Monthly Archives: May 2013

Guest Post: Andrew Cooper

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Let me tell you a secret

(guest post for Armand Rosamilla’s site)

 LAndrewCooper

Whether we know or like the word, we’re living in a “postmodern” time, a time when we’re comfortable with the idea of the s in truths, even if we prefer truth. But along with the oft-begrudged comfort with the s comes nostalgia for s-less-ness being the norm, for the Merry Christmas instead of the Happy HolidayS. My own nostalgia presents itself in an unusual form: I am fascinated with a desperate intellectual scramble that took place as we transitioned away from s-less-ness. Thinkers turned away from truth and toward systems in which truth is malleable but extant. The obvious example here is Nietzsche—God is dead, says many a bumper sticker—and in the place of God Nietzsche provides genealogical understanding and the will to power.

In Burning the Middle Ground, the big evil menace, to whom bad guys on the scene merely allude, is Dr. Allen Fincher, who is important in much of my fiction. While Dr. Fincher is Nietzschean in many ways, the more relevant historical background for his character would be folks like Claude Levi-Strauss and James Frazier, who, under the influence of structural anthropology and comparative religion, found systems that I just make a little whackier in the scholarship I attribute to Dr. Fincher, especially The Alchemy of Will, a book that plays an important role in the bad guys’ plot. Imagine a scale between influential real books like ones by authors I’ve mentioned and demonic fictional (?) books like the Necronomicon in H.P. Lovecraft’s mythos. Fincher’s work slides back and forth on that scale rather unpredictably. It’s certainly capable of Lovecraftian feats, not to mention calling up a beasty or two that might be worthy of the master.

So in my novel, the supernatural power comes from using Fincher’s research to learn certain rituals that activate the potential of the human will. Although it’s not necessarily related to any of the characters’ religions, the existence of such a power seems to affirm an s-less truth. Yet the bad guys are the ones who take advantage of s-less-ness, so maybe my nostalgia showing itself through them reveals an instinct. Maybe that bygone s-less way of thinking had better stay gone by. The s, when forbidden its attachment to truth, becomes divisive. It crops up in other places, like versus. And it likely hastens Cthulhu’s return. Best avoided—but I will keep flirting with the idea, with the secret Dr. Fincher may have figured out, with the unspeakable truth Dr. Victor Frankenstein learned, the secret that cost him, like Dr. Faust before him, so much. The seduction of having just one truth is that we could know it, and in learning the secret, we could become gods.

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Link for Burning the Middle Ground:

http://www.amazon.com/Burning-Middle-Ground-Andrew-Cooper/dp/1613181388

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Reblog: John O’Brien Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2013 Interview

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I’ll give Frank Edler some slack, since he went through the Sayreville New Jersey school system… even though the tour officially kicks off June 1st, he jumped the gun since he’s so excited and posted the first of many interviews he’ll be running this month, this one with the great John O’Brien. Check it out!

http://booksbeerblogshit.blogspot.com/2013/05/summer-of-zombie-blog-tour-john-obrien.html

Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2013 Starts Tomorrow!

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As everyone knows, June is Zombie Month… actually, I have no idea. I just made that up so it made more sense we’re doing the blog tour in June. For those of you who joined us last year at this time, this is a bigger and better tour… more interviews, more guest blogs, and more zombie authors!

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Check out the flyers for all the cool authors you’ll be reading each and every day. Impressive, right? I know when I started putting this together I had the biggest thrill getting these guys (and gal!) in one spot and having so much excitement coming from them.

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Tomorrow starts the kickoff, with a simple blog post here with all nine authors and their bios. Then the real fun begins! Each day one or more posts are going up, and I will do my best to reblog them here for easy reference, and we’ll be posting them to the Summer of Zombie Blog Tour 2013 Facebook event page as well. Join in and see the fun. 

SummerZombieBlogTour

Teaser: “Kokomo’s Café” Part 3

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KOKOMO‘S CAFÉ

Part 3

Flagler Beach Fiction Series

It’s All About Time

RebaPort wanted to lift her laptop and slam it to the floor, before stepping on it, kicking it across the small room and breaking it into tiny little pieces.

Her twins were home and, currently, arguing over the game controllers, even though they each had their own. Reba’s husband, Sam, owned his own software business and worked from the extra bedroom upstairs. From 9 am until 5 pm, except for a regimented lunch hour from noon until 1 pm, his door was closed and he was working. He was the bread winner, but she wanted to be the famous writer and turn this hobby into a viable income, one she could be proud of. She wanted a steady income so she would be seen as more than Sam’s doting wife and mother to the twins. She wanted her own career, her own money, and she wanted to do it in style.

This book was her ticket to this and more. Only, right now, she couldn’t string three words together to form a sentence without freaking out. She felt like a wannabe hack. Who was going to read her lame story about a little boy who saw ghosts in his house?

Reba was glad no one else was in the side room of Kokomo’s Café with her, because she probably looked insane. She took turns covering her face with her hands and then shaking them at the computer screen she felt was mocking her.

She knew how the story would end, and the first six chapters were brilliant. Her mother, back home in Illinois, had read and loved it, so far. She had asked a few questions, so Reba knew she’d actually taken the time to read it. The middle chapters, however, weren’t coming to her. She needed to move the character along and get him to see the ghost his mom couldn’t see but could hear.

