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Plans For Fried Windows Sequel

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At the conclusion of Fried Windows it’s fairly clear, I think, that a sequel is coming. In fact, there are several other books I’ve written that carry on Brent Woods’ story, though only Fried Windows and a piece about his early college experiences are told in first person. There was a bit, about a chapter and a half of material from the original ending of Fried Windows that I removed in an early revision. My publisher and editor haven’t seen that part yet. The reason for its removal was that it felt anticlimactic. Really it was the beginning of another story, anyway. So I thought of it as a starting point for launching a sequel except…

There are several things Brent must yet accomplished in the Inworld. And there is a good bit he will be doing in the Outworld before he is at a time and place necessary for the linking of his storyline to that of The Wolfcat Chronicles, in which he also appears. Most of that has been worked out long ago as part of the twenty or so manuscripts I have written over the past dozen years. The missing piece is the sequel to Fried Windows, which is about 75% written. I’m working not he other 25%.

In the sequel we learn a lot more about Brent’s past associations with The Program, his role in the covert organization and the reason for his resignation and departure from the organization. We also meet a couple of the back characters that influence the events in The Wolfcat Chronicles. So the book is important for providing many connections between the storylines.

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Originally I drafted a beginning for the sequel, tentatively titled Ninja Bread Cookies, that picks up directly from where Fried Windows ends. But you see, that is not really how the story flows. There are vital pieces of information missing that the reader needs about the relationships between Brent/Carlos, Lord Cecil, Strawb and Lucy. In the process of escaping disaster Brent causes a number of other problems for himself that must be resolved and he needs help from his friends – some of whom are still connected with The Program. As many issues as he has with Forsyth, Sullivan and others yet to be introduced, Brent was very good at what he did – perhaps too good for his own good. Brent knows things that The Program prefers not to have revealed. It has been the reason for their monitoring his activities and, also, it has been the leverage Brent needed to get what he wanted from The Program in the past – that chance at having a somewhat normal life, if only for a brief span.

Forsyth and the others want to use Brent’s past against him as a means of preventing him the credibility he would need to expose their secrets. And they are good enough at what they do to have created a good deal of doubt even in Brent’s mind as to his sanity. So, if you thought Fried Windows was a wild ride of unbridled imagination, imagine seeing the world through the eyes of a lunatic, where nothing is real except that for the moment anything is perceived.

The reason for the revision to the ending of The Wolfcat Chronicles was largely related to the sequel for Fried Windows. Anyone who read the original ending of TWC would find that a part of the story was removed, a piece that connected everything to a reality apart and outside, where the creator lived. The way the ending is now leaves that connection to the imagination of the reader – probably for the best. Also the ending makes it clear how the world of the Wolfcats is related to Brent’s world.

#FriedWindows #TheWolfcatChronicles #NinjaBreadCookies #NovelsInProgress #NewBooks

 

 

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Experiencing Jewel, Book One of Norma Jean’s School of Witchery

What do some wealthy people do with the excess money they have is donate to charity or start schools to benefit those like them to make learning life lesson’s a little easier. That’s sort of the premise behind that founding of Norma Jean’s School of Witchery, a place established by one famous Norma Jean (a.k.a Marilyn Monroe) for other young witches to develop their skills. Jewel, the guardian of Jade and Jane and goddaughter of Jill, the Winter Queen of the Faeries, arrives late in the school year, just prior to Halloween, which also happens to be her birthday. You see, truly gifted witches tend to be born on Halloween. She has a lot of make-up work in order to catch up with theater students, yet in many ways she is much more advanced than the others, including the teachers.

Rose Montague is a great storyteller and this Young Adult book has the potential to become a classic of the supernatural on a par with the Harry Potter series. She creates a world that parallels our own but operates on its own asked rules, where witches, faeries, vampires and such coexist, albeit not always happily, with normal humans. It’s about a teen coming of age, discovering her that her special powers are growing and others depend on her. All the while she is also discovering some of the normal things teens deal with, discovering her sexuality and contending with popularity. It’s basically a story about what friendship is and the importance of doing your best to protect those closest to you.

Like her adopted parents and faerie godmother, Jewel is totally bad ass. She creates rings of fire drawn from he depth of her being and source of her immense magical power. And that isn’t even her most impressive attribute. She can also see a few seconds or minutes into the future, a pretty neat ability considering someone is trying to kill the witch daughter of a presidential candidate – Jewel’s roommate.

I enjoyed this story and found inspiring me to explore some of the more unusual aspects of one of my own character’s nature. I feel a new wrinkle in the Fried Windows saga coming on. Inspiration comes from the works of other artists, doesn’t it?

