Free Fiction—CHAINSAW HONEYMOON Chapter Four

[I’m A Young Girl 2]
Photo courtesy of stephane via Creative Commons

For seven weeks, I will be posting chapters from my new satirical novel Chainsaw Honeymoon.

Blurb
Ruby Navarro, a bright, funny fourteen-year-old who loves horror movies, is on a mission to get her parents back together. But she can’t do it alone. She’ll need her two best friends, her dog, an arrogant student filmmaker, and a computer-generated, chainsaw-wielding killer. What could possibly go wrong?

Chapter Four

It was hot in downtown LA—ghost peppers in a grease fire hot. In the distance, lines of cars clogged the swollen arteries of the Harbor Freeway. A solitary paletero with one leg shorter than the other was crossing the bridge at 3rd Street, the little bell on his cart tinkling merrily with the promise of delicious Mexican ice cream.

Eventually, he passed a tall, pretty redhead in a black cocktail dress, walking in the opposite direction. Her name was Laraine Moody, and the ice cream vendor could tell she’d been crying. When he saw the bruises on her pale, freckled arms, he knew what Ana Gabriel was talking about when she sang “Y Aquí Estoy.”

Through his large office window in the tallest building in LA, Warren Mudge peered through Nikon ProStaff binoculars and caught sight of the paletero as he vanished around a corner. Wiping a hungered droplet of drool from his lip, he realized he would have to hunt the little Mexican dude down later. The Chief Marketing Officer of Viper Leather Goods, Warren was in his mid-fifties and had a weakness for paletas—especially the pepino con chile y limón.

Though he was short, he did not suffer from achondroplasia. On the contrary, his body was proportional and muscled. He kept himself in shape by running, swimming, and climbing, and he adhered to a strict paleo diet—except for the paletas—while eschewing cigarettes and alcohol. Also, Warren was a skydiving freak and liked to escape to Elsinore Valley whenever he could.

As he leaned back comfortably at his luxurious antique walnut desk, Stacey Navarro knocked and came in, taking a seat opposite her boss. She noticed the newly framed photos of Warren’s most recent skydiving exploits hanging on the wall. She’d been meaning to tell him she had never been skydiving in her life and had no intention of starting, but now was not the time.

“Stacey, the marketing campaign is fantastic,” he said, waving his arms like he was giving a TED Talk. “So far, the UK, Benelux, and Saudi Arabia are seeing results.”

“Well, I learned from the best.” Stacey was nothing if not modest.

“Hmm… A man would’ve taken credit.”

“I know, Warren, but—”

“Close the door.”

She knew what was coming. And she wanted it, but at the same time, she didn’t. In the eighteen months she’d worked at Viper, Warren had promoted her twice and given her generous bonuses. He had always treated her with respect and courtesy. But somehow things had progressed to a new, almost uncomfortable level. Was she ready for this?

“Stacey, have you thought any more about the offer?”

The offer. He made it sound like he was buying an investment property in Montana. She looked at him, her eyes distant. In her mind, she pictured the wedding photo of Alan and her, which used to sit on the mantle, going up in flames. Please stop, she thought as he slid a handcrafted rosewood ring box across the desk toward her. Please, can you go back to being my boss?

For a long time, she stared at the box with the tasteful scrollwork. Somewhere far off, a lunatic had fired up a chainsaw, its angry whine echoing just outside the window, even though they were on a high floor. She reached for the present with trembling fingers. Opening it, she beheld a huge diamond engagement ring.

“Oh my,” she said.

Everything changed. Warren was no longer wearing a suit. He had on casual clothes, the kind you’d find at Barneys New York. The skydiving photos were gone, replaced by family portraits. Stacey saw herself holding a newborn baby and posing next to Warren. Ruby was standing on her other side, and everyone was smiling. Outside, it was raining, even though it hadn’t rained in LA for eons.

“I don’t want us to wait any longer,” he said from somewhere far away. “How soon can you make the divorce final?”