But how? Reba shadow-punched the laptop in frustration. She giggled, suddenly, when she thought of the faces Mac and Ginny would give her if she started screaming, or what they’d do if she smashed the side window out with her computer. “Probably call the police,” she whispered. She was losing her mind. Reba decided to check her e-mail, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn accounts, quickly, before writing again. Maybe she could find inspiration among the cat memes and one-sided religious and political rants.

Reba didn’t know how much time she’d wasted until her cell phone rang. She checked the time: 12:25. Time flies when you’re wasting time, she thought. She was going to write that down as soon as she answered the phone. She was sure she could use the line in this book. “Hello?”

“Hey… where are you?”

“I’m at Kokomo’s Café, writing. I told you this morning I was going to catch up on my book.”

“How’s it going?” Sam asked.

Reba stared at her computer, with an angry cat meme staring at her. “Great,” she mumbled. “How’s work for you, today?”

“It’s going great. Just hanging around here… getting hungry.”

“I’m a bit hungry, too.”

“What are you bringing home?” her husband asked.

Ah, he’s waiting for me to give him lunch, she thought. “I’m not coming home just yet. I want to finish this chapter.” I really just want to write a damn sentence without wanting to kill someone.

“Alright…” Sam paused on the phone.

“I have work to do,” Reba finally said.

“I’m hungry,” he blurted.

“Then make something. You’re a grown man. I think one lunch by yourself won’t kill you.”

“The twins are hungry, too. There’s nothing to eat in the house. Why can’t you get us McDonald’s?”

Reba sighed. “I’m not driving over the bridge to get you burgers when you can make a sandwich. There’s ham, salami and cheese. Bread is on the counter. That shouldn’t be hard to do.”

“I guess. I lost half of my lunch break.”

Reba laughed. “You work at home. I don’t think the internet will crash if you get back online at 1:08. I’ll be home when I get home.”

“What’s for dinner?”

Reba wished she was home, so she could slam the laptop over Sam’s head and kill two birds with one stone. Finally, she took a deep breath and calmed down. “I’ll bring home McDonald’s for dinner.”

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Kokomos 3 Cover

Short Week Ahead

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I hope everyone had a great extended weekend, I know I did… took my Special Gal and my daughter (and her friend) to see the new Star Trek movie, went swimming and relaxing with aforementioned Special Gal and then she had me watch Despicable Me since the new one is coming out and she’s a huge fan… lounged around and ate and just spent time together. 

How was my writing? Dunno, because the laptop stayed closed from Saturday morning until right now. And I am happy about it. Normally I freak out over missing three days of writing time, and panicking because I’m 6,000 words behind. But I’m beginning to slow down the fear and relax. It might have to do with so many finished projects I’ve added into the pipeline, too. I know I’ve been busy and now I can actually release a few things. I spent the end of 2012 and the beginning of 2013 writing for money, with stories made specifically for TV and movie projects, and they may never see the light of day except on a screen. 

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This week will see the third part of the Kokomo’s Cafe serial released, and I’ve already begun writing the second set of stories, set in Golden Lion Cafe. I’ll be putting together the print version of Kokomo’s Cafe so it will be ready by the time of my June 28th book signing at Kokomo’s Cafe, and this week I will be doing another round of edits on my horror novel, which I will be pitching at World Horror Convention. 

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In addition, I want to begin moving again on Dying Days: Origins and I’ve already gotten an idea for the opening to Dying Days 4. Since Dying Days 3 just came out, it isn’t at the top of the list, but it would be nice to write a bit of it and see where it goes, right?

Anything else? Not this week. Coffee, good food, writing and good friends will sum up the rest of this week. I’m sure by this time next week panic will have set in and I’ll be behind, but for now… I am enjoying this… 

Armand

Review: “Vampires Don’t Sparkle!”

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I usually don’t post a review on my own blog, preferring to add it to Amazon or wherever I can, but with all the newfangled rules about authors reviewing other authors, I decided to play this one safe so even if the review gets deleted, I’d still have it somewhere. 

I received a review copy of this eBook, and at first (to be honest) I didn’t want to read it. I am not a vampire fan, and rarely will I find a vampire story I actually like. There are exceptions, like the classics (Salem’s Lot, I Am Legend, the Necroscope series) and in recent years the only book I can recommend is Blood Red from James A. Moore. Because I steered clear of vampire books.

What got me curious was the press release intro to this collection:

Genre: Horror/Dark Urban Fantasy
Vampires Don’t Sparkle! (editor Michael West): What would you do if you had unlimited power and eternal life?

Would you…go back to high school? Attend the same classes year after year, going through the pomp and circumstance of one graduation after another, until you found the perfect date to take to prom? Would you…spend your days moping and brooding, finding your only joy in a game of baseball on a stormy day? Or would you…do something else? Anything else?

The authors of this collection have a few ideas; some fanciful, some humorous, and some as dark as an endless night. Join us, and discover what it truly means to be “vampyre.”

Edited by Michael West

Foreword by Michael West

This was a rare collection that didn’t offer a clunker. There were no filler stories, and each story had a unique twist on the vampire tale. There are many well-known authors here (and ones I really love to follow, such as Tim Waggoner, Gord Rollo, and Gary A. Braunbeck) but a few I’ve never read before but now will seek out further stories from: Jerry Gordon, R.J. Sullivan and Bob Freeman. 

