Alligators Overhead Trailer

Monday, October 17, 2016

With His Cat's Help, Roland Yeoman Hijacks My Blog

“Isn't it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day with no mistakes in it yet?”
 – Mark Twain

Here is the next stop in my DON’T BUY MY BOOK! Blog Tour.  Hey, don’t blame me.  Lee let me in.

Seriously, thank her for her generosity and kindness by commenting at the bottom of this post, will you?

We live life with no sure light but that which we carry within us.  We sail into the darkness with an uncertain map made of the perishable paper of our flawed perceptions.

“When you have made a mistake, think not: ‘This is misfortune’ think rather: ‘To bear this worthily is good fortune.’”  
- Marcus Aurelius

In the cursed Samuel McCord, I wanted to make, not a hero, not even a protagonist, but merely a man who finds himself with terrible “gifts” and a propensity to screw up when he wants to do right.

A lot like each one of us, right?

How many times have you gambled on forgiveness and been bitten by the act?
Samuel, too.

But when Samuel spares a coven of dragons and gives them a renewed chance at life, he sets into motion consequences that will trigger the terrible San Francisco earthquake of 1906.

How can he live with that? 

How do any of us live with the consequences of well-intentioned acts gone terribly awry?

Bram Stoker has Dracula say: “We learn from failure, not from success.”
But at what cost?

Samuel rescues a British girl from rape.  Being with him will be a death sentence so he leaves her with friends on rough Parisian streets.
Decades later, he runs into her again: the famous courtesan Cora Pearl

From the 1836 Sidhe kidnapping of Princess Victoria to a 1867 encounter with the Chinese Celestial Dragon, Qing Long to his Red Wedding beneath the Rouen Cathedral and betrayal by the werewolves of Paris to contesting with brutal Paris Surgeons in the Hotel Dieu …

Samuel strives to do the right thing and mostly fails epically  … much to the delight of Samuel Clemens and the dismay of 11 year old Nicola Tesla.

Samuel is standing atop the dirigible, that is really a star-craft, holding up the Xanadu, considering if he should just step off into the stormy ocean far below.  
It would be but fitting punishment for screwing up royally, dooming San Francisco to the revenge of the celestial dragon, Qing Long.  Rind, the Angel of Death, whose blood flows through his veins, appears behind him:

     No.  I wouldn’t give my enemies the satisfaction of self-destruction.  Besides, Meilori would think I had believed she deserted me.
     A voice of icicles murmured behind me.  I should not have been able to hear it what with the howling winds shrieking all about me.  But you always hear Death’s voice no matter your circumstances.
     “Eternity is a long time to brood over what you should not have done.”
     I turned around, the gale force winds threatening to blow me off the dirigible despite my resolve to stand my ground.  The storms in my life always had that effect on me.  Rind, the Angel of Death, was in an odd costume.
     Rind, the name she asked me to call her, was clothed in a black uniform that I had never seen before.  In a time when it was scandalous to show a bit of ankle, the skirt was just above the knee.  The tunic was tight with collars studded with silver bent-arm crosses. The tunic’s buttons were silver skulls.  On her right sleeve was a red band in whose center was a circle of white blazing with another black bent-arm cross.  I had seen that symbol in India.
     The Sanskrit word for it was svastika. It meant “Lucky.”  Rind had a dark sense of humor.  But then, again, she was the Angel of Death after all.  
It was downright chilling to see that the hurricane winds didn’t even muss a single strand of her long silver hair which matched the color of my own that was flying like a mane of a winged stallion.
     I spoke to her with the assurance that she would hear me.  Death might not grant your pleas, mind you.  But she heard them all the same.
     “Suicide is running from your mistakes.  A man cleans the mess he makes, Rind.  I aim to go to San Francisco a few years from now after Qing Long has a chance to cool down some.  I’ll clean up this mess then.”
     “And if you cannot?”
     I shrugged, “Then, I will try to learn from this mistake to become a better man and go on to ease the suffering this mistake has caused in any way I can.”
     “How Marcus Aurelius of you, Samuel.”
     “I’ll try to be a mite better and not get poisoned.”
     “That was not how he died.”
     “Well, being Death, you would know.”

Despite the name of my tour, would you consider buying my book?  It is but 99 cents, has a free short story at the end, and a Readers’ Discussion Section at the back for book clubs.

Write an honest review for it and get a free Neil Gaiman audio book!  How cool is that?

Roland Yeomans was born in Detroit, Michigan.  But his last memories of that city are hub-caps and kneecaps since, at the age of seven, he followed the free food when his parents moved to Lafayette, Louisiana.  The hitch-hiking after their speeding car from state to state was a real adventure.  Once in Louisiana, Roland learned strange new ways of pronouncing David and Richard when they were last names.  And it was not a pleasant sight when he pronounced Comeaux for the first time.

He has a Bachelor’s degree in English Education and a Master’s degree in Psychology.  He has been a teacher, counselor, book store owner, and even a pirate since he once worked at a tax preparation firm.

So far he has written thirty-four books.  You can find Roland at his web page:  or at his private table in Meilori’s.  The web page is safer to visit.  But if you insist on visiting Meilori’s, bring a friend who runs slower than you.

And there's Roland! Doing what Roland does best. Spinning wild and captivating tales. Don't buy this book. Buy all of them!

