Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My FIRST INTERVIEW! Contest! Other stuff.

Howdy, everyone!  Me again.  This should be a pretty full edition of Overly Verbose.  I have a lot to say don't ya know.  I was going to post this last night but between a sick 6 year old, fussy one month old, sick wife, and trying to edit something, I didn't have the time.  Everyone's (miraculously) sleeping right now so I'm shoehorning it into my schedule.  

The biggest and coolest thing to discuss is having had my FIRST EVER INTERVIEW!  Amy Marshall over at A Diamond In the Dark happened to pick up Words With Fiends a few days back.  She also happened to love it!  She ALSO happened to ask me if I wanted to be interviewed on her page.  I just so happened to say yes!  That's right, people.  My FIRST interview EVAR!  How cool is that?  I'm still shocked at a couple of things here.  First off, that she liked it so much.  Second off, that she offered to have me as an interview on her page.  Seriously, things like this just don't happen to me.  Shock...I has it.  It was a really cool thing for her to do and I'm so appreciative for the opportunity.  Hop on over to her blog and check out the interview:  Writing A New Urban Legend.  There's even a preview of the story there prior to the Q & A.  Oh, she's also been cool enough to host a contest for me.  Just leave a comment after the interview and it'll enter you for a chance to win one of TWO FREE kindle copies of Words With Fiends!

In other business, the Vampire Bite Blog Hop hosted by Jolie DuPre at Precious Monsters went pretty well.  I got a bunch of hits here on Valentine's Day and the day after and even managed to rustle up a few followers as well  (you know who you are!).  Bloggers and hoppers left some pretty good comments for my short story Was, Am, Want To Be.  That made me feel groovy.  Thanks to everyone who stopped by and took the time to read the story and leave a comment.  I'm glad you enjoyed it!

So what am I doing now?  I'm knee deep in editing my Seth Gabriel novel (see the unedited prologue  here).  It's slow going, as I'm tearing into it with a fine toothed comb. So far, I'm about 25% into it. I've lost count but I think this will be the fourth time going through the mofo.  I'm usually a pretty good proofreader, having proofed several books for indie authors in the past year, but looking at my own work is another story.  While I did edit Words With Fiends on my own, this novel is completely different.  It's about ten times as long for one thing and it's told in the first person.  Second guessing myself has become the norm with this one.  About five or so beta readers have read it and liked it but still, I'm nervous.  Are my tenses right?  Is the punctuation spot on?  Is the grammar up to snuff?  Is it too descriptive?  Not descriptive enough?  Is everything consistent?  Readers and reviewers can be a hard bunch to please.  And they should be.  Speaking as a reader and reviewer myself, if I'm going to be plunking down money for a book, it had better be good.  I don't bash writers for mistakes, but I do rate their books accordingly.  It's not that I'm a grammar Nazi but formatting and grammatical errors do have the potential to take a person out of the story and some readers are more unforgiving than others.  Some can be downright brutal.  

What really worries me the most is that this is my first full length effort after self publishing Words With Fiends.  Not to toot my own horn or anything, but Words With Fiends has been pretty well received so far.  It's gotten 11 four and five star reviews on Amazon and is enjoying good reviews on Goodreads as well.  Additionally, I've had people message me on Facebook saying how much they liked it.  Not everyone writes reviews but I appreciate the feedback all the same.  Long story short, people like it.  It's not breaking any sales records but those who have read it have really enjoyed it.  So, the pressure is on to produce another good story that's engaging, well written, well edited, and just as polished.  That's why I'm second guessing myself so much.  You never get a second chance to make a first impression but what's probably even more important is being able to keep up a certain level of quality that people expect.  This is where my lack of confidence comes in.  Do I write well?  I don't think I'm half bad, and based on reviews and beta readers, others seem to think that I know what I'm doing.  What's more, I know I'm a good proofer/editor.  I've shown that on other people's books, so why not my own full length effort?  The time has come for me to get out of my own damn way.  I'm a reader and if I think the story reads well then maybe other people will too.  No more second guessing myself during the rest of this editing process.  Nobody who's beta read my Seth Gabriel book has had any issues with the story elements or how it's been written.  That should tell me something right there.  But, I'm stubborn like that I guess =)  I think it's time to grow some confidence, don't you?

Take care, thanks for stopping by, and hope to see you soon!


