The New Délon City Kindle Cover Image (Vote)

I’ve never been thrilled with the cover for Délon City, so I’ve decided to use a different one for the Kindle version.  If it goes over well, I’ll change it for the print version as well.  What do you think?

A New Cover for Délon City?

Cast your vote!

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Review of the Week – The Takers

Review of the week belongs to The Takers!

This one is really cool.  The book reached a young man who normally doesn’t read.  Gotta love it!

5.0 out of 5 stars First time son has requested a sequel to anything!, August 24, 2010
By Susan L (Los Angeles, CA) – See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: The Takers (Oz Chronicles, Book 1) (Volume 1) (Paperback)

I bought this book for my son to take on 12 hour airline trip. He’s not a reader – has learning disabilities that impact his reading and typically reads only what’s required for school and then reluctantly. I assumed it would come home unread, but thought I should send him with something in case the audio/video on the plane malfunctioned. I read the first page or two aloud to him while he was packing his carry-on bag just to get him interested.

When he got home he asked me if there were any more books in this series. When I told him yes he asked if I could get them for him! He went on to describe the plot, charaters and ending to me. I was amazed. He read a book! He liked it!

I haven’t read the book, but based on his response I’d recommend this book to any parent who is looking for something that a teenage boy will read and enjoy – even those who don’t like to read and aren’t particularly interested in books.

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Is this a Photograph of a Yeti? You be the judge. (video)

This is another one of those cryptozoology postings that some of you hate.  Sorry, I just can’t help myself.  Today, I find myself in the odd position of disagreeing with some people in the field that I have grown to respect and admire.  I hope they will forgive me for breaking from the pack.

A couple of months ago, I came into contact with a gentleman by the name of Jon Jacobs. We met on a Bigfoot group on Facebook.  It turns out he didn’t join because of an interest in Bigfoot.  He joined because he was looking for help.  He claimed to have a photograph of a Yeti, and he wanted advice on what to do.  Now, I have slowly become more and more jaded by such claims.  I’ve seen a lot of crap pictures and videos of supposed crypto-apes, and very few of the images merited serious inquiry.  I advised him to turn to the scientific community if he really thought he had something worthwhile.  I honestly thought that would be the end of my involvement.  I was wrong.

Jon contacted me and asked me if I had any contact information for some science-type guys.  I did some research and found the names and email addresses for an anthropologist, a primatologist and cryptozoologist. I’ll withhold their names at this point because I don’t have their permission to speak for them.  I even went one step further and contacted the cryptozoologist on Jon’s behalf.  At this point, I hadn’t seen the image, so I was just doing this because Jon seemed like a nice guy, and he was asking for my help.

In the meantime, Jon got a copyright on the image and had an attorney put together a nondisclosure agreement for him.  He wanted to make money off the photo if he could, and frankly, I’ve never had a problem with that angle.  I know a lot of people in the cryptozoology world are steadfast against that tactic, but I’m not one of them.  As long as the evidence stands up to scrutiny, people should be allowed to make some money for their property.  Creating a hoax and trying to profit from it is another thing altogether.  I have no reason to believe that’s what Jon is doing here.

Curiosity got the best of me and I signed the agreement.  Jon sent me the image, and I was prepared to be disappointed.  But a strange thing happened when I opened the file.  I saw an ape.  I wasn’t expecting that.  It’s not crystal clear.  You have to zoom in quite a bit in order to see the ape, but still, I saw an ape.

The cryptozoologist eventually saw the photograph and was intrigued enough to have a photographic expert look at the picture.  I dropped out of the picture, because I had done what I said I would do, get Jon in contact with an expert.

I received an email from Jon a few weeks later that shocked me.  The photographic expert said it was essentially just the result of lights and shadows and pixelation.  I was scratching my head.  I felt terrible because I know that Jon was crushed by the news. I also felt relatively sure the expert was wrong.   Watch this video for my notes on the image.

Here’s an excerpt from one of Jon’s emails about the day he took the photo:

On day four we departed Lhasa and our destination point for that night and following day was Shigatse. (*I have more specific information on the image’s location between these 2 points but perhaps that would be best revealed should there be interest in finding this place, TV documentary/expedition etc*). As had become usual I sat on the left hand side passenger seat and took the occasional photo of the inspiring scenery as we drove. What made me snap it? Was it the sense of something dark in the middle of all that grey, a cave perhaps? Certainly worthy of a few quick seconds of impulse. A zoom to maximum and shoot. I don’t know if it was that night or the following that I flicked through my photos, saw the dark image standing in the alcove and decided to zoom in for a better look. Astounded but mystified to see something that had to be a yeti, I accepted that I would look into it further. I definitely was not looking for a yeti on this tour and other than the photo had experienced nothing else to indicate the presence of a yeti or any crypto zoological specimen for that matter. After this I was quickly thrown back into the whirl of heady medieval Buddhism, high altitude and natural magic. It wasn’t until the night of Day 6 where I found time to show Basang our Tibetan guide and Shudoy our Chinese driver the photo. As I zoomed in Shudoy was shocked, he didn’t speak English but we had never communicated so much as we did in those few seconds. Basang was impressed and surprised but calmly said that it was probably a yeti, a creature before man. He’d never seen one, but it seems Tibetans accept the idea of the yeti quite naturally.