But Stacey could only sit there, as frozen as the precious gem in front of her.

* * *

It was the dwarf’s fault. Alan knew it in his soul. The homunculus in question was, of course, Warren Nathaniel Mudge. Mudge. It sounded like something that would clog your pipes, if you weren’t careful. Also, it rhymed with grudge. Which was perfect because now that Alan thought about it, he did have one nasty grudge against that evil mastermind. In fact, he would like to rip Mudge’s ears off and feed them to one of Rick Van Loon’s feral dates. It was because of that smirking, hunchbacked miscreant that Alan would lose the one great love of his life. That hirsute, grinning, piston-headed—

“Alan, are you even listening?”

He looked up from his half-eaten marinated skirt steak frites and stared cloudily into Stacey’s eyes. Those eyes. Perfectly blue with flecks of green. He adored those eyes. In fact, he had fallen in love with Stacey because of those eyes. That and so many other things.

When his hearing returned, he noticed that the BOA Steakhouse was unusually loud, as if each table were in a cheerleading competition at a Toastmasters convention. It was lunch time, and the place was packed, both at the tables and the bar. Runners with trays of food scurried past in a dizzy dance. Somewhere a glass shattered.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I don’t think I—”

“I said, Warren asked me to marry him.”

“But we’re not even divorced!” The color had left his face. “And since when is he in the picture?”

“Keep your voice down.” Stacey, sounding as if she were addressing a misbehaving child, caught herself and softened her tone. “Obviously, this is going to take some time to figure out.”

Alan tasted vomit as he tried reasoning with her. “Hey, come on,” he said, trying on the million-dollar smile. “The guy’s been married—”

“Twice. I know. But he’s older, more mature. He’s a decent man.”

“Decent?”

“He wants a family.”

“So did Charles Manson. And look how that turned out. Besides, you have a family.”

“He wants me to quit my job and stay home.”

“I see what this is about. You think our marriage was a mistake.”

“I didn’t say that.”

“And I’m a schmuck because I believe everyone needs to work.”

“Alan…”

As a dessert tray flew by, he snatched a slice of mascarpone cheesecake, scraped off a glob of vanilla Chantilly cream with his forefinger, and dumped it on Stacey’s steak.

She stared at him, uncomprehending. “What’s this for?”

“It’s the icing on the steak.”

Immediately regretting what he’d done, he got up and threw down some cash on the table.

“You’re being unfair,” she said, her voice like shards of ice.

I’m being unfair?” Straightening his tie, he glanced around the room, then leaned in toward his wife. “I thought we had a shot. I guess I’m having a harder time ‘moving on.’”

“What? Alan, this isn’t a contest.”

He recognized the weariness in her voice. It was the same weariness he had picked up on when they were first having their difficulties a year ago. Had it been a year already? Ruby was fourteen! He took a last look at his soon-to-be ex-wife and walked out, muttering. Then, he remembered he didn’t have any cash for the valet.

Staring at the sugary white topping melting on her steak, Stacey felt frustrated and alone. She wanted to scream and suddenly hated the hairpiece of the man sitting across from her. It wasn’t supposed to go this way. Why couldn’t people be civilized?

A memory came flooding back to her of a night eleven years earlier when she and Alan were lying in bed. Long before iPads had been invented, they’d settled the problem of what to watch by setting up two televisions side-by-side at the foot of the bed. She remembered he was watching The Apartment. She was multitasking, reading a book on infertility and half-watching the original A Nightmare on Elm Street—one of her favorites because it featured Johnny Depp in his pre-Jack Sparrow days.

“I heard something,” she said, yanking off her headphones.

Still wearing his, Alan sat in bed, engrossed in the scene where Jack Lemon finds Shirley MacClaine lying on his bed, unconscious from an overdose of sleeping pills. With mother determination, she got out of bed and rushed to Ruby’s bedroom. When she didn’t see her daughter, her heart skipped a beat. As she made her way down the stairs, she heard giggling coming from the home office. Rushing in, she found Ruby, three at the time, playing a computer game.