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

FREE story for Vampire Bites Blog Hop! Enjoy!

Howdy, all!  I know it's not technically Valentine's day yet (unless you live across the pond perhaps) but as I'm chained to a desk all day long, Monday through Friday, there is no way for me to make the 2 pm deadline tomorrow.  So, I'm posting my contribution now.  If you haven't read my last post (for shame on you!) or if you're just tripping onto my little portion of the blogosphere by mere chance (you poor, unfortunate soul) Jolie over at Precious Monsters (click that Vampire Bites Blog Hop button on the right of my page!) has been gracious enough to host a Valentine's Day blog hop.  The rules?  Post anything vampiric. Opinion piece, comments on vamp movies, whatever.  I have written a story for the occasion.  It's not that I'm that big into vampires (or Valentine's for that matter) but I do like to write.  I came up with an idea and ran with it.  I truly hope you enjoy it!  If not, it's short and there won't be many minutes of your life that you'll be begging to have back by the end.  =)  For the few of you who follow me, thanks in advance for reading!  For any of you happening upon my blog as a result of hopping around the blog hop, I hope you enjoy the story and find something of value here should you click around a bit.  

So, without any further ado, here's the story.  Happy reading and hopping!


Was, Am, Want to Be
Matt Schiariti

I pulled my cab around the back of the old firehouse.  Parking was a little harder to come by than I’d anticipated, but I found a spot quickly enough.  Judging by the number of cars, it was going to be a packed house tonight.  It didn’t help matters any that I was nearly twenty minutes late.
My fare had been hell bent on getting to a club on Delaware Avenue as quickly as possible.  Usually not a problem, but there was some kind of Valentine’s Day shindig  at one of the dance clubs being sponsored by a local radio station which made traffic a bitch.  Of course, my fare and I took a few minutes to have a little drink together.  Not one of my finer moments, but what can I say?  I’m weak.  But that’s also why I was here.  I needed all the help I could get.
Rain poured down in sheets and by the time I made my way into the firehouse, I was soaking wet.  My denim jacket was three shades deeper than normal and my white sneakers looked a depressing shade of gray.
As I made my way down into the basement, I could hear the muffled sounds of someone speaking.  I double checked my watch.  Yep, twenty minutes late.
Aiden was gonna be pissed.
I opened the double doors that led into the auditorium as quietly as I could.  Seemed like they’d been oiled lately; not a squeak.  Score one for me.
About a dozen people sat in wooden folding chairs, the kind that you find at church functions.  Some were familiar faces, some were new to me.  I’d only been coming here for a month or so, but you could tell between the hard cases and the fly-by-nighters.  The woman standing at the wooden podium at the front was a regular.  She was speaking softly, to the point where I almost couldn’t hear her.  Don’t let the soft spoken voice fool you though.  I’d seen her speak before and she had a quiet ferocity about her.  When she spoke, you could tell that she was going to lick this thing.
As for me?  The jury was still out.
My wet sneakers made tiny squeaking sounds as I tried to sneak my way into the back row.  You’d think someone like me would be fleeter of foot.  A few people looked in my direction but at least Aiden wasn’t one of them.
I found a seat all the way in the back, just like in high school, and sat down.
Just when I thought I’d gotten in scot-free, Aiden turned around and looked directly at me.  He wasn’t pleased.
Built like a fireplug, Aiden was a Philly Detective and a damn good one.  He was also as tough as nails. Everything a newbie could want in a sponsor.
I waved lamely at him.
His scowl deepened.
He walked over to me.
“Nice of you to join us, Jake,” he said, sitting down next to me.  “You’re only, what, a half hour late this time?”
“Twenty two minutes by my watch,” I said, just as quietly.  “Sorry, I had a fare that wanted a ride all the way to Del Ave to go clubbing…”
“Stow it,” he said.  A man of few words, when Aiden said something, you listened.
He looked at me more intently.  “What the hell.  Is that what I think it is?” he asked, pointing at my face.
“What?  Do I have a booger or something?”  I wiped at my face.  Looking at my hand, I saw the angry streak of color left behind.  Red.  I almost laughed.  Red!  I used to like lots of red things.  Johnny Walker Red, Killain’s Irish Red…life’s not without its little ironies.
“You know you’re supposed to call me if you get the urge.  That’s what sponsors are for,” he scolded, shaking his bald head. 
I shrugged.
“You going up there tonight?”  He nodded at the podium.
“You think I should?”  Public speaking wasn’t my bag.  I was happier being a spectator.
“Up to you.  But you should work the program.  I ain’t gonna force you, but I think it would do you some good.  Especially since…” he said, gesturing to my face.
“Maybe you’re right,” I sighed.
Scattered applause broke up our little tete-a-tete.  The quiet, determined woman who’d been speaking was finished.
Aiden patted me on the shoulder. I made my way up to the front and situated myself behind the podium.
God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed...
Changed…interesting choice of words.
...courage to change the things which should be changed...
Not much I could do to about what I’d become, but I didn’t have to let it rule me either.
“…my name is Jake and I’m a….”
...and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other."
I know who I was.  I know what I am.  I know who I want to be.
“…My name is Jake and I’m a vampire.”
Scattered replies of ‘Hi Jake’ filled the small auditorium.
“It’s been…it’s been about an hour since I’ve last fed on a human.” 
There.  I’d finally said it.  I bowed my head and closed my eyes.  A strange combination of relief at admitting my nature - what I’d done - and guilt for the very same reasons coursed through my body like a sluggish current.  Everyone at the meeting knew what I was but I’d finally acknowledged it, out loud.  That’s always the first step, isn’t it?  Admitting the problem?
“One hour at a time...” said someone.
“One day at a time…” said another.
“One step at a time…” chimed in yet another.
I may be a vampire.  I may have an awful thirst for human blood, even though I can live off of just about anything mammalian.  But those things don’t define me.  I won’t let them.
I may be a vampire, but I don’t have to be a monster.


