Now Out, Cory’s Way

Posted: December 6, 2014 by ajbrown in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

I’m going to make this quick today. After six years of working on Cory’s Way in one capacity or other, my debut novel has finally been released to the world in e-book format. You can find it on Amazon by clicking HERE.

You can also get it in print by either looking it up on Amazon or by going to my online store HERE. If you buy it through my store, then you save a few bucks and you get it signed by me.

If you haven’t heard about Cory’s Way, then read the next few paragraphs to learn more about it.

After his father leaves in the middle of the night, Cory Maddox and his mom, Gina, are forced to start over. Left alone while Gina tries to work her way out of debt, Cory deals with life as the new kid in school with no friends. Fleeing from the school bullies, Cory ends up under an overpass where an old homeless man lives. After being saved from the bullies, Cory and the homeless man, Mr. Washington, become friends.

But things don’t get any easier for Cory. Children are disappearing from around the state, and the bullies haven’t forgotten his escape the first time they went after him. And there is something wrong with Mr. Washington…something terribly wrong.

Accompanied by his only two friends and the unlikeliest of allies, Cory sets out to keep a promise to the ailing homeless man. Will Cory and his friends find a way to keep the promise, or will the journey prove too difficult for them?

Like it? I hope so.

The first two reviews are in as well:

An extraordinary story about a boy who learns that he must follow his heart when it comes to doing the right thing, even against Mom’s wishes. Well written, tense, and engaging, with all the emotional impact I love in a story, I found myself rooting for Cory through his difficult journey to find himself and keep a promise. The story wrapped me in Cory’s world and I didn’t want to put it down, even when finished. Because of the darker aspects of the story, it is best suited to anyone, young or old, over 13 or so. Highly recommended.

And:

Adult or Young Adult? That, friends, is the question. I’ve been accused of being an adult. Im in my early 30’s, so it’s probably a fair accusation. So what does it mean to be in your early 30’s in the year 2014? It means you were a child of the 80’s. What does being a child of the 80’s mean? It means I know what it is to be a Goonie. When I hear someone say they need to phone home, I point a finger in the air and say, ‘Elleee ot.’ Vanilla Ice is not a desert, and cowabunga is a real word. It means movies like Stand by Me and The Sandlot Kids are amongst my favourite of all time. A grown man enjoys watching movies about the hardships of being a kid? Why? Because I was one. As an adult you notice the things you didn’t as a youngster, you reminisce and you saviour. Also, I enjoy them now because I enjoyed them then.

This book, Corys Way, has that instant classic feel of an 80’s movie. You will connect, you will feel, you will know Cory. As an adult you will remember the simple conversations between boys and girls, moms and sons. As a Young Adult, I believe you will relate, but also, enjoy. Such a ride. The real horror, is because you feel like you know these kids, feel like you are one of these kids.

You will smile…but…beware. You will also cringe. You may even put the book down a minute, to catch your breath. Moments of horror and gore, maybe a bit too much for the young…but maybe it’ll hook them. For a young adult, this is the type of book to get you hooked to the horror genre.

So, Adult or Young Adult? Well that’s easy…BOTH! Feel the horror.

Though I don’t classify Cory’s Way as a horror novel, there are a couple of horrific moments within. To me, Cory’s Way is more of a coming of age story with a touch of dark content.

If you want a good read, why don’t you get your copy of Cory’s Way? It’s really only a click away.

Until we meet again, my friends…

Every writer has his or her own voice. No, not the voice they speak with, but the voice they narrate with, the voice they tell stories with. That voice creates the feel of the stories they write. Sometimes, if a writer is particularly lucky, they find their voice quickly. Most of the time, that’s not the case. It’s like a game of Hide and Seek with the writer doing the searching while the voice does the hiding.

It took me years to find my voice. Once I did I knew it was the voice I wanted to write in. But just finding it isn’t good enough. Once I found the voice I had to develop it, I had to hone it, make it mine. That took as long, if not longer, as finding it did.

This became the subject of a conversation between my good friend, Dawn, and myself, recently as we sat in the living room of my house. I sat across from her on one of the kitchen chairs while my wife and her mom talked on the couch. Every once in a while the conversations would cross paths and mingle for a moment or two, but for the most part, they were separate. Dawn made note of something in my writing style, in my voice, something she liked: It’s like the reader is part of the story.

Keep this in mind for a second.

I call my voice ‘conversational,’ because that’s what it is. I like to write in the same tone as if I were having a conversation with someone (or many someones). I like to try and get the reader to feel something while reading my stories. Sometimes I succeed. Sometimes I don’t. I want you, the reader, to feel like you are part of the story, that you are there.

I write the way I do because I want you to feel something. I want you to feel the sadness or the happiness of the characters. I want you to feel their pain or (gasp) the love. I want you to feel their sickness. I want you to feel. If you feel something from reading one of my stories, then I’ve done my job.

Stephen King wrote in his book On Writing that the author of a story is also its first reader. I agree, and with that in mind I write stories I like and that I think you will, as well. When you pick up one of my books or any of The Brown Bag Stories I mail out each month, it should be like getting in a car with the characters. They’ll take you on a road trip and try to entertain you. If at any point during the trip you lose interest, well, then I failed you, because at that moment all you want is for the trip to be over, and it should never be that way. You should enjoy every second of the trip as you go, not just the destination, but the journey.

I want you to walk away from one of my books satisfied. I’m a conversationalist in my writing voice. I want you to be part of the story. And that’s why I write the way I do.

***

Before I go, I just realized something a couple paragraphs up, it’s something that I don’t think I have ever posted here on my blog. For that, I apologize and feel a little embarrassed over. Let me explain:

Back in April I started creating a booklet called The Brown Bag Stories. This was to be a 12 month long endeavor. It is partially a way to get my stories into hands of readers, but also a way for me to give to those same readers. These booklets are not professionally made magazines, but they are like mini-mags, holding one short story in each one of them, plus my author notes about the stories contained therein. We started putting these out in June, leaving them at coffee shops and comic book stores and anywhere else that allowed us to. I mail a handful of them out each month as well.

Oh, and the good thing about these booklets? They’re free. You don’t have to pay a dime for them. All you have to do is ask.

This is kind of my way of letting you read some of my work for free, to let you determine if you want to take a chance on me and my work, a chance that might one day have you purchase one (or all) of my books and/or tell others about my work. My hope is you like the stories and would want more of them.

At the moment, this is just a 12 month thing. The first seven issues have been released to the world. There are five left, including a Valentine’s Day story that may or may not be more of a lady’s treat. Sorry guys–it’s the one time of year that I get to show a sensitive, somewhat romantic side.

I’ve also thought about possibly making them digital in the end–maybe even creating a TBBS blog or website dedicated solely to the little booklets.

If you would like to receive a copy of The Brown Bag Stories, drop me a line at ajbrown36@bellsouth.net, with your name and address and I’ll send them out to you. If you would like any of the previous editions, let me know and I’ll send those along as well. And remember, they’re free. What more could you ask for?

Until we meet again, my friends…

A Straight Line? Not Quite.

