Thursday, January 31, 2013

13 Days And Counting!

Hello Bloggers and THE SAVANNAH SYNDROME (TSS) fans! I apologize for the extremely short post today.  I actually had to go to a real place and do real work this morning, so I'm running way behind, and we've got a slew of things to do.  Check out my personal blog here, I'll be focusing my energy there today as I finish the history of my life, briefly.  By Saturday I should have brought fans and readers up to speed on what has led us to Savannah and the creation of TSS.  That being said, here is page nine of TSS, followed by another picture.  Y'all enjoy and have a wonderful end of the week!

"and trees even here gave her no indication that any unexpected visitors were lurking in the island’s thick brush; another group of friends whom she would later learn had betrayed her.  But at the present moment, she felt confident that another blessed day for fishing had been bestowed upon her.  She made her way back to the cannon and its carriage, no longer keeping her head low.  She always made herself visible just before she left the safety of the Fort, hoping to entice any predators out in the open before she put herself at their mercy.  Before she placed the binoculars down into their temporary holding place, she scanned the entire island around her, with a steady, smooth pivot.  The island was calm and tranquil.  The leaves of strong oaks, tall pines, and stretching palms all murmured softly with each wave of the northwestern that had moved into the area that day.  Feeling satisfied with her safety, she stepped into the front of the cannon, placing the binoculars on the metal base of the cannon’s carriage.  There, hiding secretly, was a loaded Beretta 9mm pistol.  Her hand paused and she stared at the weapon for a good while, listening to her gut and her gun.  She closed her eyes and breathed in the air around her.  All she could smell was the distinct scent of fall.  She left the pistol.
     She moved toward the front of the cannon and reached in, pulling the thick, once-bright-white rope from the darkness and feeding the tapered end over the edge of outer wall.  She stopped feeding the rope over the edge as soon as she heard the telltale splash from the moat below.  She pulled the remaining ten feet or so out of the cannon and snuck the end of the rope under the front bar that provided the perfect tie for her descent line.  She secured the line with a quick Yosemite bowline knot.  She placed both feet upon the iron base of the cannon and pulled upward on the rope, giving it a secure hold.  From there her left hand reached back into the cannon and emerged with her machete.  She unwound the black shoulder harness from around the handle, slipped it over her left shoulder and clipped it on the bottom of the blades sheath just behind her right hip.  Ready for her fishing trip, she lowered herself on both knees and folded her hands together.  Her"

Man, these pages really keep leaving y'all hanging.  If I were you, I'd just click either here for the Kindle version, or here for the print version, and go ahead and get your own copy now!

Late spring flowers blooming in one of SAV's many parks.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Exactly Two Weeks and Counting!

Hello Bloggers and Fans.  No early posts today, and this one will be incredibly short.  The little one is sick, running a semi-high fever, so she's got all my attention today.  Before I share page eight of THE SAVANNAH SYNDROME (TSS), I do want to talk about another one of my favorite shows:  New Girl.  If you aren't addicted to this show like several million of us out there, well, I'm sorry, but you've missed out.  You need to start watching season one and work your way back to last night's amazing episode.  It's a quirky, silly comedy with an amazing cast of original characters.  My "significant other" and I have been hooked since the pilot episode.  It's a fun, light half-hour show that keeps you entertained, another hilarious sitcom generally about nothing, but simultaneously about all kinds of things.  All I can say about last night's episode, without giving away the most monumental moment on that show to date, is that they created one of the greatest kiss scenes in television history.  At least it should be reviewed that way, in my opinion.  But anyway, moving on.

So here is page eight of TSS, it's still available rather cheap here, where you can read the whole thing at once.  I still can't believe that, in a way, TSS has been a forewarning of the terrible flu season this year, without even meaning to.  Buy the book and you'll see exactly what I mean.  Happy hump day everyone.

"other, and that she was perfectly safe, she moved from the lower floor to the spiral staircase in the northeast corner.  The stairs were high and narrow, winding tightly around to create a low ceiling, which had at one point demanded her attention to keep her rod from getting snagged on a concrete corner.  But now the dimensions of the fort felt as familiar as the dimensions of her body.  She knew every crack and corner, every steep step and low entryway.  This fort had become her most trusted ally and even it did not warn her of the coming doom.
     Today she took the steep steps two at a time.  Here, again, if the stairs had decided to be unforgiving, she might have tripped and come crashing down painfully, abandoning her fishing trip to properly bandage any cuts on her elbows or shins.  But she had easily ascended the stairs and emerged slowly on the top level of the fort.  She slinked toward the inner edge of the thick outer wall, resting her elbows on the crumbled brick surface and scanning the eastern tip of the island.  Only the tall marsh grass moved before her.  Cicadas sang their loud song all around her.  Feeling secure, she pulled away from the northeast corner and ran toward the western edge of the fort.  She kept her body compact and her head under the visual protection of the brick wall.  She laid her rod and bucket next to the single cannon that faced the north side of the island before heading to the terreplein along the eastern wall of the pentagon shaped fort.  She slithered over the upper ledge and crawled through the high grass seeds.  Once she reached the outer edge that overlooked the demilune and the area where the old draw bridge had sat, she scanned the island to the west.  Directly ahead was the parking lot, which had been overrun like everything else with high weeds, grass, and dirt.  She trained her eyes on the line of trees that sat directly on the northern curve of the parking lot.  Her eyes followed that tree line as it concaved toward the north marching west.  This part of her scouting trip was much slower than when she scanned the eastern tip of the island.  If she were to get any visitors, they would most likely come from the west.  The birds"