If I can find more vampire literature in this vein (pun intended) I might get back to reading about those undead baddies again and not dismissing them as the stuff my daughter (who’s 12) now reads… please make it so!

“A New Life” by J. F. Gonzalez
“What Once was Flesh” by Tim Waggoner
“The Darkton Circus Mystery” by Elizabeth Massie
“Robot Vampire” by R. J. Sullivan
“Beneath a Templar Cross” by Gord Rollo
“The Weapon of Memory” by Kyle S. Johnson
“The Excavation” by Stephen Zimmer
“Skraeling” by Joel A. Sutherland
“Dreams of Winter” by Bob Freeman
“Dracula’s Winkee: Bloodsucker Blues” by Gregory L. Hall
“I Fuck Your Sunshine” by Lucy A. Snyder
“A Soldier’s Story” by Maurice Broaddus
“Rattenkönig” by Douglas F. Warrick
“Vampire Nation” by Jerry Gordon
“Curtain Call” by Gary A. Braunbeck

Dying Days 3

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I cannot believe Dying Days originally came out in March of 2011, and then Dying Days 2 not until a year later, in March 2012… the goal was (obviously) to have Dying Days 3 come out in March 2013. That didn’t happen… but I hope the wait was worth it, because it is finally here!

Flagler Beach Florida is a wasteland of ruin and gore, looted and picked clean of supplies… and now, Darlene Bobich and the other survivors have an even bigger problem…

What could be worse than a mindless zombie horde? They are about to find out. 

Continuing the zombie series, “Dying Days”… extreme situations, extreme violence, extreme undead

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eBook versions are available!

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AND… the Print version is only $7.99!

Teaser: “Kokomo’s Café” Part 2

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Kokomo‘s Café

Part 2

Flagler Fiction Series

 

Maybe I Don’t Know

 

Charlie Newman ordered two hot teas.

“Leave room for cream and sugar?” Mac asked with a smile.

“Has anyone ever told you that you look like Billy Joel?”

Mac laughed. “I get it at least once a day. I wish I had his money.”

Charlie turned and looked at Edith, who was sitting at the table near the front window. “You need room for cream and sugar?”

Edith turned and faced him with a sour look on her face. “What do you think?”

Charlie had no idea, because he didn’t really pay attention to stupid things like what she put in her tea. They’d been dating for a little over two years but he didn’t make a mental inventory of every food she liked or hated, or what she put in her coffee or tea. He didn’t remember if she even liked coffee.

He was too old for shit like this. Last weekend was his fifty-third birthday. Not that Edith had done anything special for him. She was actually mad his kids had taken him to Alfie’s in Ormond Beach for his special day. Edith and Charlie went to the Golden Lion for dinner and drinks on Saturdays. He’d thrown off their routine by celebrating a birthday.

Charlie shrugged at Mac. “Leave room in both, I guess.” He knew he wanted cream and sugar. He looked at Edith again, who was back to staring straight ahead and frowning at the paintings on the wall.

Mac leaned over the counter. “She likes a little cream and a lot of sugar.”

“Thanks. One day I’ll remember.” And one day maybe I’ll even care, Charlie thought. He took his time, putting cream and sugar in both cups and securing the lids. Every Friday he came to Kokomo’s Café with her, getting two teas and sitting in the same seats and watching people come and go in silence, until it was time for her to leave. He didn’t understand the point of these Friday late morning dates, but Edith insisted. Charlie could count on one hand how many words they’d spoken since they started coming here, in the last six months or so.

He held both cups over the table between them, looking around for the daily newspaper. He wouldn’t actually be able to read it until she left, but he wanted to get an idea where it was, currently, and who was reading it. Once Edith ran off, he could order a slice of cake (she watched everything he ate, like a hawk, and was quick to comment how fattening things were, even though she could stand to lose more than a few pounds).

“We need to talk,” she said, in almost a whisper, startling him, as he put down the cups of tea. He looked around, expecting another person to be near them. Surely, it wasn’t him she needed to talk to. He sat down.

Charlie took a sip of his tea and stared out the window at the young couple sitting outside, at a table under an umbrella, enjoying the breeze off the Atlantic Ocean. He preferred coffee, and never drank tea except on Fridays. It was easier ordering two teas and getting through it than dealing with Edith.

He wondered if they were newlyweds, flying down from some far-off place in the Midwest but unable to afford Hawaii or Key West. Just a couple of young kids with a full life ahead, thinking they’d met their dream companion, and they’d spend the next fifty years in wedded bliss. Charlie wanted to go out there and punch them both in the face. Knock some sense into them.

“Are you listening to me?”

“Of course,” Charlie said and plastered a smile on his face. “I’m always listening.”

 

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Kokomos 2 Cover

Ike Strikes Again

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Ike Strikes Again – Flagler Beach Fiction Series

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In our last discussion we talked about the legend of Ike. Those of you who missed it can catch up here—go ahead, we’ll wait…

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In my humble opinion, Ike is a great character. He isn’t perfect, but he is more good than bad—much more. I guess the technical term is anti-hero.

It’s not uncommon for him to break a few rules, and maybe a kneecap or two, but when the story ends the balance of the universe has been restored.

But I’m not here to repeat the last post (once again – read it here) I’m here because, for the second time, Ike’s reputation has landed him a role in somebody else’s story (you can read the first time here).

So what is Ike up to now?

