JournalStone Publishing Announces Release of Robert E. Hirsch’s new blockbuster novel, Contrition

For immediate release:

JournalStone Publishing Announces Release of Robert E. Hirsch’s new blockbuster novel, Contrition.

SAN FRANCISCO, August 18, 2012 –JournalStone Publishing President, Christopher C. Payne is pleased to announce the imminent release of Robert E. Hirsch’s novel, Contrition, which will go on sale on August 24th.

ISBN13: 978-1-936564-40-8

LCCN: 2012937963

Category: Horror/Mystery/Thriller/Supernatural

Price: $16.95

Format: Paperback

Trim: 9×6

Page Count:  260

Pub Date: August 24, 2012

A serial killer is on the loose in a small Mississippi coastal community and Peter Toche might be  the only one who can stop the killings.

Summary: In a tiny community on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Brother Placidus finds little Amanda LeFleur sacrificed below a crucifix, in the attic of The Brothers of the Holy Cross. It  is not the first body he’s found there.

Assigned to the investigation is detective Peter Toche whose last case was that of a murdered child, a child that has been haunting his dreams, forcing him to face his worst fears and the evil  that has targeted his town. As additional victims are discovered, Tristan St. Germain, a mysterious man who was rescued by a parish priest from the waters near his home, may hold the key to the safety of all mankind.
Little Amanda was only the beginning…

About the Author: Robert Hirsch was born in Pusan, Korea in 1948. As the Korean War was ending in 1953, his mother sent him at age five to the United States to live with his biological father due to Korea’s harsh wartime conditions of starvation, disease and destruction. He graduated from Cameron University in Lawton Oklahoma and entered the teaching profession as a French and Social Studies instructor. He retired after forty years in June of 2012, having served during his career as a teacher, bus driver, assistant principal, Dean  of Discipline, principal and superintendent. He resides with his wife, Melissa Ann Hirsch, in Ocean Springs, Mississippi along the Gulf Coast, which they have claimed as their home since 1980.

JournalStone Publishing is a small press publishing company, focusing in the Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror genres in both the adult and young adult markets. We publish in multiple book formats and market our authors on a global level. In addition to showcasing new authors, JournalStone publishes a yearly anthology of collected short stories, and we host an annual contest for Horror Novels. We are also active with major writer’s groups, including the Horror Writers Association (HWA), and produce a monthly newsletter with exposure to thousands of people. Our online presence and marketing effort is constantly expanding and recently we began our own forum. The company’s main goal is to publish quality novels that will showcase an author’s work and promote that work utilizing our evolving presence. Assisted by a hard-working and distinguished staff of employees, President and Editor-In-Chief Christopher C. Payne has led JS on a rapid and successful journey to recognition and sales within the marketplace.

With two books nominated for awards in JournalStone’s first 12 months of operation, Chris and his team are still not willing to slow down.  2012 has already seen JournalStone on the front cover of Publishers Weekly magazine in an April issue; with three of its authors highlighted on the inside cover.  Additionally, Joseph Nassise (international bestselling author), Jonathan Maberry (New York Times bestselling author), and Benjamin Kane Ethridge (2010 Bram Stoker Award winner), have been added as JournalStone signed authors, complimenting Brett J. Talley and Anne C. Petty on a shared world anthology titled Limbus, to be released in the fall of 2012.

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For further information –

Contact:           Christopher C. Payne, President JournalStone Publishing

Email:              christpherpayne@journalstone.com

Website:           http://journalstone.com

Phone:             415-763-7323. (READ:)

Interview with Robert E. Hirsch, author at JournalStone Publishing

Writers are lucky to be able to craft characters that readers find truly interesting. There is more than luck involved when readers discover characters with which they can share some deeply affected emotions. Within those books, a profound skill is being demonstrated. Characterizations can be contrived; humanity requires understanding, and vivid experiences. Shown such human characters, readers do not merely engage with the story, they fall into it.

Robert E. Hirsch displays such skill with his own writing. His narratives are populated. He understands the difference between crafting characters and letting them have true lives.

The creation of vivid, living characters requires a willingness by the writer to expose fragments of their own lives, hints of their own fears. A writer who successfully puts a character through potentially devastating psychological changes has becomes an educator for his readers. Readers who are fortunate enough to encounter such works will have an experience vastly beyond mere entertainment.

JBK:  You have worked more than forty years as an educator in various capacities. Are today’s youth as capable of dealing with life issues as they were a generation ago? Do they require more mentoring now than their parents did?

REH:  Kids are very little changed over the past four decades… still curious, still exploring, still confused, and still overloaded with adolescent angst.  And they still don’t listen to solid advice from elders (just as I didn’t!).

JBK:  What issues have never changed for young people, through all those years of incredible changes in society as a whole?

REH:  Fighting to find themselves amongst the demands and expectations of their parents… who have become hypocritical and forgetful about their own behavior as teens.  Then, too, there is the issue of sex, sex, sex.

JBK:  Which situations have been more difficult to confront when intervention was necessary: a youth who was suppressing their emotional stress, or one who was showing tendencies to act out their frustrations?

REH:  We have a thousand rules to deal with the unruly… it’s the quiet, suppressed ones who are difficult to fathom, therefore difficult to assist.

JBK:  Are our deepest fears grounded within ourselves—about ourselves?—or grounded in the environment around us?

REH:  The world is a place of terror, but the mind is more frightening even yet… because we get swept away in it.  The world is governed by laws of nature and laws of physics, but there are no such limitations on the human mind.

JBK:  You learned more about your childhood from observing the environment where you were born, and knew little from actual memory. Has that created a need in your life, to connect to that culture?

REH:  Race and religion are two aspects of humanity that we as a species have yet to master, which explains much about war.  Odd that so many of the world’s most recent wars still seem to be race based (Israelis vs. Arabs, US vs. Vietnam, US vs. Iraq and Afghanistan, Serbs vs. Croats, etc…).  Race, religion and culture divide us by drawing us into conflict, one against the other.  I am American, yet because I look Asian and was born in Korea, yes, I am drawn into Korean and Asian allegiances of sorts even though I am 100% American, don’t speak a word of Korean, and have few memories of my first five years as a child there.

JBK:  As a fiction writer, which is more difficult to help a narrative character express: their self-doubt, or their true fears?

REH:  Self doubt drives our true fears, which is unfortunate because ninety percent of what we fear never actually occurs!  Consequently, we die a thousand needless emotional deaths and suffer needlessly most of the time… all because of doubts and insecurities that throw us into a state of perpetual fear, or terror, or horror.

JBK:  In your novel Contrition, you offer two types of characters; one whose occupation continually exposes them to the very things that haunt them, and characters who cloister themselves in near seclusion where they can successfully hide from their pains. Who of them is in the greater danger?

REH:  To be exposed daily to that which haunts you is the real world definition of suffering a living Hell.  For a clergyman, who represents the epitome of virtue, to know in his heart that he is a fake who has violated all accepted parameters of his vocation, would be a slow and cancerous death in both the moral and the spiritual sense.

JBK:  In this story, you were far harsher on characters who suppressed their personal demons than you were on characters who confronted them. Were you aware you had done that?

REH:  Hiding is often portrayed as a survival tactic (fight or flight)… but hiding is still, nevertheless, cowardice.  Yes, my characters who flee from themselves and their past actions suffer more and regret more deeply— thus the name of my novel, Contrition.  We all leave a wake of damage behind us as we plow through life even though it may have never been our intention.  But the tides of time and circumstance have a way of forcing us onto rocky outcrops from which we cannot easily escape… therefore many a mis-step is made.

JBK:  This novel is your second project, but your first published novel. What was the first attempted book? Is it anything you may revisit in the future?