At the altar inside The Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

15 Days and Counting!

Happy Tuesday Bloggers and THE SAVANNAH SYNDROME (TSS) fans!  We had another sale of TSS by a very important person who works in a very prestigious and even more important career field.  If she is reading this, and from what I hear she most likely is, I would like to thank you for the support!  Well, I can't help but give Fox's new show, The Following, another nod.  That show is incredible.  I see the general format that each episode is going to follow and absolutely love it.  This episode had a few twists I never saw coming.  Very suspenseful and intense.  A masterpiece in terms of network television production value.  The tone, music and camera work are mesmerizing.  Acting is top notch too, but they have a bunch of big name actors making up the cast, not a bunch of no-name TV up-and-comers.  Again, the writing in the show is brilliant.  In contrast to another form of entertainment that has been consuming my life, the XBOX game, Halo 4.  My "significant other" bought the game for me as a Christmas present, when I have been trying to avoid getting sucked back into the video gaming world.  A lot of good friends across the country are playing it, so it gives us a common place to meet up and chat and play.  But with Halo, the game that launched Microsoft's XBOX platform and turned me back into a gamer, that game is more than just a fun multi-player game for me.  I have loved the story line in the first three games, well, in the first and third, but the second, while it was horrible as the sequel, had its importance vindicated with the third installment.  This fourth game was a break from the original studio, Bungie, and put all the weight of one of the most successful franchise's on the shoulders of a new studio, 343 industries.  While they did some things much better, the graphics in the story-telling, the sounds and look of the weapons; the story itself was a bit vague and completely confusing.  It seemed to be a game made for die-hard Halo fans who read all the books and have played all the games, not just the main story-line.  But I finally beat the campaign, much to my disappointment, so no more late nights trying to squeeze in time to waste on a silly video game.

Now that I've covered those two tidbits of entertaining critiques, it's back to business as usual.  Check out my blog over at for the closing history of my life.  Here is page seven of TSS, followed by another picture from this beautiful city.  Enjoy, and have a great day!

"layer of barrels which lay two wide.  A single row lined the center of the room as a third level.  She counted down to the seventh row where there were two barrels end to end at the highest level.  She picked up the top barrel on her right, always lifting it carefully not to disturb the heavy dust that had settled over the years.  The top of the barrel always facing the wall was smashed in.  Inside this first barrel was a hunting knife and sharpening stone, but since she had just sharpened the edge the day before, she just grabbed her knife enclosed in a light brown leather sheath with a small band.  With the knife in hand she pulled back the next barrel against the wall, just enough to sneak her arm in and grab a lighter among the many that lay hidden.  She returned both barrels to their original places, dropped the lighter into her pocket and strapped the knife around her right calf muscle.  She turned to her left side and from the top barrel closest to her she removed her binoculars.
From the powder room she moved along the northern face of the fort, pausing at each gun emplacement opening to pan the north side of the island with her binoculars.  Across the fifty feet of moat lay a relatively open area with just a single red cedar tree directly north.  Slightly to the northeast was the closest thick clearing.  She watched the trees and the movement in those woods.  About two hundred meters further north of the cypress was a smaller clearing that blocked her view of the river’s mouth from the fort.  She concentrated her gaze on those trees as well; looking for any movement that seemed out of place.  The leaves and limbs waved to her treacherously in the northern breeze.  Oh, how they tricked her.

She repeated this process at each empty gun emplacement, until she reached the sixth slanted window along the northern wall, where her rod and bucket lay.  Gathering the gear and feeling quite confident that this day was just like any"

Grave marking for U.S. soldier at Fort Pulaski, the location
of the opening scenes in TSS.

Monday, January 28, 2013

16 Days and Counting!

Good morning fellow Bloggers and Fans!  The week is starting out on a high note.  Grabbed another sale over the weekend for THE SAVANNAH SYNDROME(TSS).  This is another sale by a word of mouth recommendation.  Got my blog stats for my first month of blogging for both this site and my personal one over at and I'm getting some pretty big numbers.  It would be amazing if all those page views were to each buy a copy of TSS, and I'd be off and running.  But instead, it's all up to the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award and where TSS goes in that competition.  All I need is for it to get through the second round and the book will sell itself!  The submission period has officially ended and over the weekend an optimistic thought came to me (and this is a rare occurrence lately).  I realized that my book did not have to be the most outstanding piece of literature ever written, because it is far from that.  As much as I admire Hemingway, I still cannot hold a flame to his talent.  But my book doesn't have to be that good.  It just has to be better then every other submission in the contest, this year.  So here's to a bunch of crappy self-published novels put together in 2012!  Here is page six of TSS.  Get your copy now while it's still cheap.  If it proves to be the best story of 2012, a major publisher will surely jack the price up!