Well, it all begins in a real life café called Kokomo’s, located here in Flagler Beach. Kokomo’s is a…

View original post 386 more words

Tonia Time: Interview with Armand Rosamilia

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I was interviewed on Tonia Brown’s podcast, and we talk about Cthulhu, steampunk, zombies, getting naked, Tom Waits, and so many other things your damn head will explode into plain M&M’s… 

http://toniatimeshow.blogspot.com/2013/05/armand-rosamillia.html

Guest Post: Lawrence Weill

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Incarnate Cover

As I travel around to colleges and bookstores talking about my novel Incarnate, a question that I often get is, what writers have influenced me.  The short, flippant answer is all of them, since I read quite a bit and I am sometimes struck by a style or subject that I don’t like and want to be certain I eschew as much as I am those I want to learn from.

The more involved answer is that of course there are authors that I admire and because I admire them, they have an impact on my own writing.  One novelist that I read frequently is Anne Tyler.  I like how she is able to take a slice of life and turn it into a great story.  Also, I am drawn to character driven novels and Tyler’s characters are wonderfully human because they are quirky and flawed in ways we recognize in ourselves and those we know. That makes her novels very engaging to me and I want to incorporate that engagement into my own novels.

I also read a lot of Richard Russo.  Two aspects of his writing that I find particularly intriguing are his use of setting to put texture into the story and the way his characters are motivated by dreams of what might be.  He always has a vivid portrayal of everyday, even difficult lives.  Whenever I read Russo, I find myself very involved with the characters, to the point where I can feel upset with something they do that is wrong-headed, and proud of them for overcoming their flaws. I hope readers of Incarnate have a similar involvement with my characters.

I love the natural flow and cadence of Clyde Edgerton’s dialogue as well as how the small town charm of his stories reveals the unassuming wisdom in the southern rural characters.  I also appreciate that his stories are about the dynamics of everyday life.

I owe a debt too to William Faulkner for his use of varying points of view which I also employ, and his willingness to take on the grotesque and even macabre without passing judgment.  The reader must decide on her own how to judge the events.  And his comment that he merely invents characters then follows them around and writes down what they say and do resonates with me.

The writer I am most drawn to is Ernest Hemingway.  His writing is, of course, one of the most recognizable and imitated in the last century. What I appreciate in his writing is his use of short, active sentences.  Hemingway’s style is deceptively simple, with uncomplicated syntax and very manageable vocabulary. Reading a short story, such as “BigTwo-HeartedRiver,” it is easy to see how all of the meaning is in the nouns and verbs.  He simply doesn’t rely on adjectives and adverbs.  While it reads simply, it is a very engaged process, finding just the right noun, the exact verb, to communicate what is happening.  But even more compelling to me is his use of what he referred to as his iceberg principle.  He once wrote about his story “Death in the Afternoon”: “If a writer of prose knows enough about what he is writing about he may omit things that he knows and the reader, if the writer is writing truly enough, will have a feeling of those things as strongly as though the writer had stated them. The dignity of movement of the iceberg is due to only one-eighth of it being above water.” The ability to have the reader understand what is NOT written is what makes Hemingway so powerful to me.

In some ways, this is best exhibited by Hemingway’s dialogues. The conversations his characters have are as much about what they don’t say or cannot say or even how they say what they do say. It is amazing to me how short dialogues in Hemingway reveal hidden conflict. An excellent example of this is in his very short story “Hills Like White Elephants.”  The reader follows the conversation, wondering as much about what is not being said, and how things are being said, as the actual dialogue.  This results in a powerful subtlety in the story.

When I write, I am informed by all of these influences, but I also do not try to write like anyone else.  I want my style to be uniquely my own, but just as we can never really outgrow our parents’ influences, I think writers always hold a debt to those authors who most move them. These are some of those debts I have.

 LarryWeill

Lawrence Weill is an author and artist in western Kentucky. In addition to novels, he writes short fiction, nonfiction articles and books, and poetry. His work has appeared in a wide range of local, regional, and national journals. He and his wife live in the woods overlooking a beaver pond. Please visit his website: http://www.lawrenceweill.com

Ahh, Sunday Morning…

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There is nothing better than being able to wake up when you want to, instead of when you have to… as much as I love my life, I still have to get up weekdays at 6 am so I can hike my kid 20 miles to high school… and then spend the next 6 hours in Kokomo’s Cafe in Flagler Beach writing and doing my thing (which involves too much coffee and pastry). 

I usually have running around to do on the weekends, since I fill my life with so many writing projects. Running off to do interviews for my Southern Championship Wrestling book or for the Palm Coast Roller Derby one, and then taking the kids here and there… 

But today, I got to sleep in and wake up when I felt like it. I slept until 6:45, a small victory. Once the brain starts thinking it never stops, and I can never climb back into my comfy bed and fall back asleep… because I start thinking of scenes for one of the stories I’m writing, and it never ever ends.

I get a huge cup of coffee (or three), tell my daughter to turn down that godawful music she listens to, and slip into a few hours of writing, Facebook, blog posts, e-mails, etc. before making lunch. Then I’ll check the time of the Red Sox game, take a nap, write a little more, maybe nap #2 if I have time, and then an hour drive north to see my Special Gal and a night of roller derby watching and then dinner. 

Tomorrow? Back to the grind. 

For right now, I need to fully wake (another cup of coffee should do it) and hit my daily 2,000 word goal so I can climb back into my comfy bed. 