REH:  My first effort is about the relationship of a ten year old girl suddenly orphaned and placed in the care of her uncle who is a bitter, angry and bizarre appearing man who is an arsonist (barn burner) in the rural setting of southwest Oklahoma. Writing that book was therapeutic more than anything, and somewhat developmental in terms of establishing style and voice.  Yes, I might well revisit that story.  But my agent is now handling my second novel (Promise of the Black Monks) and I am in the process of writing yet another at the moment (Hammer of God).

JBK:  Your homeland continues to live through an upheaval and division that few westerners can comprehend. We view it starkly, as profoundly beautiful, but troubled with a deep evil. Contrition is not a mere story of good versus evil. Was there a particular meaning in your choice of the aging seminary as a setting in your story? Does that school, in any remote way, represent Korea to you?

REH:  That aging, deteriorating school represents multiple things in my novel.  Asia is rigid, and secretive, and in many respects politically dark in that it demands conformity and obedience while simultaneously preaching concern for the general good as a social requisite.  The latter contradicts the former, and does much to mask the reality of things.  Interestingly, everything that I have just described could also be a word for word description of the Catholic Church (or any powerful institution).  So the school is aging and deteriorating because the expectations, though still in place, are not at all realistic… nor have they ever been.

JBK:  You were rejoined with your biological mother after forty years separation. Even your brief mention of that reunion in your bio is deeply moving. Tell us how that gift came about, and if you have been able to rebuild a relationship with her.

REH:  I was born in 1949 to a Korean mother (age 17) and an American G.I.  The Korean War broke out a year later, just after my biological father abandoned me and my mother in Korea.  The Communists were killing all Amer-Asian children as they moved south so my mother took us into hiding for the next three years.  Just as I was about to turn five, in her destitution, my mother managed to get me sent to the States to my father’s parents (German Catholics in Wisconsin).  My father adopted me a year later, but the subject of my mother and Korea was pretty much forbidden as he had gotten married and had two other children.  Age is a form of erosion, I suppose, and after four decades he for some reason thought it might be best that I meet my mother… which is when, to my utter shock, I learned that she had been sending birthday cards faithfully to my grandmother for 40 years hoping to hear from my Wisconsin relatives.  We were reunited in Gulfport, Mississippi then after 40 years of separation.  We developed a wonderful relationship over the next fifteen years until she died of cancer two years ago.  During those 15 years I experienced her 40 year sorrow for sending me away, and also experienced my father’s regret for abandoning her and me during the war.  Contrition on her part, contrition on his part.  The tides of time and circumstance swept them both away

JBK:  Have you been encouraged by anyone to write your own life story? Do you view your life as the stuff of a compelling book?

REH:  Actually, I prefer to forget all that because of the suffering my mother endured during the war and upon sending me away.  She was a strikingly beautiful young teen whose life was destroyed by the politics of men and the politics of power.  As for me, I was the fortunate one because I came to America and have lived the American dream at many, many levels in terms of education, career, friends and family.

JBK:  Do you know enough of your mother’s story to write a book of her life?

REH:  Yes.  Interestingly she married a young Korean guitar player several years after sending me west, and this young man parlayed music into a financial empire by first organizing all the USO shows in South Korea for the US military, then becoming an icon of the original rock and roll movement in South Korea.  My mother died a millionaire’s wife.

JBK:  I come away from reading your poignant story “When Monuments Fall” without any sense of the first connotation of that title. To me, it is a story of when monuments become human. Was your creation of the character Victor Toche, and his relationship to his son, any conscious effort to illustrate, in Contrition, some of the same role reversals that you tenderly convey in “When Monuments Fall”?

REH:  My father and I had a contentious relationship for many years.  I was bitter at times for obvious reasons, and it frequently seemed he was disappointed in me because I was not competitive enough, or tough enough, or aggressive enough.  As I matured, however, time worked its erosive magic on me and my father became my role model.  He was an extraordinary man, generous and loving.  Yes, all writers slip certain family relationships and the evolution of these relationships into their work somewhere, somehow.

JBK:  Am I right that you made the Toche father and son relationship more abrasive, so that it would not too closely resemble your relationship to your own father?

REH:  Yes, the book is quite abrasive, more so than in my real relationship with my father.  But in the book, I believe that acute abrasiveness is deeply understood my many, many readers.

JBK:  Many writers will be fascinated to learn that you have agency representation. There is a misconception that agencies and small-press publishers have not connected in this industry’s new generation. What efforts of your own put you in this enhanced position as a writer? How many agency rejections have you endured?

REH:  Like most writers, I have been rejected forty or fifty times… but then I had no idea what I was doing (other than dreaming about getting published!).  Writing is hard work; getting published is harder work!  I finally got serious and took a serious look at agents, publishers, practices, expectations, formats, etc…  Best of all, I believe the nature of publishing is rapidly changing in favor of writers and small publishers (due to technology, of course!).  There’s never been a better time to pursue getting published than right now.

JBK:  Was your agent at Sullivan Maxx a partner in any editing process of your book? Did they make any suggestions to you, prior to accepting you as a client?

REH:  Jeannie Pantelakis at Sullivan Max accepted Contrition pretty much “as is” … said she liked the setting, the plot and especially the character development.  Her words of encouragement, as you can imagine, meant everything in the world to me as a debut novelist! 

JBK:  Which entity has created more work for you, as the author, to get to this point?…the agent, or now the publisher?

REH:  Jeannie Pantelakis of Sullivan Maxx and Chris Payne of JournalStone have provided equal levels of guidance in terms of recommending strategies and publicizing the release of Contrition.  They have both also provided a wealth of information in terms of resources and services out there for budding as well as established writers.

JBK:  You have an outstanding web-presence, with a url of your own, but it is far more personal than those of other authors. Are you being encouraged (led) to develop a book persona now, purely for the promotion of your title?  Do you believe you can mix the two discussions?

REH:  I have created my own web-site based on how I have operated as a teacher, principal and school district superintendent… which is to throw myself out there, warts and all.  Life is based on relationships (school, business, publishing, career, etc…).  The more human someone appears to me, the more I understand that individual.  As an educator I tried to personalize instruction and the learning environment.  I now do the same as a consultant and public speaker, so it is natural that I would carry this practice into my writing endeavors.

JBK:  Educators must constantly read. Little of their library stock arrives by choice for entertainment. What do you read, when you read for pleasure?

REH:  Actually, I still love the classics (Dickens, Hugo, Flaubert, Stendahl, Dumas).  I know it’s slow reading compared to modern authors, but the characters and the plots draw you in deeper and get to your heart more profoundly.  Other than the classics, I still love a good chill running up and down the old spine!  Nothing like a cerebral thriller that scares you into thinking!

JBK:  Not all the Horror in Contrition springs from a monstrous thing. There is a tremendous theme of inward horror. Psychological monsters are incontestably real. Why did you choose to illustrate those realities with fiction, rather than non-fiction? Is fiction more expressive for you as a writer?

REH:  Though truth can be stranger than fiction, fiction provides a clear canvas that allows the imagination to run amok… and that’s what my imagination does.  Our deepest fears are cerebral, and fear of the unknown is far more threatening than reality.

JBK:  Which are we, as humans?…inherently evil, or inherently frail? Are we, more accurately, inherently strong?

REH:  We are inherently frail, and have been since the dawn of time… because nature, the elements, the dark, the unknown, and the greed of other men have forced us to struggle for survival century after century.  In our frailty, we must become strong, or wither.  Our instinct for survival trumps human weakness, human limitation, and even human evil.

JBK:  Tell us a bit about your writing activity, and whether your career as an educator and communicator helps you as a fiction author. Are you an organized, structured fiction writer?

