I'm posting the 2018 ARIA Expo panels over the next couple of days. First, have a look at the panel I moderated, No Bad Romance. The lovely Romance authors here are Christine DePetrillo, Laurel Ostiguy, and Regina Andrews.
I've got no more events this year or really much of anything all winter. That's good because the doctor says I need a rest. Walking pneumonia is no joke so I'm staying home for the holidays.
I'll be writing as much as I can, too. So I'm either hibernating like a sleepy bear shifter or hiding out like a vampire at high noon. I'm not sure which of those I'm feeling more this year.
For folks who just got a Kindle Be Counted and the whole SVS series is on KU so read it if you got it!
Winter is a great time to read. Who doesn't want to curl up with a nice hot beverage and a stack of good books? Here are a whole bunch for $2.99 or less.
Today I'm posting a bit of poetry from my latest collection, Fruit of the Dead. See if you can catch the references and leave a comment if you do.
You won’t answer
Because you know
And you don’t want to go.
Even the timeless can’t
He knocks again.
You can’t answer
Because open doors
And you don’t fear leaving.
Even the brave can’t
You must answer
Because your master
And you scream protest.
Even the defiant can’t
Here's a sample from the first chapter of A Change In Crime, my Supernatural Suspense set in 1929. It's got monsters at odds with the Mafia on the streets of Depression-Era Fall River, Massachusetts.
It was just a piece of paper, dated November 27, 1929, but it felt heavier than an anvil. The red ink stamped across the carbon copy of his application to the United States Armed Forces looked greenish-black in the street light. Leo Riley thought it was a nice sickly color to match how useless he felt.
At least skipping dinner hadn’t done him in. The doctor who’d examined him declared him fifteen pounds underweight. There was no way he’d have packed that much on with a plate of Ma’s potatoes and cabbage. Military service was the only way to get them out of this town. He couldn’t afford medical training anywhere, not even with his grades. The Army was picky when there wasn’t a war on.
His feet traveled the street by rote, avoiding loose bricks and cracks in the pavement. That sidewalk would have tripped up anyone else trying to navigate the route at night while staring at a piece of paper. The November air was cool and dry, and there was a hint of smoke to it that was stronger than fireplaces or burning leaves. That ink-inspired greenish-black feeling dropped from his head to his gut. Leo slowed his steps and looked up.
The end of the street was full of smoke, too much smoke. Leo ran past the next two houses, stopping at the building next to his own. By then, he could see it was his house on fire. There was a car parked outside, with two men beside it. The brawniest one wore his suit like a soldier wore a uniform. Even with his back turned, Leo saw the revolver. The man held the gun like Ma held a wooden spoon. He’d never get past that guy.
“I had to set it on fire, Jimmy.” The big man wiped his gun with a handkerchief. “We can’t let the Boss think we did a half-assed job.”
“Jeez, Niccolo.” Jimmy fidgeted with the cap on a hip flask. “You couldn’t even do it, what else were we supposed to do? You think I don’t know how serious this is?”
“Yeah, that’s what I think. You’re making less on milk runs with that Jones Act malarkey. The Boss still thinks your mother is a mark against you. That kid missing is gonna be another one. You don’t want three strikes.”
Niccolo turned to peer at his reflection in the car window, then put the gun in a holster under his arm. Leo had a better view of Jimmy now; he had bronze skin and stood more like a man in an Arrow shirt advert than a Mafioso. He thought about trying to get by them to the house, but Jimmy would see him.
“Bianco’s going to have us all out hunting that kid down, even that irregular, Fallon.” Jimmy jerked his chin in the direction of the park. “Someone’ll take him for a ride.”
“Yeah.” Niccolo wiped the latch on the front gate with the hankie. “But look. I gotta scram. I wasn’t here. They’re iced except for what we already talked about. The fire’s cover for that. That kid Leo’s only part Irish. He stands out, red all over instead of just in the face if you know what I mean. Spitting image of his grandpa. Anyone sees him, the Boss’ll find out he wasn’t here. Best if you tell him yourself.”