“Kokomo’s Café” Huge Giveaway!!

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It’s so exciting I added two ! to the title!!

I’m going to be doing a huge giveaway once the print version of the ten story Kokomo’s Café in the Flagler Beach Fiction Series is officially released (June 28th). I’ll be giving away not only a signed copy of the Kokomo’s Café print book, but quite a few more goodies, such as:

1. A signed copy of Kokomo’s Café print book (I already said that!!)

2. an eBook version of Tool Shed by Armand Rosamilia (Angelic Knight Press)

3. A signed copy of Pump It Up by Tim Baker print book

4. A signed copy of Dying Days by Armand Rosamilia print book

5. an eBook copy of “Ancient” from the Keyport Cthulhu series by Armand Rosamilia

6. Misc. things I find around the house to give away (old books, bellybutton lint, stale cookies, etc.)

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You may now ask ‘what do I have to do in order to get this fabulous loot?!!’ (notice another two !! for excitement building)…

You need to post a review of one of the Kokomo’s Café stories… simple as that. Here’s the first one, and more will be added as they are released each week!!

Each Friday, another of the 2-story releases will be out, and you can review any of the five (and all of the five, obviously) … for every review posted by you on Amazon, Goodreads, your own blog, etc. etc. I will add you to the Giveaway list. On Friday June 28th I will announce the Winner. 

Every review post gets you another chance to win, AND if you review all five eBook releases I will DOUBLE your chances when i pick a winner. I don’t care if you give them 1-star reviews, you’re still eligible (but I hope you don’t, obviously). 

Just send me an e-mail or find me on our Flagler Beach Fiction Series Facebook group and let everyone know the review has been posted! And good luck!

Armand Rosamilia

Who the Hell is Ike?

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Tim Baker talks about boring stuff but then mentions me and saves the day!

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It’s no secret – I live on Facebook. I admit it, I’m a Facebook junkie.

As an Independent Author, I find Facebook a great place to market myself. It reaches millions of people and it’s free – can’t beat that with a stick.

Even though I use it as a marketing tool, I try not to come across like a used-car salesman. Everybody has their own methods…some of my other author friends post links to their books daily.

Me? I’d rather post a picture of a guy wearing a Batman cape and mask along with rainbow stockings standing in a fountain. Something to make you laugh.

Occasionally I will post something philosophical, just to make you think.

But I hardly ever (not never – but rarely) post anything that asks you to buy my books.

Why not?

I guess I don’t want to be a nuisance.

With all that…

View original post 646 more words

Teaser: “Kokomo’s Café” Part 1

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Kokomo‘s Café

Part 1

Flagler Fiction Series

Be Here In The Mornin’

 

Three people, with tired eyes and dry mouths, were standing on the front deck, waiting for Mac to open. The same three he saw each and every weekday. It was the start of another Kokomo’s Café morning.

“Good morning, Dean.” Mac smiled at the older man, his wisps of gray hair flapping in the gentle breeze. Dean owned one of the knickknack stores dotting A1A, selling anything he could squeeze FLAGLER BEACH onto: shot glasses, shirts, flip flops, banners, and beach towels. He even had it stamped onto the ice cream in the cooler. “The usual?”

Dean grunted.

Not a morning person, Mac thought. No matter. He’d take his spot at the big window across from the counter and finger through the newspaper while the coffee was brewing.

The woman was named Beverly. She was a prominent local realtor, coming in for her morning double shot of espresso and a blueberry muffin. She’d ask Mac if he was ever going to sell his house in PalmCoast so she could get him a deal and he’d laugh it off. Of course, if his wife Ginny was opening with him, she’d be all ears. Her dream was to sell the big house and move to FlaglerBeach so they could be near the café and the beach.

Mac started up the coffee, hitting the lights in the kitchen and preparing whatever he needed for the opening. Ginny would be here by nine with ice and more coffee, which they’d need for the busy weekend ahead, especially with the farmer’s market going on across the street in Veteran’s Park.

The third member of the morning visitors (Mac liked to refer to them as the Breakfast Club) was the large guy who sat at the corner table, head down, staring intently at his laptop. He wore black t-shirts with humorous/almost-offensive slogans and only took breaks for phone calls, a refill of his coffee and to order lunch. He stayed through the morning and left around two. Mac didn’t know who he was but he was someone, because people came in to talk with him and sometimes met him for lunch.

Mac went to work on Beverly’s wake-me-up as the fresh coffee brewed. He had a system and it was running like clockwork right now.

Then the front door opened at the same time the back door did.

It’s going to be a busy morning, he thought. “Good morning, how’s it going?”

A young couple, in swimwear under long white shirts, came in from the front. They were smiling and couldn’t keep their hands off each other. They ordered cappuccino and egg and cheese sandwiches. The older woman, coming in from the back steps, was still going through the menu, even though it was a simple folded sheet with a handful of items.

When Mac saw the couple looking around as they stood and waited for their food, he pointed at the nearest table. “You guys can sit anywhere you like, in here or in the side room, or outside. I’ll be happy to bring your sandwiches out to you.”

She smiled. “Let’s sit outside at a picnic table. It’s so nice today.”