“Ruby, why aren’t you in bed?”

As Alan walked in, he yawned loudly. “What’s going on?”

Stacey glared at him, angry at his seeming lack of concern. “Your daughter is playing Warcraft: Orcs & Humans again.”

“Look, Daddy!” Ruby said, pointing proudly at the monitor.

“Are you kidding me?” He came over and squinted at the screen. “How did you manage to kill all those Orcs?”

Stacey rolled her eyes. “Alan, that’s not really the point.”

“I know, but—”

“Back to bed, Ruby. Now!” Stacey was pointing at the door.

“Come on, short stack,” Alan said, picking up his daughter and depositing her on his shoulders.

“Whee!”

Back in bed, Alan reached over to turn out the light, but Stacey set her book down and grabbed his arm.

“Ow! Look, it’s not my fault she keeps guessing my password,” he said.

“I want another baby.”

“Now? What about the schedule?”

Smiling, she climbed onto him and, switching off the light, kissed him. “Schedule, shmedule.”

Sitting glumly at her table at the BOA Steakhouse, Stacey could still feel that kiss, as well as a profound sadness. She would marry Warren, and Alan would find someone. They would have joint custody of Ruby. She and Warren would have children of their own, and so would Alan and whoever he wound up with—probably someone younger who attended barre classes. Everyone would get together on holidays, and Ruby would be well adjusted.

Why was she having so much trouble picturing Alan with someone else? Come on, Stacey, think. All those women who came into the dealership every day? She was perfectly aware they found him attractive. As she had. Short blondes with big breasts, tall brunettes with legs up to their eyeballs. Oddly, no redheads. Everything will be fine, she told herself. Alan would eventually meet someone. The important thing for him was to get back out there.

Still, was that the future she wanted? This wasn’t one of her promotions. Warren had proposed, for God’s sake. And another thing. Why had she been in such a hurry to tell Alan? To hurt him? Yes—no! The truth was, she had hurt him. Deeply. Surprisingly, it hadn’t been that hard to do. In fact, it had felt…good.

As Stacey looked down at her cold plate, she watched in silent dread as fresh blood oozed from beneath the meat, as if something had been sacrificed.

Copyright © 2017 by Steven Ramirez.

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Free Fiction—CHAINSAW HONEYMOON Chapter Three

[Rotting Peach] Photo courtesy of Steven Depolo via Creative Commons

Free fiction has an expiration date—and this one has definitely come and gone. Please feel free to explore this site for more great stories.

Free Fiction—CHAINSAW HONEYMOON Chapter Two

[Rotting Peach] Photo courtesy of Steven Depolo via Creative Commons

Free fiction has an expiration date—and this one has definitely come and gone. Please feel free to explore this site for more great stories.

Free Fiction—CHAINSAW HONEYMOON Chapter One

[Rotting Peach] Photo courtesy of Steven Depolo via Creative Commons

Free fiction has an expiration date—and this one has definitely come and gone. Please feel free to explore this site for more great stories.

Chainsaw Honeymoon—Building a Community

[Chainsaw-chicks]
Photo Courtesy of Lennart Takanen via Creative Commons

I am about to perform an experiment. Instead of trying to publish my new novel, Chainsaw Honeymoon: A Ruby Navarro Disaster, on my own, I have decided to join Patreon, a crowdfunding site for authors and artists. I’m not really sure how this will play out, but I’ve created some rewards at varying contribution levels I hope you will like.

As part of my experiment, I plan to blog the first seven chapters of the novel beginning in February. It’s my hope that, as people read about Ruby Navarro and her insane adventure, they will be moved to join the Patreon community by making a contribution of as little as $1.

Please check out my page at https://www.patreon.com/stevenramirez. And if you have comments about the content or the rewards, I would love to hear them—good or bad. As I said, this is an experiment, and I’m anticipating things will change as I build my community of Patrons.

