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Feb 23, 2012

Middle Age, She is a Cruel Mistress - Guest Post by Toby Neal

I met Toby Neal a short while back, through a mutual membership within an awesome Triberr tribe. Since then, I’ve been impressed with many of the insightful posts on her writing blog. Read a few entries and you'll see the strong passion behind them, and not just passion for her books either. She's someone who obviously cares deeply for her family and community.

I also just recently learned that Toby is a therapist by day and that many of her clients are special needs children. If you read one of the previous posts here, you know this is something I have a personal interest in. Let me just say I have had to exercise great restraint to keep from flooding her inbox with question after question.

That all being said, I am forced to conclude that my ongoing acquaintance with Toby will be of the love/hate variety. Why? Well all of the above falls into the positive category. There’s just one downside...Toby lives in Hawaii. As a native New-Jerseyian, that tells me that no matter what is outside of her window, it probably beats the hell out of the view from mine. That, and she’s probably swimming or relaxing in the sun with some tropical drink (served in a coconut, no doubt...grrr!) right now while I’m freezing my ass off on the east coast. Tell me that isn’t worth a baleful glare or three. Ah jealousy, where would I be without you? :)

But enough about my Hawaii envy. Toby was good enough to join me this week with a guest post that hits close to home for me...albeit much closer to my bald head than my heart... getting old. Take it away, Toby, before I ramble on anymore...



Middle age, she is a cruel mistress.

I came up with that phrase myself, liked the ring of it, and tried it out on Twitter. Then I thought, why is middle age female?

Hell, male middle age is a mean bastard too.

Somehow I didn’t think it would happen to me, and I know The Hubby didn’t think it would happen to him—and the shocker is, if the TV ads and changing media themes are anything to go by, we’re part of a huge population bulge that is equally horrified and angry about the onset of these indignities.

Let me list some:
  • Having recently had a close encounter (very close, mind you) with a Mammogram machine, I’m in a position to tell you it was designed by a man. No woman would leave corners on something like a giant, freezing waffle iron that squishes your tit and then say, “Don’t breathe for at least a minute while we get this image” while handling your boob like it’s a piece of Silly Putty.
  • The phrase “just relax” as applied to a rectal exam is not really helpful.
  • The hot flashes of menopause in women often coincide with the onset of Viagra in men (but only if you’ve managed to stay married that long.)
  • Arthritis hurts and get this—there’s no cure. I know, shocking right? Once they tell you you have arthritis, just get used to being in pain and creaking around until it’s so bad you have to have a giant joint replacement operation that may or may not work. The alternative? Not having the operation and getting more and more crippled and in pain. But hey, you won’t die from it. That’s the good news.
  • Skin is highly underappreciated until it all begins heading south and erupting in cancer as a result of all that frolicking you did in the ocean when you were young and thought you’d live forever.
  • Wrinkles as the result of smiling most of your life, end up making you look grumpy. I find this particularly ironic.
  • Hair—where do I begin? For women, the debate of dyeing vs. not dyeing. For men, the manscaping of areas that should NEVER have hair growing out of them while Rogaine-ing areas that SHOULD have hair.
  • Tight waistbands- apparently as you age, you have to eat less and work out more to stay the same. How fair is that, I ask you?
All these things combine to make me even more committed to escaping into writing crime/suspense romances where the protagonists are young and fit, the sex is hot, and the fights don’t pull any punches for potbellies.



I couldn’t agree more, Toby! Well ok, maybe not with that first point about boobs, but the rest definitely. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go drag my old, bald, fat self over to the universal machine and hope I don’t have a heart attack in the process. When finished, I shall most likely collapse into bed where I shall continue reading Toby’s book, Blood Orchids. I’ll be reviewing it shortly. Stay tuned!



Toby Neal was raised on Kauai in Hawaii. She wrote and illustrated her first
story at age 5 and has been published in magazines and won several writing contests. After initially majoring in Journalism, she eventually settled on mental health as a career and loves her work, saying, “I’m endlessly fascinated with people’s stories.” She enjoys many outdoor sports including bodyboarding, scuba diving, beach walking, gardening and hiking. She lives in Hawaii with her family and dogs. Toby credits her counseling background in adding depth to her characters–from the villains to Lei Texeira, the courageous and vulnerable heroine in the Lei Crime Series.