Posted: November 27, 2014 by ajbrown in Writing
Tags: , ,

‘You don’t always get to your destiny in a straight line…’

Isn’t that the truth?

I read that recently.  There was more to the statement, but for the purposes of this blog, I’ll just use the above quoted sentence for now.

When I sit down to write a story, generally speaking, I have an idea where I want it to go.  Not always, but most of the time.  I kind of have an idea about the main character and things he/she will have to face over the course of the story.  Sometimes, however, those characters have minds of their own and they decide they want to go in a different direction than I want them to.  There’s that straight line, or lack there of.

I’m sure I’m not alone in the fight for control over the characters of my stories.  I’m sure other writers have this same parent to child conversation or argument with their characters from time to time:

‘You will do what I told you to do, and that is that.’

‘I don’t want to do that.’

‘I don’t care.  That is how you will be written.  End of discussion.’

‘I’m not doing it and you can’t make me.’

‘I can’t make you?  I can’t make you?  Are you sure about that?’

‘You can’t make me.’

‘Oh, we’ll see about that, young man (or woman).’

And things really get out of hand with all the screaming and yelling and slamming of doors and the ‘I hate you,’ and ‘I know, but I still love you,’ to the ‘you open that door up right now, young woman (or man), and you do what I told you to,’ to the ‘I can’t wait until I leave this place.’  It’s a truly vicious cycle.

Read the following and I’ll relate it back to the main point.  I promise.

After his father leaves in the middle of the night, Cory Maddox and his mom, Gina, are forced to start over.  Left alone while Gina tries to work her way out of debt, Cory deals with life as the new kid in school with no friends.  Fleeing from the school bullies, Cory ends up under and overpass where an old homeless man lives.  After being saved from the bullies, Cory and the homeless man, Mr. Washington, become friends.

But things don’t get any easier for Cory.  Children are disappearing from around the state, and the bullies haven’t forgotten his escape the first time they went after him.  And there is something wrong with Mr. Washington…something terribly wrong.

Accompanied by his only two friends and the unlikeliest of allies, Cory sets out to keep a promise to the ailing homeless man.  Will Cory and his friends find a way to keep the promise, or will the journey prove too difficult for them?

This is the blurb for my debut novel, Cory’s Way.  I began working on this book in the summer of 2008, hoping to write a short story about a young boy who is befriended by a homeless man one day while trying to escape a pair of bullies out to put a beating on him.

I had a direction.  I had the characters.  I had the scenery.  I had a straight line.  I was good to go, right?

Sadly, I made it through the first four or five chapters before I realized there was no real story, and if there’s no story, well, it’s just a bunch of words that doesn’t truly have a direction.

There’s that straight line issue again.  And again, there was the lack there of, or in this case, a line that just abruptly ended.  It was a roadblock of sorts, and Cory and Mr. Washington and the Burnette Brothers and Gina had all ran right into the wall.

Cory’s Way was shelved for a couple years.  It was no different than any of the multitude of stories started and destined to not be finished.  I really thought I had worked my last on it.

In the summer of 2010 I read a news article about a man who had kidnapped someone.  I won’t go into details of that article here–it’s not necessary for this particular blog.  However, after reading the article, I knew why I had thought Cory’s Way was not really a story:  Good stories are like real life, they have conflict.  There was no real conflict, other than the bullies chasing Cory at the beginning of the story.

There was also no emotional connection anywhere.  At this point Cory’s father leaving wasn’t even part of the story.  Neither was his mother moving them away or ninety percent of the story after chapter four.  For all it was worth, Mr. Washington could have been the holly jolly St. Nick and the Burnette Brothers could have been a flying trapeze duo.

But I had another line to follow and this one was as straight as it could be.  I followed it, allowing the story and the characters to lead the way, and yes, that line stayed straight.  Until one character didn’t seem to want to play nice with the others.  He exited, stage left, folks.  Yeah, that straight line had another detour in it.

Still, there’s more.  Characters came and things were done and scenes were created, all of them taking that straight line and detouring several times until the end had been reached, and guess what?  Even the ending was different than I originally thought, and I think it is more appropriate and satisfying than I had planned.  This time, the characters were right in taking over the story, and what they came up with was so much better than I had come up with.  And they did it along a line that wasn’t quite straight.

Cory’s Way didn’t happen in a straight line.  If it would have, I don’t think it would be as good.  Here’s the thing:  The point is not to always make it to the end of the trip by going from point A to point B.  The point is to enjoy the ride along the way.  A major joy of writing is tagging along and seeing where the characters take you.  It’s the same with reading.  So, enjoy the ride, enjoy the story.

Until we meet again, my friends…

(For those wondering, the complete quote that led to this post is:  You don’t always get to your destiny in a straight line.  Sometimes God takes you on a detour as He prepares you for where He is taking you.)

 

Cory’s Way, A Novel

Posted: November 25, 2014 by ajbrown in Writing
Tags: , , , ,

After his father leaves in the middle of the night, Cory Maddox and his mom, Gina, are forced to start over. Left alone while Gina tries to work her way out of debt, Cory deals with life as the new kid in school with no friends. Fleeing from the school bullies, Cory ends up under an overpass where an old homeless man lives. After being saved from the bullies, Cory and the homeless man, Mr. Washington, become friends.

But things don’t get any easier for Cory. Children are disappearing from around the state, and the bullies haven’t forgotten his escape the first time they went after him. And there is something wrong with Mr. Washington…something terribly wrong.

Accompanied by his only two friends and the unlikeliest of allies, Cory sets out to keep a promise to the ailing homeless man. Will Cory and his friends find a way to keep the promise, or will the journey prove too difficult for them?

Cory’s Way, coming December 6th to Kindle users everywhere.

However, you can pick it up in print format now by following this link:

Cory’s Way Square Online Store

If you are local and I can hand deliver the book to you, it cost $10.00. If I have to mail it (in the U.S. only for now) it will be $13.00.

The first review has come in. Here is part of it:

This book, Cory’s Way, has that instant classic feel of an 80’s movie. You will connect, you will feel, you will know Cory. As an adult you will remember the simple conversations between boys and girls, moms and sons. As a Young Adult, I believe you will relate, but also, enjoy. Such a ride. The real horror is because you feel like you know these kids, feel like you are one of these kids.

You will smile…but …beware. You will also cringe. You may even put the book down a minute to catch your breath.

Sounds cool, doesn’t it?

Pick up your copy or gift it to a friend or loved one for Christmas.

 

CorysWayFullCover

 

Today, I get to pinch a fellow South Carolinian. With a new small press and a book coming out in January, I’d like you all to welcome Kindra Sowder to the Doner Center.

Kindra, your debut novel, Follow the Ashes, is coming out soon. Tell us about it.

Follow the Ashes is the first installment of a trilogy I began writing when I was fifteen, and there are possibly many more to come. I haven’t decided. It will be released January 11, 2015. The trilogy is about a woman named Robin (whose name was inspired by my beautiful mother) and she is the Executioner, a slayer of the evil and undead. Below is a brief description from the Burning Willow Press website.