"coming hours.  But for now, the pick was just a pick, and held her hair nicely in place.
She grabbed her razor from the sink next to where she prepared herself each day and night, tucking it into her right pocket.  She stopped near the pile of dirty clothes and grabbed the pair of muddy sneakers that sat against the wall.  She slipped them on, lacing them tight and giving them a quick double knot to make sure the laces stayed in place.  She wished she could find a pair of combat boots somewhere, but she would need socks again and those would be as hard to come by as the boots.  Socks were the one item she wore through constantly.  The sneakers were much more comfortable then boots without socks.  Her last pair of boots had lasted her through three winters before they had begun to lose their function with the soles beginning to come apart.  Her sneakers were her final pair of foot protection.  She reminded herself she would have to go on a scavenger trip to the main island or the main land as she exited the bathroom.  The sun was out of view now, above the western edge of the brick overhead.  She figured it was close to 1630, maybe even nearing 1700.  She closed her eyes and breathed in the cooling air.  Her sneakers quietly trod on the dirty concrete, which had once been kept meticulously clean.  Now, after years of rain, mud, and the traffic of her feet and boots, the concrete walkway along the gorge wall had a soft carpet of dirt on it.  She reached the northeast corner and slipped around the tall brick protrusion and into the magazine room.
     The room was beginning to lose its natural lighting as the sun slipped further down the western sky.  Not that she needed it.  She could find her necessary barrels in the dark.  In fact, she had done it several times when she went fishing at night.  A narrow, but tall archway led into a tight room full of replica gun powder barrels.  The room was divided in two, with two sets of barrels lying end to end across the width and those four stacks running the length of the room.  On top of the first layer of barrels, reading “No Smith & Rand Co. Powder 1861” in white stencil on the black caps, sat a second" 

William Gordon's monument in Wright Square.
Gordon is the founder and former President of
Georgia's major railroad line, Central Railroad,
which still runs today.  He is also the grandfather,
of one Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the
Girl Scouts.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Weekly Writing Prompt!

Happy Saturday Bloggers and fans!  We have once again reached the end of my blogging week, and it's time for another wonderful Weekly Writing Prompt from!  I'll be pasting the prompt below followed by my short story, I once again went over the word count, this one's at 725 instead of the required 500.  Tune in next week for more pages of THE SAVANNAH SYNDROME.  Keep following my personal blog, at  Today will be a brutally honest depiction of a day that lives in infamy in my personal history.  I hope you all have a wonderful day and weekend.  Enjoy!

Writing Prompt:

"You’ve just been to the worst concert of your life. Afterward, you head to a bar with friends and start drowning your disgust. Moments later, the musician (or musicians) shows up. You decide to confront the musician about the lousy performance and ask for your money back. The musician suggests a different approach to repaying you. Write what happens."

Here is what I came up with:

My buddy Chad hit my arm, causing me to spill a good bit of cold beer onto my shirt.

“Watch out man.”

“Dude,” Chad says with big eyes.  He nods his head toward the front door of McDonough’s and continues, “it’s them.”

“Who’s them?”  I begin to ask, but I notice Adam and Harry have looked that way as well.  All in stunned wonder.

“It’s Arnel,” I barely hear Harry whisper over the raspy karaoke rendition of some horrible country song about two black Cadillacs.  Karaoke at McDonough’s was in full swing.  And much like the crappy concert we had just attended, I had no idea what song was being sung.

I turned to see if Harry was completely hammered, and was caught in that star struck awe when your idols step out of the realm of greatness and glory and transcend into the lower bastions of us mortal men.  Journey.  They had just walked into McDonough’s, all five members, led by those Philippine pipes.  Journey.

The momentary shock I felt quickly vanished as I remembered how pissed I was at the concert I had just shelled out a few hundred dollars for.

“The nerve,” I shouted to Chad.

“Dude, let it go.”

That just made me more upset.  Let it go?  Not this time, not in my city, not on my dime.  I stormed toward the band, whom were making their way from the front of the bar to the karaoke area.

“That sucked,” I said to Arnel directly.  He was a small guy.  I wasn’t scared of him.

“I’m sorry,” he said in his kind voice.  “Do I know you?”

“No,” I said and almost laughed.  “You should, I own every one of your albums, well the band’s albums.  And you go and fill this concert with the entire set list of Eclipse, Revelations, and Generations, and close it out with Don’t Stop Believing!’  I mean, what the crap man?  Nobody likes those songs, and of all your classics, the only one you give us is that one?  I want my money back!”

Arnel let out a big sigh.  He opened his mouth to speak but the rest of the band pushed him around me.  I threw my hands up in protest.  He had no answer.  I watched him head toward the back bar closest to the stage.  A large hand fell on my shoulder.  I spun around.  Neal Schon was looking at me with those thick eyebrows and curly hair.