Mac went to the kitchen and started getting orders together, trying to stay ahead until Ginny got into work. They’d been open for business since October, and the customer base had grown considerably in the last eight or nine months. The couple had been lucky so far, and Mac knew the café had a great vibe to it and great food, which had the locals coming back for more. Now that summer was here, the tourists were trickling in. Some of the snow birds decided to stick around town longer than usual, and Fourth of July would be a huge event in FlaglerBeach, with fireworks just off the pier and the town jammed with families.

Mac and Ginny had run 100-seat restaurants in the past, but he’d sworn never again. He loved the one on one Kokomo’s Café afforded him. He liked serving one person at a time, being able to take a break during slow periods and sitting out in the dining area and shooting the shit with the locals. The view from the big window was wonderful: today and tomorrow he would have a good view of the farmer’s market, with people coming and going and, occasionally, stopping in to get coffee or a muffin. This was small town at its core, and he loved being situated so close to it and being a part of it.

He was only a block from the Atlantic Ocean, and the view past Veterans Park, the palm trees and parked cars was of clear blue skies dipping into a gorgeous body of water, pure and sparkling in the morning sunlight.

The back door opened and Mac popped his head out, saying hello to two men who came in. Yep, busy busy day, so far. Mac started moving at double speed to keep up, and he loved the challenge.

“Hello, how are you?” Mac heard Ginny as she came through the front door, greeting everyone as she came into the kitchen. She was good with names, and often reminded her husband who was who. Without her, everyone would be Ma’am and Buddy.

She came around the counter and took the order of the two men, slapping the slip down next to Mac. “I guess you’ve been busy.”

“So far, I can’t complain. I’m just glad you’re in and here early. If they kept wandering in, it might’ve gotten a little hairy.” Mac snuck a quick kiss to his wife’s cheek and returned her smile.

To read more:

Amazon (only 99 cents)

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Nook (only 99 cents)

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Guest Post: Perfect Flaw

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The way Perfect Flaw came around was kind of a fluke. I have always been a huge reader.  I always have a book with me. People have often commented on how fast I read and how many books I get through. I was so lucky to meet so many book people and authors when I started reviewing books. I found that authors really appreciated how fast I could read and how honest I was in my reviewing.

A few years ago, my husband had a stroke and that made me reassess everything. I came to realize that life is short and you should be doing what you love and want to do. I sat down one day and thought and thought and decided to be honest with myself. I love books, I love reading, and I love it all. My husband is a writer, I am his main beta reader, and editor and I loved that too. I wanted to do more of that. It took a while for me to think of exactly how I could do more of it but I had a wonderful author friend that encouraged me to give it a shot so last year I sent a publisher a pitch to edit a dystopian anthology.

As far as why dystopian, it has always been one of my favorite genres. I love Science Fiction and Fantasy but Dystopian is a genre that I could read all time. Ever since I read Lois Lowry’s “The Giver”, I have been hooked. The last couple of years we have seen a flourish of dystopian books mainly in YA but nevertheless there is more and that makes me giddy. While we have seen more and more dystopian there still is not that much around.

As I was trying to think of a topic to pitch I was actually reading “The Hunger Games” and that lead me to want to do Perfect Flaw. I got to thinking, what do others see as dystopian? Given just the prompt of society gone wrong, a society that looks perfect to an outsider but has that one perfect flaw  that make it a repressive state. What would a group of writers do with that?

Stroke of luck a publisher let me take a crack at it. As submissions started rolling in, I was amazed to hear many of the authors talking about how they were so excited to see a call for dystopian stories. The stories came in from all over the world and many styles. They were dystopian but there was sci fi, fantasy, horror, political thriller, and steampunk. It was awesome to see what people had written.

The hardest part in all this was I received about 75 submissions and my publisher said they wanted about 12-15 stories. I loved reading all the stories and found it hard to narrow it down. I did an initial read through and weeded the stories down then I went to my publisher and asked if I could include a few more then 15. I reread and weeded down some more. I finally settled on 17 fantastic stories.  Another awesome thing about the publisher, Seventh Star Press, is they have amazing artist and they had an amazing artist work with me and brought my vision of the book to life on the cover. So Perfect Flaw was born.

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https://www.facebook.com/robin.blankenship

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Perfect-Flaw

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Cover Reveal: Kokomo’s Cafe (Flagler Beach Fiction Series)

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This coming Friday, May 17th, will see the debut of the first installment of the Flagler Beach Fiction Series, with the first 2-story eBook only release of Kokomo’s Cafe. The contemporary fiction stories are set in a real place with fictionalized versions of the owners as well as the customers… maybe. 

The Kokomo’s Cafe stories will be five 2-story releases, culminating in a complete eBook release as well as a Print release (of all ten stories) and book signing at Kokomo’s Cafe itself!