What does it mean to be the Executioner? Is it the struggle between good and evil, and the fulfillment of a Gypsy legend?

For Robin, it’s simply another day in the park in downtown LA. It’s killing the undead as she attempts to juggle life and love the same as any other ordinary woman would. That is until she meets Gordon, a crazed demon with a conscience. Now she must battle an ancient evil far more powerful than she’s ever faced before, or risk losing the world to Lilith, the mother of all vampires.

Will she save mankind? Or will we all follow the ashes of destruction as we burn in Hell?

It will be followed by two sequels, Follow the Screams and Follow the Bloodshed.

Where will we, the readers, be able to find Follow the Ashes?

Follow the Ashes will be available in a number of places and formats. It will be available on Amazon as well as through e-book on Amazon and in print in stores and on shelves! Be on the lookout for it or you can request it if your local bookstore isn’t carrying it at the time. I’m really hoping I can get them on the shelves in Barnes & Noble to be honest as well as a lot of indie bookstores.

I see you are one busy lady right now. You have recently started a small press called Burning Willow Press. What made you decide to start your own small press?

Well, I decided to do this after the debacle with Permuted Press. When they changed their business model I was one of the many authors affected and I chose to dissolve my contract with them in search for something better. After that experience I wanted to be different so, while making the decision to self-publish my work, I made one very big leap. I decided to start my own small press, vowing to be an advocate for authors and their work instead of taking advantage of them like others do. Along with good friend and fellow author R.M. Willis and my husband Edd Sowder, we joined together to form Burning Willow Press to achieve that goal as well as to put out high quality work and to make an author’s vision for their work come to fruition.

For the writers out there, what types of work are you seeking?

At Burning Willow Press we are seeking science fiction, fantasy and horror. All submissions will go straight to our submissions and acquisitions team: Sheron Parris (fantasy submissions), Greg Crum (sci-fi submissions), and Steven Winfrey (horror submissions) to be brought to me by VP and acquisitions manager, R. M. Willis. We are very open to submissions that are a blend of these genres as well and we love unique work. One we just accepted is from former Permuted Press author, Michael Gardner. It is a pirate fantasy called The Blood of an Immortal. ARGGGHHH!

One last question, and I think I know the answer, but: Vampires or zombies and why?

Well, Jeff, while I do love zombies and am even a loyal Walking Dead fan, vampires have always been my favorite of the undead. They have been since I was a child and was captivated by Bram Stoker’s Dracula and even more as I continued to delve into the folklore. Then my favorite show, Supernatural, brought them out into the light, and well, who doesn’t love Buffy? If anyone wants to hook me, give me a really good and unique vampire story and you have my interest.

The following is an excerpt from Follow the Ashes:

My whole body burned. Every muscle fiber, every bone, every vessel. My chest felt broken but yet tightly held together like a huge hand was holding me. I couldn’t get a breath in, but could easily get a breath out. Lying there on my side I continued to try to choke in gasps, each one harder and more excruciating than the last. Blood was still seeping from the two puncture wounds on my neck. Some of that blood had even made its way into my hair and down my shirt. Great.

I could hear her footsteps coming closer to me. Or was that the heavy thud of my heart beating in my ears? With every step she took I knew I had to fight back. I could either fight for my life, or lose it by being a coward and giving into the pain. I was choosing life and I was going to fight for it with all the strength I had left. That’s if it was enough to even stand. If it wasn’t, fighting could be a different story altogether.

I rose to my knees and my body protested with nearly agonizing pain. I let the fire build up inside of me and it began to take me over like a tidal wave. This fire would save my life.

The woman’s steps stopped and I looked up at her, vowing vengeance and justice without even speaking a word. I didn’t see a flicker of fear in her eyes as she looked at me. I saw a gleam in her eyes that said she saw me as waste. Filth beneath her feet she could just walk all over and not even bat an eye. I was something not worth her time and something to be swiftly snuffed out. She had a plan, and she only needed to get rid of me to be able to fulfill it. I was going to be an easy kill to her, but I hadn’t yet revealed the rest of what I had in my arsenal. This fire inside of me wasn’t all I had. I had a will that no one could rival. Not even her.

My hand seemed to rise of its own volition, and the scream came out on instinct. The scream contained that familiar demonic edge that had distorted my voice the first time I let it overtake me. Fire blazed out of my hand and enveloped her in licking light and heat that was unforgiving. Her screams echoed through the night, and I let it pour out of me until every ounce of power had drained from my body, and I was nothing but a frail and hollow person. My vision began to fade, but I knew with everything I had that the demon was down on the ground. She was almost burnt to the point of being a charcoal briquette, but by some means still alive. I could still feel that strong buzz of her power throughout my entire body. No matter how much I wanted to extinguish that blaze inside of her, I determined I wouldn’t have the strength to do so.

I felt myself collapse and as my body made contact with the unforgiving ground every part of me cried with pain. I heard that same whimper come from between my parted lips. My vision was slowly fading, and as it faded completely to blackness I caught a glimpse of the man with an angel’s face coming to my rescue. I knew with certainty this would be when he would save me. Then everything went dark.

As I regained a moment’s consciousness I could feel myself being carried, and heard two distinct and panicked voices. I knew that I was definitely being carried by the man that I saw hovering over me as I blacked out. Thank you, powers of deduction. I could hear him right next to my head. Then I heard a door being opened with a squeak and somehow I knew it was the door to mine and Beth’s home. The familiar smell of the herbs she used in her spells hung in the air so I knew it was definitely our house. It was mostly the scent of burned sage that we used to banish the evil spirits of anything we had killed since we met. They had a tendency to stick around. Another clue was the slight creek in the maple floor board right in front of the door that had always been there.

The other voice was certainly Beth’s and I knew she was terrified for me, but she was scared by the man she had never met barging into our home. I could tell only that much. Every smell, sound, and sensation was muffled to the point I almost couldn’t tell if I was really sensing any of it at all. I even tried to open my eyes, but couldn’t. My eyelids felt like they had been sewn shut, and held down by heavy weight. It was like someone wanted to make sure I wouldn’t be opening them ever again. I wanted to be able to tear them open, and that same panic I heard in Beth’s voice started to rise in me as well. I was stuck in a darkness I couldn’t pull myself out of. As it overwhelmed me my body began to quiver and shake.

Then a new panic set in as another thought crossed my mind. How did this man know where I lived? What were his motives? But I realized I couldn’t worry about that at that moment. I had more important things to worry about. Like becoming completely conscious again and being able to communicate with Beth. I had to tell her about this mysterious creature that I had come across.

“I’m not sure what she was, but this woman has knocked her out cold. I’m not even sure how long she’ll be out for,” was all I could make out from the man carrying me into my home. I felt hair being moved away from the bite on my neck. It stuck sickly to my skin. “This will need to be purified. Now!” I could feel every ounce of pain in my body that I had felt before I drifted into darkness, and it was excruciating. I could feel the familiar buzz of terror from this man as he seemed to realize I could possibly die from this encounter. Wouldn’t that be a relief from what I was feeling at this moment, but no. I could possibly turn tonight. That woman wasn’t just anything, she was a vampire. A very old one at that.

