Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Back-Of-Book Blurb

I've been working on writing a blurb for the back of my novel 'The Cause'. It's a lot harder than I thought it would be. I had to strip the story down to it's basic elements and give a description of it without sounding boring.

Here it is.

The only way to fix the system is to break it.

Long after the government falls, one city is founded in it’s place. Residents of the city are granted bodies that never age or grow tired. During the day, residents work to reach new potentials and, since sleep isn’t needed, celebrate all night. But living in Utopia does have a catch.
Guilt is a crime punishable by death.

Air Dressler’s new job description lands him on the city’s firing squad. He finds it impossible to enforce the law without breaking it himself. Through long-forgotten memories and a group of reluctant rebels, Air learns how to break the city. But if he is really going to carry it out, he will have to choose between friend and ideals all the while fighting his own guilt.

 Well... What do you think? Let me know if this novel sounds interesting, boring, something you might read, something you'd hate, etc...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Book Trailer

I haven't been so good with updating my blog as of late but I don't want you all to think I'm getting lazy. I have been putting in some serious hours on my book, The Cause. It is almost ready for an advance readers copy print.

Writing isn't all I've been up to. I have been working with Jay Jensen of DryFire Productions to shoot a book trailer. And now, I am pleased to present The Cause.

Pretty sweet huh? Let me know what you think, and If you are an author interested in making your own professional book trailer, check out Jay's Website. He's the best!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

#6 What Goes Up...

New Year’s Eve was special to a lot of people. Brandon and his young family were no exception, but they didn’t celebrate by staying up late and shooting guns into the night sky. Brandon had a four-month-old baby and his wife wasn’t big on staying up late, so they had their own little party and went to bed at ten.

Brandon was just beginning to float off to sleep when he heard a frightening noise. Breaking Glass. He sat up in bed and listened to make sure it wasn’t just in his head. A grunt came from the living room. Someone was in the house.

Brandon shot out of his bed and peeked down the hall. He immediately regretted not owning a gun or even a baseball bat. He tip-toed down the dark hall, then stopped as he saw the intruder.  The man was wild in appearance. Grizzly hair frizzed over his shoulders and a thick beard hung over his chest. It was too dark to see how filthy he was, but Brandon could smell it.

“What are you doing here?” Brandon was surprised at how polite he could be in such a situation. He didn’t know what else to do.

The intruder pointed a silver gun at Brandon. “I’m hungry.” He slurred.

Brandon stopped and lifted his hands. “I’ll get you something to eat.” Maybe the man was desperate and once his belly was filled he would apologize for the break in and leave.  

“I’ll kill you if you call the police.” The man staggered in the living room and waved the gun haphazardly.

“I won’t.” Brandon directed him to the kitchen like a gracious host. The police must be on their way. His best chance at survival was to stall the man.

The stranger kept the gun pointed at Brandon’s mid-section as he shuffled into the kitchen. He took the rack of knives off the counter before Brandon could even consider an attempt at using them to fight back. 

“Hurry up!” The stranger groaned.

What kind of midnight snack do you give a lunatic? He could be a serial killer. Brandon searched through the fridge and found some cold cuts and bread. He frantically made the sandwich and wondered how it was all going to end. He thought about his family, still sleeping soundly. What would happen if they woke up to find Brandon dead in the kitchen? He tried not to think about it. The police were probably looking for the creep. They could be minutes away.

“Any women in the house?” halitosis wafted from the strangers lips as he leaned in over Brandon’s shoulder.

Brandon didn’t answer at first, as if he had a choice. He gritted his teeth. Maybe he could wrestle the weirdo to the ground and hold him until the police came.

“Did you hear me?”

“Just my wife and my baby girl,” Brandon replied. He should have lied, said he was living alone.   

The intruder mumbled a few fragmented phrases and a tic shook his body like a mild aftershock from a life of drug use.

Brandon slapped the layers of food together haphazardly and presented the dish to his unwanted guest who devoured whatever portions made it past his beard.

Brandon cleared his throat. “Will you be leaving soon?” Thinking it couldn’t hurt to ask.

The stranger looked up from his food like a wild beast interrupted from devouring his prey. He pushed the gun against Brandon’s ribs, just as a reminder. “Where does your wife sleep?” He didn’t bother wiping the crumbs from his face or swallowing the soggy mess still rolling on his tongue.

