Wednesday, April 2, 2014

#New #Release and #freebook

One month after the release of my novel, I'm happy to announce my newest work. My short story "Dive" is now available. As with Dying for a Living, you can expect a cross-genre buffet of mystery, crime, thriller, revenge, and sci-fi. In 12 words: a young woman uses her supernatural abilities to find her parents' killer.

Excerpt below:

“Please, please,” the child begged, her hand slipped from the edge of the tub and grabbed ahold of her mother’s slacks. “Don’t go.”
“Come on, Louie. Not again,” she said. “You’re old enough to take a bath alone.” The woman frowned at the wet spot on her leg, and yanked herself.
“No, no, no!” Hysterical, the girl clamored from the water.
“Jesus Christ,” her mother said and shoved her ten-year-old daughter back into the tub, pressing down hard on her shoulders. “What is it with you and water? It isn’t going to kill you. You won’t drown! And I have to finish dinner before your father gets home.”
Sobbing and cradling the elbow that connected too hard with the side of the tub, Louie continued to beg. “Please. Please don’t leave me.”
Her little body hunched into a C-curve and shook. Remembering what the last therapist said regarding phobias, the illogical nature of the fear didn’t negate the fact that the fear was very real—her mother sighed and knelt beside the tub.
“Okay,” her mother said in soft, practiced tones. “Okay, I’m here.”
Louie’s shaking intensified, her little teeth chattering against each other as her mother, with a tight smile, grabbed the shampoo bottle off the ledge.
“I’m sorry,” her mother said. “But it is just hard for me to understand this fear of yours.”
Louie didn’t answer. Clutching her knees, she shook as if freezing despite the steam of the hot bath coloring her cheeks.
“You have to lean back now,” her mother said. “So we can rinse your hair.”
Louie grabbed her mother’s arms.
“I know,” her mother said, indifferently. “But I’m right here. Now lay back.”
Her small chest started to heave as her dark head was tipped back toward the soapy gray water.
“Just breathe,” her mother said, as instructed by the therapist in how to handle her daughter’s anxiety. However, it was hard to muster sincerity after seven years of this.
“The sooner we do this the sooner you can get out.”
Louie’s green eyes widened, as the back of her hair dipped into the water. Her fingers raked down her mother’s arms as she clung tighter to the woman.
One arm completely submerged, she ran her fingers through her daughter’s hair.
“There,” her mother said, feeling her daughter relax in her arms. “Not so bad, is it? I love baths. I find them very relaxing.”
Louie managed a small smile just before the oven dinged.
“Dinner!” her mother said, slipping her arms out of Louie’s. “I’ll be right back.”
“No, no, no!” Louie began, frantically wiping water from her eyes and trying to pull herself into an upright position. “Please!”
“Just breathe,” her mother called out, already jogging toward her glazed ham and caramelized brussels sprouts. “The door is open. Keep talking so I can hear you.”
“Mom!” Louie screamed. “Mommy!”
“I’m right here, baby,” she said over the whimpering. “I’m just going to check the ham and I’ll be right back. Talk to me. I’m listening.”
The girl’s escalating hysteria was cut off mid-scream.
The sudden absence chilled her mother, sending a small shudder up the woman’s spine, rippling through the muscles there. She placed the pan on top of the stove and removed the oven mitts.
When only the silence echoed back, buzzing in her ears, she hurried to the bathroom. The tub was empty.
In a ridiculous impulse, she threw back the paper thin shower curtain as if the child could hide there. Then she looked behind the door and the small cabinet beneath the sink. But the bathroom was empty. “Louie?”
She ran to the girl’s bedroom, but already knew she wouldn’t find her there. The wood floor running the entire length of the house was bone dry and Louie’s soft Mickey Mouse towel, the one they bought on their trip to Disney World two years ago, still hung from the hook by the tub.
She searched the house and when she couldn’t find her, she called her husband home from work early to help her search again.
They called everyone. They spoke to every neighbor and the police numerous times, who interrogated the mother ruthlessly despite her husband’s local connections.
For three nights they did not sleep. Then they received a strange phone call.
56 miles east of their home in St. Louis, Marc Smith was interviewed many times by police, but his story never changed. The orthodontist claimed that he was cutting grass on a Friday after work, in preparation for a family barbecue the next day—when Louie just appeared. As the police desperately tried to pin the abduction on the man, the lack of evidence made it impossible. He had no priors and even a neighbor was able to confirm that Smith was in fact mowing his lawn the moment he said he was. And that the neighbor too, who’d been washing her GMC SUV in the driveway at the time, agreed that just a moment before, the girl had not been there.
Reluctantly, the police were forced to accept that Smith had simply cut a left around his rudebicka flower bed, red push mower vibrating in his sweaty grip, and there she was. One moment the pool was empty and the next, there was a girl emerging from the clear water. A tiny thing and soaking wet, her dark hair stuck to her pale back like an oil slick. Bewildered as to why a small naked child was in his family’s pool, he cut the lawn mower and rushed toward her. Thinking she was a neighborhood kid pulling a prank, he scolded her.
But as the girl turned toward the sound of his voice, he fell silent. Not only because she was naked and obviously distraught—her wide eyes glassy with shock—but because of the blood.
Her body was covered in hundreds of lacerations, the kind left by tree limbs or underbrush—though nothing like that existed for miles from their suburban neighborhood. A great many of them lay across her stomach and legs and a particularly nasty one across her cheek. But it wasn’t these small splits in her skin that scared him.
It was the bite, a ring of punctures encircling the girl’s right shoulder, a ragged halo from neck to bicep. Like some carnivorous thing larger than the girl had grabbed ahold of her with its teeth.
“Honey,” Frank said, the false anger entirely gone. He was already pulling off his T-shirt and yanking it down over the child’s head. “Are you all right?”
“Is it still on me?” she whispered, teeth chattering. She turned her face toward him but her eyes couldn’t focus on his. “Is it still on me?”