REH:  A career in education has, despite my abstract nature, forced me to become disciplined.  Managing others and chasing advanced degrees requires structure, no matter how much of a dreamer one may be.  Also, I have seen much humor, much suffering and much interaction as an educator.  Half of teaching is academic instruction, yes, but the other half is pure emotion.  A good teacher understands flexibility, failure, forgiveness, and second chances.  I have watched the human drama unfold before my very eyes for forty years, and this I have watched from a front row seat.  A million interactions… a million stories… a million heartbreaks and a million triumphs.  Fertile ground for writing.

JBK:  In the earliest pages of your novel, readers are confronted with a shocking scene. Even seasoned Horror readers will be uncomfortable with it. How do you write to avoid including such text only for the shock value?

REH:  The first chapter reveals an old man in decline who, after dismissing for decades his own horrible act within this very same attic, is suddenly confronted by the horrible act of another… which unearths in him personal contrition for the false life he has led as an educator and cleric. To find such a scene of butchery in the attic of a holy house might appear on one level to be shock value… but the deeper context is that the greatest scenes of horror in history have been carried out in the name of God, or Allah, with Catholics and Protestants butchering each other, or Jews and Arabs butchering each other, or Christians and pagans butchering each other, or Christians and Moslems butchering each other, or Moslems and Hindus butchering each other.  So chapter one represents the site of an unholy act in a holy place… a reflection of human history.  You notice that from this point, then, there is a contradictory relationship throughout the entire novel about personal faith and public faith, private actions and public actions.  In the end, one must prevail over the other… just as in our own lives.

JBK:  There is a vast difference between a book with religious elements, and a book with religious themes. Contrition is not a book about religion, is it?  Why is it so difficult for readers to accept the differences between those two reading experiences?

REH:  Contrition is not a book about religion… it is a book about the human heart and how it deals with human failure.  The backdrop could have been political, or military, or Wall Street.  But religion as a backdrop is more stark because our spiritual values represent the very core of everything we stand for, everything we believe in, everything we revere.  The battle that rages within each of us is also stark, and unforgiving.  Contrition is cerebral, and disturbing.

JBK:  Suddenly, you are a public person…you are a published fiction author. Interaction with those readers is probably unlike anything you have ever experienced before. Do you find their honesty unsettling?

REH:  No.  As a principal and superintendent I have endured every criticism, insult and threat known to man.  Honestly, I have been walking around the last twenty years with a bulls-eye on my chest for every tax payer who was unhappy about test scores, football losses, not making cheerleader, not being valedictorian, not serving good school lunches, mad about childhood obesity, and not having enough new buses in the district fleet!  Criticism in itself fails to move me… I’m an alligator.

JBK:  Children and Fear of the…Bogy Man seems a clear indication to me, that you could have a healthy career as a children’s storybook author. Has that ever been suggested to you before? Explain why you believe that frights can be healthy.

REH:  A good scare gets the heart pumping and the blood flowing (just like a roller coaster ride!), not to mention that it gets the mind moving.  Fear is also a survival tool, as well as a fountain of entertainment.  And nothing’s better than a good fiction fright… because no one really gets hurt.  Do they?

JBK:  Is Young Adult fiction something you follow?…enough to be aware of the controversy with strong themes in those books? You’ve asked that writers: “…have mercy on the youthful.” Is the publishing industry guilty of shirking that duty?

REH:  I think there is a wealth of good young adult fiction out there.  But the truth is simply that tweeners and teens will read what they want to read, whether that be the Hardy Boys or Harry Potter or The Hunger Games.  Young adults have access to drugs, porn, alcohol and we as a culture appear to be able to do very little about it.  All of this is to say that there are greater issues out there than the literature they read!

JBK:  Your website tells me that you are a musician—then gives me no information about that. Are you a bagpipe player, and unable to admit that publically? Who is Robert Hirsch, the musician?

REH:  As a boomer, I learned guitar when The Beatles and The Stones hit.  Played rock and roll in a dozen garage bands, then got into bluegrass somehow.  Played with a hot bluegrass band called Goldrush from 1980-1990, traveled the south and even played the World’s Fair in New Orleans.  Never was very good as a musician but made a great front man (jokes, stories, etc…) Now I have a ZZ Top and an Elvis costume and still horse around a bit.

JBK:  You’ve been writing for years. Tell us why it was unexpectedly different to hold Contrition in your hands, and see your name on that cover.

REH:  Intermittent writing does not work well… it takes a fulltime devotion.  Seeing your name in non-vanity print for the first time is an undeniable thrill!  It’s like an addiction however… once is not enough!

JBK:  By about 1965 you had been in France for several years, travelled extensively, but were trepidatious about returning to the States. Readers might assume that you were comfortable in new settings by then. What distressed you about returning?

REH:  Quite simply, I was living just outside Paris, I was 17, the girls were beautiful, I had become fluent in French, and I loved everything about France.  When I heard we were leaving and moving to Omaha, Nebraska… I … well, you know.  I was a bit disappointed.

JBK:  You currently reside in the U.S. Gulf Coast. The speech of that region figures beautifully into your novel. It is a music that can be difficult to follow in person, but extremely difficult to convey in text. How did you come to settle there? Are you, now, a Cajun-American, too?

REH:  The Mississippi Gulf Coast is strongly Catholic (Mardi Gras, feast days, Blessing of the Fleet) and has a strong ethnic French and Yugoslav history.  There is a certain brogue heard only along the Mississippi/Louisiana coastal regions that is European in nature… especially heard among the elders.  My wife and I came through here accidentally on our way back to Oklahoma form a Florida vacation.  Saw it, loved it, and moved here six months later in a U-Haul, no jobs, but a pocket full of dreams (which, by the way, do come true at times!).

JBK:  Are you working on any new fiction projects?

REH:  Yes, have just completed Promise of the Black Monks (a prequel of sorts to Contrition, but more on the historical fiction side than in the horror/supernatural vein) and am currently in the midst of a third novel, Hammer of God (another historical fiction work, pre-Crusades era).  Tristan de Saint Germain is the protagonist in both of these new works,

For further reading about Robert, you may find his Author Bio on his JournalStone page.

Bloodletter

 

Title: Bloodletter

Author: Angel Haze

Genre: Thriller, Mystery

Formatt: Ebook

Publisher: Angel Haze 2011

AISN: B0055U8GWY

Are you brushed up on the Ten Commandments? No? After this book you will be, and you might be finding yourself trying to obey them a little more than before…

Kelly Garret is a criminalist. She spends her days delving into the minds of the cities most wanted. But then, she meets the mind that is more horrific than anything she has ever seen. A rash of brutal and bloody murders rock the city leaving Kelly and her team to try and decipher the clues the killer has left behind.

As the body count begins to mount, a series of chilling phone calls and the sudden occurrence of buried memories leaves Kelly wondering if perhaps, this time, delving into the mind of the vile might be her undoing.

Check the locks on your windows and your doors…if you are out alone at night, definitely look over your shoulder because you never know who is stalking the shadows…crouching…waiting…

They deliver death. Your death.

Are you afraid of the Grim Reaper? You should be.

I know I am…someone hold me…I’m scared.

Bloodletter is a chilling story that sucks the reader right into a town being rocked with a serial killer. The cast of characters leave you wondering just who you can trust…and who you can’t. As I was reading I looked for the hidden message behind everyone’s words and actions.

This book is creepy with a capital ‘C’. The deeds that the sicko in this book commit are heinous, and I found myself marveling at what could possibly twist someone into such a monster. The descriptions in this book of the crime scenes and the autopsies were clear and painted a picture of the horror the victim must have endured before death. It was a complex story woven with a cast of characters that all seemed to have something about them that made you wonder if they were the killer.

Kelly is the main protagonist and a criminalist, the daughter of a retired Chief of Police. She’s good at her job and in my opinion must have a stomach made of steel. She has it all: good looks, a great job, great friends, and a newly, sparkly diamond ring on her finger gifted by her hot fiancé. She was a good character – one that seemed to remain innocent despite the job she held. She didn’t seem jaded or hardened in the least by the things that she experienced on a daily basis.