Brandon swallowed hard. It was like all his saliva had abandoned him. “I think you should leave now.” It was probably the bravest thing he had ever said.

The tic shook the stranger again then he stepped in closer. He mumbled another string of drug-induced gibberish then cocked his gun and pushed the barrel against his victim. Brandon stepped back against the sliding glass door and offered a brief prayer in his mind. He didn’t want to die but that wasn’t the worst thought that ran through his mind. He couldn’t handle thinking about what the creep might do to his family.

A mile away, a half-drunken, self-proclaimed party animal shot his rifle into the air to welcome the New Year. That bullet traveled thousands of feet into the sky until it slowed and arched. The bullet then gained a wicked momentum and crashed through Brandon’s sliding glass door just above his shoulder. The bullet penetrated the criminal’s chest between his ribs and, after pushing through his heart, it lodged it’s self into his spinal cord.

The stranger grumbled something and fell to the ground in a hairy, stinky mess.

Brandon sighed and fell to his knees, grateful for gravity.      

Friday, July 8, 2011

Readers Like You

Hello readers,

I have really been enjoying writing these short stories and I promise to keep them coming.

So I have a challenge for you. If you enjoyed a story from this blog, feel free to scroll down and click the 'share' button. Chances are, if you enjoyed it, your Facebook and/or Twitter pals will too. Everyone can use a little more fiction in their lives!

Thanks so much for reading,

Thursday, July 7, 2011

#5 The Spider Effect

If Molly Keeber hadn’t killed that spider her life would be very different. She first saw the spider crawling up the wall in her kitchen. She hated spiders. Her first reaction was to ignore the arachnid. Allow it to crawl away and she could pretend it was never there at all. It was a shame she didn’t follow her instincts. Instead she forced herself to go to the bathroom, grab a length of toilet paper and wad it into a weapon any spider would fear.

“Buck-up and kill it.” She told herself.

With a quick dab of the bathroom tissue, she crushed the spider’s tiny body into a mangled mess. She pinched the spider and the toilet paper between two fingers.


After tossing all the evidence into the toilet, she flushed the spider to a watery grave.

She went on through the day in a very ordinary way.  The killing never bothered her simply because she didn’t know what she was missing.

The spider she killed was a poisonous black widow.  If she had let the spider go on living, it would have returned that night. It would have followed her to her bed and bit her on the heel just before she fell asleep. She would have immediately gone to the hospital where she would meet Dr. David Carlson who would have, luckily, diagnosed her with a cancerous tumor in her leg. The cancer would have been caught early enough that it was easily treated.  During a follow-up visit, Dr. Carlson would have asked her out to dinner. They would have talked for hours and really hit-it-off. Six months later they would get married and start a family. She would have lived a happy and wealthy life, but she killed the spider.

Instead, Keeber went to bed that night and no spider came. She might have died from the cancer if the furnace hadn’t been spewing out carbon monoxide that night.

Friday, July 1, 2011

#4 Maggie's Co.

Michael was the newest addition to Maggie’s Co., a family owned scrapbook supply company. Michael was hired fresh out of high school to do menial clerical work. He had always been considered a good kid and a sweet kid by his parents and teachers. Nobody would have guessed that three months after his high school graduation, he would be serving a life sentence for murder.

On Michael’s first day of work it was apparent who ran the show - Jeff, the office manager and Sid, Jeff’s personal henchman. Jeff was the nephew of the company owner and he made it clear he wasn’t happy being head of the smallest branch in the company. He constantly complained and did a good job of getting the rest of the staff to complain as well. Still, Jeff seemed nice enough and if Michael wanted to go anywhere, he needed to be on Jeff’s good side. Jeff often made life really difficult for the office staff that didn’t play ball.

What went on over the next few weeks was hazing in every sense of the word, though Jeff never would have admitted it. Jeff and Sid would take Michael out for lunch, on the company’s dime, for some bonding time. Then later, Jeff would ask Michael to pull a prank or pester someone in the office. “Just some fun,” he would say. Michael was a good kid but he was no leader. He felt much more comfortable doing what he was asked.

Most of these pranks were juvenile and harmless. Fake phone calls to accounting, throwing out lunches from the fridge, locking other employees into the bathroom. The list grew every day. Michael even started to enjoy it. Though Michael was getting little work done, Jeff poured on the praise and the complimentary lunches continued.

