Mercedes Fox ~ Author

My Writing Blog

Poaching the Immortal – Sample

This is a taste of the page turning goodness inside the front and back covers of Poaching the Immortal:

Donavon halted at the resonance of Ted’s challenge. Aaron ran into his backside and almost knocked them both to the ground.

“Will you watch where you’re going, jackass? You damn near knocked me down!” Donavon regained his footing and threw a dirty look back towards Aaron.

“Hey, I’m not the one who just stopped in the middle of the road here! Stupid fucker.”

Donavon ignored Aaron and said, “You heard that right? He’s changed. The werewolf is out of the bag now.”

“Of course I heard it. And it sounded fucking awesome. Can you see it? Because I can’t.” Aaron was bobbing his head back and forth and up and down while squinting his eyes.

“No, after he was hit and went down I saw dark fur and then just the bushes shaking. Maybe we killed him. They are supposed to be allergic to silver.” Donavon stared at the last spot he’d seen Ted.

Before either man could respond or raise their weapons Ted burst out from seemingly nowhere, catching them off guard. He caught Donavon first by bashing his full weight into him. Donavon fell to the ground with Ted’s snarling maw in his face. He could smell the hot animal breath and felt drops of saliva speckle him. He wasn’t prepared for the terror he was experiencing now. Nor was he prepared to be lying on the ground pinned beneath a ginormous monster.

Ted’s lips turned up a bit in a smile as he met eyes with Donavon. He was going to enjoy this. One ear swiveled backwards honing in on Aaron’s movements. His breathing was rapid and he was whimpering… it sounded like he was crawling away. He’d deal with him later. Ted turned his full attention back to Donavon and raised his right hand. He held his first finger up and waggled it back and forth before Donavon’s wide eyes.

Ted had his victim’s full attention now and lowered his clawed finger slowly to Donavon’s chest. Then he blinked his most innocent look at the man and balled his fist. Donavon didn’t have a chance to take his last breath. In a flash Ted jerked his hairy arm back and plunged his monstrous fist into his victim’s chest, shattering the breast bone and demolishing his heart.

Donavon gasped and his eyes darted wildly. His body was dead before his mind registered the trauma.

Ted continued to stare into Donavon’s eyes watching them dim while he raised his fist to his mouth and licked the gore from it. It tasted so good. He couldn’t believe he’d waited so long before feeding. His long tongue lapped at the final chunk of Donavon on his fist.

He looked down at Donavon’s corpse debating on whether to eat a bit or go after Aaron. Blood lust overruled the hunt. Ted used both clawed hands and tore the body cavity open. He buried his face in the warm flesh snapping at organs and lapping at blood. When the sweet viscera was gone, he rose to his feet and howled his joy at the sky.

I hoped you enjoyed the excerpt above. Want more?

Kindle Unlimited, Is It Worth It?

As an author I don’t care for the Kindle Unlimited program. I’ve tried it on my books and honestly authors make more money selling the book out right versus being paid by the page read. Now I have always wondered just exactly what is Kindle Unlimited really for. I get that it is a monthly subscription to read as many books as you want for that single price each month, so I decided what if I could by books by the big names like Janet Evanovich, Nora Roberts, Jim Butcher, Jeff Kinney, Tom Clancy, and Lee Child, just to name a few; if I could get these books from these authors on the Kindle Unlimited for $9.99 a month that would be absolutely great. Because the books from these authors seem to sell above $6 to $15 a book.

I like to read the paper book during the day and I like to use the Kindle at night. So I normally pay for two books, this program would be perfect set up for me. Here’s where the problem is, none of the books by these big-name authors are on the Kindle Unlimited program. It seems the big-name authors, or I should say their publishers, are greedy even when it comes to the Kindle version of their books. After looking up around 10 of my favorite big-name authors I found only one, whose books were offered under the Kindle Unlimited program. Now if you look at Indie authors, such as myself, there are loads of books on the Kindle Unlimited program. But these are books that generally run between $3.99 and $.99 range. I’d like to know why the big-name writers and the big-name publishers don’t take advantage of the Kindle unlimited program. Wait, I know why, because the greedy.

So the ultimate question is, is Kindle Unlimited worth it or not? In my opinion, as a reader, it’s not worth the money to pay the monthly fee when you can’t get the books you can buy in a physical bookstore (Barnes & Noble) on your Kindle using that program. Oh you can buy them individually, in some cases they are the same price or more than the paperback.

For me the Kindle Unlimited program is not worth it as a reader or as an author. You can check out my previous post regarding the Kindle Unlimited program here.

Book Review: Snoopy the Literary Ace by Charles M. Schulz

I grew up reading Snoopy; he’s part of my DNA. I’m also an author. This book is full Snoopy and his writing career. Not only do I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good laugh, every author should have this on the shelf.

