If You Enjoyed Time Burrito—

Time Burrito has had a fantastic release, and I have all of you to thank for it. I really appreciate the support this book has seen. The free promotion was a resounding success of over 5000 downloads, and reviews seem to show people are enjoying the book. If you want to help, consider leaving a review yourself, or tell a friend about the book.

If you’ve read, shared, and loved Time Burrito and are itching for more, I would consider Playlist of the Ancient Dead. It’s a horror, science fiction, comedy with my most unusual premise. If you want to read Time Burrito’s sister book, check out Othello and Zombies. I wrote both of those at the same time. Finally, if my books with a comic edge are in the immortal words of Graham Chapman “too silly,” I would suggest Atmospheric Pressure. It’s a straight up Orwellian thriller that is nearing completion of a sequel.

Thanks again, you rock and/or roll.

Get Free Books on Black Friday!

Get a metric butt ton of free books today.

Not only is Othello and Zombies a free download on Amazon today. I am participating in a give-away-a-thon for many many Horror and Urban Fantasy novels on InstaFreebie. You can check out the entire list here.

Note: Due to Amazon’s Terms of Service, I can’t give away the entire Othello and Zombies away for free so it’s only a sample on Instafreebie. Make sure you head here at Amazon for the entire Othello and Zombies book for free. In the meantime check out the awesome collection of free books.if-group-nov-25

A couple of short updates

I wanted to just get on the blog to update you with a couple of things I have cooking. The first is my crowd-funding campaign of Time Burrito. If you haven’t pre-ordered a copy, you should do so now. If you do, you’ll get the rare opportunity to CBread the book as I write it. And I must say that I sometimes find myself laughing out loud as I write it. If you were following this blog back in the days where I was just writing comedy, you will really like it. So click on the cat picture and check it out!

The other point of news is Atmospheric Pressure has been really picking up steam. It’s out on audible, and you can get it for free if you sign up for their free trial. The book is read by the talented Mike Alger, a weatherman from Reno. You can get the audiobook version here.

Last but not very least, if you are in the Minneapolis area, you can find Atmospheric Pressure at the local bookstore Magers and Quinn! So please check it out and support local authors, and local bookstores too!

#PotAD 1 – Caroline by the #Espers

I needed to pick the perfect song. If I was going to write a novel where music was the actual plot device, then I had no choice but to embed a playlist into Playlist of the Ancient Dead. The music had to represent parts of my life and fit into the novel. So each chapter heading became a song title. Each song fit it in its own peculiar way, and one song changed the name of the main character. That song was Caroline by the Espers:

 

It wasn’t easy picking Caroline. My main character was named Marissa in the early drafts, and I didn’t want to change it. I was going to change Murphy’s name before I changed Marissa’s. But like all prolific writers, I decided to deal with the problem by ignoring it. The first song in the playlist within the Playlist needed to set the tone of the book, and introduce the main character. But there wasn’t a song about a Marissa that fit the description, so I turned to music to mull the problem over. Often when I felt particularly introspective, I’d listen to Caroline and other songs like it on repeat. One such evening, I noticed a comment on youtube about the Espers:

There is something ominous hiding in plain sight.

And that’s when it hit me, I had to name my main character Caroline, and no other song could fit better than Caroline as the first song in the playlist within the Playlist. There was something truly ominous hiding within plain sight of Caroline. It was a building she walked by every day, yet failed to understand the significance. Not only did I find the song that fits the tone of the story, but I also found a song that would annoy Caroline’s parents. It also gave me a nice character moment. I could hear her parents now, “why’s it got to sound so depressing!”

Caroline only rebelled against the song of her namesake because of all the embarrassment she suffered at baseball games:

 

If you are curious to find out the artists of the rest of the playlist within the Playlist, please follow this blog or one of my social media outlets. You may be surprised by some of the artists on the list.

The Government Shutdown

     Day 1 – The government shut down today and unfortunately, I was still inside when it happened. My name was Russell and I was a low-level paperwork pusher. You’d figure in 2013, where you can pay for Starbucks with a smart phone, the government wouldn’t really need paperwork. Much less the sheer volume I dealt with on a daily basis. But this journal wasn’t about my job. It was about how I was stuck in a shut-down building. All the exits were locked. The security cameras were running but I was pretty sure the guy hired to watch them was furloughed. My cell service was Government Issue. They obviously saved $70 on a monthly plan. If we canceled 165 billion cell phone plans, we’d have the debt paid-off and maybe I could go home. Supposedly, even a cell phone without a plan could dial emergency services but I think the towers were Government Issue. No service anywhere in the building. The landlines were also down, even the internet. I wondered how close we were on that debt.

Coffee Pots

Coffee was a tradition at my work. It’s interesting how I didn’t really notice the social aspect to coffee. I felt alone when I sat down with a cup of coffee in an empty break room.

     Day 2 – You’d figure somebody would have checked on me. But I was assuming anyone who would come has been furloughed. Luckily enough, the power and the water came from the city or else there would be some smelly trashcans. I’ve calculated 242 mugs of coffee with cream and sweetener (anywhere from white sugar to green stevia). 563 mugs of hot water with cream and sweetener and 712 mugs of just hot water and sweetener before I run out of hot beverages. Though each of those numbers should be reduced by 1/3 because I usually have two mugs in the morning and one in the afternoon. Did I mention I was really good with numbers? Between the leftovers in the break room fridge, a food wheel (AKA Wheel of Death), candy machine, and soda machine, I probably only had a few days of real food, and probably two weeks of sugar disguised as food. Hopefully, the Affordable Care Act would cover my early onset diabetes.