In the way of a disclaimer here, one of the supporting characters in this supernatural thriller is my namesake. Rose told me she was going to do that, since she has named other characters in her books after her friends. Do you know how unusual it is to spend a lifetime not knowing anyone else (except for your father named Elgon)? There are no first grade readers that contain sentences like “See Elgon run”. Also there are no coffee mugs or keychains in souvenir shops bearing my name. But Rose has created a character who, other than superficial physical similarities to a younger me in terms of hair color, eyes and height, is not really like me. But that’s okay, I enjoyed reading about someone else named Elgon for once. I won’t spoil what happens but it’s a pretty cool and humorous part of the story.

#NormaJeansSchoolOfWitchery #Jewel #Elgon #YABooks #NewBooks #Supernatural #RoseMontague

The Wolfcat Chronicles

Experiencing Jewel, Book One of Norma Jean’s School of Witchery.

What do some wealthy people do with the excess money they have is donate to charity or start schools to benefit those like them to make learning life lesson’s a little easier. That’s sort of the premise behind that founding of Norma Jean’s School of Witchery, a place established by one famous Norma Jean (a.k.a Marilyn Monroe) for other young witches to develop their skills. Jewel, the guardian of Jade and Jane and goddaughter of Jill, the Winter Queen of the Faeries, arrives late in the school year, just prior to Halloween, which also happens to be her birthday. You see, truly gifted witches tend to be born on Halloween. She has a lot of make-up work in order to catch up with theater students, yet in many ways she is much more advanced than the others, including the…

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Great Plans But No Throwback Thursday

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For the past several months I’ve been posting a series of articles about 70’s music. That was my decade, I think. I was a musician and a DJ during that time period and I’m fairly well versed in the trends of the period. I had planned to do something on Van Halen for this week. Even though the group is mostly associated with the 80’s and 90’s they originated in 1972 and I first became aware of them in 1977. I’ll defer that one for next week, though. This week became complicated.

I set out Thursday to accomplish a lot because it was one of my days off from my job, which though it is officially part time has been full time for about the past month or so. That’s a great thing because it allowed me to get ahead a little on saving up for a new laptop and buying a bicycle with gears and brakes that work. I need the former for my gig as an author and publicist. The computer I’m using is a laptop and it works fine for what I am doing now but the screen doesn’t work so I’ve been using it with a monitor. I needed the latter because it is my means of transportation as I commute 4.5 miles to and from work.

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Here’s is what has been happening, at least since I relocated last fall to share a place with my son: Riding to and from work on an old bike has been taking between 35 and 45 minutes each way due to it being stuck in one gear. It was pretty obvious I needed a better bike if not for the reasons commute time then for safety. Since purchasing a new bike last week I have been using a loaner exactly like the bike I ordered except a different color. My commute time has diminished to 25 minutes each way. Also I’m less tired at the end of my rides. Thursday morning I picked up my newly assembled and tuned bike from the bike shop where I ordered it. Since the differences between it and the loaner are cosmetic, there was no difference in commute time.

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I had planned to spend the rest of Thursday doing other things, like Throwback Thursday and knocking out a review of Rose Montague’s Norma Jean’s School of Witchery: Book One – Jewel. I finished reading it Wednesday. On my way back from the bike shop I picked up a few groceries, but shortly after I returned home I received a phone call from where I work calling me in to cover for someone’s absence. Since I need the money the answer is always yes when asked to give up my day off. So that’s why everything got pushed back.

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I will post a full review for Rose’s book in the next day or two. But I’d like to talk about a strange experience that occurred in the process of reading the YA supernatural thriller. You see, one of the characters in the story is named Elgon. Rose is a good friend and she tends to name characters after people she knows. So that wasn’t a huge surprise when she mentioned it to me. I’m flattered, actually. It’s just pretty damned weird, though. I’ve never read the name Elgon as a character in a book. In fact, other than my dad, and extinct volcano in Kenya and a cosmetics company in Italy, I’ve never seen the name Elgon used anywhere. As a kid there was never a license plate for my bike, or a key chain in any souvenir shop bearing my name. Believe me, I looked. Silly me. That’s one of the problems having a weird name like mine.

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So I have to say reading about Elgon, the character in Rose’s book, was a little distracting at first. I rather like the character, though he isn’t all that much like me, save for some physical similarities like height hair coloring and such. He’s a male witch. I’m not – or at least I’m pretty sure I’m not.