You can find her fast-paced crime mystery, Blood Orchids At:
AMAZON

BARNES & NOBLE

SMASHWORDS

Just one of the many awesome reviews for Blood Orchids:
"Sometimes in crime fiction you stumble across a character who lives on beyond the book's end by virtue of their psychological complexity, and the richness with which the author has drawn them. Will Graham, Jack Reacher, Alex Cross, and now they have a worthy female counterpart in Lei Teixera. Blood Orchids is that rarity among debut novels, in that it satisfies on every level. A powerful new talent is on the scene, whole-heartedly recommended."-Drew Cross, former police officer and author of BiteMarks

Additionally you can visit Toby on the web at: www.tobyneal.net

Feb 21, 2012

The Tastiest Chicken in the East

This is a reprint from a guest blog post I did over at the Soup And Nuts blog the other week. If you get a chance, please check them out. It’s a blog by writers devoted to talking about the non-writing aspects of their lives. There’s some pretty cool stuff there. I’m reprinting this here with a bit of extra detail that I had to edit down due to size constraints. However, being that this is my blog, I shall be as obnoxiously wordy as I please. :)



I love chicken almost as much as I love writing. To me, Roast Chicken, is like a mini-holiday all in of itself...minus all the annoying relatives popping over.

However, there is a major sadness associated with this dish...a dry chicken. Not even the tastiest gravy can save poultry that’s been reduced to fleshy cardboard. Alas there are some poor souls out there that are destined to forever serve us chicken that tastes as if it’s been mummified for decades in the sands of the Sahara.

Thus I have strived to come up with a recipe in which the top priority (outside of not killing you all from Salmonella) is to produce a moist, delicious bird with minimal effort that anyone can reproduce. It should not only provide you with an excellent chicken, but it will also take into account the gravy and a side dish.

Ingredients:
One defrosted whole chicken (duh!)
Vegetables (see below)
Spices (also see below)
One can of store gravy
One can of chicken stock (optional)

Tools:
A deep baking pan at least twice the size of the chicken
A pot (for gravy)
Turkey Baster
A small bowl (for the rub)
Meat thermometer
Tin Foil

Cooking time: 350 degrees, ~approx 3 to 3+1/2 hours
Actual prep and work time: About 1/2 hour.

Let’s get started shall we?

First, you’ll want to make sure your bird is defrosted. This recipe is for chicken, not a block of ice. As for the size of the bird, it doesn’t matter. The only variant for this will be cooking time. Just to give you a baseline, the chicken in the pictures was about seven and a half pounds. It took three and a half hours to cook. Your mileage may vary.

Step 1: Rub it on, baby!
You’re going to create a dry rub for your chicken. This is going to serve the dual purpose of keeping moisture trapped inside, as well as giving it some awesome seasoning.

Here is what I put in my rub: Unless otherwise specified, the quantities are about equal (~ 2 tablespoons each for this size bird):
Onion Powder
Garlic Powder
Cumin
Black Pepper
Mustard Powder (1 tablespoon)
Chili Powder
A large pinch of Salt (1/2 tablespoon, overly salty chicken is nasty)

Mix the ingredients thoroughly.

You only need to make enough to cover the chicken, so don’t go nuts unless you plan on saving this rub for future cooking. Any leftover rub can also be used (sparingly) to season the gravy or your vegetables.

Feel free to vary the ingredients. Season it according to your own tastes / what you have handy. The only caveat here is that they should be dry mixes.

Step 2: Veggie time
Line your baking pan with tin foil (This will make cleanup easier)

Fill the pan with vegetables of your choice, leaving enough room in the middle for your chicken.

In the picture shown, I used carrots, mushrooms, and onions. Why? Because that’s all I had. However, you can feel free to use any you prefer for this.