“Go easy on him,” Schon said.  “Today’s the day his mother died.  He likes doing the newer stuff because it doesn’t remind him of his mother as much.”

I shut my mouth and felt as tall as a thimble.  I knew Arnel’s story.

“How bout we make it up to you?”

“No, forget it.”

“No, really,” Schon said.  “Let me buy you a drink.”  He pushed me toward the band members and the big eyed bartender who recognized the royalty at her bar.  I licked my lips and prepared my apology.  Then I heard Schon speak next.

“Bartender, get this man a drink, any way he wants it.”

“Any way he wants it?” The bartender asked back.

“That’s the way he needs it,” Arnel’s voice hit me and the whole bar fell silent.  The DJ had cut the music.

“Any way you want it,” the bartender sang to me in a sweet, but off key voice, and winked.

And then what happened next transcended time and reason.  Whatever painful memories Arnel had harbored from the death of his mother long ago had subsided as he climbed up on the bar, pointed to bartender and sang.

“She loves to laugh, she loves to sing.”

He had no music, no jamming guitars or pounding bass drums.  But he had his voice.  And before he said the next line “she does everything,” Arnel and the rest of the guys had the whole bar singing in perfect harmony, Any Way You Want It.

The wheel in the sky had finally turned.  My worst Journey concert had, faithfully, just become my most indispensable Journey moment and memory.  I never stopped believing, well, save for that brief moment when Arnel went separate ways from me.  But who’s crying now?  Not this guy, not after I got greeted with open arms and one killer impromptu song.  And I got it just the way I wanted it.

Friday, January 25, 2013

19 Days Left!

Happy Friday Bloggers and Fans!  We broke into the teens on the countdown to learn the first round results from Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award for THE SAVANNAH SYNDROME (TSS)!  And we made it through the week, which means one more post tomorrow and we're off on Sunday!  Check back tomorrow for the Weekly Writer's Prompt from, it's a doozy...  Check out my personal blog over at to read the final two episodes of the short history of my life and what has led me to be a writer and, specifically, what led me to write TSS.  So here is page five from TSS, with prior pages being given in the previous blog posts.  Remember, for just $2.99 this wonderful story can be gracing your Kindle bookshelf and you can read it all at once!  To purchase your copy today, click here, otherwise, enjoy page five:

"undressed, flinging her previous days clothes in the growing pile near the door.  She brushed her hair and her teeth.  She had run out of toothpaste a few months ago but she still used the tooth brush to remove the feeling of plaque from her teeth.  She stared at the stranger before her.  She still refused to see herself as a “young woman,” some days she still felt like the ten-year old girl who had to learn to survive on her own when her mother never returned from that last trip to the city.  She no longer knew her age.  She had never worried about counting the days after she realized she was on her own.  She never really thought about it.  Each day was a blessing, a testament to her will to survive.  There were times when she felt isolated and lonely, but she had all her friends:  the trees, the grass, the sun, the wind, the walls of the fort, the bricks that would whisper their stories to her at night.  But she could not ignore the transformations that had overcome her body.  Her breasts had developed more than she ever thought they would on her diet, which consisted almost entirely of oysters, fish, berries, pecans and figs, and the occasional bird or squirrel.  She had long ago killed all the raccoons on the island.  She drank rain water for hydration.  That was it.  No dairy, no milk; which luckily she had drank plenty of those during the first half of her life so her bones developed somewhat strong.  She pulled the brown shirt over her shoulders and curves, down her thin waste.  The pants came up next and she noticed her legs were beginning to become stubbly again.  She still liked to keep her legs shaved, though the razor she used was pretty dull and it was a painful process.  She twisted her hair in a tight bun and secured it with a long metal pick.  It was sharp.  That was her last line of defense.  She hoped she would never have to use it, because she always feared the situation that would have to be unfolding for her to have to resort to that last desperate measure.  Her enemy would have to be practically on top of her for her to rely on that weapon.  She had subsequently forgotten about its effectiveness over the years of isolation.  That lack of discipline would cost her in the"

And yes, that was one long paragraph...

My favorite steeple in SAV, and the tower
the River Colony rings their alarm from, as
depicted in TSS.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

20 Days and Counting!

Hello Bloggers and Fans!  I am already looking forward to tomorrow's post so I can put a number out of the twenties in the blog title!  Less than three weeks now and we will know the fate of THE SAVANNAH SYNDROME (TSS) in Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award competition.  No word from the agent I queried about Vernan, the Vegan Vulture, but it's only been three days, so there is still hope.  With nothing else to report on this blog, I'll be continuing the brief history of my life at my personal blog,  So here is page four of TSS, followed by another picture of the great city of Savannah.  And remember, if you want to read all these pages together, just click here and, with a few easy steps, this wonderful story could be all yours!