Ryan, the resident creep-o was an interesting read. The way he thought was intriguing, and I liked reading from a perspective that I myself never experienced. He was clearly jaded and had his own issues…I often wondered about his childhood. The way he seemed to blend into the crowd and was carefully controlled about his actions almost made me wonder how many people are like this out in the world and how close they could be without a person even realizing it.

Bloodletter has a lot of fabulous points. It draws the reader right in and it hits the ground running, holding the reader’s attention well into the book. The story line was clearly well thought out and original. It held just the right amount of thriller and mystery and left out just enough so that you could never figure out ‘who dun it’.

 The book is written in third person and sometimes I felt that it switched to too many characters, and I wished it would have stayed more with Kelly. I think that perhaps the characterization of the characters could have been developed a bit more in some places. I would have liked to get to know Chad better, and maybe see the relationship between him and Kelly develop earlier on in the book. Also, at times, Kelly seemed a little to naïve to me; I wondered why she didn’t see more than she did. Ryan was  also a character I would’ve loved to more about at the end of the book…what happens with him?

Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I haven’t read a thriller/murder mystery that got me so involved in quite a while. I couldn’t wait to figure out who did it! If you like creepy books or reading into the mind of a killer than this book is for you! Angel Haze is a talented writer that puts a story together quite well, and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

This review is written by Cambria Hebert

Far-Seer

Far – Seer
by Robert J. Sawyer
Tor reprint edition, May 2004
ISBN 0-765-30974-2
Trade paperback

A planet inhabited by sentient dinosaurs whose society is analogous to Europe during the Renaissance. Afsan, the apprentice astrologer, embarks on an ocean pilgrimage to see the Face of God. But this voyage is different from everyone else’s. Afsan has with him a new invention: a far-seer (a telescope), and he does something with it no other Quintaglio has ever done before. He looks at the Face of God. Then he turns the far-seer to the rest of the sky, and concludes his people are not worshipping God at all. God is a planet.

Originally published in 1992 and finally back in print, the first book of Sawyer’s Quintaglio Ascension Trilogy takes place on an alien world entirely from the point of view of the aliens themselves. These aliens happen to be sentient Tyrannosaurus-rexes.

Sawyer’s skill as a writer comes through perfectly. Everything about this book is superbly executed. Sawyer doesn’t just tell a story, he builds a society. For example, the Quintaglios are fiercely territorial. In their society, merely stepping too close to another person is an act of aggression and can accelerate into a fight to the death (dagamant).

Afsan is an active main character. Sawyer does not fall into the trap of telling the story from a passive, observant perspective. Afsan is active. He goes on a ritual hunt and is the one to make the kill in the most spectacular way possible. Not only is he an intellectual, he’s a fighter, but Afsan is not the exception. He’s not the best at everything simply because he’s the main character. He is actually normal for a Quintaglio. Their entire species lives this way. They are fighters. They are territorial. They are killers. And they believe in God.

That’s the focus of this novel. Their religion. Sawyer builds it up very well, creating religious practices inspired by their environment and their own nature. Sure, at first it’s easy to dismiss it as a disguised Catholic church, but because it makes sense in the context of the society Sawyer creates, it’s easy to accept as their unique religion.

For example, one of their religious practices is called the “culling.” Each Quintaglio female lays a clutch of 8 eggs. Because their landmass is so small and their territorial aggression so extreme, overpopulation is a great concern. So it became a ritual tradition for one Quintaglio called a “bloodpriest” to eat all but one hatchling after the eggs hatch. Generally, the one that is spared is the one that runs away fastest.

It makes sense for a species of dinosaurs, so it is acceptable on their terms. Sawyer presents it so logically and his world-building is so superb I understood this culture it as though I lived it myself.

During Afsan’s pilgrimage to the Face of God, he makes an astonishing discovery. It is not God at all. It is a planet. Specifically, their world orbits a gas giant. The “eyes” that move along God’s face are actually other moons. Afasn deduces this by observing the heavens with the new invention of the far-seer.

But he doesn’t stop there. He sets out to prove that they are living on a planet just like the ones he observed in the heavens by asking the ship’s captain to sail around the world. He’s willing to risk his life to prove he’s right. It’s not easy getting the rest of the ship to go along with it, but he prevails.

After his pilgrimage, Afasn meets the inventor of the far-seer, and they compare notes. Their time together leads them to yet another astonishing revelation. The end of the world is coming. Afsan expects people to listen to him, but to his surprise, his discoveries are met with criticism and anger.

The church does not like what he has to say either. The church thinks it knows everything already, and will do anything to punish the one who speaks blasphemy. Even crippling Afsan. We recognize this story–the book even calls itself an allegory of Galileo.

The church is supposed to stand for truth, and yet it is trying to silence the one person who knows the truth. This puts the reader on Afsan’s side the whole way. We all believe we know the truth, and everyone in the world is trying to keep us quiet because they don’t want to face what it means. Like Galileo, this is literally true for Afsan, so everyone can empathize with him a great deal.

The scope of the story is enormous. It’s about Afsan. It’s about their species. It’s about their whole planet! The world-building is top-notch and well thought out, and the characters are memorable and likeable. It’s easy to slip into this culture of dinosaurs and understand it as if it were your own.

Review written by James Steele

Asylum Lake

I do love a good horror story, and Asylum Lake fits the bill.  It reels you in while developing the storyline and main character and then slams it home with one of the more horrific murder scenes I have read in a long time.  Hello, has anyone seen the twin’s hands and feet lately.  Try looking in the kitchen sink if you have the stomach for it.  All that being said the book itself falls short with more grammatical errors than something I would have written, and an ending that left me as a reader flipping through the back pages wondering if I had missed the climax.

Brady was an ace reporter; this is in the past tense since he seemingly has moved on due to the death of his fiancé.  She died in a freak accident that defines being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Brady’s only true friend is his dog Gruff, and the two of them decide to venture up to Bedlam Falls, MI where he had spent many a summer relaxing by the lake as a child.  Brady’s parents, both recently deceased, had a cabin which had been remodeled into a home away from home.  What better way to forget about the past than dredging up old memories from your childhood.

The only problem with Brady’s plan is the damn scrabble game is acting like an Ouija Board.  Remember that little circle with an eye and the hole in the middle that allowed you to talk to spirits.  Damn, it still creeps me out thinking about it, and now thanks to Mr. Evans I might not be able to play scrabble again.  Apparently there are a few spirits meandering about the old cabin and we really are not sure if they are friendly, or plan on consuming Gruff and Brady for dinner.

So Brady begins poking around and come to find out his father, a former detective had found some clues about an old murder and was doing his best to figure out what happened.  Throw in an old flame, April, and you have the mixings for a perfectly formed romantic death trap.  As I said before, the storyline was really impressive and I did find myself flipping through the pages rather quickly in order to find out what was going to happen next.

As always I try not to give away too many details and I strongly believe with this book the story is the punch line, so if you want more insight you will just have to read it.  I will now bring up a few shortcomings of the book and things that will hopefully change in volume II.

Brady’s dialogue was just not believable.  The guy is a reporter for a major newspaper and at times he talks like he didn’t graduate high school.  I could have done without the tampon scene; it is just too stereotypical to bother writing down.  The lack of editing had me scratching my head in wonder.  Granted Mr. Evans did tell me my copy was an advance edition, but it really needed a lot of re-work.  I know, I know, how many people say that about my writing as well, but I have to put it in here if it is what I believe.

My biggest disappointment was the ending, or really lack thereof.  The book just kind of stops after building up your tempo to the highest point possible.  It would be like licking that lollipop and when you decide to take the final bight, anticipating that tootsie roll center, only to realize it was hollow.  Nothing there.  Empty.  I think part of the reason I was so disappointed in the ending was because the rest of the story was so damn good.  If the author would decide to re-write the last couple of chapters, or add in a chapter with some sort of climax this book would go from being ok to being awesome.