My Quote of the Week: "Lighthouses don't go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining." Anne Lamott

Monday, October 10, 2016

Bloodwalker by Lexa Cain: Just in Time for Halloween

Anyone who knows me knows, I love Halloween. It's my favorite holiday of the year. So having L.X. Cain here this month with her new book is a real treat. I'm so looking forward to opening that cover and diving into the horror that the cover promises. 

Take it away, Lexa!

New Release!


Lightning flashes. Another child disappears…

When Zorka Circus performs, its big top roars with laughter and cheers, but when it moves on, there are fewer children in the European towns it leaves behind.

Circus Security Chief Rurik suspects a killer hides among the international performers, but they close ranks—they’ve always viewed lightning-scarred Rurik as the monster. Nevertheless, he's determined to find the culprit and stop them before anyone else dies and the only place he can call home is ripped apart by the murders.

Into Zorka Circus comes the Skomori clan, despised as gravediggers and ghoulish bloodwalkers. A one-day truce allows bloodwalker Sylvie to marry. Instead, she finds a body. Alerting others will defy her clan’s strict rules, break the truce, and leave her an outcast.

When more bodies turn up, the killer's trail becomes impossible to ignore. Rurik and Sylvie must follow the clues—even if they lead to something unimaginable.

“YA horror novelist Cain (Soul Cutter) steps right up to the center ring in this captivating shocker of children disappearing after the circus comes to town.” ~ Publishers Weekly

BUY Bloodwalker

L.X. Cain was born in the U.S. but now lives on the Red Sea and busily taps away at a laptop, coming up with stories to thrill and entertain readers. 

Contact L.X. Cain

There's still time to write a bit of Halloween horror yourself on the WEP for October. That or something about Constellations. Sign up and Trick or Treat us with your prose! I'm feeling very smug because I've already done MINE

Quote of the Week: "Your whole life passes in front of your eyes before you die. This is called living." Terry Pratchett, author

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Surprise WEP Entry

 The Surprise

C. Lee McKenzie

I knew the meeting place was going to be creepy. I didn’t think it would be a moldy crypt guarded by avenging angels, swords drawn.
     The thick door grinds open when I press against it, and a musty air brushes over me and into the October twilight I’m about leave. When I step inside, the door seals behind me with a solid, dull thud. Then silence. I blink until my eyes adjust to the darkness. And there he is perched on stone just as I’d imagined, but smiling. Not as I’d imagined at all.
     “You’re late,” he says, yawning. 
     I wasn’t expecting the yawn anymore than I was expecting the smile. Not pretty. I choke and put my hand over my mouth. “Traffic,” I mumble.
     The silence that follows unsettles me more than I am already.          Then he says, “Shall we begin?” 
     Like I have a choice? I’d say this to him, but I know better. I read the contract. I signed it, but before I understood what this was really about. I was twenty, for chrissakes. I never thought this far ahead. And I still had years before I had to think more about the terms. 
     This early expiration was all Fred’s fault. No. In all honesty, it was mine. I’d let him become a friend and not just my chief communications officer. When the call came, I’d been at his desk chatting, and he didn’t pick up. That call was meant for him, not me, and he knew it. He’d held up his Reese's Pieces and mimed “Peanut butter fingers. Can you get that?”
     The minute I picked up the receiver, I knew I’d been had. Fred sprinted to the men’s room, and I was left holding the bag--technically, a phone made heavy by the voice and the message it delivered. 
     “Ah, Stephen. It’s you. I expected Fred. Fate has intervened. It’s time we met.” 
     I heard two things after that, the lonely sound of an old digital clock’s second hand and, “Six p.m. tomorrow.”
Photo by Pierre J.
     Now, at just a quarter past six the next day, that voice comes at me again, only up close and with smelly breath. 
     “How do you see all of this playing out?” he asks.
     Again, he’s put me off balance. I wasn’t ready to answer a question like that. 
     “Surely you’ve thought about it.” He adjusts his position only slightly, and I flinch. “Nerves are understandable.”
     When I don’t respond, he says, “Hmm. So you don’t know how you’d like this to happen? Too bad. With contracts like yours I usually give choices. In your case, I guess it will be a surprise.”
     My voice finally returns. “Can I ask when,”--I have to swallow--“to expect the . . . surprise?”
     He seems to consider my question while staring blankly at me. 
     My leg jiggles, an old tick from pre-game jitters. Then for a moment I’m twenty and in my bedroom surrounded with my college baseball trophies. And I’m remembering why I signed that paper. The major league contract. The no hitter games I pitched--one after the other. The baseball hall of fame, only six years after my last game. Baseball Commissioner.  All before I was forty. That’s what came with a stroke of my ballpoint.
     His voice snaps me back to the dank space. “If I told you when it’s going to happen, that would ruin everything. That’s part of a surprise. You know that.”
     “Do I get some kind of warning?”
     “You don’t want a warning. Warnings only make humans edgy.” He strokes his bony chin and the sleeve of the cloak slips back. 
     I don’t want to see under that cloak, but I can’t stop staring at his whiteness. A thin drizzle of cold sweat slides down my spine.
     He rises slowly, almost as if he’s tired. “Bye. Bye,” he says. “See you soon.”
     With a terminal thud, Death’s door swings closed behind him. And I’m alone. 

    This is the best I can do. I'm totally "hopped" out, and I almost didn't join the WEP this month. However, common sense didn't prevail, so here it is--my stab at the macabre. I really need to leave this kind of topic to Lexa and Holli. They know macabre. 

No critique, please. This is as far as The Surprise will ever go into the world. No thanks necessary!