Sunday, February 10, 2013

Vampire Bite Blog Hop--Feb 14th, 2013

You may notice a new little button over to the right there (---->).  Jolie Du Pre of Precious Monsters is sponsoring a special Valentine's Day event: a blog hop.  Now, I admit that I had no idea going in what the hell a blog hop was but Julianne Snow was not only kind enough to bring it to my attention, but to explain to me what it was all about.  

Myself, along with a few dozen other bloggers, are going to be putting the Vampire in V-day this year.  The super popular undead archetypes don't make up a huge portion of my reading list.  Yes, a few of the series I have read and are currently reading (Jim Butcher's 'The Dresden Files' and Kim Harrison's fantastic 'Hollows' series, JR Rain's 'Samantha Moon' series) feature vampires, and one of my favorite novels ('The Historian' by Elizabeth Kostova) feature the always pale blood suckers, but with the market being so saturated by the ever mysterious, brooding, hyper sexy undead, I'm a little tired of the fangers.  I don't hate vampires, but let's just say I've been taking a little break from them.

But, just because I'm not reading a slew vampire-centric books these days doesn't mean I'm opposed to writing them.  In point of fact, the first short story I'd ever written was a little vampire ditty; one I hope to eventually release (once I get around to editing it) in an anthology of horror/dark fiction/supernatural short stories I plan to self-publish (also eventually--once I get around to writing a few more stories!).  

Where am I going with all of this?  Well, according to the Vampire Bite Blog hop rules, the participants are to post something (anything, really) about vampires.  Could be an opinion piece on vamps; could be a blog about a favorite vampire movie;could be a promotion for an upcoming vampire novel, etc, etc...you get the point.  So what am I going to do?  

I'm going to be posting a free short story that I've written especially for the blog hop.  Who doesn't like a free story, right?  I wanted to get involved somehow.  This here blog could benefit from the extra traffic =)  And who knows?  The dozen or so of you reading this may happen upon another of the participating bloggers and find a new author to read!  No harm in that.

So stay tuned.  I'll most likely be posting the story on Feb. 13th as I'll be working on Valentine's day and won't be able to post it then, thus getting me kicked off the blog hop.  And we wouldn't want that now would we!

I do hope you enjoy the story (which, as of right now, has a title that's still up in the air) and the blog hop!  See you on Valentine's day and hope we can put a little bite into Hallmark's favorite holiday.

Monday, February 4, 2013

FREE prolgue from my upcoming novel!