Some suggestions:
Carrots
Onions
Mushrooms
Celery
Asparagus
Potatoes (cut into cubes)


This will serve as a ready made side-dish for our chicken. Mix the vegetables up as you lay them down. This way they’ll not only absorb the chicken’s flavoring, but will season each other as well. Once you’re done, lightly season them. I prefer a pinch of salt and a light dusting of pepper. However, if you have any leftover rub from your chicken (see next section) you can also use that.

Step 3: Stickin that chicken
Before you start this step, do one of two things: put on rubber gloves or wash your hands really well (before and after). It’s time to get all intimate with our chicken...no not THAT way, you perv! Jeez, some of you people are weird.

Anyway, take the wrapping off of your defrosted chicken and rinse the bird quickly under some cold water. Remove the bag with the neck and the giblets from inside of the chicken. Open these up and put them into your gravy pot.

Now it’s time to rub your chicken.

First, you’re going to rub the bottom. Put the chicken on a plate, upside down, and go to town. You don’t need a thick coating, but you’ll want it to be even and covering the whole bird. Pour some rub on the chicken and spread it around with your hands. Once the bottom is finished, turn the chicken over and put it into the baking pan in that nice opening you left for it. Repeat the process for the top of the chicken.

A quick note: you’ll notice in my picture that only the breast of the chicken is covered, the legs and wings are rub-free. That’s because my children are weird and refuse to eat what they call “spicy” chicken. Oh well, their loss. As long as you don’t have oddball offspring, cover all parts of the chicken with the rub.

Start pre-heating your oven to 350 degrees.

Step 4: Gravy and beyond...
So now you have a nicely seasoned chicken lying amidst a sea of vegetables. It’s time for the coup de grace, the thing that will help guarantee that your chicken is super moist when you pull it out of the oven...

Get your jar of store gravy. Any will do. Seriously, even the cheap crap is fine. Hell, it doesn’t even need to be chicken gravy. You’ll notice I’m using turkey gravy. You could use beef or pork just as well too. Why? Because store bought gravies ALL taste the same...i.e. fairly nasty by themselves.

Oh please! Don’t tell me you’re one of those people who will just dump a can of gravy into a pot, heat it up, and serve it as is. My god! What is wrong with you!? That’s it! Begone! Begone from my sight!

Ok, now that we’ve gotten rid of them we can move on. Store bought gravy by itself isn’t, well...gravy. What it is, however, is an excellent base with which to make some badass gravy. That’s what we’re going to do.

Pour half of the jar inside of the chicken. Yes, I said inside of the chicken. See that big hole in your chicken? Fill it with gravy.

This will serve a few purposes: First it will keep the inside of the chicken moist as it cooks. Secondly, it will absorb the flavor of your seasoned chicken. You are essentially cooking the gravy inside of the chicken. Thirdly, it will seep out as it cooks and further flavor your vegetables.

Put the chicken into the oven. Time for that sucker to cook!

Take the other half of the gravy and pour it into your sauce pot with the giblets. Fill the gravy can about halfway with water and add it to the pot. Turn on the stove to a medium heat.

Bring this to a boil and reduce. This will cook your giblets and add their flavor to the gravy. Stir and mix in some spices (salt, pepper, onion powder etc). If you have any rub left over, you can also use that to help season the gravy.

Boil it down for about ten minutes, then shut off the heat and leave it. We’ll get back to it later when our Chicken is finished.

Step 5: Cooking, not cremating
This is the easy part (at least for the next two hours).

Set a timer and let the chicken cook for an hour. When time is up, open your oven and see how things are going. This step is important because not all chickens are created equally. Some birds are nice and juicy from the get go. The second you put them into the oven, their juices will come rushing out like you just popped a water balloon. Others...not so much.

You’re going to gauge what type of bird yours is. That will determine what you do next.

If the gravy inside of your bird is boiling and the bottom of your pan is filling up with liquidy chicken goodness, then you’re going to grab your turkey baster. You’re going to use some to baste the chicken. Just wet the top and sides. Then use some to baste the vegetables. The rest you’re going to add to your gravy pot.

