Saturday, January 29, 2011

As promised, here's Chapter 1 of my WIP, Three Dogs, which is a follow up to my YA Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award entry, Four Dogs.

It's a lot rougher than the excerpt for Split Ends, and I've only done two chapters thus far, though I've already plotted most of the book through the major conflicts and ending.

Anyway, your thoughts, and especially compared to my adult project, and the market are appreciated.



Paul Douglass stood at the edge of the clearing, smiling. They had come, just as the master said they would. As he watched them step through the clearing and into what had once been a fort he and his friends had built, he marveled at how smart the master was. From the moment he’d met Batu Chinua, everything had gone according to plan.

Well, nearly everything.

The master hadn’t planned on J.J.

And where was the master now for that mistake?

Paul smiled again.

He had figured out a way to outwit J.J. when the master hadn’t. He had played the game.

The three boys climbed up into the fort and disappeared. Paul sniffed at the air, his senses more keen when he took this shape. But he couldn’t stay this way for too long. He let out a brief howl, enough to frighten the boys, but not scare them off and ran through the woods toward the cabin he had built in case the master returned.

As he walked through the cabin door, he retook his human shape.

His mind raced with his power.

“You were never this powerful at my age,” he said.

The empty room absorbed the sound.

He licked his lips and tasted blood; a taste he imagined he’d never grow tired of. It would be dark soon. He had to head back to his home, fall back in line with J.J. and the others. They couldn’t know what he had become.

The master would return—if he could—and Paul would be needed in both worlds. The thought of pretending to be like one of them made him want to throw up.

“If I have to do this on my own, Master, I will. I will continue what you couldn’t.”

A charged ripped through him like a bolt of lightning. He crashed to the floor, writhing, unable to control the spasms that coursed through his flesh.

Thoughts, images, words surrounded him, through him, in him, like a fog of sound, consuming him but without mass. It was like he been punched in the chest by a thousand pounds of pressure.

He saw the knife on the table.

“Master. No. Please.”

“Don’t ever question me,” a voice said.

“I’m sorry, Master.”

“Too late.”

Paul grabbed the knife, raised it into the air and brought it down with all his power. The pain was unbearable.

“You are nothing without me,” the voice said.

When the darkness came, Paul embraced it, hoping it would stop the pain.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Split Ends: A Novel About Dead Girlfriends

Here's a short excerpt. I'll post an excerpt for Three Dogs tomorrow.


“I see all the things I've missed out on, and wonder how I got here. An infinitely long list of bad choices and worse circumstances.”

“You’re just feeling sorry for yourself,” Patrick said. I knew he was trying to be helpful, but right then, I didn’t want his help.

“I’m dealing with a lot of dead people who I used to love.”

“So, waa. A lot of us deal with a lot of dead people who we used to love.”

“Not like this, Patrick.”

“Sure, maybe not like this. But people die. You didn’t have any part in it.”

“How do you know that?”

“Because you didn’t sick a pack of angry ducks on Stephanie, and you didn’t make a tree fall on Starr.”

Out of context, this was an absolutely obscure comment. Had I mapped out every conversation I’d ever have in my entire life, this would not have made the list.

“I don’t know, Pat. I really don’t. Maybe the cops are right. There are just too many bodies, and too many coincidences.” I paused and thought about Officer DeParalta’s comments. “And not enough answers.”

Patrick stared at me. I could see it growing in his mind, too.

“So you’re starting to believe them?”

“I don’t know. Maybe.”

“But don’t you think you’d know if you were killing people?”

“I don’t know, Pat. You hear about serial killers all the time separating their own realities from the ‘monster’ that’s killing people. What if I’m one of those guys? What if I’m killing people while in some weird other consciousness?”

“Like you’re blacking out and turning into Ted Bundy?”

“Yeah, like that. Maybe I have no idea that I’m killing people when really I am.”

“Look, I’ve known you a long time. I think I’d know if you were killing people.”

“No, Pat, you’d be the guy they interviewed who said, ‘He was such a nice boy. Always ate his green beans.’”

“You hate green beans.”

“Not the point, Patrick. The point is, no one thinks their best friend is a serial killer until the cops show up. When they arrested that BTK guy, you think his wife went, ‘Oh, totally, I saw this coming.’?”

“That’s different. She didn’t want to see those things.”

“And you do?”

“Man, if you’re a serial killer, do you know how much air time I’ll get? I could make millions selling your story.”

“Nice. It’s so comforting to know you’d use my misery to make a buck.”

“That’s what best friends are for. I’m here to help you, but if you’re guilty, fuck yeah, I’m totally selling every word you’ve ever spoken to me to TMZ.”

“You’re an asshole.”

“Your lips to God’s ears, brother.”

Despite my best efforts, I was actually starting to feel better.

“So what now?”

“Now we try to find Neanderthal. We get him to admit he was the one with Michelle when she died. That’s the only one they got you with right now, so let’s solve that one.”

“Where do we start?”

“We go back to college.”


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Done. Next.

Four Dogs is officially submitted to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Awards.

There's nothing I can do at this point but wait until the next round to find out if my pitch as advanced, and my excerpt moves on to be reviewed by Amazon Vine Reviewers.

While I'm not holding my breath, I like to think my pitch, and the concept of Four Dogs will be good enough to move me through to the next round.

Either way, I won't know until Feb. 24, and so, it's time to move on to other things.

I finally saved up enough to buy a Macbook Pro (and said goodbye to my first love, my iBook). I have AutoArt to create and send to press for the next two weeks, and then it's time to get back to writing.

What I'm getting to is a question. I have two books I'm currently working on, and I'd like to narrow it down and focus on one of them.

Three Dogs is the sequel to Four Dogs. Split Ends is an adult humorous/mystery. Work on Three Dogs in case Four Dogs wins and I need to follow up with an option book? Or jump out of that genre, and do something different?

Now, I have to be honest, I think I was born to write humorous mysteries a la Carl Hiaasen of 15 years ago. Nothing makes me happier than making people laugh.

But I need to be pragmatic. It's not about what I want to write, but what I can sell. I have to write to the market, and not to the muse.


Before you make your decision, I'll share two excerpts with you. In a couple days, I'll upload a short excerpt of Three Dogs. A couple days after that, I'll upload a short excerpt from Split Ends.

In the meantime, time for me to get to work on AutoArt so I can finish paying for my new toy.