Chainsaw Honeymoon: A Ruby Navarro Disaster Synopsis
Ruby Navarro is not your typical fourteen-year-old girl. Sure, she’s bright and funny. But she’s also an incurable carnivore who adores horror movies—the bloodier, the better. A year ago, her parents separated, leaving her to live with her mom, Stacey, and her dog, an over-caffeinated Shih Tzu named Ed Wood. Now, Ruby loves her mom, but she also misses her dad. A lot. People split up all the time, and most kids might get over it, providing they could still Snapchat. Not Ruby. She has decided it’s her mission to save her family. And save them, she will!

Ruby is leaving home to spend the summer with her dad, Alan, a top-performing salesman at a luxury car dealership. At his apartment, she divides her time between her machinima project—a dark fantasy featuring a crazed killer with a chainsaw—and hanging out with her two best friends, Claire and Diego. While Ruby is away, her mom’s boss proposes marriage—ew! And Stacey is seriously considering accepting. In the meantime, Alan stupidly believes he can win back his wife and gets to work on a “best of” video reel, using years of mind-numbingly boring home movies. Ruby suggests contacting her dad’s younger brother, a talented but arrogant student filmmaker. But her uncle has other ideas, and he talks her dad into making a real movie—with actors and a script—a romantic comedy guaranteed to win Stacey’s heart.

As the movie takes shape, unexplainable things are happening to Ruby. Diego is acting weird around her—what is up with that boy! She’s having nightmares. Her doll Mr. Shivers might be trying to talk to her. And a creepy stain on her ceiling is turning into the killer from her machinima project. Oh, and people are dying—for realz. While on location for the movie, Ruby accidentally discovers that her uncle is actually using her dad’s money to shoot a horror movie, instead of the rom-com he promised. When Alan finds out, he gets into a fist fight with his brother, cuts off the production money, and returns home with his daughter.

But Ruby is still determined to get her parents back together. She gets her uncle’s girlfriend to help, and together they cook up a plan to get the movie back on track. Stacey, a certifiable “horrorista,” is totally on board. And Ruby’s dad? Well, “Mr. Rom-Com” is another story.

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Interview with Rebecca Warner, Author of MORAL INFIDELITY

[Rebecca Warner]Recently, I had the pleasure of reviewing Moral Infidelity, a complex political thriller by talented author Rebecca Warner. Today, I am pleased to present my interview with her. In the words of Michael Romano, lucky son of a bitch!

Rebecca, welcome. It’s my understanding that you’ve read an extraordinary number of books in your lifetime. Can you talk about some of your favorite genres and how they have influenced you as a writer?

I began reading at a very early age, which allowed me to read so many books over my lifetime. My mother couldn’t punish me by sending me to my room, because I was perfectly happy just to be left alone to read. Throughout elementary school, junior high and high school, I would check out a new book every day from the library.  I would do my homework, then read the book and return it the next day for another. My earliest real influence, discovered in junior high, was Victoria Holt, who wrote gothic novels. That led me to the classics authors, like the Bronte sisters, Daphne Du Maurier, Jane Austin and Oscar Wilde, to name a few. Though I didn’t read as much in college because I was a business major and had very little leisure time, I always had a book going. After college, as a young single woman in Miami, I went through the Danielle Steele and Sidney Sheldon and Jackie Collins phase. Then I revisited John Steinbeck, and was sort of reborn in terms of seeking out the classics, but this time more of the 20th century classics. Stephen King got my attention in the 1970s, and has kept it, and then James Patterson made me appreciate suspense/thrillers/mysteries, which became—and still is—my favorite genre. So I was especially pleased that Moral Infidelity, my first book, won the Bronze Medal for the category of Fiction: Thriller in the Readers’ Favorite 2015 International Book Contest.

Have you always written, or did you wake up one day after reading another great book and say, “I can do this too!”?