"with a quick and filling morning supplement.  She had nicknamed the fig bush Esther, because within her roots held the secrets to save her people.  Of course, for Esther, the only person she had to worry about saving was the one who named her and loved her.
Good afternoon, Esther.
She kindly greeted the fig bush as she scouted a few ripened fruits that had fallen to the ground around the north side of the bush.
Hope you’re enjoying this cooler weather.
She picked up two figs and brushed them off on the cotton of her pants.
Thanks for breakfast.
She ate the first fig by the time she reached the restrooms in two bites.  The soft outer skin gave way to seedy meat, which grinded between her teeth.  She savored the mild, soft flavor of the figs.  In the first few seasons at the fort, the figs would painfully remind her of a time long ago, when she had first had a fig.  That one had been bought from a place called a grocery store, brought home in a little plastic container and kept in their refrigerator.  So her first memory of figs was of them being cold and refreshing.  It had been a challenge for her to push that memory aside, because with it came back all the memories of that forgotten life, of her parents, her beautiful mother and her loving father.  Those memories would bring great sadness upon her heart and darken her days.  But the fig tree gave her an easy source of energy each evening, so she forced herself to push those memories so far into her mind that she ate each fig without giving it a second thought, despite it being warm and no longer refreshing, but still filling.
     Leaving her clothes on the concrete walkway, with the second fig nestled on top; she made her way into the women’s restroom where she relieved herself in the third stall.  That one still had some toilet paper left.  There were still two stalls she had yet to occupy.  She moved from the women’s urine filled restroom to the better smelling men’s, grabbing her clothes and the second fig.  She ate the rest of her late lunch and"

From Kevin Barry's pub, upstairs in the Hall of Heroes,
keep talking smack N. Korea and expect a visit from these
fellows rather soon.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

21 Days and Counting...

Hello Bloggers and fans.  Just three weeks away from learning if THE SAVANNAH SYNDROME (TSS) makes it through the initial round of Amazon's Breakthrough Novel Award contest and begins to gain more exposure.  No other news for the novel other than that.  Before I share page three of the book, and another picture of Savannah, I will use this blog to promote Fox's new show, The Following.  This is a new drama filling Fox's Monday night 9 pm slot.  I must say that the production value on this show is top notch.  Great acting, great cinematography, great sound, everything, but most importantly, great writing.  The pilot episode was gripping, and while somewhat predictable, I was left wanting so much more.  I will say that I do believe it is a little too violent for a network show in the 9 pm spot.  I was surprised Fox aired it with all the discussion about how television has become too violent and we are desensitizing our kids.  Of course, again, this is a show that parents need to be carefully monitoring their kids for, and keeping them away from watching it. A great show created to entertain adults.  Television has seen a surge in quality shows and writing, it was explored in great detail in the book The Revolution Was Televised.  Of course, with the soaring price of going to a movie and the high cost of cable, being able to sit at home and watch an entertaining show instead of shelling out extra money is the alluring draw to these better sitcoms and dramas.  So I highly recommend following The Following.  I am pretty sure I'll be referring to the show more to help make this blog a little more entertaining.  I guess I should confess the other shows that I regularly watch right now:  New Girl, The Mindy Project (only at the request of my girlfriend, but it is an okay show), Glee, Workaholics, South Park, The Daily Show, and The Colbert Report.  I know when I originally created the two blogs, this one and my personal blog,, I said I would dedicate this one to only news surrounding the book and reviews of other books I read, but for now I'll share any forms of entertainment since they all involve great writers before can have great acting, great sets, great production, etc.  So now that we have that clarified, here is page three of TSS, page two can be found yesterday, and page one can be found a few days before.  Want to read all the pages together?  Well, then, just click here and purchase your copy of TSS today!  Until then, this is all you get....

"bastion.  She stopped just short of the southern door to grab a clean set of clothes.  Today she picked a pair of olive cargo pants from her stack of pants and a brown shirt from the stack of shirts.  She had cleaned her clothes last week so she still had a substantial set of pants and shirts.  There were no bright colors in either pile, mostly browns and greens.  With her set of clothes in hand she slipped her slender arm through the iron bars of the door.  Black paint, which had once been shiny and sleek, now sat chipped and scratched.  She easily unlocked her security measure and quickly unwrapped the heavy chain that lay twisted around the door and the corresponding wall as she did every morning.  She left the door open and the lock hanging in place.
She stepped from underneath the red bricked arches of the lower quarters and onto the warm tall grass of the parade ground.  It was indeed a beautiful day.  She could not see a cloud in the deep blue sky around her.  The wind was blowing at a sustained pace strong enough to bring her auburn hair to life and dance in the sunshine.  She ran her right hand through her shoulder length hair.  She kept it just long enough to wrap into a bun, less to brush and maintain.  She had to brush it at least twice a day to keep the salt, from the brackish waters she bathed in, from causing her hair to be matted and coarse.  The mouth of the Savannah River was not exactly her friend, unlike the three friends in front of her. 
     Two tall pecan trees stretched high above the upper tier of the fort.  Around their bases more pecans than she could ever eat sat on the shaded soil.  She had named those two Ruth and Beth.  The cool finger tips of fall rustled their leaves and they sang a sweet song toward her.  Those deep green leaves sang triumphantly, ready to enter the final stages of their short lives, ready to splash the canvas with a bold brown, before they fell heroically and heralded the coming winter.  She loved her tall pecan trees, but she absolutely adored their nearby neighbor.  Just south of them was her favorite staple:  figs.  The fruit from the fig bush did not have a great flavor, but they were enjoyable and, especially this summer, provided her"

Another shot of River Street, before the fall of the
free world, as depicted in TSS.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Beginning the countdown...