I was swiftly taken through our home and my eyes were able to drift open long enough for me to see our kitchen doorway as I was laid on the kitchen island. I felt very large, warm hands on me that rolled me onto my side. One hand moved to my shoulder and gave a reassuring squeeze as I heard rummaging through a cabinet. I knew what was coming. A holy water shower, followed by a silver nitrate shot. This was going to hurt.

I heard glass moving around and knew Beth had found the bottles of holy water. I was already shaking because I knew what was coming. I had experienced this pain before. We both had, but she wasn’t the one who had almost burned the house down because of it.

Fear gripped me and my eyes shot open and met his. Beth laid a glass syringe and an amber glass bottle on the corner of the island next to the three bottles of holy water it would take for the process. She glanced at me when her eyes met mine I saw pity and concern. She knew exactly what I was about to endure, and she felt sorry for me. I half expected her not to be able to do it herself, but as she picked up one bottle of holy water she removed the lid and gave me a reassuring look. I turned onto my stomach and gripped both side of the island, and braced myself for what was going to happen next.

Beth held the bottle over the wounds and hesitated. I could see her arm shaking as well. She didn’t want to do this, but she had to. If she didn’t, I was going to turn and they would be my first victims. I’d kill myself before I let that happen. I would not be one of the monsters.

I looked her directly in the eyes and nodded, giving her the okay. It had to be done. I gripped the counter even harder and squeezed my eyes shut, holding my breath. Every muscle in my body tensed up, and she hadn’t even poured anything yet. Then I felt the first sting as a few drops landed on my skin, and I gripped the edges of the counter even harder. Those few drops weren’t as bad as the barrage of acid that was about to be poured onto me.

A river of holy water touched my skin and sizzled. I felt like acid was being poured onto me and I was able to stifle a few screams. The river stopped, and then another started. I couldn’t stop it this time. Screams of agony ripped through the air and filled every corner of the house. There was no way to fight it. It stopped again. I opened my eyes and Beth was standing there, holding the bottle but not daring to pour anymore. I gave her another nod and closed my eyes. She then poured the whole bottle and then moved onto bottle number two, then three. I was sweating and soaking wet and could barely breathe by the time that was done. Now came the worst part. The syringe full of silver nitrate.

I slowly sat up, wincing, and put my arm out, rolling up my sleeve so she could get to the veins at the bend of my elbow. She touched the very tip of the glass syringe to my skin, looked me in the eyes, and pushed it into the vein right at the surface. I cringed, but held still. I knew once she pushed the plunger down I wouldn’t be as restrained. The man grabbed my shoulders from behind.

She pushed the plunger all the way down and at first everything was okay, then I felt a sensation was starting to build. My veins were on fire and as the burning grew, a glow began in the center of my chest and began to spread through those veins. The pain grew with it. I couldn’t hold it back. My head rolled back and I shrieked, a demonic scream being released with it.

The pain was unbearable and my body felt as if it were on fire and I went limp. My vision went black, but I was still aware of what was happening. The man picked me up and I could hear Beth directing him on where to go. As he laid me on what I could only assume was a bed I felt the coolness of the sheets, which was more than welcome as far as I was concerned. I wandered off into unconsciousness again, and everything was gone.

Thank you for joining us for this edition of The Pinch, and please check Kindra Sowder out at the following links:

Kindra Sowder on Facebook

Kindra Sowder on Twitter

Inside My Mind

Horror Geeks Magazine

Burning Willow Press Links:

Burning Willow Press on Twitter

Burning Willow Press on Facebook

Website coming soon!

Kindra sowers cover

 

 

 

 

It will only hurt a little, just a pinch. That’s what the nurse says.

Remember that as we welcome a favorite of mine, Michelle Garren Flye. Michelle and I go back to the old +Horror Library+ days of the Zoetrope website. I’ve been fortunate enough to become a friend over the years, and worked with her on a couple of projects. I’ve been even more fortunate to have had the joy of reading her work when she wrote ~GASP~ horror.

It is an honor to welcome Michelle back to the Donor Center for The Pinch.

10 books. That is a lot of books to have written and released. Tell me, Michelle, is this what you imagined or is it better (or maybe even a little worse)?

Thank you for having me here, A.J. Let me answer your question with a little story. Once there was a little girl about seven years old who wrote cute little stories. Her mother said the little girl had a good imagination and could be an author one day. Of course, the little seven-year-old girl barely even knew what an author was, but that word—author—stuck in her head and germinated over the years until she was certain she wanted nothing more than to write and write and write her way into the stars.

Of course, real life intervened over the years and the girl grew into a young woman who let her dreams be mashed up into a way to make a living and became a journalist. When the young woman became a wife, she wanted better hours so she could spend more time with her husband, so she went to school and became a librarian. And then she started having children and took some time off work and started writing again, all the while dreaming of one day being able to call herself an author.

Well, with ten books out there being read by other people (even if it is just a few dozen), I know I can now call myself an author. But I also know I haven’t reached the limits of my dream. I still want my books to be read by a LOT of people. So I guess the answer is, the seed is still germinating and growing and becoming a vine that someday I hope will bear fruit.

Tell us about Island Magic—the tenth book.

Island Magic is the third in my Sleight of Hand series, a romance series featuring magicians as either the hero or heroine. In this case, the hero is Logan, a retired magician whose guilt over his wife’s death several years before has kept him from returning to the life of magic. When his wife’s best friend Rachel shows up at his Caribbean resort determined to party her way through her alimony, Logan wants to help her. In the process, he pulls off a pretty cool magic trick, falls in love with Rachel and finds out the secret of why she’s on such a self-destructive path. I like Island Magic because I feel like it has a lot more depth than the first two books in the series—although I’ll always love Andre, the magician hero of Close Up Magic.

I have to do this: You used to write horror, and you were magnificent at it. Why did you choose to go in the almost completely opposite direction with your writing in doing romance novels?

You are very kind to say I was magnificent at writing horror. I never deluded myself that far. I wrote some kind of neat ghost stories, but I was nowhere near as good as most of my contemporaries (including you). However, I’d probably still be writing those ghost stories if it weren’t for the fact that one day when my younger son was still a baby, I looked at his face and realized I wanted everything in the world to be beautiful for him. Love is the most beautiful thing in the world—the one power that can light up the darkest moment in our lives—so I decided I’d rather write about it. And that’s what got me started.

What are the differences between writing horror and writing romance?

Well, obviously, you’re aiming for a different demographic with romance. Romance readers are almost entirely women. But other than that… This is actually a very difficult question to answer. Every time I start to write something down about romance, I realize the same could be said for horror.

How are they the same?

Strangely enough, this is a much easier question to answer. Because yes. They are. Good horror is realistic. So is good romance. Good horror comes from the depth of your soul, and so does good romance. In both genres, you want to shock your audience (at least a little), keep them wondering, build suspense and finally come to an inevitable conclusion. Of course, horror never requires a happily ever after and romance does. 6. Is there a chance you may go back to horror one day? You know, for old time’s sake?