If the bottom of your pan is dry, that’s ok. Stick the turkey baster into the chicken, where the gravy should be cooking, and grab just enough to baste the chicken. Leave the rest. Here’s where that optional can of chicken stock will come in. Open it up and use it to lightly baste your vegetables. That’s it, shouldn’t be more than just a light sprinkle.

Whichever of the above you did, that’s fine. You’re done for now. Close the oven and go find something to occupy yourself for another hour.

At hour two, repeat the above steps (depending on how things look now). By now your chicken will be turning a nice golden color and should smell heavenly.

If you have any excess drippings and/or canned stock after this, add it to your gravy pot.

Step 6: Stick a fork in it, literally. It’s done!

Around hour two and a half, you’re going to want to check on your chicken more diligently...at least once every twenty minutes. Despite all of the above, if you overcook the crap out of your chicken, it will still be dry. This is a recipe for chicken, not miracles!

Start using your meat thermometer. Forget what you learned growing up. A Temperature of 180 or higher will result in bland, dry chicken. 165 is considered safe for eating. If you’re paranoid, you can cook the chicken to 170. That’s fine too, and it should still be moist. 170 is your magic number. Once the chicken reaches that, turn off the oven and take it out immediately.

Conversely, your chicken may have one of those little pop-up thermometers in it. Name brand chickens like, Perdue, come with them. Years ago, when they first came out, they sucked. Using them was a good way to ensure you were eating raw chicken. These days, however, they’re pretty good. The one in my chicken popped up just when the chicken was between 165 and 170...in other words, it worked perfectly. If your thermometer says the chicken is cooked and the thingee has popped up...you’re good. Trust me! I’m not trying to poison you here. We’ll save that for a future post (kidding!).

The chicken is finished and the veggies surrounding it should be nicely cooked as well. Don’t believe me? Grab a carrot from the pan (yes it will be hot). Eat it! Yeah, it was pretty damn good wasn’t it?

Regardless of how you cooked your bird (adding stock or not) there should be some left over liquid in your pan (and maybe your bird). Tilt it (a bit), so it all pools to one side and add all of this excess liquid to the gravy pot.

Turn the stove to a medium heat and once again bring your gravy to a boil. Boil it down to a...well...a gravy-like consistency, stirring constantly so it doesn’t burn.

If you’ve followed these directions you should wind up with gravy that’s flavorful as well as non-fatty / oily.



There you have it. You now have a cooked chicken, a wonderful side dish, and awesome gravy to go with it. Why are you still reading this!? Go and eat it!

Sorry to say, but there’s no after-shot of this chicken following dinner. Why? Because it looked like the carcass had been attacked by fire ants, that’s why!

Good luck to you! May moist chicken bless your future endeavors.

If you tried this recipe and liked it, please let me know.
You can find a few other recipes at the links below:
Vodka Sauce? Da,Comrade!
Chili Recipe of the Gods

Feb 20, 2012

Bigfoot Hunters: FREE for Presidents Day!

What does Bigfoot have to do with the Commander in Chief of the United States? Perhaps more than you know. My research has led me to uncover what appears to be a massive conspiracy. Not only have Presidents throughout history known about the existence of Sasquatch, but the giant apes have had more than their share of influences upon the top spot.

Thus, in honor of Presidents Day, for today only, BIGFOOT HUNTERS is FREE for Amazon Kindle.



Join me on Twitter all day long as I share my findings and release a whole slew of fun Bigfoot-related Presidential facts*.

Intrigued?

Well let me share with you this little tidbit.

Shortly after being elected, James Garfield made plans to announce the existence of Sasquatch to the world. He was assassinated shortly thereafter by Charles Guiteau, who is rumored to have had connections with the lumber barons of the day. Coincidence? You be the judge!

And this is just the tip of the iceberg!



*disclaimer: might not be actual facts. :)


Celebrate our freedom with a little FREE Sasquatch Stomping Fun!

Most importantly, though, have a Happy Presidents Day!