Anyway, even with the negatives the book is definitely one of the more entertaining reads I have picked up in a while.  I would suggest perusing through it with grandeur expectations on what Mr. Evans would be writing for a sequel.  He is very talented and I for one will be keeping up with his work going forward.

Duncan’s Diary, Maturation – Introduction

 

Below is the introduction to the as of yet unpublished sequel, Duncan’s Diary, Maturation.  It is the second book in the trilogy know as Duncan’s Diary.  The first book Duncan’s Diary, Birth of a Serial Killer can be found on Amazon, Barne&Noble or wherever books are sold. 

The story below contains graphic language and violence so do not proceed if you are not 18 years or older.   

You have been warned.    

       Drip

            Drip

            Drip

 

            Jesus, the damn faucet never seemed to shut off.  What was the issue with valves anyway?  Nothing ever seemed to be made as good as it used to be for some reason.  It almost seemed like we came across a good idea, perfected it, and then the assholes in their suits saw how quickly they could turn it into shit so it was more profitable.

            Our society really did suck when you took in the overall picture.  I mean, really, Meg Whitman in a race to be governor of California?  Did she have any concept of what it really takes to run a government?  Not that I do, but I didn’t run for office, either.  The damn woman couldn’t seem to take the time to vote, yet she figured she could be governor.  It makes me a little sick to my stomach, thinking how far we’ve sunk.

            “Wouldn’t you agree, Veronika? I asked. Hahahaha, yes I realize you cannot talk.  That is the irony of asking the question, you see?”

            Drip

            Drip

            Drip

 

            “Holy shit, that damn leak is going to be the death of me.  Now you must see the irony in that, my dear, Veronika.”

            Maybe now I should take a step back and explain about Veronika.  I realize anyone reading this will have no clue what I’m talking about, let alone what had occurred.

            I sat on the tile floor, in my bathroom, next to the tub.  The tub was filled with water, you see, and Veronika was lying inside on her back with her face directly under the faucet.  It was difficult fitting her in the tub, so I actually had to break both of her legs at the knee caps, twist them like a pretzel, and fold them back underneath her.  The tricky part was keeping her awake while this occurred.

“No time for taking a nap right now, is there, sweetie?” I said.

            I then placed a piece of plywood on top of her that I precut to fit directly over the tub.  I put several concrete foundation bricks on top of the plywood to hold everything in place.   Not that it mattered much. Veronika’s hands were tied quite firmly behind her back.

            At the top of the plywood was a nice, round hole that was just big enough for Veronika to poke her head through.  I’m not a cruel man.  Being locked up in a confined space with no way to view the outside world gives me the creeps.  We all have our limits.  Jesus, I guess I can’t say that for sure.  Do all of us really have limits?

            If boundaries were a thing that most people possessed then how the hell did that girl from Jersey Shore get a book contract?  What was her name?  Snooki?  I won’t even comment on what kind of a name “Snooki” is.  Of course, my name is Duncan Moron, what’s up with that?  Let’s just stick to the fact that this girl admittedly has read two books in her entire life.  TWO shitty books, and she was writing one.

            A Shore Thing. It hit bookstores during January supposedly.  The sad thing is it will be an instant hit.  I am sure of it.  If that is not a glaring indicator on how asinine our society is, then nothing else could come close.  Can we not look for stimulation that is more challenging, engaging, and worthwhile?  Could this girl really have anything to say that anyone really would give a shit about hearing?

            Maybe she should’ve run on the ticket with Meg Whitman. Now that would be a pair to vote for.  You’d have the bovine, middle-aged housewife who couldn’t even manage to vote and the young, airheaded socialite who probably couldn’t even spell the word vote.  Is it just me, or are we regressing as a nation?  No wonder the God damn Japanese own most of our cities.  We are too stupid and undeserving.

            “Anyway,” as they said on Friends, when my favorite character Phoebe opened her mouth and attempted to speak.  My intent was to inform you of who Veronika was.  Now I have spent most of my time describing her current precarious situation.

            Veronika attended San Mateo Community College.  Not to say that she wasn’t smart.  I’m sure there are a lot of our brightest young minds attending community colleges.  I wonder how many graduates from community colleges actually amount to anything more than clerks, or accountants, or some other mid-level workers.  Not that my collegiate career was anything to brag about.  I’m an idiot when it comes to books.

            “Jesus, you do look sad, Veronika.  It’s difficult for me to tell if you’re crying with most of your face submerged in water, but your eyes look so mournful.  Are you sorry, Veronika?  Are you now wishing you had made other choices?  Maybe not getting into the car with your boyfriend wasn’t such a good idea,” I mockingly said to her.

I had ventured over to the college one weekend for the farmer’s market that is held in the parking lot.  Some of the most succulent, freshest fruit can be purchased there.

            As I was reaching for a plump, ripe tomato, the kind of tomato that erupts with a cry for you to reach out and shove it in your mouth because it’s so fresh, I saw her.  I lost track of myself so quickly a lady next to me actually tugged on my shirt sleeve and pointed out I had crushed the vegetable in my hand as my unbridled exuberance overwhelmed me.

Drip

            Drip

            Drip

Holy shit, that noise was driving me crazy.  It probably had the same effect on Veronika, who, at that point, had been lying naked in this tub for 16 hours and 25 minutes.  She looked like on over-ripe prune, with her skin folding up in flaps and her face turning blue from the cold, sterile liquid engulfing her wrinkled body.

            Jesus, I wondered if she has relieved herself in the water, as well.

It was her happy-go-lucky cheeks that first attracted me.  Or maybe it was her smile and her way of greeting people.  She was one of those personalities that everyone brightens up around. 

            “Hey, how are you doing?  Can I try a taste of the broccoli-basil bread, please?  Oh, thank you.”

            It was the kind of talk that normally makes me sick to my stomach, but with her, it just made me smile.

            Her black hair was hanging down just past her shoulders, wavy and full, but not too overwhelming.  A cacophony of colors seemed to erupt from her eyes, almost to the point you couldn’t quite see what her dominant color was.  It seemed odd for a girl from the Philippines, I guessed.  Don’t most Filipinos have brown eyes?

            She had a bubble butt that oozed curves as her True Religion’s were tasked to the limit, attempting to keep it contained.  Women and their innate need to show off their ass.  What would most women do if they had a perfectly formed set of butt cheeks that looked half as good as mine?

WHHHHHHAAAAAMMMMMM!

I slammed my fist down on the plywood is it curved in slightly at the middle and launched a spray of water up from Veronika’s portal of light.

            “SHUT THE HELL UP WITH THE WHINING.  I AM TRYING TO THINK, YOU LITTLE BITCH!”  I screamed at her as the whimpering quickly subsided.

            It was too late, though, as took my hand, wrapping my fingers around her head and shoved it fully under the water.  The surprising thing was how strong somebody can kick, even when both of their legs are broken and knotted into a ball.  The plywood lid to her inevitable coffin bucked and jumped, but it didn’t give as she fought with all of her remaining strength for a paltry ounce of oxygen.

            The concrete blocks popped up and down like little ants when you roast them in an iron skillet over an open flame.  It’s funny how those little bugs can jump when their feet are burning from the searing heat.  I used to love to do that when I was a kid.

            We all take breathing for granted, don’t we?  Nobody cares about the pollution filling the air on a daily basis, yet once it’s denied, the inner sanctum of our souls realizes how precious this invisible sustenance really is.

            Luckily for her, I was not quite ready to say goodbye yet, so I released her and watched her nostrils flare as she sucked in the precious substance.  The grey duct tape on her mouth had started to curl on the sides as the moisture seeped in, but that didn’t really matter.  It wouldn’t need to hold much longer, her time amongst the living was quickly coming to a conclusion.