Always. I still get ideas for horror and I’ve never given up my fascination with a good ghost story. Whenever I travel, I find a bookstore and go straight to the local interest section to find the local histories and legends. And living on the coast of North Carolina, I’m determined I will one day write a book about a ghost pirate. Maybe it’ll even be a romance. Who knows?

The following is an excerpt from Island Magic, Michelle’s newest releas. Enjoy:

“Rachel!” The voice yanked her into semi-consciousness, or maybe it was the hands gripping her shoulders. God, had she fallen asleep in the waiting room? And why was everything so bright, and why did it all hurt so much? She wanted to tell him to leave her alone, let her rest for a few more minutes, but the anxiety in his voice when he called her name again made her push past the inertia.

“Jesus. What? Did I fall asleep?”

Logan stared at her for a second, then enfolded her in his arms. “Thank God. For a second I thought…” He stopped, pushing her away from him and she noticed for the first time the black marks on his face.

“God, what happened to you? Were you working on the plane or something?” She pulled away, brushing something gritty from her shoulders, feeling more in her hair. Why was she sandy? She looked around, taking in her surroundings with astonishment. “What?” She returned her gaze to him. “What am I doing on the beach?”

He frowned. “What’s the last thing you remember?”

“The waiting room at the airport. What happened? I hurt all over.” She struggled to stand, but he stopped her.

“Wait. Take it easy. You don’t remember getting on the plane? Maybe you hit your head harder than I thought.” He brushed her hair back from her face. “You’re not bleeding.” His frown deepened. “How do you feel?”

“What do you mean, how do I feel? I feel like a truck ran over me. I told you, I hurt all over.” Her voice came out sounding petulant and whiny and she stopped, taking a deep breath. “I’m sorry. I just don’t understand. What happened?”

He hesitated, glanced around and finally said, “Let’s get out of the sun. It’s the middle of the afternoon and you don’t have any sunblock on.”

She let him help her to her feet, leaning on him as she turned toward the shadier area just off the beach. She stopped, first because she didn’t recognize the beach and second because of the smoking, blackened hulk a few hundred feet away. She gasped, her knees buckling beneath her. “Oh my God! Were we on…that?”

Before you click off the page, please check out Michelle’s links. Here’s the thing: she’s not just a great writer, but Michelle is a great person, who puts her heart and soul into her work. If you like romance, then you will love Michelle’s books> Check her out at the following links:

Michelle Garren Flye’s Website

Michelle Garren Flye on Twitter

Michelle Garren Flye on Facebook

Sleight of Hand Facebook Page

As always, thank you for reading, and until we meet again, my friends…

Cory’s Way, A Novel Print Version

Posted: November 6, 2014 by ajbrown in Writing
Tags: , , , ,

Good evening…ummm…or morning or afternoon. How about just good day? Hmmm…it may be night where you are right now. Well, good whatever time it is where you are.

Let’s just jump right into the blog today, why don’t we?

The e-book for my first novel, Cory’s Way, is set to be released on December 6th. It’s a special day because it’s my son’s birthday as well and he has always asked me, ‘when are you going to do something for me in your books?’ Yes, on the day my boy turns 10, I am going to release my e-book—it’s a way of doing something for him in my books and making it even more special for myself.

However, the print book is ready to go. We have decided to go ahead and release the print version and pre-orders will be taken starting tonight, November 6th. Wait. Before you click on over to Createspace or Amazon, read on. I want to save you some money.

After creating the print version of Cory’s Way, I set everything up so it could be printed on demand through Createspace. Then I checked the pricing. Holy Cow Batmen (and Women). I was stunned to see how expensive I would have to price the books to make less than four dollars in profit. It’s crazy. Here’s a little math for you:

*What follows is full disclosure of the pricing of the print version of Cory’s Way.

The minimum list price is $10.33. At that price, I would make $2.00 (if purchased through Amazon) and you would still have to pay shipping, which is around $4.00 or so. So, you would pay around 15 bucks for the book. Honestly, that’s not too bad for you. It’s not too good for me. [The Createspace Store royalty would be a much better $4.15 per book, but who actually purchases through the CS Store?]

I decided to bump it up to $15.00 to see what the royalties would be. At that price, I come out better, at $4.87 a book (through Amazon), but you, the readers end up paying around $20.00 for it with shipping. [The CS Store would give me a total of $7.87 per books—not too bad for me, but again, who actually purchases through the CS Store?)

This has caused me quite a bit of anxiety. Why? It’s simple: I want you to read my books. I also want to make a little money from those books, but I don’t want to gouge you, the readers, in the process.

After a lot of deliberation and much discussion with my lovely wife, Cate, we came up with a plan. (Well, she came up with the plan. She’s good that way.) What’s the plan? We opened an online store for the book. Yes, that’s right, and it should be repeated: we opened an online store for the book.

Stick with me for a second. If you follow the link at the end of this blog, you can go to the Square store that has Cory’s Way for sale. Here’s the way it works: There are two items on this page (at least so far). Those items are for Cory’s Way for local folks and Cory’s Way for folks the book would need to be shipped to. Yes, there is a difference in pricing. Why? The ones that have to be shipped include the price of shipping, so they’re a little more expensive. Those prices are:

Local: $10.00

Non-Local: $13.00 (shipping included)

Those prices are significantly cheaper than the $15.00 list price (not including shipping) on Createspace and Amazon.

There’s one more perk to buying from this website: Since I ship them, each one will be hand signed.

What this boils down to is, yes, I want to make money off my books, but no, I don’t want to gouge the readers in order to do so. I want you to enjoy my work, but I don’t want you to spend $20.00 if you don’t have to. I wanted to make this a win-win for both of us. In this way, I think I have. I hope you feel the same way.

Before you go to the website, let me give you the synopsis to the book (which you can find in the descriptions of both items):

After his father leaves in the middle of the night, Cory Maddox and his mom, Gina, are forced to start over. Left alone while Gina tries to work her way out of debt, Cory deals with life as the new kid in school with no friends. Fleeing from the school bullies, Cory ends up under an overpass where an old homeless man lives. After being saved from the bullies, Cory and the homeless man, Mr. Washington, become friends.

But things don’t get any easier for Cory. Children are disappearing from around the state, and the bullies haven’t forgotten his escape the first time they went after him. And there is something wrong with Mr. Washington…something terribly wrong.

Accompanied by his only two friends and the unlikeliest of allies, Cory sets out to keep a promise to the ailing homeless man. Will Cory and his friends find a way to keep the promise, or will the journey prove too difficult for them?

Intrigued? I hope so.

If you would like to purchase the print book of Cory’s Way, please follow this link:

https://squareup.com/market/aj-brown

As soon as the first order of books comes in, I’m shipping all orders out. It may take up to a week for them to get in, but as soon as they do, all orders will go out.

Before I go, I want to thank you for taking the time to follow Type AJ Negative or to follow my author page on Facebook or for purchasing any of my books. I truly appreciate it.