Happy Tuesday Bloggers and Fans!  Well, after yesterday's newsworthy post, I am left standing in a void of nothingness, having no news to add about THE SAVANNAH SYNDROME (TSS).  No crazy sale numbers, no surprise reviews left.  There's a growing number of customers who have bought the book, and have grown incredibly quiet, which I am not sure how to take.  I do realize a lot of people are busy, but if TSS is as good as I thought, and hope, it is, it would be engaging enough to draw people in and hold them hostage until they finish reading.  Because of this lack of exciting things to report on, I am beginning a countdown everyday from now until February 13, unless they release the results of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award's first round sooner.  So as of today, we're 22 LONG days away from learning the fate of TSS, so expect that in each blog's title from here on out, unless something big happens.  I guess there is a little bit of news to report.  I shopped Vernan, the Vegan Vulture  to an agent who listed as seeking new clients, but she's an agent who will respond only if she's interested, so I will put my faith in her response in the same countdown as the TSS's.  To fill the void I am going to share the second page of the story.  If you are looking for page one,  I believe I shared that three posts ago.  And remember to follow this author's blog over at!  But here is page 2 and another pic of the beautiful city of Savannah:

above her, she would have spent the early evening gathering fresh rain water, filling up her spare plastic bottles, glass jars, and anything else she had on hand to collect the one supply she could never have enough of.  At the very least, if there had been rain, she would have been in the safety of her quarters and, perhaps, in a position to defend herself.

But none of those things happened as they could have, perhaps should have.  Instead, when she had awakened, it was the most breathtakingly beautiful day since the summer had chased away the coolness of spring.  And despite still having meat left over from her most recent kill, she had decided it was a good day to go to the river.
She rose from the bed, where years before, she had pushed two of the wooden bunks together and removed the outer boards to give herself a bigger sleeping area.  She used the queen mattress with a worn blue blanket from the Commanding Officer’s exhibit across the parade ground.  She had spent a few years sleeping in the Commanding Officer’s room, which still contained furniture from Colonel Brown’s wife:  a large wooden spinning wheel and a round wooden table complete with four wrought iron chairs.
     Those were her early days at the Fort.  She would eventually begin to distrust her safety of the open glass windows of the room.  Once she had acquired a pair of locks, with keys, of course, and a solid chain during one of her scavenging trips to the island called Tybee, she moved her sleeping quarters to the eastern side of Fort Pulaski and into the prison casemates.  There she felt safer locking herself behind the iron bars.  The prison area had two sets of doors.  She had found the locks still in their packages on a nearly empty convenient store shelf.  Luckily for her, during the Dividing War, the displaced citizens of Tybee Island had not seen the need for looting all the locks out of one of the shops called a Pharmacy.  Of course, she had taken the last two from the looted, lonely store.  She grabbed her set of keys, one marked with an ‘N’ and the other with an ‘S’ in worn permanent marker.  Her spare set was hidden in the southwest 

River Street, before the fall of society, as depicted in TSS.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

It is hard to find a salutation worthy of addressing an audience, no matter how small, on a day as momentous as today.  As the country remembers the words and passion of one man's dream, we see the swearing in of our President, a man of shared race, just 45 short years after the brutal slaying of that great man.  Indeed, the United States of America has made great strides in race relations in these last five decades.  In the 1960's, an African-American man would never think the dream of becoming the President of this great country would even be possible.  Sure, it was nice to vision, to stand upon a podium and preach out to a crowd of thousands, but to actually see happen, in "white" America, was surely still 100 years away.  Lucky for America, the country got, not just an African-American as President, but a genuinely good man in the White House.  A man who was not judged by the color of his skin, but by the content of his character.  A man who could inspire anyone with sound judgement, and a decent heart, to want change across our country.  A man who's own agenda is to reach out and lift up the lowest ends of our society and get them working and on their feet (no matter if you call that socialism or not, it's the right thing to do, because it is what Jesus, and all the greatest philosophers throughout time, would do).

Today should be a day of somber reflection and appreciation.  Appreciation for how far our country has come, but a day of reflection as we still have a long way to go.  America still sees the world through a colored lens, as we continue to see in news organisations commentaries as President Obama is constantly labeled as "black."  Mainstream news loves to throw out those two main color labels:  "white" and "black," and then sit back and wonder why the country is still polarized.  So, although (pardon the pun) the "colorfulness" of the words we use to describe one another has died down over the years, we still love to label the opposite race.  And now I feel it is being done in equal offenses on both sides.  We still view each other by the color of our skin.  It's not even an accurate color reference, as most "blacks" are more of a brown, or a mocha, so, yes, calling an African-American "black," is still racist, just as calling Caucasians as "white" is equally offensive.  Although, this is much better than some of the slang that is still, incredibly, used by people today.