            A little smile formed on my lips as I thought of watching her die.  She was beautiful, if not a little more rounded than I normally liked.  This was the same thought I had when I saw her only a few days ago.  Nothing like being randomly picked out of a crowd, one of the hundreds of people that attended the market that day.  Talk about some bad luck.

            “Hahahahahahahaha.” 

I laughed out loud at the thought, and now I was sure I saw some tears running down her mascara-matted eyes.  It’s so funny how the black streaks form such a hideous picture when the make-up loosens its grip of vanity.  The very material that is used to beautify the painted women of our world, rebels against them at the first chance when things turn south and the waterworks begin.

            I had followed her that day.  It was too easy with the crowded market and her self-absorbed personality.  She was nice on the surface, I could tell, but that was all an act.  All women have an innate ability of deception built into their psyche.  They’re all adroit liars, and telling falsehoods is nothing more than another way to qualify the very essence of what defines who a woman is.

            Once she finished with her shopping, she strolled back to her little Honda Accord.  It was an older vehicle. But the damn things are meant to last forever, so who can really tell the year.  I sometimes think the imbecilic Japanese culture doesn’t really comprehend the true nature of a capitalistic environment.

            Building cars to last too long does nothing more than enable people to keep them that much longer.  Without people buying cars, jobs are lost, and when people lose jobs, they can’t afford to pay their bills.  In a way the homeless problem, the infectious plague of America, is caused by the Asian efficiency and higher standards of quality.

            I say give me the American-made crap, and let it fall apart.  To hell with the Japanese.  Then again, I drive a Volvo SUV, so what do I know?  And that doesn’t account for the Nissans I’ve owned in the past.  I really should buy a Honda and say to hell with it.  It’s built in America, anyway.  I don’t think anyone even knows what American-made means, or if it even has a true definition.

            Veronika, though I wouldn’t find out her name until later, cautiously pulled out of the parking lot, and I fell into place directly behind her.  She jumped on the 92 and headed to the El Camino exit.  I wondered for a minute if we were neighbors, but she continued on and ended up in Millbrae at a generic set of apartment buildings right off of Millbrae Avenue.

            I parked on the street as she entered through her gate, wrote down her license plate number, and headed home.  Before I left, I saw her park in the open lot versus heading into the garage, and a middle-aged man walked over to the door and helped her with the bags.

            He didn’t kiss her hello or even give her a warm smile, but it appeared that he was her partner of some nature.  It was probably sheer panic of loneliness that drove these two together.  Women, the older they get, the more like they are to settle for the best guy available instead of somebody they actually love.  Pathetic.

            Maybe the drive to procreate kicks in so hard they lose track of what love really means. They care about nothing more than dropping onto the next guy that gives them the time of day.  Show me a women who is in her late 20s and single, and I will guarantee you’ll find her desperate and afraid of dying alone.

            At the God damn age of 25 or 26 I think it starts kicking in.

            Over the next few days I sat outside that apartment building, watching, waiting patiently, trying to figure out who this girl was.  I followed her to yoga and to her spin class.  Figured out she was some kind of office employee for a company in South San Francisco, and she loved dining out for dinner.

            Her and her “boyfriend” would go out almost every night.  My guess is they weren’t saving much for the future.  They didn’t drive nice cars, but from the amount of money they spent at restaurants, they couldn’t possibly have much in the bank.

            Drip

            Drip

            Drip

            CRACKKKKKK

            I smacked the top of the plywood with my hand and then began to laugh.

            “I just wanted to see if you were still awake ,Veronika.  Hello?  Veronika?”

            I reached down a ripped off the tape from her protruding, plump limbs in one quick, sweeping motion.  I wondered if this could be some kind of service for the rich in lieu of collagen treatments.  Being stuck in a tub of water for almost 24 hours really puffs you up.  It almost appeared as if I had done this kind of thing before.

            “Hahahahahahaha,” I laughed out loud again. “Damn, I know it isn’t normal to laugh at your own jokes, but I sure as hell am a pretty funny dude.  Don’t you agree?”

            “Please, please let me go,” Veronika said in a cracked, unused voice.

            I smacked my hand down through the opening, connecting with her nose and mouth.  The blow followed through, pushing her head with such force that the sound reverberated off the walls when her skull hit the porcelain bottom of the tub.

            “SHUT THE HELL UP, YOU SLUT,” I screamed. “I will tell you when you can talk.  If you say one more word, I swear to God I will kill you now.”

            For a second, I was worried that my blow had been a little too resourceful.  Veronika’s eyes rolled around in their sockets as if they had a mind of their own, and blood began oozing out of her nostrils from the force of my punch.  Just as I began to say the words “oh shit” in my mind, I saw the recognition resurface in her facial features, and she came back around.

            “I just need you to be quiet for a few minutes, please,” I said respectfully.  “Can you do that?”

            Veronika nodded her head up and down.  At least, she bobbed it the best she was able to in her confined space.

            Women, damn maybe even men, are nothing more than carnival animals if you think about it.  Veronika had been with me for less than 24 hours, and she was already subservient to her master’s will.  I wonder, if I attempted to train a female with treats and electrical shock for negative feedback, how long it would take me to dominate a subject’s will.

            As luck would have it, and yes if you are patient enough luck will always find a way, one night the two lovebirds must’ve gotten into an argument.  It was probably about something stupid, I’m sure.  Maybe he was doing laundry and lost one too many of her socks in the dryer, or maybe he’d been working too late on his computer when he should have been holding her hand.

            I didn’t know, but I saw her storm out of the Chinese restaurant I had followed them to with him chasing after her.  He was pleading with her to get in the car, but it was apparent she was walking home, and he was on his own.  Women, does logic elude all of them or is it just the stupidity of man that drives them to insanity?

            She was wearing another pair of tight-fitting jeans, a white tank top T-shirt, and over that a form-fitting, thin blue sweater.  I swear to God, even from over a block away, I thought I could see her nipples fighting for their freedom to escape the confines of her clothing.  It wasn’t even cold outside, which made me wonder just how large they must be.

            Finally, he gave up and headed to the car.  You could hear him jam it into gear and the tires squealing as he launched the vehicle from the parking lot and drove away.  Now, she was truly on her own.

            She was only a couple of miles away from her apartment, but now with him gone, she didn’t seem to be in any hurry to make her way home.  She was crying, wiping her hands across her face and cheeks, and it almost broke my heart to see her so sad.  How could a girl so beautiful find herself in a situation that was so disturbingly miserable?

            I pulled up ahead of her a few blocks and parked the car, waiting.  I wasn’t sure what I was waiting for actually. I just watched her, observing her as she reflected on her life, crying.  She seemed too sad, and it took me a few minutes to realize I was crying, as well.  I wiped my eyes with the back of my hand and felt my stomach turning as I wept for this girl I didn’t really even know.

            “Please, don’t hurt………….”

            CRACKKKKKK

            I slammed my hand down on the plywood again.

            “I promise you this – if you interrupt me one more time, I will cut out your tongue and shove it down your throat, laughing at you while you choke if you do not shut the fuck up.  Do you understand me?”

            Veronika nodded her head again.  Good little monkey, I thought to myself.

            Drip

            Drip

            Drip

            Oh my God, that incessant drip. It was driving me insane.  My hands were shaking, and I couldn’t control them.  I felt that familiar yearning inside my loins, but I knew full well it was a false crescendo.  I was a failure as a man.  I lacked the ability to function anymore.

            “What the hell is happening to me?” I asked, but there was no response.  I would make them pay.  I now had my goal.  I knew what I had to do.

            It had gotten too difficult to watch her as she sat down on a bench less than a block from where I was parked. She was still crying with her face buried in her hands.  It was past dusk at that point, and the black of night had begun its inevitable envelopment of our daily lives.