Until we meet again, my friends…

 

 

 

 

Welcome to The Pinch. What’s The Pinch? Oh, it’s simple. You know when you go to the doctor and end up getting a shot? You know how that nurse (who just loves her job so much she could be a serial killer in any psychotic movie) who smiles at you and says, ‘We’re going to give you a little shot. It won’t hurt much…’ I always wonder who the ‘we’ is here?

The nurse then goes on to say, ‘It’ll only be a little pinch.’

First off, she’s lying. Don’t believe her. I’ve never been given a shot that felt like any pinch I’ve ever had. Second off, she’s enjoying herself. While you’re sucking in all the oxygen in the room, she’s smiling away. Little evil serial killer wanna-be.

Okay, I’ve gotten a little sidetracked. The Pinch is an interview series. They are four or five short, quick questions (though the interviewee doesn’t have to give short answers), just enough to tease you folks out in Reader Land. It’s also my way of introducing you to writers you (may or) may not know.

Our first Pinch is a young lady by the name of Claire C. Riley. I just recently found out about her through a Facebook group (yes, a trusty Facebook group—isn’t that how everyone meets these days?). Without going into further unpleasantries, why don’t we just get started?

Limerence, The Obsession Series, is along the lines of a romantic horror involving vampires. This is something we’ve seen before in another series that shall go unnamed within these dark halls. For those readers who have been ruined on vampires because of that other series, how does Limerence differ from it?

- Limerence was my debut novel and the second in the series came out in October, with the third and final installment set for release in 2015. How does it vary from the film that shall not be named? Pretty much everything about it is different, haha. I tried to take vampires back to the more old school route of Bram Stoker where vampires were dark and dangerous. I also tried to turn things on their head. In most books and film adaptations the woman wants to be a vampire, however in Limerence it’s the very opposite. So, there’s blood, and lust and danger and crazy-assed vampires!

You write about zombies as well. Why?

- I love reading about apocalyptic worlds, and some twisted part of me actually believes that zombies could possibly come about one day. Or something similar anyway. Plus for that reason, zombies are a big fear of mine, and I think it’s good to write about things that scare you. Facing your fears head on so to speak.

Tell us a little about Odium The Dead Saga.

- Odium is set several years after the outbreak, and our main protagonist, Nina, lives in a walled city protected from the Deaders out in the world. However, the city has become less than a happy place and people are forced to either starve or sell themselves to survive. Nina has had enough, and when a young girl is being kicked out of the city for stealing, she decides to go with her.

Nina, however, is not a fighter. She can’t use a gun or a sword; she has no survival skills whatsoever. She’s just an everyday woman determined to survive in a world overrun by the dead.

She’s feisty and snarky, she’s inappropriate and says what she thinks. Some say bitch, but I say that it’s just her defense mechanism. It’s better to have no friends so she can’t lose any one. Along their road for survival, they meet other survivors that are surviving the best way they can.

I also have out – Odium Origins A Dead Saga Novella part One and Two. These are accompaniments to the Odium novels and tell the back-story on some of the more important characters from each book. I LOVE writing these books and letting the readers know the TRUE story behind each character. And let me tell you, they are not what you expect them to be.

I love this line from your website: She writes characters that are realistic and kills them without mercy. Do you sometimes have a hard time killing off a character you love or do you really kill them without mercy?

- I genuinely kill them without mercy! Haha, I’m cruel like that. However, do I regret killing some of them off afterwards? Yes, a lot of the time. In fact, some of them still haunt me

Another blurb from your website that I like is the description of your writing: Claire C Riley’s work is best described as the modernization of classic, old-school horror. Is there an old-school classic that you haven’t tackled that you would like to?

- There’s a lot that I want to tackle in the future to be honest, it’s finding the time that I have the problem with. My fans are greedy voracious, and I love them for it, but it’s hard to keep them fed all the time with new tales! I have quite a few anthology contributions under my belt namely, Let’s Scare Cancer to Death (a charity anthology) State of Horror: Illinois and Fading Hope: Humanity Unbound.

I love them all, but the Fading Hope anthology is one of my very favourites because it talks about a subject that I haven’t covered before – monsters! Like, real old school monsters. And in this anthology there is no hope whatsoever. It was a great collaboration of authors such as Jack Wallen, Rebecca Besser, Eli Constant, and several more, and each of us wrote completely unique and hopeless stories. It’s brilliant and really goes out of everyone’s comfort zones.

Thank you, Claire, for your time and answers. Keep the band-aid on for at least 24 hours to prevent any bacteria and infection. Or risk getting infected and becoming a zombie.

The following are excerpts from two of Claire’s books. Enjoy:

From Limerence II

The dining room is quiet at this time of the day. It is neither lunch nor teatime; however, I know that there will be food prepared. There is always food prepared. I take my glass from the stand and move along the counter until I reach Mad Donny, the chef here. He smiles warmly at me, as he always smiles.

“Mia, how are you today?”

“I’m good.” I mirror his smile as I look at the selection. “Hungry.”

“Of course—aren’t you always? What would you like? Something sweet? Something spicy, perhaps?” He licks his lips greedily and rubs his hands together. Donny is always hungry, though he should have learnt to control his thirst by now. He is far older than Evan, and me, and even older than most of the other vampires around here. His eyes gleam at me with an insanity that he does not try to control; it’s what makes Donny Donny. I don’t know how he does this every day; the smell alone would send me over the edge, but he seems to relish in it. Perhaps his pleasure from it is because of his constant overindulgence.

“Sweet, please, Donny,” I say and hand him my glass. Sweet is always my preference, especially after an unfortunate April Fool’s Donny played on everyone, which involved hot chillies and blood. The poor human never tasted the same afterwards.

He turns to the selection of humans behind him and, reaching for a youngish man, he pulls the seal from his wrist and holds it over my glass. The man’s eyes are glassy and hollow as he stares ahead of him at nothing. His lips are bluish and dry, and his skin pasty.

My stomach grumbles as the glass begins to fill, and I urge him to hurry, my fangs unsheathing in expectancy.

Down, boys. Not this time.

Donny reseals the wound and turns back to me with my now full glass of sweet B negative.

“Thanks.” I smile wider this time and hurry to a table by the window. I want to sit and enjoy the sun on my face whilst I drink. It’s cold out, but the sun still rises each day in retaliation of the coming winter.

The first sip is always the best. That first millisecond when the blood touches your taste buds is as if every one of my senses are being caressed by the hand of God. Every stroke, every touch awakens my very soul, devouring my body from the inside out—though without doubt, not by any God I know of.

© Copyright Claire C. Riley

From Odium The Dead Saga

“Let’s go.” JD moves off round the corner, and we follow him as one and without argument.

There are stains smeared along the walls, handprints and the words help us written in dried blood. I shudder and look at Duncan. He lowers his gaze away from me and away from the words, knowing only too well that he caused this. He could have saved some of these people if he wouldn’t have been such a coward. Instead he locked them all inside and sentenced them to death.

There are the remains of a body or two on the floor, but not enough of either of them remain to be reanimated, and so JD kicks the bloody bones to the side and out of our way. We can hear more growling coming from behind a closed door; we seemed to have riled them all up, by the sounds of it.