I bring all this up, of course, because it strikes a very specific tone in the book THE SAVANNAH SYNDROME (TSS).  While I have only lived in a true "southern" state for less than a year, I can feel the racial tensions still present in a lot of areas.  And it comes from both sides, tell me how many cross-looks I would get if I took a stroll through the strictly African-American parts of town as a "white" male.  So, yes, when I thought about a future where America fell into a second Civil War as the setting in TSS, I believe the survivors would eventually be pulled to their polar ends and a race war would eventually ensue, without a Federal Government, or any government there to stop both sides from trying to kill each other.  Basically, to show the world what would happen when words evolved to action.  And I did decide to use the label "Black" as the racial slur being thrown around the most, because I really hate that we seem to have progressed back to this color label.  While we have come a long way, we still have a long way to go, before everyone is viewed by what is under the surface, and not just the color that sits on top.  

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Weekly Writing Prompt

Happy Saturday Everyone!  A couple things before I get to the Weekly Writer's Prompt.  Yes, I missed my blog update yesterday, had some important things to do in my "other" life.  I'll fill anyone interested in on the blog of me over at  THE SAVANNAH SYNDROME has had its final, final, FINAL edit.  My mom, of all people, has a keen eye for grammar and typing errors, and I have been awaiting her edit of my final edit.  She completed it and I've made the corrections and updated both the paperback version and the Kindle Version.  So all copies sold from here on out should be error free!  I apologize to the dozens of readers who had to labor through all my mistakes, misused words, and missing punctuation.  But somehow, I still keep getting good feedback.  I received a surprise message from a retired Director of Joint Public Affairs for the Tennessee National Guard, who left a message on my FACEBOOK page saying:

"Just finished it. Good stuff!!! Good job Jason!"

Wow!  That was great to hear coming from someone of such stature!  Just when I start to get down about sales lagging and the mistakes I still missed, I get a response like that and I'm back in the game!  That being said, it's on to this week's Weekly Writing Prompt.  As I discussed earlier this week, this was the prompt from

"Pretend you are a recovering alcoholic who falls off the wagon while attending your high school reunion. Start your story with “I hadn’t had a drink in nearly 10 years” and end it with “If only I could remember where I left my pants.”

There's some pretty decent short stories on the blog for this prompt.  Most people took it more seriously then I thought.  But I don't think any of them went as dark as I did.  I went way over the word limit, again, but why cut a short story to absolute bare bones, when you can still have a good SHORT story at just over 1,000 words.  So here's this week's free writing sample.  Enjoy:

I hadn’t had a drink in nearly 10 years.  In fact, the last time I let that disease consume me had been a few weeks before my high school’s ten year reunion.  I had gone out on what I had planned as a week-long preparation to increase my tolerance for alcohol before the magical night when I had been sure I would be consuming massive amounts of celebratory shots and drinking away memories.  I went a little too hard that first night and was awoken by a police officer with my BMW in a ditch.  I was booked because I knew better to blow.  The judge still threw the books at me.  This was my third disputed DUI and despite knowing my rights, I am a lawyer, the judge drew a line and hit me with the hardest fines he could without solid evidence of my blood-alcohol level.  I had my bar license stripped from me, my driving privileges suspended, and forced to pay fines.  The wake-up call was the loss of my ability to practice the job I had struggled so hard to obtain.  And it became an even greater struggle to get my license to defend back.  Two years of AA, rehab and kissing the judges ass got me that chance.  And now I was never going to fall off that wagon again.  Never.  Again.

As I ordered water from the bar, I felt great, no longer getting the cold, clammy hands I used to when standing by a full assortment of alcohol.  Still, her hand on my shoulder caused me to jump.

“Jonathan Henry Barth.”

There was only one girl in my graduating class who had ever had privilege in knowing my middle name.  Hearing her say it now brought back hot afternoons in Kansas corn fields where her hand would be squeezing my neck and whispering my name, my whole name, over and over again.

I turned, looking down, then quickly back up.  Audrey Michelle, whatever her last name is now, had hit another growth spurt since we graduated high school.  She must have stood 5’10”, maybe 5’11,” no longer sitting at chest level to me as she had done when we had fallen in young love.

“Hello Audrey,” I said and smiled warmly at her.  Her big brown eyes were filled with cunning thoughts.  Her mouth opened up to a crooked smile revealing a gorgeous row of pearly whites.

“I missed you at our ten-year reunion,” she said sultry.  She held up her right hand signaling for two drinks.  She ordered “Jack and coke, but easy on the coke,” just like I used to pour them when we would drink out of the bed of my truck.

“Your husband like Jack too?”  That was a loaded question, but I had to ask, as I could not help but notice the rings.

“Don’t be silly Johnny, that drink’s for you,” she put her slender right hand on my broad chest and winked at me.  “And I would never bring my husband to an event like this.”

I felt a flurry of activity around my loins.  Luckily for my conscious, I had never bothered with marriage.  And I really lacked a conscious, which was a sad thing for Audrey’s husband.  And while I was not going to worry about the moral ramifications of fornicating with a married woman, I would be doing it stone-cold-sober.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t drink.  At all,” I said confidently and smiled at her brightly.