     Day 3 – I was bored. At first, this was kind of fun. I was alone and free to explore. I pretty much had access to the first two floors, half of the third, and part of the basement. On every floor, there was the occasional locked door. I spent the second day digging through co-worker’s desks. I found some dirty little secrets. Ted spent money on flowers and gifts. The gifts were delivered to a woman who wasn’t his wife. My boss was skimming money from the government. She had expenses listed for office equipment but no actual office equipment. The cute girl, who worked three cubicles down, had a hunky boyfriend. And to think of all the conversations I wasted. There should be some rule to identify such important information early in the flirting process. And Gerald, he was exactly as boring as you think he is. No secrets.

Three Cubicles Down

This was Three Cubicles Down’s desk. I assumed the landscape pictures and calendar ready for 2014 was because she was adventurous, but when I found the picture of her and her boyfriend in the desk drawer, I had to question. Was it escape?

     Day 4 – I decided that four days was enough to be excused of a destruction of government property charge. I probably would have been excused much earlier but I always played it on the safe-side. For example, Three Cubicles Down: Boyfriends didn’t deter most guys but it deterred me. I figured if someone cheated to be with me, it would only be a matter of time before they cheated on me with someone else. I’d rather enter into a relationship with a clean slate. Of course, my last relationship didn’t end with a clean slate but there was no reason to jinx it from the beginning. But I digress; I tried to break the windows in the lobby today. They were tough. I smashed everything from a chair to the laser printer that I could barely carry, much less throw. I felt like I was in some sort of bizarre, modern, highland games. The printer shattered and the window held.

     Day 5 – I was fairly sure the government wouldn’t be back up anytime soon. So I had decided to ration the food. However, the coffee would last well beyond the food so I actually increased my intake of caffeine. I wondered if drinking more coffee was causing me to be so anxious. I was betting it was being trapped in a building for five fucking days. The windows were sturdy. I tried to bust out all of the exterior ones with no luck. So instead I wrote “trapped” on all the windows hoping somebody would swing by. There was no interior roof access. I was even desperate enough to set fire to my boss’s office. It was strangely satisfying as she was a micromanager. At any rate, I figured it would help her with the embezzlement wrap by destroying the evidence. I thought the flame would have the added bonus of starting the fire suppression system, which should alert the authorities. Instead, it burned and filled the second floor with smoke. Apparently, the fire sprinklers were furloughed. Luckily, the building was solid concrete, glass, and metal. I slammed the door to her office and the lack of oxygen eventually choked out the fire. For now, I was sticking to the ground floor tonight. The smell alone makes me want to throw up.

     Day 6 – I missed my parents. They lived out of state and I didn’t really talk to them much. But when I did, they seemed to make my troubles disappear. They got me through my last break up. At least enough to attempt speaking terms with Three Cubicles Down. But I never really talked with my folks otherwise. It wasn’t that I disliked them. I was living my life. I’d go to work. Played some online games, maybe streamed some television shows and repeated the process. I didn’t really have IRL friends-only the occasional party here and there. I invested so much into my last relationship. I didn’t really know what to do when I was on my own again. Once my parents convinced me that the world hadn’t ended, I didn’t call them back for the last few months. I didn’t know why. Things were going well. I wished I called my parents more often. They would come looking for me.

My food

The Wheel of Death is on the left. It was installed because people complained about not having healthy options. The “healthy options” turned out to be fruit doused in corn syrup and some “veggie” snacks with more cheese than carrot.

     Day 7 – I was drawing larger lettering for the word “trapped” in the lobby after my morning coffee when I saw the first person who wasn’t a photograph in somebody’s office or on a hard drive. I almost missed him because I thought that I was delusional. But he was real. The parking lot was empty and the trees were just beginning to turn. I took the bus to work the day I was trapped or else they would have seen my scooter and… This was embarrassing… but I was trapped because I nodded off on the toilet. I had an argument with my ex the night before all this happened. So I ate an entire bag of chips and a bottle of hot salsa from New Mexico. They take their heat seriously in New Mexico. I also drank two bottles of cheap wine, the kind with sulfates. Turned out the chips had gluten. I was gluten intolerant. Gluten wouldn’t kill me. It just caused digestive issues. So anyways, it was a trifecta of stomach ick and kept me awake much too late for a work night. Sleep deprivation and scooters were dangerous, especially when most people in my city drove pick-ups. So I played it safe and took the bus. Whoever closed shop on the first day locked me inside. If I only risked the scooter ride… Anyways, the parking lot had a lot of leaves because of the lack of gardening. In the middle of a swirl of leaves, a man stood in the parking lot. He wore a long, black overcoat, a baseball hat, and a pair of sunglasses. He stared expressionless at the building. I screamed and pounded on the glass. I slammed the chair and office equipment but he did not see me. Or least he didn’t change his expression. While I dug through the receptionist’s desk for an object to make some noise, he disappeared. The parking lot was empty except for the leaves dancing in the wind.

To continue reading, please download the kindle edition by clicking here.