Leo’s hand curled around his rejection slip, crumpling paper with a crackling sound. Niccolo turned in his direction, but only to step around the front of the car and walk across the street. Jimmy was looking right at him.
Read more on Kindle, Nook, iBooks, or paperback.
Sometimes, I review the books I read. Here's one I read over the summer.
It's December and I read this book back in July. Well, book is sort of a misnomer here. It's actually a script for a stage production. The Cursed Child has gotten very mixed reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, in part because most frequent readers of prose have limited experience reading scripts.
I actually really liked this story. It made more sense to me than it might have if I wasn't a recovering performance artist. When I read stage plays, the scene direction and repetitions make sense in the context of my imagination as I visualize a live performance.
The one major flaw with this work is its title. While Harry Potter is a major character here, to my mind he's not the focus character. Harry himself has almost no direct impact on the events of this story. Instead, it's his youngest son, Albus Severus's, adventure.
That said, I love Albus and his best friend Scorpius as characters. They're believably written kids and their friendship feels real. Am I a bit disappointed in where the original book's characters ended up? In some ways yes. However, this makes them all the more human in my mind.
I'd love to see this live in the theater someday. More likely, I'll have to settle for a recording.
What are your thoughts on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child? Did you read it? Have you seen it performed or read aloud? What do you think about the title?
Time for an excerpt from Body Count, book two of Supernatural Vigilante Society.
“Get him!” I raise my voice for the first time tonight because there’s no way any of us will catch the bastard if I don’t. Unfortunately, that means the prey Scott, Esther and I are stalking gets spooked.
“Aoooo!” Scott can’t use his words right now because he’s a six foot tall furry monster with giant clawed paws. He swings and misses. Yeah, my big scary pal is a teenage werewolf.
“Waffletwat!” Esther’s right leg goes out from under her in a shower of green sparks. She’s a magician with no four-letter word filter. And apparently a klutz.
“Fine.” I burn blood to turn on some speed.
Right now you’re wondering “burn blood? Is he a pyromaniac? What the hell does he mean by that? Who is this guy, anyway?”
I’m Valentino Cripso, PI. And also just happen to be the newest vampire in Rhode Island. So yeah, I’m using blood to boost my speed because that’s one of the things we can do with it. And it’s one of two vampiric abilities I actually have the hang of. So, I’m using my powers to finish my case. You got a problem with that? That’s what I thought. Keep reading.
Dashing past Esther and Scott is the easiest part. Pouncing on the bastard isn’t hard either. But getting a grip, man, that is damn near impossible. Because he’s one slippery customer.
But that shouldn’t have surprised me. I knew what we were getting into when we took the job. I’m speedy enough to get around and corner him so that’s what I do. He looks up at me, blinks, and starts climbing up the smooth sealed cement wall. I see my chance and take it.
Thanks for reading! If this book sounds like fun, you can find Body Count on Amazon in both ebook and paperback, on Barnes and Noble in paperback, or you can request it at your local bookshop or library. Here's a universal link: https://books2read.com/BodyCount
Give to charity. Get gifts. Everybody wins (except two lousy diseases).
Today I want to tell you about a couple of things. They're a bit personal. I'm talking about cancer and Alzheimer's and how they affected my life.
Back when I was a wee little reader, most of my time was spent with my grandmother. This woman had a huge impact on me because if it wasn't for her I'd have been raised by wolves.
Grandma Estelle was a mercurial woman with warm hazel eyes and a sense of humor as sudden and endearing as the dawn. She'd burst into song at the drop of a hat, but often rewrote the lyrics into something more fun than the original and always with a story. She bought me my first Weird Al album.
No matter how awkward, weird, or clumsy I was (and sometimes it seemed I was practically extraterrestrial), Grandma Estelle loved me anyway. At one point, she was the only person who said that out loud for an entire year. I learned familial affection from her example when everybody else just assumed I knew it already. I didn't. She saved my life this way, and in too many more for me to count.