And that was the last thing she said before collapsing into his arms.

If you're hooked and can't wait, buy it here.

But if you want to play for a chance to win a free copy, here are the rules:

In the comments section, guess what bit Louie. There are no right or wrong answers, which means I'm just interested in what creative & hilarious answers you come up with. :)

I'll pick a winner at random to receive a free copy of Dive. Drawing closes at 11:59PM EST, Friday April 4.

Good luck! 


  1. Replies
    1. I also forgot to mention that I'm hosting another giveaway (free autographed bookmarks and a chance to win a paperback copy of my book. You can play the Q&A there too if you like! :)

      Have a great weekend.


  2. "In the bath, Louie began hugging her knees once again. She had quieted as soon as she heard the scraping noise from behind her. Before she could voice a cry strangled by the fear to bring her mother back, something had her by the shoulder. It felt to the poor child as if whatever had her wanted to rip her arm off.
    The Bathroom she had been shivering in disappeared, replaced by the gnarled, dead-looking branches reaching to rip her skin from her body. She tried to twist to see what had ahold of her, but all she could only see a part of the ting's face and the sharp teeth digging into her tender skin. All of the sudden, the thing whipped its head, tossing her away, then she splashed into something much deeper than the bath she had been taken from."

    ...or something like that.

  3. Both good guesses! Thanks for playing! ;) And at this rate, you each have a really good chance of winning a free copy! :)


    1. I forgot to mention that I'm hosting another giveaway (free autographed bookmarks and a chance to win a paperback copy of my book. You can play the Q&A there too if you like! :)

      Have a great weekend.


  4. hm someone already said succubus, but i was also thinking succubus or incubus! or like a harpy maybe

    1. Good answers! Thanks for playing, tsukari! :) I'm hosting another giveaway on the next post (free bookmarks!) if you want to leave an answer there too :)

  5. It was her pet goldfish that her mother assured her had gone to "a better place" when she flushed it down the toilet. The goldfish, still barely alive, came into contact with some genetic waste in the sewer. This genetic waste mutated the goldfish and gave the him the ability to transport people that are in water to his domain so that he may take revenge upon those who abandoned him.

  6. LOL. This is a fantastic rendition, Ben. You should right such a story ;)

  7. Replies
    1. Good guess! :) Thanks for playing :)

    2. Oh and I forget to mention I have another giveaway going on the post above this one. The first 50 people get autographed bookmarks (and I think I've only had 10ish entries so far--so got get your free bookmark! :)

  8. Replies
    1. Both good answers! :) Thank you for playing! :)

  9. Since she has supernatural abilities let me take kind of a different look at what that means. Perhaps her abilities are from some sort of symbiotic relationship she has with another being; perhaps a demon or something else. In the normal everyday world she controls it or it’s bound to be controlled for whatever reason. However, when she goes through this “portal” from the tub to the pool whatever/wherever that space is in between allows the other being to come out and attack her.

    pretty out there i know lol. but i'm very intrigued.

  10. Great guess, Mike! I'm not giving away the answer of course, but I'm going to do the drawing now! :)

  11. I just did the drawing! (I literally picked a name out of a hat) and johntmherres is my winner. Congrats, John! Thank you and everyone else for playing.

    Also, I'm hosting another giveaway right now in which everyone automatically gets an autographed bookmark, but you also get the chance to win a paperback copy of my novel, Dying for a Living:

    It's the same "answer a question" deal. Good luck! :)


    1. For some reason, that didn't hyperlink, but just FYI, it is the top post on the homepage. Sorry!

  12. I'm pretty sure I would like to be human with super powers...but also with the ability to turn into anything I want. Like a super powered shifter. Also the ability to turn invisible. And no wand just my hands being super powered. Strong as superman, fast as the flash, immune to all diseases, automatic regeneration and healing, nothing could stop me!

    Sigh...I see I'm not in the first fifty. Just missed it...crossing fingers to win the drawing!