The release dates:

Friday May 17th: “Be Here In The Mornin'” / “Girls On The Beach”

An introduction to Kokomo’s Cafe owners Mac and Ginny, and then a story featuring Michael Zaun and his pal Larry (from my horror novella Tool Shed)

Friday May 24th: “Maybe I Don’t Know” / “Passing Friend”

An older couple on their weekly lunch date, and then Ike rescues a friend’s daughter (from author Tim Baker’s Pump It Up novel)

Friday May 31st: “It’s All About Time” / “Some Of Your Love”

A local author tries to write without distraction, and then Darlene Bobich and her dad are on vacation and run into someone interesting (from my zombie series, Dying Days)

Friday June 7th: “And Your Dreams Come True” / “Custom Machine”

A local musician, on the verge of stardom, meets with his former band, and then a motorcycle gang with a bad reputation rides into town (from my Keyport Cthulhu series)

Friday June 14th: “Love Is A Woman” / “Here Comes The Night”

Two thugs from New Jersey come down for vacation, and then Wayne Tursha sees what the hype is about the local superstar (from my Death Metal novella)

Friday June 21st: The release of the eBook complete Kokomo’s Cafe

Friday June 28th: Book signing at the actual Kokomo’s Cafe (more details to follow)

Also, look for the second book in the series, Golden Lion Cafe followed by J And J Fitness, Flagler Fish Company and more…

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Guest Post: Lee Allen Howard

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However Crazy, Honor the Idea

Lee Allen Howard

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If there’s anybody who knows about crazy ideas, it’s Armand Rosamilia. A gun that turns people into zombies? Crazy! But cool.

Such a crazy idea was the inspiration for DEATH PERCEPTION, my latest supernatural thriller tinged with horror and peppered with dark humor. Way back in 2003, I got this wacky idea that wanted to use me to become a novel. It was about a guy who could psychically discern the cause of death of the corpses he cremates—by toasting marshmallows over their ashes. Laugh or say, “Ewww!”, you gotta admit it’s a zany premise.

Nineteen-year-old Kennet Singleton lives with his invalid mother in a personal care facility, but he wants out. He operates the crematory at the local funeral home, where he discovers he can discern the cause of death of those he cremates—by toasting marshmallows over their ashes.

He thinks his ability is no big deal since his customers are already dead. But when his perception differs from what’s on the death certificate, he finds himself in the midst of murderers. To save the residents and avenge the dead, Kennet must bring the killers to justice.

I actually spent an afternoon at a funeral home crematorium learning the process and taking copious notes. And I worked on the book many years. (It was my thesis project for SetonHillUniversity’s Writing Popular Fiction master’s program.) Now, a decade later, it’s available in trade paperback and electronic formats.

What if I had tossed out that pesky idea 10 years ago? I wouldn’t have a book today.

What are your favorite reads based on absurd ideas? Aren’t you glad they were published?

If you’re a writer, what idea keeps coming back to you, the one that will not let you be? Maybe you should honor it, however crazy. It could become your next big seller.

DEATH PERCEPTION is available in trade paperback, Kindle (.mobi) and Nook (.epub) at http://leeallenhoward.com/2013/05/15/book-release-death-perception-by-lee-allen-howard.

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Lee Allen Howard writes horror, dark fantasy, and supernatural crime. He’s been a professional writer and editor of both fiction and nonfiction since 1985. His publications include The Sixth Seed, Desperate Spirits, Night Monsters, “Mama Said,” “Stray,” and DEATH PERCEPTION, available in various formats at http://leeallenhoward.com.

You can keep in touch with Lee on his Facebook author page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Lee-Allen-Howard-author/117844011639457. Follow him on Twitter @LeeAllenHoward.

Reblog: Another Interview with Armand Rosamilia (Books, Beer and Blogshit)

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My Jersey boys at BB&B have hooked me up again with a killer interview, this time focusing on my New Jersey and Florida connections. Pretty damn sweet, if you ask me…

http://booksbeerblogshit.blogspot.com/2013/05/yous-guys-gots-tuh-read-dis.html

No More Writing In A Vacuum

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I’m an old man. Yeah, yeah, I’m only 43 and still damn sexy… I know, I know… have you seen these gorgeous eyes? But I digress. 

I’ve been writing since I was 12 on and off (mostly on except during my two marriages) and I fought through a long-term relationship having to hide my writing like a mistress… other than that, I’ve written. Thousands and thousands of words, getting it steadily to 2,000 per day. If you know me or read this blog, you know 2,000 words a day is my thing. It’s my daily savior to know I’ve done well. 

I was going through some papers and boxes this morning, looking for something, when I came across a stack of discs I used to use back in the days of my Brother word processor. I’m sure they are filled with lame story ideas, pictures of my kids as babies and random crap. I must have fifty of them, and most aren’t labeled. 

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It got me thinking of how I used to write back in my twenties (especially around the mid-1990’s when I was doing Black Moon Magazine), and it was simple: sitting at the dining room table and pounding away. No internet, no distractions, no fellow authors in my town to come over and ‘talk shop’. I was literally writing in a vacuum, my own little island. The only feedback I got was from friends and family who offered no real opinions. I grew up in New Jersey, so if you got ‘that didn’t suck as bad as the last one,’ you were on to something. 

There was the Garden State Horror Writers Association, but they met on Saturdays about 40 miles from me, and I was working a full-time job (I did 20+ years as a retail manager. Back then I was managing a shoe store, which I did for most of my brilliant (read: painstakingly soul crushing) career. I don’t think I ever got to a meeting, although I knew a member or two in passing. But we never got together to write, we never sat in a diner and talked about what we were writing. You had no idea, and you didn’t know who was submitting to what market. Hell, unless you bought a copy of a magazine and found their submission guidelines, you didn’t even know who was taking them. I subscribed to Scavenger’s Newsletter and the bulk of my submissions were sent out because of it. 