“That’s the medic’s room,” Duncan whispers.

I want to shout out no shit, Sherlock! since there’s a big red cross on the door, but JD turns the handle before I can get my words out. I swallow them down and ready myself as the door opens inwards and reveals to us the five zombies within.

They head straight for us with long, hungry growls, as if mamma didn’t give them their last meal before bedtime. Sludge hangs from their jaws and a cold blankness fills their eyes. Their lips peel back to reveal blackened and broken teeth and they push and shove to get past each other and to their meal. Us. I shiver and swallow down the stomach acid that has worked its way up my esophagus and into my mouth.

“I got this.” Crunch steps forward, and with her two knives, she decapitates the first two zombies with relative ease (if there can be such a thing when killing the living dead). JD follows her in, and when a zombie lunges for him, he deals with it with a quick swoop of his scythe down its middle. From skull to stomach it splits, and everything left inside tumbles into a pile on the floor along with its body.

Crunch laughs as she circles another, kicking it away with her foot until it falls on its back. She stands above it, placing a foot on its chest, and drives her blade through its face slowly and with a maniacal glee that sends shivers down my spine. There is something like contentment in her expression as she pulls the blade back out, gunk spewing out of the hole left by her knife.

The last deader has reached the doorway, and Duncan takes aim with his gun.

“I’m sorry,” he whispers as he pulls the trigger and the zombie hits the floor.

©Copyright Claire C. Riley

Intrigued? Good. You can follow the links below to her website, Facebook, twitter, Google+ and Amazon author pages. Check her out, and thanks for stopping by.

Claire C. Riley’s Website

Claire C. Riley Facebook

Claire C. Riley Amazon Author Page

Twitter

Google+

 

Let’s Make It Happen

Posted: October 10, 2014 by ajbrown in Uncategorized

What if I told you about a homeless guy on a street corner holding a sign stating he will work for money? And not just quarters or nickels or dimes or whatever spare change you have in your pocket. This guy wanted a job. A real job. No, he didn’t want handouts, but a hand up.

What if I told you about how this homeless guy managed to get a small apartment with nothing in it? What if I told you this guy went out and found a job that really didn’t help him get back on his feet, but started him along that path?

What if I told you about this no longer homeless guy who saved his money so he could start his own business? What if I told you this guy took this business and began turning a profit for himself and his loved ones? What if I told you this guy’s business is doing well? Oh yes, Faithful Readers, business is good for this guy.

Now, let me throw one more what if I told you out: what if I told you this guy would give the shirt off his back to help someone? Sounds like a real cool guy, right? Well, he is. He’s a good friend of mine. His name is Mitch (no, that’s not his real name, but if he reads this, he’ll know the reference), and he’s one of the best guys I’ve ever met.

But I don’t really want to talk only about Mitch today. You see, Mitch is somewhat of a success story. Sure, his business is still growing and people know he is going to do his best to get the job done right. He has a great crew working with him—with, being the operative word there, folks.

Mitch got knocked down, but he didn’t stay down. No, he didn’t stay down at all.

The point I’m trying to make is just because someone is down doesn’t mean they can’t get back up. Sometimes they just need a hand in doing so.

It’s not just about getting back up, though. It’s about hard work. It’s about application—applying yourself and your abilities to a task or tasks. It’s about determination to be better than what you are, to do better than what you had in the past. You can make things happen, but you can’t do it by doing nothing. Laziness doesn’t lead to success at anything.

My friend, Mitch (yeah, you know the guy whose name I changed for this blog), didn’t get anything by begging for handouts. Instead, he said ‘I want to earn an honest pay from an honest day of work.’ He wasn’t afraid to work to get somewhere. He took a few very calculated risks.

This is life, my friends. Life is about the experience, about working and earning your keep, about the pursuit of happiness. About doing things you never thought you could do. If you want to live—I mean truly live—then you have to put some effort into it. If you don’t want to live—and, yes, I mean truly live—then just sit back and watch everyone else as they pass you by, as life passes you by.

I am guilty of this—of wanting something and not really pursuing it. Maybe it was too difficult. Maybe I didn’t think it was attainable—at least not by me. Maybe—and this is probably more accurate than anything else—I didn’t feel like I deserved it, or that I would fail miserably. Maybe…just maybe I was afraid to take a risk because of what taking that risk meant: stepping out of my comfort zone. Maybe I didn’t believe in myself.

Oh…ouch. That last one hurt. Yes. It. Did.

My friend, Mitch McFakename, believed in himself. He believed if someone gave him a job, he could dig his way out of the hole he was in. He knew it might take a little while, maybe even longer than he wanted it to, but that didn’t stop him from trying, from working hard, from believing he would succeed.

“Let’s make it happen.” It’s something he said to me a couple weeks ago. Think about that for a second or ten. I don’t need to add anything to that. Read those four words again and again and again and let them sink in.

Let’s. Make. It. Happen.

We may not always succeed in the things we want to accomplish, but if we never try, we never know. And not knowing is worse than trying and not succeeding.

Mitch inspires me. He has a way about him that I’ve never seen in a person. I wish I had that way, that thing that makes him so unique. I wish I had that confidence.

One thing I do have is I am a hard worker and hard work trumps laziness all day, every day.

What if I told you I had a book coming out soon? What if I told you it’s different from anything I ever wrote? What if I told you I worked harder on this book than I have anything else in my entire life? What if I told you a man who was once homeless has helped me see there is more to life than what I thought there was, that there is more to the human spirit and the survival instinct than I thought there was. What if I told you knowing his story—the full story, not just what I’ve told you here—makes me understand that I’ve had it easy, and I’ve wasted a lot of opportunities to do things or make a change in my own life?

What if I told you I want to make it happen? Here’s a few of those things I want to make happen:

· I want to release my novel, Cory’s Way.
· I want to release my novella, The Forgetful Man’s Disease.
· I want to release another novel, Unbroken Crayons.
· I want to build my fan base—and I have slowly been doing that, thanks to the booklets, The Brown Bag Stories, I started putting out back in June of this year. (Go ahead, ask me about them.)
· I want to be a writer you’ve heard of, a writer that you, Faithful Reader, will say, ‘hey, he’s pretty good.’

There are other things I want, but these are some of my writing goals.

Go back and read about Mitch. Go back and absorb his story. If there is something you’ve wanted to try or do or something you’ve wished for, then don’t sit around and let life pass you by.

What if I said to you and you and you and me, “Let’s make this happen?”

Until we meet again, my friends…

I’m sure we’ve all heard the story of The Tortoise and the Hare. You know the story I’m talking about. If not, let me give you the Brown Notes version:

There was this rabbit, you see. And this rabbit was really, really fast. He was also somewhat of a braggart. You know the type, right? Those who think they are the best at everything and have no problem letting you know. Well this rabbit, he decided to pick on the tortoise.

Before we go much further, let’s give these two animals names. We’re going to name the rabbit Dennis. Why? There was this fellow I knew when I was growing up who liked to brag about all the things he could do, and Dennis was his name. For the tortoise, we’re just going to name him George. No reason. I just like the name. (I guess that’s a reason, eh?) Is that okay with you all?

