowing that if their supply of food gets destroyed by the elements or rodents, they may need to trade a sheep or goat for more food supplies. Since their average life span is forty-five years, a live goat could mean the difference between life or death.

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A truly haunted house

I’ve always been fascinated by the paranormal. Growing up, my mother used to tell us she would occasionally hear someone shovelling coal into the basement furnace. Only problem was, the furnace had long ago been converted to oil. But she insisted she heard the scraping of a shovel in the middle of the night. And she was convinced the ghost of a former resident was going through the motions of insuring his family, or our family, stayed warm and toasty through the night.

It didn’t take me long to develop an interest in the sound. And I swear, a few nights, standing shakily outside the basement door entrance, I too heard the scraping sound of a shovel and the unmistakable sound of something being dumped, kind of an eerie gravelly sound. Needless to say, at six-years-old, I was far too petrified to venture into the basement to the source.

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Interview with successful thriller author Scott Nicholson

Scott Nicholson, a best-selling indie author, has written more than twenty novels, about eighty short stories, comic series, children’s books, screenplays and a couple of non-fiction books. Prolific is an understatement when describing this successful author of horror, mystery and suspense thrillers.

Living in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina, Nicholson tends an organic garden, successfully eludes stalkers, and lives the dream, creating at a furious pace and winning awards for his work.

His latest release, The Home, takes place in a group home for troubled children. Experiments lead to paranormal activity and ghosts appear from the home’s dark past as an insane asylum. The Home is currently being developed as a feature film.

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Q and A with emerging success story J.L. Doty

J.L. Doty is a successful indie author with a clean, crisp narrative style that catapults his characters right off the pages. Born in Seattle, he now makes his home in California.

From a very early age he made up stories in his head, but never considered writing for a living. So he got a Ph.D. in optical engineering, and went to work as a research scientist. But he was still making up stories in his head, so he wrote the first draft of A Choice of Treasons, and, according to Doty, “It was 250,000 words of pure, unmitigated crap. It was terrible: poorly written, poorly plotted, shallow characters that no reader could come to care about. It was the hardest decision I ever made, but I literally threw it away and turned to other projects.”

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Rule 14, a chilling exploration of the fight-or-flight response, now FREE

 

What do you do if you’re backed into a corner? Your life or the lives of your loved ones is threatened. Or, your livelihood is threatened? Do you fight, flee or freeze, a new possibility now incorporated into studies on the fight-or-flight mechanism?

Unless you’ve been tested, which many of us have, it’s hard to predict a given response to a life-threatening situation. And you might have reacted one way previously, but what if the new threat is far more dangerous and deadly than any previous threat? How would you respond? Continue reading

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