Welcome, you few, you proud, you faithful followers of Overly Verbose!  Thanks to a very cool contest on the Reading Fiction For Life Facebook page, I now have ten, TEN fans on Goodreads!  Ah ah ah!  Go me.  As I said in my last post, I may just have an urban fantasy novel coming out in the not-too-distant future.  I'd written it last year around the spring time and have sent it to a handful of beta readers to tear apart and criticize and belittle.  So far, nobody has told me it's a raging piece of crap.  So that makes me feel good =D  I'm just waiting on one last beta reader to finish it and get back to me with her comments before I do a final round of editing.  

What's the book about?  Well, without giving too much away I'll say that it's about a 'professional' medium/ghost whisperer who's a little down on his luck.  He takes on a case that he's rather ill prepared to handle out of monetary desperation.  It dredges up things from his sordid past that he'd rather leave in his rear view mirror. It's got ghosts, it's got booze, it's got fast food, it's got fast cars, it's got a bit of action, and maybe even a hint of....romance?  What's the title, you may ask?  Well, I'm keeping that one close to the chest until I hear back from my cover artist.  When he gets closer to finalizing a design we both dig I'll do a nice little reveal.   In the meantime, I give you THE WHOLE FRIGGING PROLOGUE!  That's right; in the interest of being cooler than the average bear, I don't give you just a couple of paragraphs.  I give you the first five pages.  Hope it whets your whistle!