Dennis constantly bragged to the tortoise about how fast he was and that no one–and Dennis meant NO ONE–could beat him in a race. But there’s more. You see, Dennis didn’t just brag to George about how great he was, he went so far as to put down George for being so slow of foot.

Now George was a kindly sort and he just shrugged off a lot of Dennis’s antics. But even George had his limits, and one day he grew tired of Dennis’s constant yip-yapping about The Great Hare Who Can’t Be Beaten.

“Dennis, even a great creature such as yourself can lose a race,” George said in his slow southern drawl–yeah, I imagine George to be a southerner, a country boy to the end.

“By who?” Dennis asked in jest.

“Well, by me.”

Whether or not George was bluffing Dennis will never be known because Dennis laughed out loud while holding his furry belly. I bet he went so far as to falling on the ground, and rolling about as tears streamed down his furry face. “You? You? Beat me? Well, why don’t you just try?”

George gave a nod and said, “Okay, Dennis. Tomorrow morning we’ll race from here to yonder (yonder being over there a hundred yards or so away where the apple trees were ripe with fruit) and I’m going to win.”

The very next morning they set out to race. All the other animals sat along the race route in their fold out chairs or on their pic-nic blankets. The kids ran around playing tag or Duck, Duck, Goose (a game the ducks and geese didn’t care much for). They had the media there, most of which were mocking birds, with their microphones and cameras, reporting on the big race. Odds were laid out by the bookies–hyenas with not much to laugh about except for the handful of animals who wagered the tortoise would win.

Then the race started. There was a pretty little cat named Sasha at the starting line in her cut off shorts and a T-shirt waving a green fig leaf flag, signaling for the competitors to take off.

And they kind of, maybe, sort of just stood there. George took a step and then another and another and had moved all of half an inch. Dennis, he didn’t move at all. He just looked at his watch and yawned and said, ‘You go right on ahead and get started. I’m going to take a nap.”

And that’s just what Dennis did. He found him a cozy little spot in the sun on the grass and fell right asleep.

George continued taking his slow steps and travelling not much more than a couple feet an hour.

When Dennis woke, he noticed George was only a few yards away, so he decided to run down to the all you can eat buffet and grab him some breakfast. He ate until his belly was full and his eyelids where heavy. Then he mosied on down to the start line again to see George wasn’t even halfway through the race. Dennis, being full and content from the buffet, decided to take himself another nap, and when he was done, he would jog to the finish line and be there in time for dinner and a midnight snack before George arrived.

That nap ran long and by the time old Dennis woke, George was almost to the finish line.

“Oh my,” Dennis said (well, he probably said something else that rhymed with duck or pit or ram, but that’s not really appropriate for this blog) and he took off running.

But it was too late. You see, George crossed the finish line by a hair in front of, well, the hare.

It’s been said George uttered the words, “Slow and steady wins the race,” when interviewed by the mocking birds later on.

You may be asking yourself, ‘why did he just tell us this story?’

I’m glad you asked.

I wrote a novel back in 2008, titled Cory’s Way. I’ve been working on it off and on ever since. Why so long? Well, I had the computer crash of 2013 that wiped out the edits I had completed. Then there were other projects I have worked on. Then there was the issue of confidence. I had never put a book out until January, 2012, and that was a short story collection. Put out a novel? How daunting. Then there was all the work–did I really want to put so much work into one story? Honestly, I didn’t.

Now, here we are, and for the last ten months I have worked on Cory’s Way, editing, rewriting, searching for cover art, trying to figure out a marketing strategy, talking to folks on how to do stuff I didn’t know how to do (and I’m still not so sure I know how to do some of them), having the cover created, editing some more, finding proofers, letting an agent read the story, building confidence and a bunch of other stuff. The release of Cory’s Way is getting closer and closer. However, personal goals for putting it out have came and went. I wanted to release it in July–on my birthday, to be specific. That didn’t happen. Then I shot for Cate’s birthday, which is in the middle of August. Yeah, you can guess that didn’t happen either. Now, I’m looking at a mid-November release, and, well, I’m not sure that is going to happen either.

But why? Why not in November?

Simple: it’s not ready.

The cover art has been created. The cover itself is done. The story has been edited eight times and proofed twice. Three separate rewrites have taken place. The forward has been written. The author’s notes and acknowledgments have been written. The bonus story at the end of the novel has been edited, rewritten, edited again. The book blurb has been written. The bio is done–but that may change before all is said and done. The entire book is completely put together. Formatting still needs to be done, and ARCs need to be sent out. And a release date–a concrete one–needs to be set.

With all of that done, why is Cory’s Way still possibly not coming out in November as planned?

Because, slow and steady wins the race, and I’m not sure the book is ready.

I can hear some of my friends whispering or even yelling, ‘If you keep going over it, then you will never put it out.’

I’ve heard that a few times, not with Cory’s Way, but with Southern Bones. It took me nine months to prepare Southern Bones, for publication, and another couple months before I was comfortable enough to put it out. But I eventually put it out. I eventually felt it was ready.

Here’s the thing: I know a few writers who are like Dennis. They are so ready to get their work out there that they rush through things and put it out, even though the books were not ready. Then they wonder why people are blasting the books or why they aren’t selling more. ‘It’s the greatest novel ever written,’ after all. They were in a hurry and that was reflected in the product.

I’m not one of those writers. I want Cory’s Way to be the best it can be. So what does that mean? That probably means I’ll read through it one last time. That probably means when I am done formatting it, I will probably go over every single thing to make sure it is right. I’ll probably go through every digital page, checking and making sure that all italics are there, that the fonts are the right size (and the right type). I want it to be right. Why? Well, first off, I want to put out a professional quality novel, but I also want the readers to be submersed in the story and have nothing taking them away from it–at least nothing I can control. I want the experience for the readers to be an enjoyable one. Because if its not, then the chances of the readers coming back and reading other works I have written, are going to be slim to none.

Slow and steady, folks. Slow and steady. I promise, I’m not like Dennis, but more like George, and in the end, I think the extra time spent on getting things right will make Cory’s Way that much better. And isn’t that what you want?

While I have you here, why don’t I give you the blurb for Cory’s Way? Here it is:

After his father leaves in the middle of the night, Cory Maddox and his mom, Gina, are forced to start over. Left alone while Gina tries to work her way out of debt, Cory deals with life as the new kid in school. Fleeing from the school bullies, Cory ends up under an overpass where an old homeless man lives. After being saved from the bullies, Cory and the homeless man, Mr. Washington, become friends.

But things don’t get easier for Cory. Children are disappearing from around the state, and the bullies haven’t forgotten his escape the first time they went after him. And there is something wrong with Mr. Washington…something horribly wrong.

Accompanied by his only two friends and the unlikeliest of allies, Cory sets out to keep a promise to the ailing homeless man. Will Cory and his friends find a way to keep the promise, or will the journey prove too difficult for them?

Intrigued? I hope so.

As always, thank you for reading. Until we meet again, my friends…

And here’s a sneak peek at the cover:

CorysWayFullCover