Feb 15, 2012

Redefining Autism, a Parent’s Fear

I’m taking a step away from my normal inane banter (don’t worry, it won’t be for long) to discuss something that my family, along with many of our friends, find worrisome. The American Psychiatric Association is apparently getting ready to release a new revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. This in of itself is not the worry. After all, if we didn’t constantly revise these things, we’d still be giving each other ice pick lobotomies...and what fun would that be?

No, what’s disturbing is that the APA is revising and, according to the preliminary data being cited, narrowing their definition on autism. The fear that parents, such as myself, have is that the new definition could declassify higher functioning autistics as well as those suffering from Aspergers Syndrome. This is a matter that hits home for my family as two of my children, Misery and Chaos for you Twitter followers, are autistic. While both are lower on the spectrum than Aspergers children, they’re still considered high functioning and are potentially at risk under this new classification.

There are multiple reasons why parents of special needs children are worried about this. For starters, the financial implications could be potentially disastrous to some. Under the new definition, insurance companies (not the most understanding of folk under the best of circumstances) could potentially cut off much needed therapy for many families. This would be further compounded by the potential of losing state provided services and benefits. Trust me when I say it’s difficult enough right now to get these services. I can’t speak for every town, but the one I live in has a nasty habit of considering budgetary impact before the needs of the children. We currently homeschool Chaos because our school district has fought us at every turn in this regard, always opting for lesser services over those our pediatrician (and other specialists) have called for. What will happen under this new definition?

The social aspect is potentially even more frightening. A reclassification could lead to some children being taken out of the special needs classrooms they currently attend and being put into the mainstream. If you’re like me, you remember school and how much like shark infested waters it was. The weakest of the normal kids often wind up being victims of the cruelties others can inflict. How so will children lacking even the basest of social defenses fare? We have friends who have attempted to mainstream their high-functioning children. The results have not been encouraging. While I want my children to lead as normal of a life as possible, I think I speak for many when I say I have no desire for their learning experience to involve being tossed into a meat grinder.

Yet all of that potentially looms over our heads, like the Sword of Damocles, when this new definition comes out. I’m fairly sure we’re not the only parents losing sleep over this. So we watch and wait, hoping that this all turns out to be yet another thing overblown by the media. If not, I fear that the new definition will do little more than further the cause of those hoping to save a few dollars. Sadly, these savings will only come at the expense of children who can’t fight back and may never even be given the chance, should this come to pass.

Feb 7, 2012

Do I Offend?

A negative message the other day, on one of the boards I frequent, got me thinking about the nature of being offensive in writing (and also gave me an idea for a blog post...when life hands you lemons :). Obviously there is potential to offend anyone with literally anything. Let’s face facts. There are thin skinned people out there who are just waiting to be traumatized by things the rest of us would barely even notice. You can see it everywhere. Heck, turn on the news tonight. I’d be willing to bet there’s a story somewhere in the world about someone seeing racism, sexism, or some other ism in something that the rest of us look at and go “Huh?” There’s also the flip-side, those who purposely go out of their way to be shocking, after all there’s no free publicity quite like a good scandal. However, I’m not really talking about the fringe cases here.

As a writer, this is something I tend to deal with quite often. If you’ve read my blog or any of my books, you are probably aware of the fact that I’m not particularly shy about my language. Even so, there is an internal struggle every time I do this. Do I be true to myself, my stories, and my writings, or do I step back and consider whether I should maybe tone things down a little for fear of sending people running for the hills? It’s not an easy answer and I have to admit I’ve occasionally lost sleep over it.

On the one hand, as a US Citizen, I am a huge supporter of the First Amendment. That includes the positive and negative elements of it. I firmly believe the right to free speech includes taking into account that it might be offensive to me or someone else. Ergo the quote: “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Words to live by.

However, I’m not a shock jock either. I don’t go out of my way to greet little old ladies with a hearty, “How the fuck are you and that sweet ass of yours?” Generally speaking, in my day to day life, I have no interest in purposely angering people. I am neither that big of a bastard, nor that much of an attention whore.