Over the years, Grandma Estelle lost pieces of herself. "That one just fell off and I forgot to pick it up," she'd say, when asked to tell a story from a few years back. Well no. She didn't really lose them. The snippets and shards vanishing from my beloved grandmother's psyche were stolen. By Alzheimer's. I swear, that disease squatted in shadowy corners, snatching up scraps every time her back was turned.
But Grandma Estelle's heart was too big for that blasted disease to grasp. She remained touchingly devoted to Grandpa Ray who crossed the Atlantic to meet her, until he passed away. She continued losing her memory but not her heart. My grandmother cared too much so she carried on for ten more years, a star lighting the sunset days of all her neighbors at her assisted living apartment complex.
Until the other thief struck her in the gut. I got a call from my sister and her husband. Grandma Estelle had colon cancer. If I could have sprouted wings and fly to her side, I would have. But a ticket on Southwest had to suffice because she was right all along. I'm just plain human.
She passed just days after my visit. At her funeral, the Rabbi told us to remember Grandma Estelle by remembering her light and letting ours shine. Shortly after that was when I started writing again.
I contributed to the above anthologies in her memory, with dedications in her name. Each is like a sampling of work from other authors like me, who have lost loved ones to either or both of these diseases.
They're called Stardust, Always and The Longest Night Watch. Proceeds from both the ebook and paperback versions go to Saint Jude's Research and The Alzheimer's Association, respectively. They make great gifts and do some good.
Thank you for reading. Let your own light shine, too.
I'm unleashing the Dragon because it's drafty in here.
This post is a bit more for writers than readers. It's about working with Dragon dictation software by Nuance. I haven't been at it for too long but here's my take.
First of all, it's not natural at first. I know the name says "naturally speaking: but remembering to give commands like open quotes, period, and new paragraph along with the story takes practice.
I've talked to more than a few authors who gave up on it after a trial period. It's not the easiest software to work with. The settings aren't intuitive. But I had a little help from a friend. Or rather, a friend's book.
Mary Crawford is a Contemporary Romance author I've known online for a few years now. She's been using Dragon for decades so she's an expert. And she wrote this book to help other authors learn how to use it.
I think I just might meet my writing goals for 2019 because of Mary and her Dragon advice.
It's your friendly neighborhood Paranormal Author reminding you that funny isn't just for looking. It's for listening, too.
I've got audiobooks out right now on Audible. They're the first four in the Providence Paranormal College series, narrated by P.J. Morgan, whose comedic timing is impeccable.
Some girls wander by mistake. Sometimes it happens when they're responsible grown women driving sensible hybrid vehicles, too.
I had an interesting weekend. Saturday at the Rhode Island Author Expo was a good time. Toward the end, I got hit with a pretty heinous vertigo attack and had to get a ride home. After a Sunday spent resting, I finally got the big blue Prius out of the parking lot.
Many thanks to author Angelina Singer and her family, who checked to see if I was okay, the staff at Rhodes on the Pawtuxet for assuring me that they wouldn't tow my car, and of course, Jim. He's not just an amazing cover designer, he's the greatest and best husband in the world.
Click the links above or the images below to see Angelina's books and Jim's artwork.
D.R. Perry's books on Goodreads
Bearly Awake (Providence Paranormal College, #1)
ratings: 117 (avg rating 4.16)
Fangs for the Memories (Providence Paranormal College, #2)
ratings: 41 (avg rating 4.20)
Of Wolf and Peace (Providence Paranormal College, #3)
ratings: 28 (avg rating 4.18)
Dragon My Heart Around (Providence Paranormal College, #4)
ratings: 25 (avg rating 4.16)
A Change In Crime: A Supernatural Depression-Era Thriller (La Famiglia di Mostri, #1)
ratings: 15 (avg rating 4.27)