“I think you can splurge just this one night.”

“Last time I splurged it almost cost me my career.”

“This won’t cost you anything.  I’ll take care of you if you get drunk.”

“Really, Audrey, I appreciate the offer, and that you still remember my drink.”

“Our drink.”

“Yes,” I found myself suddenly blushing at her and her uncompromising stare.  “Our drink.  But I can’t.  I won’t.  Let’s just mingle and see what everyone else is up to.”  By now the barkeep had slid the two drinks in front of her and she grabbed them and turned to me, presenting my drink with her right hand.  She used the drink in her left hand to block my view of the huge rock and sparkling wedding band.  She smiled a smile I knew all too well, it was the smile that I used to get when she asked for “help with her homework.”

“Just one drink,” Audrey said.  Her adult voice melting away to sound more and more like that young, fiery 17 year-old who had taught me so much about life.  “For the memories.”

Just one drink.  My hand reached out and grasped the cold condensation on the outside of the cocktail glass.  I shook my head at her and we clinked glasses.  I brought the smooth glass edge to my mouth.  It tasted so good.

The water was cold and shocking.  I could not tell up from down.  I was in complete darkness.  In water.  Out of air.  I swam, kicking my feet and my arms.  Somehow I found my way to the surface just as my lungs could hold out no more.  I took a mouthful of water and began coughing.  My mind swirled around me.  I was really drunk, but the cold water had brought me out of the fog of forgetfulness.  I was in a pond, or a lake, or something.  The water wasn’t as deep as it had originally felt.  The rear wheels of my upside down car were slowly spinning to a stop.  Another BMW.  I pulled myself to the shore and my heart stopped.  I stared ahead at the scene in front of me as I heard voices calling to me from behind, asking if I was okay, saying the police were on the way.  There, floating next to the passenger side of my flipped car, were a pair of hands.  I could recognize the pair of rings on the left hand.  I momentarily thought about fleeing, but one thought keep me from running.  If it wasn’t for this one thought I would have fled, reported my car stolen, and hoped no one saw us leaving together.  But I was stuck.  My life was over, but not as much as Audrey’s.  If only I could remember where I left my pants. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

It's Thursday, Weekend Is Almost Here!

Hello Bloggers and Fans.  Well, to be honest, I'm not feeling very inspired this morning to compile anything witty or fun to share.  No new reviews.  No new sales.  Waiting on my "editor" to finish her final edit of THE SAVANNAH SYNDROME (TSS).  She is on Chapter 12, and is still catching a few things I did not catch in my final edit.  Luckily, most of the worst mistakes I already saw and fixed.  I looked at the Writer's Digest Weekly Writer's Prompt and not sure I really like this week's.  I do believe it will test my skills as it is meant to be written as a comedy, and I'm definitely not the funniest guy in person, so I'm far from a funny writer.  Writing humor is a real challenge, so I usually stray far from it, but we'll see what I can come up with.  I will say now, that starting a prompt with the lines "Pretend you are a recovering alcoholic" isn't very sensitive to real-life alcoholics, and the disease addiction can cause a person.  So, who knows, maybe I'll twist this into a sobering reflection on the power of alcohol.  Depends on my mood Saturday morning, or Friday night, whenever I write it.  I actually have to work on Saturday...Boo.  This is what I meant when I said this month would take FOREVER to learn if I made it through the first round of the ABNA competition.  So what I'll do is give you readers the first page of TSS.  Yes, I know you can get this on Amazon anyway, so nothing new here, but I am not going to post the entire Amazon preview at once and extra material henceforth.  So if you haven't grabbed your copy of TSS yet, in either paperback or Kindle version, here is the first page.  Hopefully, it's all you'll need to pique your curiosity...


They betrayed her.  She had thought they were all her friends, but they betrayed her.  Every.  Last.  One.
It began with the sun, which had initiated its downward descent over the western edge of the island.  When she had risen from her daily slumber, the sun was shining brightly.  That great orange ball of gas so far away spoke cheerfully to her.  The sun beckoned her to rise and stretch; to glorify a beautiful day coming to an end.  That sinister sun had also enlisted the help of a cool wind that found its way into her sleeping quarters.  She took a deep breath of the fresh air, and even the crispness of the troposphere would prove to be a deceitful trick.  An unexpected chill had arrived at the beginning of dusk, which was another betrayal she would have never expected.  The coming seasonal transition always brought her nothing but joy and serenity.  But today, those soft fingertips of fall would turn into sharp nails digging in her back.
      Had she woke up and the sun been unforgivingly bright and intense, she may have abandoned her decision to make it a day for fishing and hunting.  Or even if the sun had been less intense, perhaps the sky filled with clouds, she may have slept through until night.  If the sky had gathered great rain storms"

This is from the paperback version, so it's even shorter than the Kindle version.  As promised, here is another picture of the beautiful city of Savannah.  And don't forget to follow my other blog over at!  Have a great Thursday y'all!

Love this house and the vine facade.