As a result, I am constantly forced to struggle. Stay true to character or water things down so as to make it more user-friendly? Ultimately, however, I tend to choose the former. If I have a racist character in my book and I spend pages upon pages building him and his utter contempt of others up, then I feel I do both the character and myself a disservice if I don’t have vile and insensitive language running through his head and out of his mouth. Think about it? Would a real abusive lowlife get angry with his girlfriend and then just say, “Forget you, you silly trollop!” or would he scream a string of obscenities that would make a sailor blush? To me, doing otherwise would just destroy whatever animosity has been built up and in turn make the character into little more than a sad caricature.

In doing so, though, I personally want people to know what they’re getting into. For example: my novel, Bill the Vampire, contains enough bad language to put it up there with Quentin Tarantino’s finest. Trust me on this, I’ve counted it. I didn’t set out to break any filth records when I started the book, but ultimately the characters and situations led me down that road. Be that as it may, it is what it is.

As such, however, I try to make sure people are aware of what they’re getting into before they buy it. For starters, I obviously don’t advertise it as a YA book...duh! The blurb lets people know about the language, and most of the marketing I do implies (some more heavily than others) the baser elements of the story. In short, if I must offend someone, I’d rather do it upfront before they’ve spent their time and money on the book. They’re probably not my audience anyway, so let’s get it out of the way early.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t done entirely out of the goodness of my heart. There is a strategic element here too, namely, I don’t want to get crushed in a bad review by someone who probably shouldn’t have read my stories to begin with. There is also the aspect of preferring to not have people I don’t know (with unknown psycho potential, if you know what I mean) hating me for some stupid dick joke I wrote on a whim as line filler.

For me, this is ultimately about staying true to myself. Sure I may still lose some sleep over it, but integrity is all about not wavering from the straight and narrow. Thus, at the end of the day, I may be sorry that I have offended you, but I am not sorry for that which I have offended you with.

Feb 4, 2012

Bigfoot Hunters: Final Teaser and Links

BIGFOOT HUNTERS by Rick Gualtieri

Evolution is about to be kicked in the teeth by some very large feet.

An ancient terror has descended upon a remote Colorado town. The legendary beasts known as Sasquatch have emerged from the woods, hell-bent on killing everything in their path.

The only thing standing in their way are a group of wayward campers, a few scared survivors, and the host of a cable TV show...but it might just be enough.

It’s tons of muscle and fury versus a whole lot of bullets in a battle to determine once and for all; who is the hunter and who is the hunted.

BIGFOOT HUNTERS available now from Amazon

Read: Bigfoot Hunters: Prologue

Read: Bigfoot Hunters: Teaser 2



Wild Feather appeared to hesitate for a few seconds, or at least to Harrison it seemed that way. Perhaps he hadn’t anticipated Rob’s challenge. “The truth is my people have many names for the hairy men of the woods. Most are difficult to pronounce, but they all speak of the same thing; a forest spirit made flesh. A creature that protects the land and those who live in harmony with it. However, this spirit can be wrathful to those who would seek to defile the balance. My great grandfather used to tell of one such defiler as we sat around the fire much like we all do today.”

Harrison looked around at the collective faces. All of the women, Paula included, were giving Wild Feather their rapt attention. Rob was listening too, although probably for another chance to jump in and question Feather’s authority on this subject. As for Greg, judging by the glazed look in his eyes as he peered into the fire, he was in his happy place right now.

“What happened?” Paula asked as Wild Feather continued with his dramatic pause.

“Once, long ago, before the coming of the white man, when the buffalo were still plentiful on the plain,“ Wild Feather began, “there was a man in the tribe. He was a powerful warrior, one of their fiercest braves. However, he was also prideful. After many victories in battle and countless successful hunts, this man began to boast that he had no equal. He could defeat any man and take his wives and horses. He could kill any beast and claim its flesh and hide. He laughed that the spirits were but smoke to him and he had made far too many fires to be fearful of smoke.

“I know what you mean, brother.” Greg chuckled, taking another toke.

