Saturday, January 12, 2013

Thanks, contest news and excerpt

Thanks to everyone who has been giving me feedback and finding small errors in Blood, Smoke and Ashes. Thankfully, there has nothing too egregious, some small spelling errors, an omitted word here and there, and missing periods at the end of paragraphs.  Right now, I am putting together the trade paperback version.  Formatting is done, just waiting for the last round of edits to get finished before I send off for an evaluation copy.

Other than that, starting to plot out my proposed next book, tentatively entitled The Hum.  But that may change.

Anyway, to all of you who have bought the book and read it, thanks.  And don't forget to "Like" the book's page and leave a review if you enjoyed it.  If not... remember what your mother said: "If you have nothing nice to say, don;t say it at all."

Contest set to begin when advertising blitz begins in three weeks.  No purchase necessary, just come back here, or to my Facebook page, and do a couple of things to spread the word and you will be entered.  $20 Amazon gift cards to be given away every week for six weeks, and if by some grace of god I can get this thing into the top 100, I will be giving away 1 $100 Amazon gift card.

That's about it.  If you haven't bought Blood, Smoke and Ashes yet, here's an excerpt so you can see what you're missing.  A second, different excerpt can be found at, my official author/publishing page.  Enjoy!

The gallery was pretty much empty when Molly was led into the tiny room.  A single journalist, a man in his sixties named Arnie Plank, was present, but there were no cameras of any sort around.  Representatives from the Sheriff’s Department, including the Sheriff of Carson County himself, occupied half dozen chairs out of the thirty in the galley.  The mayor of Las Vegas and the governor of Nevada, nervous looks of anticipation on both of their faces, stood against the back wall, looking toward the execution booth and the chair within.  The warden of the prison and several guards paced anxiously next to the door to the booth and the large switch set in the wall several feet away which would start the electrocution process.

It was a monumental day to be sure, the execution of a female serial killer at the hands of a new execution device, but the governor did not want a circus so he had limited access to the event.
Though all of the wives of the murdered men had been invited, only one woman had chosen to bear witness to Molly Blackburn’s final moments.  Only Victoria Forrest, the forty-five–year-old wife of Martin Forrest, a foreman overseeing the construction of the Stardust Hotel, had accepted the invitation to watch her husband’s murderer get executed.  She sat in the front of the two rows, in the center, so she could get a perfect view.  Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail and her blouse was open a button or two at the neck, revealing a teardrop diamond suspended from a supple gold chain. 

Father Calhoun stood in the back of the room, apart from the governor and mayor.  He hadn’t planned on staying to witness the execution when he arrived at the prison earlier in the day, but after his short conversation with Molly, he had developed an irrational need to see her die.  It wasn't out of any sense of vengeance, but a sense of concern.  He knew it was ridiculous, but her last words echoed in his head, accompanied by that terrifying laugh.  We’re only done when I say we’re done, Father.  It was insane of course; the twenty–five-year-old woman was about to be executed by the state.  They were done.  This was the end of Molly Blackburn. 

But Father Calhoun, though not a superstitious man, needed to see the body before he would feel comfortable again.

Molly was still dressed in her gray jumpsuit when two guards strapped her down to the simple wood and metal chair set up behind the window separating the viewing area and the execution booth.  Once she was restrained, an act she did not struggle against, they strategically placed electrodes on her body, one on the bald patch of her head, one on her right calf, creating a path through which the alternating currents would be passed to stop the heart and destroy her organs. 

Once she was secured, the leather straps tightened, the electrodes tested, everything else checked twice, the men left the room.  The warden stepped in, stood several feet from the condemned.

“Molly Blackburn,” he said, “you have been found guilty by a jury of your peers of murdering eleven people over the course of six weeks earlier this year, including your own husband, Maxwell Blackburn.   In minutes, the great state of Nevada will execute you for your crimes.  Have you any last words before your punishment is carried out?”

There was a moment of tense silence before Molly finally spoke. 

“I make no apologies for my actions,” she said quietly from the chair she was strapped to. Her neck was bent, her head angled toward the ground. Her black hair was a curtain in front of her face.  But her soft, menacing voice still carried clearly through the bars of the booth into the gallery beyond.  “I'm only sorry I didn't get to kill more.”

There was an uncomfortable stirring in the gallery at these words as people shifted nervously where they sat or stood.  There was something decidedly unsettling about being in the presence of a bona fide monster.

Molly lifted her head.  She slowly looked around the room, her dark eyes peeking out from between strands of dirty black hair.  Her penetrating gaze took in everyone in her field of view, finally settled on Father Calhoun despite the shadows that cloaked him.  She offered the priest a cruel little smile.  “I would do it all over again,” she said. 

“I will do it all over again.”

If you're intrigued, Blood, Smoke and Ashes can be found, for the moment, at both Amazon and Barnes and Nobles for only $.99.  Enjoy!

Barnes and Nobles

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