If I may tell a story about a specific incident in my life that influenced me to be a writer…

In the fourth grade, I was in a class that was classified as “accelerated,” though I never stood out in any way among the many truly smart children in my class. One day the teacher put up a picture of a little boy in red pajamas, sitting in front of a fireplace, holding a golden dog in his arms. We were supposed to write something about it—tell the story. I remember very clearly going to another place in my mind (I didn’t yet understand that “zone”) and writing words that seemed to come from outside of me. The teacher then had us read our papers, and as others got up and read theirs, I realized how different mine was, and I felt I had failed in the assignment. When the teacher pointed to me to get up in front of the class to read mine, I was terribly embarrassed. I tried to get someone else to read it for me, but she shook her head ‘no.’ So I had no choice but to read it, and when I finished, the room was very quiet. I looked over at my teacher, expecting a disapproving look, but instead she was looking at me with admiration and astonishment, and then she said, “We have a genius in our class.” Powerful words that kept me writing short stories and poetry and winning awards for them throughout my school years.

In reading your work, I’ve noticed that you like to dig deep into your characters. After reading Moral Infidelity, I feel I know Michael intimately. Is there a particular author who influenced you in this regard?

I mentioned John Steinbeck earlier. In my opinion, he delved into the human heart and mind like no authors before or since, though I must laud Dostoyevsky in that regard as well. Think Tom Joad in The Grapes of Wrath.  Think Rodya in Crime and Punishment. Stephen King is also brilliant in that regard. The mental and emotional dissection of Andy and Red in TheShawshank Redemption is unparalleled in literature. With all of these authors, I was fascinated with the depth and the complexity they plumbed from their characters.  All subconsciously influenced me in my writing in terms of wanting to write more complex and conscience-driven characters.

You know, this is a great question, because before now, I never really analyzed why it was so critical that I so thoroughly develop Michael Romano’s character in Moral Infidelity—his descent into darkness and depravity even as he functioned on a higher plane in a privileged world. Your question has caused me to do so! Thanks, Steven.

Are you interested in movies and television? If so, do they influence your writing?

I love movies and television, and am fascinated that writers can conceive of such great ideas and then execute them so perfectly through dialogue and action. But I can’t honestly say that any movie or TV show has influenced my writing.

I apologize in advance for the obligatory question, but what are you working on now?

The book I am writing now is a thriller based on a true-life event, though it is fiction. For decades, I had a Russian ballet teacher in Miami, Madam Renee, whom I loved and kept in touch with even after I moved to North Carolina. Every time I was in Miami, I would take her to a lovely restaurant, so befitting her appreciation of fine things which she could no longer afford. One day, I was picking her up to take her to the Biltmore Hotel for an elegant pool-side lunch. When I got to her home and she came outside, I was shocked and horrified by her appearance. Normally so stylishly turned out, she was disheveled, wore virtual rags, was emaciated, and had a big gash on her leg.

The patio attached to her home was encased in roof-to-ground iron bars, for security reasons. She had always come and gone through the keyed iron gate set within the bars, but that day she told me she couldn’t find the key. I knew that a man who had married and divorced her niece had moved in with her, which I always thought a bit odd, but she was glad to have the company and added protection. But because she had obviously declined to such a great degree since he moved in, I became suspicious and alarmed. She was literally like a prisoner, and when—at my urging—she called him at work to ask where the key was, he gaslighted her into thinking she was demented and had misplaced it. Something just was not right, and I immediately alerted my former ballet classmates, including one who is a lawyer, to find out more about this man, and Renee’s circumstances. It became evident through our inquiries and also public records that he had taken over her property and her life, and we all felt she was in danger.

And so the idea of the book I am writing now, Ballet Barres, was born, with the objective of Renee’s devoted students of twenty-plus years coming together these many years later to save her from whatever evil intent this man has. And yes, I delve into his darker side!