            I had already exited my car, wearing my black pants and my black pull-over, long sleeve T-shirt.  I put my black leather gloves on slowly as I approached her from behind.

            What possesses a woman to sit down on a dilapidated park bench with its back to an alleyway in the middle of the night? It was a questionable-to-bad neighborhood for Christ’s sake.  It was not my intention to introduce myself that evening, but the opportunity had been more than I could pass up.

            Nobody was around, and no cars were coming down that little side street.  Veronika was so distracted, she had no idea where she was or what was happening.  What a distinct reflection of life.  Just when you think you have everything figured out, some nut in a black outfit drugs you, pulls you to his car, and tortures you for hours on end.

             I gently reached around her black, silky hair, placing the drug-infused white cloth over her face. By now I had perfected my dosage.  It was just enough to put them under, but not enough to cause them to go catatonic.  If a human’s limbs are too loose, they become much more difficult to carry.

            I sat down next to her on the bench as her head dropped on my shoulder.  My arm was wrapped around her with my hand keeping her propped up next to me.  Anyone who saw us would think we were two lovers enjoying the evening, basking in our budding romance that would eventually lead us to marital bliss.

            I picked her up and carried her to the car. It was only a block away.  I had left it unlocked and gently placed her in the passenger seat.  I carefully fastened her seatbelt, latching her into place, protecting her from any possible harm.

            The drive home was easy, and I pulled into the garage. I stared at her lustrous black hair, wishing I could have her. But I knew my body was now betraying me.  She was so beautiful.  Her skin was a silky brown tan that erupted into a smooth, blemish-free creamy complexion.

            I hoisted her out of the passenger seat and took her to my bedroom.  I knew I shouldn’t have brought her home, but I couldn’t stand the thought of not lying with her.

            I undressed her slowly, removing her sweater and then her T-shirt.  I took care to fold the cloths and put them on the dresser as each layer flittered away, revealing her to be more exquisite that I could have hoped.

            Once she was finally naked, I lay down next to her, my head cradled between her breasts as I imagined what it would be like to be happy.  What would a world be like where she and I lived in harmony? What would it be like for her to hold my hand as we entered a movie theater, bought popcorn and laughed about some joke I heard at work.

            When I looked into her eyes, I saw she was beginning to stir, and then the atrocity hit me like a wrecking ball.  There was a huge, brown mole underneath her chin with two long, black hairs protruding out like antennae, grasping for radio waves.  I almost threw up.

            That had led me…….

            Drip

            Drip

            Drip

 

            “VERONIKA, THE NOISE, YOU HAVE GOT TO MAKE THE NOISE STOP.  JESUS, MAKE IT STOP.  MOVE YOUR HEAD OR……..”

            CRACK 

            The room almost erupted as I brought my hand down on the plywood, and I felt a sharp pain shoot up my arm and into my shoulder.

            “Shit!” I screamed. I shook my hand back and forth, trying to get feeling back inside. I jumped up, hitting the plywood as I did so, shifting it at an angle.  I saw one corner teeter as it moved from its perch, precariously dangling over the edge.

            Suddenly, one of the concrete blocks began to slide, and I watched in horror as it gained speed, heading directly for Veronika’s head.  The result was immediate as the corner connected with her forehead, driving a deep gash across her otherwise perfect skin.

            All I had wanted to do was clean her up. I wanted to wash the mole off her flesh and cut those disgusting hairs.  I had just wanted her to be perfect.  What is wrong with perfection?  By definition, it cannot be wrong. It is perfect.

            Now, the water started to turn red.  Her head was completely submerged.  She wasn’t fighting anymore – she wasn’t really even moving.  The rippling of the water had an eerie feeling as if she were translucent in an almost ghostly sort of way.  I wondered if this meant she would remain here, in my bathroom, as a spirit somehow with her perfectly rounded breasts and that oddly attractive bulging butt.

            I sometimes feel guilty when a murder occurs, but this seemed more like a tragic accident than a preplanned, thought-out criminal act.  I hadn’t meant for her to die, at least not in this way.  I wasn’t done yet.  I wasn’t finished with her.  I still needed her that night.  I needed to be held.  I needed to be told everything would be okay.  I needed her, and she left me.

            I let the water drain from the tub, washing the blood away as I bandaged over the wound in her head.  After I dried her off, I carried her back to my bed and placed her under the covers.  I had just recently changed the sheets, and they had that just-washed, wind-blowing-in-the-fields smell.  It was so refreshing.

            I propped her head up on a pillow and went to the kitchen to get a glass of ice water.  I can’t sleep comfortably without a glass of water next to my bed at night.  Even if I am not thirsty, just the comfort of knowing it is there somehow helps me rest.

            I stripped off my clothes except for my underwear.  I have to sleep in my underwear at night.  Something about being completely naked makes me feel a little creepy.

            Veronika lay next to me. She was naked, of course.  It is different for a woman versus a man.  A woman’s body is meant to be shown off.  Almost in any form, the body of a woman is so much more attractive than a man.  Granted it might not always age as well – at least that’s what I hear women say. But women are just so beautiful.

            I curled up next to her as I wrapped her arm around my shoulder.  I wished she could rub my head.  I closed my eyes and imagined her stroking my hair, twisting strands between her fingers as she told me about her day.

            “Really, that sounds nice.  Are you kidding me?  No way, that didn’t really happen did it?”

            I seemed to be answering out loud before I realized what was happening. I knew that wasn’t a good sign.

            The last thing I remember was playing with her belly button,  running my finger across it and listening to her laugh.  Wait, she wasn’t really laughing, but it seemed like she would’ve been laughing if she could have. Her smile was so beautiful with those cheeks, perfectly rounded, like a tomato, just waiting to be squeezed, then popped into your mouth and eaten.

Brynn, why do today what you can do tomorrow!

Wow, I wrote that title and after reading it again I am wondering how many things you could infer with that statement.  Oh come on, are you really slow or am I just not putting enough effort into it.  I tried like heck……  Look at that, we really are PG13, I don’t care what all the head honchos in the women’s club say.  National really should put more effort into promoting reading instead of letting their jealousy get the better of them.  Damn, now what was I talking about.  Oh Yah…..

I tried to find out Brynn’s last name, but it seems to have eluded me.  I am serious.  I looked around for a good 2 to 3 minutes and I couldn’t find it, so I gave up.  Maybe I will try again tomorrow, she is obviously worth a little effort.  Not that I am procrastinating.  After reading the article in The New Yorker about putting things off, I, well, let’s be honest.  I meant to read the article, but figured I could read it tomorrow.  I am a little busy today, watching TV and eating chips and stuff.  I have a full agenda dude.

It isn’t like I am insulting people.  Damn, how long has it been since I insulted Catholics.  Maybe when I found out I had to convert in order to marry my girlfriend I decided to give them a break.  Yes, she is Catholic, what is the world coming to.  We let those people do anything don’t we.  Crap, I met to say us people.  Hahaha, I will be one of them someday, if they will have me I guess.

Please, it isn’t like I work for Universal.  Now why would they want to insult gay people?  Not that I am gay.  Wait; can you be Catholic and gay?  I might have to look into that.  Not that I have a problem with it, but you know those religious women, always complaining about website links and beautiful women.

Damn, now what does that have to do with homosexuality?  If you feel up for it, you can jump over to TMZ and read the article on how Universal is backpedaling by pulling their trailer from distribution.  I guess calling electric cars gay is going one step too far.  Really?  Is that really insulting?  Aren’t electric cars a little bit gay?  Damn, I might be a little bit Catholic and that is ok.  Please people, you can be a little bit of anything.  Isn’t that what college is for, experimenting and such.  Uh Oh, I bet the women in national just dropped a load when I said that one.