As far as I’m concerned, this is an unidentified ape.  I don’t know if it’s a Yeti.  I don’t know if it’s a Gigantopithecus.  I don’t know if it’s an unknown species of orangutan.  But I have a sneaking suspicion that the cave is part of its territory, and we are likely to find evidence that it is not merely shadows and light and pixelation there.

BTW – It won’t do any good to contact me about the details of this image.  I’m a lowly author and  Photoshop hobbyist that just played around with the photo.  Jon Jacobs is the man you want to talk to you if you have further questions.

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My New Bio

I’ve updated my About page.  Here’s my new bio:

I am an author with the mind of Megan Fox and the body of Albert Einstein. I’ve won awards for my books, but modesty prevents me from telling you how incredibly important that is to you and every living person on the planet.  I never exaggerate.  I’m planning on buying Mt. Everest, and moving it three inches back.  I’ve created a charity to raise money to find an alternative to rectal exams.  I’ve invited myself to speak in front of congress about the insidious nature of the letter ‘K,’ but every congressman whose name starts with the letter ‘K’ has blackballed me.  If I had my way, they would blacball me.  I just don’t trust a letter that is either silent or redundant, both in use and in nature.  I’m currently trying to invent a new word for monosyllabic because I hate irony.  Ironically, I’m totally comfortable with incongruity.  If you buy my books, it will make you better looking and smarter.  If you tell five people to buy my books, you will grow taller and younger.  If one million people buys my books, I will appear better looking, smarter, taller and younger.  This is a win-win situation people.  I’m kind of ticked you’ve been dragging your feet on this thing.  It’s almost like you’re afraid of success… I should probably take this opportunity to tell you that I tend to ramble when it comes to writing my bio, and I sometimes lash out.  You clearly aren’t the problem.  I blame all my troubles on the fact that Mt. Everest is too far forward.  (Now it’s all starting to make sense, isn’t it!).

In closing, I have a beautiful wife, a hyperactive dog, two arrogant cats, and one ugly mortgage.

Are you cool enough to share this post?

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If this doesn’t make you appreciate poetry, you’re dead inside!

I saw this yesterday, but didn’t have to post it. You may have seen it already, but just in case, this is well worth the two minutes it takes to watch it. Billy Collins‘ poetry has never sounded so cute. I give you Billy Collins’ poem Litany read by an unnamed and uber adorable 3-year-old. BTW – This isn’t just a cute trick. Studies have shown that developing memorization skills at an early age can help with cognitive skills and reading comprehension. This kids probably going to be president. Would be it be weird to hire him to read the audio version of The Takers?

In case you want to read along:

Litany by Billy Collins

“You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter,
or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general’s head,
but you are not even close
to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.

I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman’s tea cup.
But don’t worry, I’m not the bread and the knife.
You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and–somehow–the wine.”

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Review of the Week – August 17, 2010

The review is in....

Sweet, the first Amazon review for The Land of the Dead has been posted, and thankfully, it’s five stars. I know it shouldn’t matter, but boy does it feel good! Here’s the review.

5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, when’s the next one coming out?, August 13, 2010
By Mercedes (Colorado, USA) – See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: The Land of the Dead: Book Four of the Oz Chronicles (Paperback)

This is the 4th book in the Oz Chronicles series. Like the other books in the series it was a page turning horror fest. Let me first say, you must read the other books before reading this one, otherwise it’s like sitting down in the middle of a movie and you have no idea what’s happened.

Oz, Lou, Wes, Gordy, Tyrone, Kimball, and the apes are looking for the next clue to the end of the world. Oz must travel to the Land of the Dead. However, he’s no idea how to get there. After being chased by a new creature they crew ends up at the Biltmore Mansion. Here they’ll find the Land of the Dead and a cannibal ghost. After entering the mansion they’ll soon discover they have nine days to survive. In these nine days they’ll have to overcome their need to feed……..on each other. However, not everyone wants to eat each other. The new additions to the story, the Throwaways and oddly Lou, are immune to the hunger. Why they are immune is the question.