#Elgon #MountElgon #RoseMontague #NewBooks #OddNames #Bicycles

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This Week’s Agenda

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I have a couple of projects this week. First there is a book launch, the second edition of Eightysixed by Emily Belden. It’s underway, kind of, so I’m finalizing a press release for that. For those who don’t realize it, launching a book in both paperback and ebook formats on Amazon is nearly impossible to synch up so both formats appear at the same time on the same day. Usually they are a few days apart because of the time delays involved between uploading and the posting of the books on each platform. Even then, it takes as much as a week for Amazon to connect the two postings together so that a prospective reader can choose between the two formats. Often the publisher needs to contact Amazon to have them manually connect the books. For that reason, release dates with Amazon are carved in hot butter.

At any rate, book realize dates with publishers are moving targets at best. Spring, Summer or Fall of whatever year tends to be about as exact as can be mentioned until content editing has begun. Even then, it is impossible to get the release date any closer than a week until the cover design and editing is completed and For Review copies are sent out – usually 60 to 90 days prior to release. Having said that, an exact date depends not he format and the distributor. There are a number of reasons a book’s release could be delayed at the last minute.

The second thing I’ve committed to doing this week is reading a book and writing a review for a friend. That’s in progress. I may finish the book tomorrow, depending on how long it takes to finish the press release and whether or not my new bike comes in at the shop and is assembled and tweeted properly. Yes, I have upgraded my ride. It now takes less time for me to get to and from work and my backside is a lot more comfortable in the process. Also, my have brakes that actually work! Anyway, I’m hanging onto the old bike for a while as a backup in case I get a flat tire or something.  I’ll list it on Craig’s List and see if I can get anything for it. It has good tires.

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I’ve been working more hours lately which is a good things for as long as it lasts. I’ve been saving the money for things I need. The first priority was a new bike, because i use it everyday. I also need to buy some paperback version of Fried Windows in bulk so I can do some personal appearances and book signings around Orlando. Also, I need a new laptop at some point, though presently I am using a computer that has an issue with the screen but works fine when plugged into a monitor. Another thing on my wish list is getting an actual Kindle because using the Kindle Reader on my old iPad is not as pleasant an experience due to its relative weight, etc. Everything has a priority, though. Having a supply of books to sell is at the top for now.

News about The Wolfcat Chronicles: nothing major yet. I’m expecting sub-editing to begin shortly on the first book of the series. I’m not sure about the timeline for release dates. My publisher has a lot of other projects in the queue. So, I’ll be busy doing promotional stuff for other authors until it’s my turn at bat. I have read some of the new manuscripts from other authors and there are some great books coming out this year from Pandamoon Publishing!

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There is Jeff Messick’s novel Knights of the Shield which should be out any day now. Emily Belden’s memoir, Eightysixed second edition will be out by the end of the week in both digital and print. Alisse Lee-Goldeberg has a sequel of Sitnalta due out this spring and Christine Gabriel has a sequel to Crimson Forest coming out later this year. Add to those books like Ramadan Drummer by Randolph Splitter, 122 Rules by Deek Rhew and Love’s Misadventure by Cheri Champagne – new books from new authors – and you have the makings of a great reading list.

#Publishing #Publicity #NewBooks #JeffMessick #EmilyBelden #RandolphSplitter #DeekRhew #CheriChampagne #ChristineGabriel #AlisseLeeGoldenberg #PandamoonPublishing

 

 

 

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Books I’m Reading

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I’ve read two manuscripts in the past week and have started to read a friend’s newly published book. The two manuscripts are very different in genre but I enjoyed both immensely. I’m only a couple of chapters into the third story, but enjoying it as well.

The first of the manuscripts is a novel by Deek Rhew titled “122 Rules”. It will be published sometime this year and I look forward to promoting it and reading other people’s opinions. What is genuinely unique about it is the blending of genres and the strength of the female characters. Deek’s an interesting person. I’ve spoken with him a few times. He has a warped sense of humor and a different perspective on the world that comes through at times into his writing as he points out the irony in his characters’ situations. The book is anything but a typical crime, detective, police thing. It blends in a healthy dose of suspense along with some of the attributes of a good spy thriller. Yet it is told in an entertaining and memorable manner that lingers days after and one recalls some of the more unusual aspects of the story.

The second manuscript is a Regency period romance novel titled Love’s Misadventure by Cheri Champagne. Generally I’m not a huge fan of romance novels but there have been exceptions that I’ve read over the past few years. I still follow the postings of a couple of my friends from FanStory, Margaret Snowdon and Phyllis Stewart. The previous writes romances set in Victorian England. The latter writes quirky situation romantic tales set in contemporary times. Cheri’s novel is atypical of the romance genres and includes a lot of adventure that kept my attention throughout. It is well written and a pleasure to read. Despite the time period in which it is set the lead female character, Anna, is strong willed and drives the plot. The main male characters are noble while there are some vile, unsavory villains as well. It will be one of the easiest books for me to promote. It has a little something ror everyone, containing all the elements of a good bodice ripping tale while filled with the political intrigue of spies. The key characters are kidnapped in an effort to punish another main character. There’s a lot to like about it making it an enjoyable read.