“The elders of the tribe chastised the warrior. They said that his pride would be his downfall. That he should give offerings to the spirit world so that they might forgive his arrogance. But the man just laughed at them. He told them that he had earned all of his possessions by the strength of his own arms, so why should he owe the spirits anything. After the shaman’s warning, his pride grew and he decided that perhaps the spirits owed him. Thus he set out to take what was theirs. He began to chop more wood than his fire needed. When he hunted, he would kill more than his family could eat and then leave the rest for the birds. In all things he grew wasteful. The elders, seeing what he was becoming, began to pray for him behind his back. They knew that the spirits were getting angry at the man’s umbrage.”

Wild Feather paused again, making eye contact with Danni, Allison, and Paula, one after the other, as he did so. “Finally the Great Spirit sent one of the hairy men down from the mountains. The beast was already fearsome, but the spirits imbued it further. They made it swift, so that not even the deer could outrun it. They made it strong, so that not even the bear could stand against it. They made it powerful, so that no arrow could piece its hide. Its cries began to be heard in the village when it was still many moons away. The tribe grew fearful as the beast approached, its howls of vengeance growing louder with every passing day. Finally the elders came to the prideful man and pointed at him. This is your fault, they said. The spirits are punishing us all for your wickedness. But the man just laughed and told them, it is just another beast. I have slain the buffalo. I have slain the bear. I will take my bow and arrow and slay too this beast so that I might bring back its fur to warm me by the fire. The next day the prideful man packed up his weapons and set off into the woods to meet the creature face to face.” At that, he stopped telling the story and just stared into the fire.

After a few moments of this, all of the girls chimed in with squeals of, “What happened next?”

Finally after another pause, overly dramatic in Harrison’s opinion, he continued. “None know. Some say the creature overtook him and carried him off to Hell, where the spirits continue to punish him for his arrogance. Others claimed the man had slain the beast and then set off to challenge the spirits themselves. They say that he still walks the woods to this very day, such is his wrath. It was never known. All anyone in the tribe knew was that the beast’s screams ceased and that the prideful man never returned.”

“And then Jason and Michael Myers walked out and slaughtered the campers.” Greg added, laughing at his own joke.

Paula, ignoring Greg’s outburst, gave Wild Feather a wide-eyed look and asked, “So do you believe the story?”

Wild Feather fed another branch into the fire, causing embers to rise up in the air, before answering. “My people have a great many stories. Some are told to frighten children, but others serve as a warning to men. When I became a man I went on a vision quest as all of my ancestors did. In it, I saw many things. Things that give me reason to not doubt my elders.”

“What kind of things?” Harrison asked.

“Such things are not spoken. Each vision quest is for the brave who sees it and him alone.” He then turned back to Paula and spoke in a low voice. “But I have seen enough to believe. I think the hairy men are out there. I can sense them. They watch us. Perhaps they watch us even now.”



I hope you enjoyed this preview!

The full novel, BIGFOOT HUNTERS, is available now from Amazon.

Feb 2, 2012

XOXOXO by Bethany Lopez: Cover Reveal

XOXOXO by Bethany Lopez

Melissa has learned a lot since her freshman year began, but it isn’t over yet! Her world is about to change again with the birth of her new sibling, and she has to figure out how she will adjust to being the eldest of five kids. She, Jess, andJimmy are inseparable, and she is having a fantastic time although she can’t help but miss Brian as she tries to learn how to deal with his relationship with Layla. Everything seems to be happening at once and that is when she is introduced to Ben Campbell, a senior at Dearborn High, who becomes an interesting distraction as he helps her deal with the new developments in her life.



I am pleased to help fellow writer, tweeter, and all around cool person, Bethany Lopez promote her upcoming release, XOXOXO.

XOXOXO is the followup to Bethany's young adult novel, Ta Ta for Now!. It will be released one month from today, on March 2nd. Be sure to check it out.

To learn more and connect with Bethany please visit her at:

Bethany's Blog

Bethany's page on the Independent Author Network

Follow Bethany on Twitter at: @bethanylopez2

Haven't read Ta Ta for Now! Well then get moving! You can find this book at the fine online bookseller of your choice including:

Amazon
Smashwords
Barnes & Noble
CreateSpace
The Sony Reader Store
Readers Favorite

Please join me in wishing Bethany both congratulations as well as the best of luck on her newest release!