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Everything was sent snail mail, and you’d wait weeks or months for your SASE to return with an acceptance or (mostly) rejection. Sometimes you got feedback and most times you did not. You were your own editor unless you had a friend or family member who helped you out, but no other entourage or posse to help you. You needed to do research? Put on your shoes because you were going to the library to kill three hours, just to find out what plants in Brazil were poisonous. 

And then everything changed seemingly overnight. Younger authors, and those who jumped in later in the game, never had to worry about sitting alone at the dining room table, typing on a word processor that wasn’t always reliable, printing out tons of copies of a story, buying envelopes and stamps and having to get a PO Box to look professional

We now have Facebook groups and e-mail and Foursquare and a million other ways to keep active. You realize you weren’t alone, there were always other writers in town with you, but you never spoke about it. It was your own dirty little secret. You never told anyone you were a writer, and you never shared your ideas. You lived a solitary, paranoid writing existence. 

No more writing in a vacuum these days. 

Armand

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Flagler Fiction Series – Are These Real People?

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When I decided a few weeks ago, right after finishing the first draft of Dying Days 3, to write a serialized batch of interconnecting stories that were what would be considered Contemporary Fiction and not Horror or even Thrillers, I decided the perfect setting for them wouldn’t be a fictitious town, but the place around me… after all, I spend most of my day sitting in a quaint place, overlooking the beach, and seeing the locals and tourists coming in and out. Why create a fictional world when the real one was so interesting?

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Kokomo’s Cafe is the name of the first set in the Flagler Fiction Series and not only the setting for the stories but an actual place in Flagler Beach Florida, and where I sit in and write all day (and talk about constantly on Facebook). My ultimate goal is to do these 10-story 5-release eBook stories and then bundle them into a Print book, and use every location in Flagler Beach if possible. Not just cafe and restaurant spots, but surf shops, specialty stores, comic book and fitness places… anywhere interesting in Flagler Beach to have these characters visit and interact. The goal would also be to do a book signing in each place once they are released. 

I’m almost done with the sixth story out of the ten I need for Kokomo’s Cafe, and they are in the 2,500-3,000 word range. There will be two per serialized release, and they’ll begin next Friday May 17th… more information about each specific story and details will come some other day. 

I wrote a story about a struggling (and distracted) writer named Reba Port, which might have a slight commonality with a certain Becky Pourchot. OK, there are a few things in the story that made her laugh and ring true. 

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The owners of Kokomo’s Cafe (Mark and Tina) were gracious enough to let me set the stories there, and put owners Mac and Ginny in the stories. You might recognize some local people in and out of the stories, and I’ve had fun letting people read the first drafts and ask ‘Is that Marybeth from upstairs?’ or ‘Is this the Creepy Guy who sits in the corner seat all day?’

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Even if you don’t live here, these are fun beach-reading stories, but you can enjoy them sitting in Iowa or Nebraska (that is the hope, anyway). I wanted character-driven tales, and I think I succeeded. I guess, once they start going live next Friday, I will find out if I’ve hit on something new and special for me, or if I missed the mark. Scary and exciting at the same time.

Armand

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Having A Bad Day – Writer’s Worst Nightmares

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Today is not a good day for me… it’s currently been raining for what seems like a month straight, flooding up and down the Florida coast, and I hate getting wet. The rain is cold. 

Jeff Hanneman of SLAYER is dead… at 49, from liver failure. I was out to dinner with Shelly last night when my 17-year old texted me the news. Surreal. It was a blow, even though I’d only met him briefly once in the mid-1990’s backstage at a show in New York, and he was a friendly guy. He was the true backbone of SLAYER, writing some of my all-time favorite songs. He was only 6 years older than me, and it was depressing to hear an idol was dead. 

Did I mention it was still raining outside?

Some of you might know I helped a fellow author friend (who I’ve never met in person but hope to someday) to extract his daughter from an abusive boyfriend a few weeks ago. All looked good, she was as far away from him as she could be… but now, it seems, she is going back to him. Another crushing blow. In the short (4-5 hours?) I knew her, I really liked her and saw her bright future ahead. Now, I only see another potential statistic. She thinks she’ll be the exception and he’ll never hit her again… I’m really sad for her. 

Yep, still raining outside…

I do copywriting jobs on the side, little 200-300 word blurbs about a concert coming to someplace in Texas or the reasons you need to select a certain apartment complex in Ohio, stuff like that… only, today, I had a bunch of Adult ones given to me. Really Adult. Stuff about swinger cruises, vibrators, squirting… crazy stuff, and it pays very well. I’m no prude, but this stuff is intense. I need a mental bleach after this… 

When it rains it pours…

I’ve gotten nothing done today writing-wise. Just this blog, which I don’t count as actually getting nearer my 2,000 word daily goal. I’ll be home tonight, listening to the rain, and being grumpy I didn’t reach my goal. 

…and because of the rain, First Friday’s book signing in Flagler Beach has been cancelled for tonight. I guess the fact the park looks like a lake had something to do with it. 

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RAINING BLOOD

Trapped in purgatory 
A lifeless object, alive 
Awaiting reprisal 
Death will be their acquisition 

The sky is turning red 
Return to power draws near 
Fall into me, the skys crimson tears 
Abolish the rules made of stone 

Pierced from below, souls of my treacherous past 
Betrayed by many, now ornaments dripping above 

Awaiting the hour of reprisal 
Your time slips away 

Raining blood 
From a lacerated sky 
Bleeding it’s horror 
Creating my structure 
Now I shall reign in blood!