Some character’s immunity to the hunger and the dawning of love on Oz give the story a nice twist. My only complaint about this book is it’s been too long since I read the prior three books and struggled with getting up to speed. So my complaint is I wish it would have come out a lot sooner. I am looking forward to starting the series from the start and reading through this book again. This world created by the retarded children is brilliant and oh so twisted. I recommend this book and series to adults and teens alike, it’s great. Keep em coming Ridley, but sooner please.

Remember, feel free to post a review on Amazon if you enjoyed any of my books.  If you hated my books, forget that reviewing them is an option immediately!

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The Second Pass-By

Maybe it's the outfit I wear when I go for a walk that makes people so unfriendly.

So, I just went on a 3-mile run (mostly walk) on a bike path near my house.  There are other people doing the same, and I usually pass them going the other direction.  We usually share a smile and wave, sometimes we might even say “hi” or “hey.” One guy even said “How’s it going?” Which, I thought was odd because he was running, and he didn’t give me time to answer.  I was doing fine, btw, old guy in tan shorts.  Over-all, this exchange has a nice community feel to it, albeit very non-committal in nature.  Let’s face it none of us are going to go out for dinner and a movie anytime soon.  We just want to pass each other with as much civility and as little awkwardness as possible.

The problem is there’s a second pass-by.  This isn’t a circular bike path.  It’s a 1.5 mile straight path and in order to get back to where you started, you have to walk the same path twice.  You pass the same people coming back as you did going.  What is the protocol when passing someone the second time in a matter of minutes? You don’t know these people.  You don’t have any real connection to them.  What are you supposed to say?  I decided to leave it up to them.  I kept my head down until I got close to them and then I just looked in their direction and smiled.  A surprisingly large number of them looked frightened.  A couple looked put off by seeing me again.  One woman seemed to pretend I wasn’t even there.  The guy who asked how I was doing clearly didn’t care at all because he purposely looked away the second time we passed.  My answer to his question at that time would have been “slightly awkward and a bit ostracized, thank you very much!”

So, someone please tell me, what is the proper etiquette in this situation?

*I feel compelled to tell you that the picture above  is not a picture of me wearing Daisy Dukes.

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My Agent

I was asked today how it was going with my agent.  I had to really think about my answer.  My agent is cool.  My agent is friendly.  My agent has been extremely forthcoming with advice and encouragement.  I have no problems with her and the effort she’s (and her entire company) has put in on my behalf.  I have nothing but compliments for my agent even though our relationship has not produced a deal.

I was one of those guys who thought getting the agent was the hard part. I honestly thought that having an agent would break down all the barriers for me.   Boy was I way off.  Getting a book deal is much, much harder. Granted, I’m not making the inquiries, or fielding the rejections.  She’s doing all that, and I’m grateful for that.  We’ve literally been together for years now.  That’s right years.  So when the deal does come, you won’t be able to call me an overnight success.  I’m just delusional enough to hang in there despite the odds.  My wife is wonderful enough to support my delusion despite the occasional hardships, and my agent is awesome enough to keep fighting for me despite all the no’s.  She’s gotten really, really close a few times.  I’ve had the car keys in my hand on my way to buy the celebratory champagne on at least one occasion, but alas the Krug, Clos Du Mesnil 1995 remained unpurchased and behind glass.

This is the reality of publishing.  I’m not bitter.  I’m not daunted.  It is what it is.  The person I feel really bad for is my agent.  She’s never received a dime for all the time she’s invested in me and my books.

So, how’s it going?  We’re right on schedule, and I have no complaints.

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Review of the Week – August 9, 2010

I’ve decided to be completely self-indulgent and do a review of the week for one of my books.  Most of them will come from Amazon, but from time to time, I’ll pull from other sources as well.  Here’s one that just came in for Book Two of the Oz Chronicles, Délon City.

5.0 out of 5 stars

The Delons make the Takers seem nice. They are an insect race, and I suspect the author did some research on insects. One of the Delons, a skinner eats the skin of it’s living human victims then lays eggs inside them which soon hatch, but somehow keep the victim alive for the next few days as they eat the human from the inside out saving the vital organs for last. As far as I’m concerned that was worth the price of the book. Our hero is trapped in an insane asylum for the second book and is remembering all this through hypnotism. My only concern is he seems to get farther and farther from reality, and it’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s hallucination. The third book brings no conclusion to the story, so one hopes the author will bring things to a satisfactory end.

By J. Holt “redbiker” (ALBUQUERQUE, NM United States) – See all my reviews

It’s a great review, but it does tell me that I’ve got to do a better job of getting the word out about Book Four.  It’s out and ready to read.

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