Both manuscripts have sequels coming, by the way.

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The recently published book I’m diving into is titled Norma Jean’s School of Witchery. It is a Young Adult novel from my friend Rose Montague who I have previously named an honorary Panda since she knows many of the other Pandamoon Publishing authors though she is working with another small publisher. Besides that, she is really great person to know and always willing to promote the work of other authors.

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A little over a year ago, she published a YA novel titled Jade, which I  read, enjoyed and posted a review around a year ago. The novel is not your typical supernatural triller. Jade is a complex character with many intriguing abilities and an alternative lifestyle. The Sequel, Jane, was published about a month ago and is on my reading list for when I finish her present novel.

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The reason I’m reading Norma Jean’s School of Witchery first is kind of selfish. Rose told me there is a character in the book named Elgon. It’s not everyday that a guy named Elgon finds a namesake. Now you might be thinking that some people will do anything to get a Five Star Review, right? But seriously, Rose has an engaging writing style that I have enjoyed previously and I expect nothing less than an outstanding story from her with this book.

Judging from what I’ve heard from other people who follows Rose’s writing, Jane should be read prior to Norma Jean’s School of Witchery because there are a couple of spoilers contained in the latter. Oh well, I’ve made my selection and prioritized the reading list. I’ll post a review when I finish.

#DeekRhew #122Rules #CheriChampagne #LovesMisadventure #RoseMontague #NormaJeansSchoolOfWitchery #Jade #Jane #Reading #NewBooks #YA #Regency Romance #Crime #Suspense

 

 

 

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Throwback Thursday – The Eagles: Hotel California

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By 1976 the Eagles already had a number of hits to their credit. The band had released four studio albums and a chart topping compilation of their hits that would established the band as one of the most successful American bands of the 70’s. Of their albums only “Desperado”, their sophomore effort, failed to produce top 20 hits – even though the title track and another track from the album, “Tequila Sunrise”, had become fan favorites for live concerts. The strains of touring and success led to founding member Bernie Leadon’s departure in ’75. He was replaced by Joe Walsh who was successful as a solo artist and a member of the bands Barnstorm and The James Gang.

Founding members of the Eagles, Don Henley and and Glenn Frey, performed as studio musicians for Linda Ronstandt. Together with Bernie Leadon and Randy Meisner they performed one live show backing Ronstandt at Disneyland. It was after the show that Henley and Frey asked Leadon and Meisner to form a band.

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The self-titled Eagles album was a commercial success producing the hits “Take It Easy”, “Witchy Woman” and “Peaceful Easy Feeling”. The Band’s fusion of country and rock on their first couple of albums gave way to a harder, rock edge on the later albums with the addition of Don Felder on guitar. The inclusion of Walsh nudged the band further in that direction.

Hotel California, widely regarded as one of the best rock albums of all time, became the band’s best selling studio album with “New Kid In Town” and the title track hitting number one. A third hit, “Life In The Fast Lane’ featured Joe Walsh’s guitar work and established him as an integral part of the band’s evolved sound. Although the band would continue to tour, Hotel California was the last studio album that featured Randy Meisner.  After releasing a live album 1979’s “The Long Run” featured Tim Schmidt as Mesiner’s replacement. The album would mark the end of the line for the band until “The Hell Freezes Over” reunion tour in 1994. Throughout the 80’s and into the 90’s former members pursued solo careers and performed as session musicians for other artists. The Eagles released a new studio album in 2007 titled “Long Road to Eden”.

#HotelCalifornia #Eagles #DonHenley #GlennFrey #RandyMeisner #JoeWalsh #BernieLeadon #DonFelder #TimSchmidt

 

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My Years at the Home(less) Depot

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My kids and I used to joke a bit when I worked for a certain major home improvements retailer. We called it “The Homeless Depot” because it seemed I was almost never home. What time I could spend with my kids was tempered because I was usually exhausted from the strain I was putting on my body. I was a lot younger then, otherwise I would have never survived the 65 to 70 hours per week (on average). Retail management can be like that, not that it makes it right for anyone having to endure long hours.