Sometimes I feel like a nut and sometimes I think it is ok to insult people, just get ready to reap what you sow, or is it sew.  I knew I shouldn’t have had that last shot before lunch.  I have no idea what I am even writing.  In all seriousness if you throw a stone be prepared to get smacked upside the head with a ball bat.  Leave gay people alone, there is more than enough material insulting Catholics.

Adriana Lima, Another Saturday Morning.

As I wake up at 4 AM not able to sleep on yet another Saturday morning I really begin to question my sanity.  It is just too early to be up.  Isn’t this the day we should all be sleeping in.  I then perused through some past posts on JournalStone and realized I have never written anything on Adriana Lima.  Now it could be that I am just too tired to actually find it, but if it is true, and I think it is, the travesty shall never be lived down.  This is Adriana Lima we are talking about.  How could anyone in their right mind write blog posts on models for over a year, and leave her out.

So I have decided to turn the ship around and settle the score.  My slate is clean and I feel healthy again.  There is nothing like taking the time to refresh your image.  Just ask Budweiser.  According to USAToday the beverage manufacturer has decided to make a huge push at upgrading their image.  The latest effort?  Give people free beer.  Now I am not a Budweiser fan, but if I were sitting in a bar and somebody offered me a free beer I would take them up on it.  Unless there were strings attached of course.

I like a free beer as much as the next guy but if a dude is buying me a free beer I might ask what the motive was.  Not that there is anything wrong with that mind you.  Damn, I do love Seinfeld.  Anyway, if Eddie Long offered to buy me a beer and then head back to his hotel room for a massage I would politely decline.  What is it with pastors and why do so many of them get charged with sexual misconduct.  Are all men pigs but some of us hide behind the cloak and dagger routine.

While I am on the subject, what kind of name is Eddie Long for a pastor to begin with?  Please, is it only me that sees the irony in this.  The dude has a name like Eddie Long, he gets in trouble for taking a few young men up to his room, allegedly of course, and he has nothing to do with the porn industry?  I say if you hire a pastor with the name Eddie Long you shouldn’t wonder why you ended up with the short end of the stick when the crap hits the fan.  You should have seen the poke coming facebook fans.  Stop hiding your head in the sand.

Unless the sand is on the beach and Adriana Lima happens to be doing a Victoria’s Secret shoot.  Then you can play in the sand all day long, no worries there.

Sometimes I feel like a nut and sometimes I really wish I could still be sleeping at 5 AM on a Saturday morning.  What in the hell is wrong with me anyway.  On the other hand, not literally of course, if you are going to be awake on a Saturday morning at this early hour, there are far worse ways to enter the day than taking a quick peek at Adriana.  Good Morning Vietnam.  Wait a minute, maybe I am having a flashback.

9 years

I was in 3rd grade when I woke up at 6 AM to my parents crying on the phone. Nine years ago, a devastating and tragic event had come upon our country. I walked into the living room watching my mom talking frantically in Spanish to her side of the family in Chile and then found my dad on the couch, crying. 

It was the first time I had seen my father cry as much as he did.  I couldn’t quite comprehend what was happening at the time, all I did know was that American Airlines flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 had been flown into the World Trade Center. At around 8:15 AM my mother decided to drive me to school.

When I walked into my 3rd grade class room I had watched parents with blood shot eyes, and confused looks on my classmates faces, with so many questions filled in their eyes…it was an innocent curiosity. It was the one that wanted to know, however our parents wanted to protect us from the news.

We were young… We wouldn’t be able to understand what had happened anyway. After a long day at school, my mom had picked me up and drove me home. By the time I was home, I walked into the living room and had noticed my dad had still been glued to the T.V…My father has been working for American Airlines for over 28 years as an aircraft engineer and so now you can picture why 9/11 had affected my family and our lives so much. The lives of the Crew, that had been near and dear to my family, had been lost.  

A few hours after I got home, I found out 2 other planes had been destroyed. One had flown into the Pentagon and another had hit some land, in Pennsylvania.  Still not really understanding the situation, I knew it was going to change everything from that moment on. As of right now, being a senior in high school, I have seen how 9/11 has impacted citizens, as a nation, People as a family and every one as a person.

As time passed, now the history, the story of September 11th is now not only in the memories of all of us, however it is now, in our History text books, the re-runs of the news as the event had struck is now on You Tube and people have written books and movies about what happened, what could have happened, and what precautions could have been taken in action to have avoided this horrible day that is known as September 11th. 

American citizens and people of the world will never forget the depressing and heart wrenching images that follow us in our memories and in our hearts as September 11th re-appears every year, however it’s a day that helps us remember that yes we are a nation however we are a Nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

R.I.P TO THE 2,977 PEOPLE WHO HAD LOST THEIR LIVES IN NEW YORK, ARLINGTON AND SHANKSVILLE.

R.I.P TO THE FLIGHT CREWS OF AMERICAN AIRLINES FLIGHTS 11 AND 77.

R.I.P TO THE FLIGHT CREWS OF UNITED AIRLINES FLIGHTS 175 AND 93

R.I.P CHARLES BURLINGAME (Captain of American Airlines flight 77.)

Taking Woodstock

“Taking Woodstock” is one of those films I could have easily missed.  I had no desire to see it, and it was only by chance that I ended up catching it OnDemand.  I can only say, as far as movies go, that I am very pleased I happened across it.  The movie was a fantastic depiction of the behind the scenes story leading up to the monumental event which has become infamous.  This might be the only concert in history that literally, on its own, defines a specific decade and what life was about during the much maligned period in time.

Elliot Tiber (Demetri Martin) is a young Jewish guy trying to do the right thing and help his parents save the family motel business.  He moves back home, forgoes his dreams of heading to California, and ends up being the President of the local Chamber of Commerce.  Think of any small town in America with a couple thousand people and you get the idea of the farming community they called home.  His crazy mother is so out of control she has actually began charging extra for towels and clean sheets to the few guests that venture their way.

The roles of Elliot’s parents were played by Imelda Staunton and Henry Goodman and I have to say I am not sure there has ever been better performances on the screen than these two did in this movie.  They were phenomenal in their parts, making you both love and feel sorry for them as they rode through life pinching pennies, and fighting to keep the bank from foreclosing on everything they owned.  Having grown up in a small town of 1,600 people myself, I almost felt like I was back home while watching the perfectly adapted settings Ang Lee so magically brought to life.

In an attempt to bring business to the local community Elliot happens across a newspaper where the headlines focused on a concert permit being pulled for an event called Woodstock in a neighboring town.  Elliot has personally headed a local musical production each year in his own back yard, already has his approved permit, and gets the idea of coordinating the events together.  He calls the Woodstock executives and within a few days everyone is in full gear putting pegs into holes to make the event happen.  All it took was a phone call, a local farmer getting his pockets greased, and a bunch of people with wads of cash ready to listen to some music.

Elliot really does meander through most of the story which makes for a slow rhythmic flow that putters in the 45 mile per hour speed zone.  Don’t expect any high paced action.  Once you connect with the pace of the film you can focus on the underlying tone which deals with the “hippie” generation and what people were attempting to discover.  Themselves.  Elliot doesn’t know who he is or what he has the potential to become.  He finds himself trying marijuana, acid, experimenting with homosexuality and the free spirit of sex in general, not to mention some really awesome music.

In the end “Woodstock” forever changed the way a nation would view “hippies” and as we saw within the movie it also drastically changed the way a family looked at itself.  Elliot was shot down the path of finding himself and in the process discovered secrets about his mother and family that rocked the foundation he thought his life was built upon.  The movie really does an excellent job at providing the backdrop of a serene hippie generation, comfortable walking around naked, doing drugs all while being polite to everyone around them.  Once you get past that the growth of Elliot surrounded by the insanity of his family adds for a very compelling story.

Excellent movie, not perfect, but definitely worth viewing on a quiet evening if you have the need to relax and let things slow down a bit.

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