**Of note--this has NOT been edited, so please try to overlook any grammatical errors.  They WILL be fixed.** 


Drip.  Drop.
          Drip. Drop.
          That was all I could hear as I came to.  The sounds of liquid splashing were like gunshots in the otherwise quiet room.
          I could feel something wet on my face but realized that my wrists were bound behind me when I tried to move them.  The harder I struggled, the more the duct tape cut into my flesh.
          Once I was able to get my eyes open, I could see what the dripping noise was. 
          The image was fuzzy at first but the harder I stared at it the more it came into focus.  Liquid was falling from my face, collecting in a shiny crimson pool between my black combat boots. 
          My blood.
          I shook my head to get my shaggy black hair out of my face but it was stringy and sluggish.  It felt like a dead octopus was perched on my head, it was so congealed with sweat.  Probably for the best anyway.  My head hurt like hell.  Every time I moved it was like someone was exploding C4 inside my skull, making the pain resonate all through my body, making my heartbeat ring in my ears.
          At least I still had a heartbeat though.  There’s some solace in that.
          The cobwebs having finally left my vision, I took in my surroundings.  I wasn’t just in a room.  I was on a floor of some giant, abandoned warehouse.  Steel beams and joists shown through the water damaged ceiling.  Drywall was torn off of most of the walls, exposing old deteriorating insulation. The floor to ceiling windows that lined the walls were painted over but some weak light filtered in through them.  It was just enough to show how dingy my surroundings were.  The whole damn room was just a varying shade of rust brown.  In between the shadows it looked like dried, caked up blood.  The red pool between my feet would probably fit right in given some time.
          A naked bulb cast a small pool of light in front of me.  Not five feet away was a metal folding chair, just like the one I was sitting in.  Whoever it was there for was nowhere to be seen.
          I tried to maneuver myself to take in more of my surroundings but my body was just one giant sack of bruised meat.  To make matters worse, I couldn’t even remember how I got there.
          “Where the fuck am I?” I asked nobody in particular. 
          “You certainly aren’t in Kansas anymore, Mr. Gabriel.”
          The reply came from all around me.  The way the sound bounced around the room I couldn’t tell where it originated from.  It was female though. Definitely female.  That much I could tell. Was that a good thing or a bad thing?  Judging by the fact that I was beat up and bloody and bound with industrial strength duct tape it probably didn’t matter. 
          Evil knows no gender.
          The sound of my blood falling to join the party in the pool at my feet was replaced by the sound of footsteps.  High heels to be exact.  There’s no mistaking the sound of a wooden heel reporting on bare concrete. 
          The footsteps were slow and measured, echoing throughout the massive empty, nearly black space.  Whoever they belonged to was in no rush.
          Not a good sign for me.
          “Tsk, tsk, tsk, Mr. Gabriel.”  The deep, yet completely feminine voice emanated from the shadows around me.  “Or can I call you Seth?  Yes.  I like the sound of that better, don’t you?  So much more…personal.”  I detected the sound of a smile.  Something told me it wasn’t a pleasant one.
          “You just never know when to quit, do you, Ssseth?”  Her voice, still seemingly coming from all around me, sounded like a snake hissing when she said my name. 
          “Losing is for losers and winners play to win,” I grunted.
          That was a mistake.
          She was on me in an instant.  Her hand connected with my already wrecked face.  The slap sent me reeling back, chair and all.
          Note to self.  Never crack wise when you’re tied up in a chair in some non-descript abandoned warehouse with an apparent psychopath.
          The force of the blow added to the mass of fire that was my face.  Even the cool concrete couldn’t take away the white hot pain.  It was so intense I threw up, my vomit pooling right in front of me. The smell was a rather nasty combination of wet pennies and tequila.  Obviously remnants from the previous night’s drinking binge.
          The tequila.  Not the pennies.
          The woman’s leather clad arm emerged from the shadows and effortlessly set the chair back to rights.  With me in it.
          “Sseth,” she said poutily.  I still couldn’t see her.  Her back was to me after she picked me up, walking to the chair set up under the naked bulb.  “Why must you make me hurt you so?”
          “Would it help if I said I was sorry?” My voice didn’t sound right to my ears.  As I ran my thick tongue over my lips I found out why.  My mouth was a craggy landscape of weeping cuts.  It stung just to lick them.
          “No,” she said over her shoulder.  “Nothing can really help you now, Seth.”  She didn’t sound too broken up over it either.
          She turned her chair around and positioned it so it was fully under the naked light bulb. With a grace and delicacy of a dancer, she threw her leg over the back of it and sat down, resting her arms on the back.
          I took her in.  Long red hair, framing a lovely face with just the hint of crow’s feet at the corners of her green eyes. A full mouth with even white teeth.  Small little button nose. 
          Dressed in her black leather biker gear, which was more or less spray painted onto her lithe body, she’d be the kind of girl I’d like to bang.  A lot. And often.
          But as the soupy fog wrapped around my brain began to clear, I could see her for what she really was.  I could remember her for what she really was.  I could remember why I was there and how I got there.
          Her green eyes weren’t green.  They were smoldering, like the color of a sunset just before the great big ball of fire that gives us life surrenders to night.  What looked like even white teeth to anybody else were actually two rows of razor sharp fangs.
          No, this sulfur smelling vision in front of me was no beauty queen.  At least not on the inside.  On the inside she was scary and sick and twisted and flat out evil.
          “What’s wrong, Seth?  You don’t like my human vessel?” She cocked her head at me.  “I will make many men beg in this form.   Beg…and scream.” She played her long forked tongue over her fangs.
          “I like your human vessel just fine.  At least until you squatted in there and fucked it all up.”
          “I would really hate to further damage your otherwise handsome face, human.” She said through narrowed fiery eyes.
          “Somehow I doubt that.”
          She stood up from her chair in a lightning quick motion and threw it through one of the blacked out windows behind her with a crash.  Pale moonlight found its way through the gaping hole.
          I’d obviously pissed her off.
Not good.
          Very not good.
Her fists were curled into little balls of hate, the sound of her leather riding gloves crinkling in the near soundless room as she walked slowly and deliberately to me.  The leather hugging her hips and chest made it hard not to look.  Luckily I could see her evil-assed face for what it was.  That’s always good for keeping my herculean libido down.
          “You and I are going to have some fun, Seth,” she hissed in my face, inches away, her breath saturated with sulfur. 
          “Charades? Maybe Uno?” Sometimes I just didn’t learn.  Sure I sounded brave but I was shitting my pants.  Whatever she was going to do, I just wished she’d do it.  I’m not a big fan of long torture sessions.  And as I looked into her eyes with the flames dancing chaotically in them, I knew that’s exactly what she had in mind.
          She took off a leather glove and revealed dangerously sharp talons.
          “I will so enjoy making you bleed, Seth.  I will so enjoy tearing you limb from limb.  Slowly.  You will beg me for death.  You will do anything I want to bring an end to the pain.  But I will not allow it.  Your begging, your pleading…it will mean nothing to me.  Your pain and your screaming however,” she threw her head back and laughed.  Her voice went from deep and almost sultry to unearthly and guttural as her demonic face filled my vision and said, “Will be the stuff of legend.”                                
          My name is Seth Gabriel.
          I’m in deep shit.