For a while the rewards were there, though. I received stock options and performance bonuses as incentives to continue working all those crazy hours. There was a stretch of time what I worked between 90 and 110 hours a week while converting an older store to a new system for receiving and handling merchandise. I was a superstar with the company at the time, on the fast track to becoming a store manager. But the company was a lot different back then than its present day version. In many ways it was a lot like running your own business with someone else money. General Managers were like kings in their own little realm. Everyone in management, even the hourly department supervisors,  wanted to be a general manager. Otherwise why be a manager at all? And the advancements were there. In fact the company had more opportunities than they had qualified people. Due to its rapid growth, we hired managers from he outside and tried to train them in our ways of thinking. Sometimes it worked. I was part of that. I hired and trained some people who are store managers, district managers, regionals managers and corporate buyers. Many of them passed over me, but at the time I didn’t mind because it was for the good of the company’s growth and many times they did have more overall experience in magnet – just not within the company.

That was the company’s strength, really, growing. Each of the managers and most of the employees were stockholders and had a vested interest in ensuring the customers were treated in a way that few if any other retailers at the time did. That is why the company grew from 63 stores when I started in 1987 to over 1200 by the time I left in late 1999.

My family circa 1990

So, what changed that made me leave? A good bit of it was my personal life. I can’t blame the company for a lot of that, though my work schedule played some part in establishing the premise for my marital problems. You see, when you wok all those hours you are’t home enough to keep an eye on things. And, as I mentioned earlier, when you are home you’re bone tired. So your performance as a husband as well as a father is diminished. Apart from the usual honey-do lists like mowing the lawn and fixing this or that around the house, spending time with the kids was what I did on my days off. We went places, like the park, or places that were designed to entertain kids like amusement centers. We took in movies they wanted to see. Dad time was fun time for them. Sometimes my wife, their mother, went with us but often that was her day off from handling her duties with the kids. She spent it with friends and/or shopping.

Gradually my now ex-wife and I drifted apart. Add to that mix my hobby, writing. Since my son, my oldest child, was a baby, I had been resurrecting a story I had been working on since I was in high school – what would eventually become One Over X. Also I was formulating some of the material used in The Wolfcat Chronicles. Before 1993, the major obstacle to writing, other than the time doing other things, was that I was using a typewriter. That changed when we bought our first computer, ostensibly for the kids. From that day on I was the one learning how to use it as a prelude to teaching my kids. At first they were not all that interested. So basically it was my machine. It sat in my study on my desk. I played Solitaire on it and transcribed my novel in progress. Sometimes I experimented with other things, but mostly that’s what I did.

People at work were much more seasoned users. Some of the guys used Auto-cad. They had relatively powerful machines compared to mine. But from talking to them I learned a lot about personal computers and proper maintenance. Also, I knew I would eventually have to upgrade my machine in order to accomplish what I needed it to do. You see, I wanted to scan all those typewritten pages, 10,000 of them, and use an OCR program to convert them into digital word processing documents. The machine I had would not do that at anything near the speed I sought. Also I wanted to scan family pictures into the computer.

Somewhere along the line I began using the email address I had acquired through an online service and took an interest in locating and reconnecting with people I hadn’t seen since high school. All of that also took away from the time I spent with my wife. Since i did most of that at night after I got home, and often into he wee hours of the morning, it was not time away from my kids but from her.

Looking back on it, a lot of what happened my completely my fault. My wife and I separated. She took the kids back to Florida with her, except she went to the east coast not the west coast where we had lived previously. She wanted to be close to her best friend who live on the Space Coast. Most of my family lived on the West Coast near Clearwater. I tried for two years to get my company to transfer me back to Florida – anywhere in Florida so I could at least visit my kids on my days off and spend time with my other family – my mother and father were both getting on in years. Mom was in a nursing home with Alzheimer’s and Dad was still vigorous but he had some health issues related to Parkinson’s. Despite asking everyone my store managers to the CEO’s personal assistance for help in getting a transfer the answer was no.

You see, I had become a dinosaur for the new wave of people, the future of the company. I was an old timer with ideas rooted in the company;s formative years that the powers that be were no longer interested following . They wanted to nudge people like me into retiring. After all, most of us had plenty of stock. They didn’t realize that we were the soul of the company if not it’s heart. When they lost us, they lost a lot more than what the bean counters were considering, our relatively high salaries.

They believed they could hire tow or three younger guys to do the work we did. What they lost was the experience and expertise upon which the company was built. That is why the company is nothing like it was when I started working for them and, when I left fourteen years ago it had already started down that path. The founders and several of the major players were retiring. There was no one willing to do for me what I was asking. So I resigned.

#PersonalHistory #writing #TheWolfcatChronicles #OneOverX #RetailManagement