A little over a month passed and Michael was starting to really feel like one of the boys. On their way back from lunch one day, they passed a gangly homeless man on the side of the street.

“Sid, do you think Michael can handle the challenge?” Jeff talked a little louder to make sure Michael could hear. 

“I don’t know. He is still a newbie.” Sid smiled from the passenger seat.

Michael was ready for his next challenge. “What’s the challenge?”

“Are you sure you want to know?” Jeff grinned. “I don’t think you can handle it.”

“I can handle anything you can give me.” Michael declared.

After a few more minutes of listening to two full-grown men giggle, Michael insisted to know what the challenge was.

“Throw an ink-filled water balloon at that homeless man.” Jeff looked into the rear-view mirror to see Michael’s reaction.
Michael laughed at first and then he realized they weren’t kidding. “Are you serious? That’s not really a nice thing to do.”

Jeff’s face went from friendly to deadly-serious. “Oh, come one, Mike! That bum is standing on the corner every day. I’ll bet he has enough money to buy a house in cash. He’s trying to look pathetic. You’d be doing everyone a favor.”

Michael felt his face flushing with embarrassment. He had a little taste of what it felt like to be Jeff’s enemy and it was enough. “Okay, I’ll do it.”

“I don’t believe you,” Jeff said, the scowl still firmly settled on his face.

“No, really. Let’s go get the balloon.”

Sid nearly jumped over the seat to hand Michael a balloon he had already filled with black ink. “Here you go.”

Jeff turned the car around and they headed back to the homeless man. He was obviously suffering from some kind of mental affliction. His clothes were dirty and worn from years of constant punishment. Michael leaned out the window and threw his payload. A direct hit. The homeless man yelped as the balloon slapped wickedly against the side of his face. Black liquid sprayed over his body. He covered his face, expecting a second blow.

Jeff and Sid laughed hysterically for the next mile or so. They caught their breath long enough to congratulate Michael for passing the test. “Now you’re ready,” Jeff said. The seriousness returned and Jeff pulled the car over to the side of the road.

“Maggie’s Co. is a joke,” Jeff started, “My uncle is a power-hungry capitalist who would enjoy nothing more than to see all of us lose our jobs.”

“Uh, what?” Michael didn’t know much about the company and its politics.

“We need to put a stop to it.” Sid agreed.

“Mike, you might be the youngest employee of Maggie’s Co. but you’re one of the smartest in my opinion.” Jeff smiled endearingly. “How would you like to make some real money?”

“That would be nice.” Michael nodded.

Jeff and Sid took a long look at each other. It was like they were synchronizing their thoughts. When they felt they were on the same page, Sid turned back to Michael. “You need to put some pressure on the owner.”

“What exactly does that mean?” Michael asked.

“Go to his big house on the hill and shake him up a little. We have a plan already. You’ll take a gun, just for effect.”
“Uh.. I don’t know…” Michael started.

“Don’t tell me you can’t do it.” Jeff leaned in. “You just assaulted a man for the fun of it. Now we have a real job that needs to be done and you are the perfect guy for it. Don’t worry about getting caught because it’s not going to happen. My uncle is an old man. You just need to set his heart off and then you can get out of there.”

“You want me to kill him?”

“No his heart will kill him. You’re just helping him along.” Jeff smiled. “It’s just another prank.”

Michael didn’t know what to say. He consented to the plan and for the next several weeks Jeff and Sid prepared Michael for the ultimate ‘prank’. All the while, Jeff explained the flaws with the company and his uncle.

Weeks later, after much preparation, everything changed. The owner promoted Jeff and Jeff happily accepted. The little branch even held a party for Jeff before he left for bigger things in the scrapbook industry. Jeff gave a short speech at that party. He talked about Maggie’s Co. with gratitude. As if by magic, he had become converted as an advocate to the Maggie’s. After the party, Jeff took Michael aside. “Forget our little prank,” he said. “It’s was all just a big joke.”

Michael had abandoned his own better judgment in order to stay on Jeff’s good side. He was willing to do anything. Michael felt deeply, deeply ashamed. Later that evening, anger took place of shame and hatred took place of anger.  Michael became so upset that he took a trip to Jeff’s house that night. He dressed in black, brought a gun, and broke in. It was then that Michael pulled his last ‘prank’.