Book Blurb

[Moral Infidelity Cover]

POLITICS…LUST…LIES…BETRAYAL

What if an anti-abortion governor, who is determined to enact stricter abortion laws in his state, had an affair that resulted in an unintended pregnancy?

In this two-time award-winning thriller, Florida Governor Michael Romano becomes embroiled in an ethical dilemma that threatens to shatter his marriage and his political career. His mistress wants him and his baby, and she will publicly destroy him if he doesn’t leave his wife to marry her. He finds himself walking a moral tightrope, where a single misstep can irretrievably ruin his carefully-constructed personal and political life.

Choice takes on a whole new meaning for Romano as he attempts to untangle himself from his sticky web of deceit.

Suspense builds as Romano weighs his limited options while fighting to keep his political career viable as he pursues enactment of anti-abortion laws. Caught in the nightmarish consequences of his treachery and duplicity, Romano must make choices that will test the strength of his moral fiber to its limits…But will his choices lead to his salvation, or his ruin?

Where to Buy

Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon Canada

About the Author
Rebecca Warner’s educational and professional background was in finance and banking in Miami, Florida. After she and her husband moved to the beautiful mountains of North Carolina, Rebecca began writing articles for several local periodicals. Drawing upon her many years of advising the lovelorn and successful matchmaking, she also wrote a romance-and-relationship advice column. In 2014, she published her first book, Moral Infidelity, which won the Bronze Medal in the Readers’ Favorite 2015 International Book Awards’ thriller category, and Top 10 Honorable Mention in the 2015 Great Southeast Book Festival. Her second novel, Doubling Back To Love, was solicited for inclusion in a ten-novel romantic anthology, and her third book, He’s Just A Man, is a non-fiction self-help book for women seeking a mate.

Rebecca is a convivial feminist who blogs on her own sites and for The Huffington Post about topics of interest to women. She enjoys participating in podcasts and forums about women’s social, economic and political issues.

You can find Rebecca on Twitter, on Facebook, and at her website.

Chainsaw Honeymoon—My BookLife Journey (Cont’d)

“[Daredevil]”
Photo courtesy of Mr. Nixter via Creative Commons

Okay, so the BookLife quarter-finalists were announced today—and I made it! That means Chainsaw Honeymoon is off and running toward the semifinals.

As a reminder, last month I decided to take a chance with my new unpublished novel, Chainsaw Honeymoon, and enter it for a chance to win the BookLife Prize in Fiction. As part of the process, I received a critic’s report , which you can read here.

The semi-finalists will be announced on Halloween. This is from the contest site:

All submissions advancing to the quarter-finals will be critically assessed by the editorial staffs of Publishers Weekly and BookLife. Of the quarter-finalists, five from each of the six categories will be selected based on merit by PW and BookLife’s editors to advance to the semifinals.

As I stated last time, my category is General Fiction, and I am up against some serious literary fiction competition. But, hey, anything is possible, right? Stay tuned.

By the way, if you would like a taste of ChainSaw Honeymoon, you can go here to download a sample.

Book Review—MORAL INFIDELITY

[Moral Infidelity Cover]For me, thrillers are the most satisfying when everything is at stake. Sometimes, authors concentrate on the mechanics of plot to carry the reader along a treacherous, dangerous path that may or may not lead to a new day. But what makes a story outstanding is when an author plumbs the depths of the characters involved—getting into their deepest, most troubling thoughts—and allowing the reader to understand better the motivations that drive them.

Moral Infidelity is such a book. Rebecca Warner has taken what could have been a routine thriller and turned it into something memorable. Her characters are smart, wealthy, and deeply flawed. And as they traverse down a road filled with hidden mines, they struggle toward the light. Some will make it. Others will lose their way forever. This book is an excellent, character-driven thriller—a great read.

Synopsis
POLITICS…LUST…LIES…BETRAYAL

What if an anti-abortion governor, who is determined to enact stricter abortion laws in his state, had an affair that resulted in an unintended pregnancy?

In this two-time award-winning thriller, Florida Governor Michael Romano becomes embroiled in an ethical dilemma that threatens to shatter his marriage and his political career. His mistress wants him and his baby, and she will publicly destroy him if he doesn’t leave his wife to marry her. He finds himself walking a moral tightrope, where a single misstep can irretrievably ruin his carefully-constructed personal and political life.

Choice takes on a whole new meaning for Romano as he attempts to untangle himself from his sticky web of deceit.

Suspense builds as Romano weighs his limited options while fighting to keep his political career viable as he pursues enactment of anti-abortion laws. Caught in the nightmarish consequences of his treachery and duplicity, Romano must make choices that will test the strength of his moral fiber to its limits…But will his choices lead to his salvation, or his ruin?

Buy Links
Amazon US
Amazon UK
Amazon Canada

Chainsaw Honeymoon—My BookLife Journey

“[Daredevil]”
Photo courtesy of Mr. Nixter via Creative Commons

A few weeks ago, I decided to take a chance with my latest novel, Chainsaw Honeymoon, and enter it for a chance to win the BookLife Prize in Fiction. That’s five thousand smackers, people! Ambitious, right? Well, what’s Life if you can’t take a few chances?

Recently, I received a critic’s report I’d like to share with you.

 

Title: Chainsaw Honeymoon
Author: Steven Ramirez
Genre: Fiction/General Fiction (including literary and historical
Audience: Adult
Word Count: 54000

Assessment:

A satire of Los Angeles, of fractured relationships, movie-making, and growing up, Ramirez’s novel features fantasies, sibling rivalries, a judgmental doll, and even a couple of comic deaths, as one story line morphs into another making the result often seem like one extended dream sequence. The characterizations are lively, though sometimes needlessly exaggerated, and the wildly improbable plot, which features the merging of the screenplay of a maudlin romance hopefully entitled Endless Honeymoon with another of a horror story called Chainsaw Chuck, is generally well controlled and cleverly sustained.

Score:

Plot/Idea: 8 out of 10
Originality: 9 out of 10
Prose: 8 out of 10
Character/Execution: 9 out of 10
Overall: 8.50 out of 10

Not bad, right? So, what happens next? Well, the good folks over at BookLife will announce the quarter-finalists on October 17th. Though I received a decent score, I am up against some very impressive literary works, so… But if I do make it to the first round, you can bet I will be writing a follow-up post. Fingers crossed!

By the way, you can go here to download a sample.

Book Three Is Off to the Editor!

Photo Courtesy of Alessandro Baffa via Creative Commons
[Wedding Party]Hey, guys, I wanted to let you know that I reached a major milestone this week on the long road to finishing up my horror-thriller series. I’ve just finished Book Three and have sent it off to the editor. Now the real fun begins. Over the next few weeks I will update you on how things are shaping up in terms of a cover. Also, I wanted to let you know that I am in the process of rebranding the series. Stay tuned for some interesting news about that.

This has been quite a journey. When I started out writing Tell Me When I’m Dead, I honestly believed this would be a one-off story about a zombie outbreak in a small town in Northern California. But when I got to the end, it was painfully clear to me that Dave’s story wasn’t over. He had a lot more killing to do. So I started Book Two, Dead Is All You Get.

Now, everyone knows that you can’t have a series with just two books, so after finishing that one, I was compelled to start on Book Three. Don’t worry—there’s no Book Four planned! I think I did a pretty good job of wrapping things up with good ol’ Dave. Of course, the reader will be the ultimate judge. What to expect? Well, for one thing, the action has moved to Los Angeles. So get ready for some gritty, nail-biting thrills—the kind that seem to follow Dave like a rabid dog—in the land of ‘Sharknado’ and collagen-infused lips.

That’s enough for now. Stay tuned for more breaking news as it develops. And remember, monsters are real. Seriously, they’re real.