I read the Kindle version of this book and was very impressed with how the panels work with the page turn gestures moving you from one panel to the other in reading order.

Book Review: Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

After hearing a snippet about the TV show inspired by these books I was intrigued. I’ll be honest I started to read the book 2 times and put it down. Dexter’s voice is very distinct. It does take a bit getting used to, seeing into the mind of a madman. Before the third chapter I love Dexter. He’s a perfect killer… Is that even possible? Anyway, it took me only two sittings after starting reading to devour this book. I loved how Mr. Lindsay really put you in Dexter’s head and then made you think he was losing his marbles.

This book was great. I’ve not seen the TV show but I’d like to try a couple episodes. I’ve ordered all the books in the series, can’t wait to read them.

Meet Author Dave Robinson

Hallo! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with guest author Dave Robinson

Dave was born in the UK, grew up in Canada, and has spent time in the US. As a freelancer, he’s written everything from blog posts to novels under other peoples’ names. Before that, and in no particular order, he managed a bookstore, worked in a pawnshop, had a job as the guy you get transferred to when you ask a phone rep for a supervisor, and even cleaned carpets for a living.

Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Amazon

Book sample for Air Pirates of Krakatoa
Genre: Pulp Science Fiction Adventure
Synopsis: When Doc Vandal’s cousin is murdered with fish soup, Doc and the team find themselves half-way across the world in a battle against the international conspiracy behind the Air Pirates of Krakatoa.

Why do you write? Nobody else tells the stories in my mind; if I want to read them, I have to write them first.

When did you decide to become a writer? I’d dabbled with the idea since I was a teen, but I really decided on my 39th birthday.

How long does it usually take you to complete a book? If we’re talking first drafts, anywhere from 15 years for my first novel to what’s looking to be three months for the one I’m working on now.

What made you decide to sit down and actually start something? It was my 39th birthday, my daughter had been born in the spring and I decided that I had put it off long enough. I was going to finish a novel by my 40th birthday.

Do you listen to music or watch TV/movie while you write? Not really, the rest of the family does behind me, but on my own I don’t.

What have you written? A fantasy novel Amadar, a space opera Price of Imperium, and the Doc Vandal pulp adventure series. The first Doc, Against the Eldest Flame, is already out; Air Pirates of Krakatoa, the second adventure, is just out in paperback and due for Kindle release on May 1st.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you? I start with a rough plot and then follow my ideas. As I write I refine and adjust the outline. I always have a plan, but am not afraid to change it at the drop of a hat.

Do you design your own book covers or have someone else? If you use someone else would you tell us who/website? It’s complicated. J I get most of the work done through contractors on Fiverr, because it’s within my budget. I generally come up with the basic idea first, and sketch it out roughly. I then have a very good artist named Carlos Balarezo translate it into finished art. From there it goes to a cover designer who adds the title and branding.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? Finish the book, and then write another one.  It doesn’t matter how much or how little you write; it’s not a race. What matters is that you write and keep on writing.

Where do your ideas come from? They come from Giorgio’s hair. Speaking seriously, I watch a lot of Ancient Aliens and Historical Conspiracy shows. I don’t believe them, but they give me great ideas for “What if?”

What is the hardest thing about writing? Getting past that bit where you know where the story has to go next but you can’t quite find the words to get through the rest of this scene.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? The one I’m writing now, nothing. It’s the easiest book I’ve ever written.

What is your favorite movie or TV show? The Princess Bride

Which writers inspire you? Robert E. Howard, Lester Dent.

What is the current book you are promoting? Air Pirates of Krakatoa, available on Kindle May 1st

You mentioned you’re writing a new story. How about a teaser? The alien told Vic she wasn’t human. She’s just discovered the alien was right.

Who is your favorite character in your book and why? Vic Frank, Doc Vandal’s leading assistant and the secondary protagonist. Victoria Frank is an expatriate Russian Countess and daredevil pilot who plays solitaire with razor sharp cards. She’s a great fan of direct action and loves to live in the moment. She is so much fun to write.

Who is your least favorite character and why? I don’t have a least favorite character, but I don’t always like to write about Doc Vandal himself. His unique upbringing makes him extremely distant emotionally, and it can be hard to get into his head at times.

Do you have any “how to write” type books/instructional you’d like to recommend? Fiction is Folks by Robert Newton Peck.

What is your next project? After the current story Doc Vandal book 4, Giant Robots of Tunguska, I’m not sure. I’ll figure it out in a month or so.

Who inspires your writing? My daughter, children are the gateway to physical immortality, but writing is the gateway to mental immortality. If she reads my books after I’m gone she’ll still have my thoughts in her mind.

Do have a favorite car or truck model? 1924 Hispano Suiza H6B with the tulipwood body

Do you ever feel self-conscious when writing love/sex scenes? I tend to fade to black; this may be a good thing as the last romantic relationship I wrote about was between two women.

What are some of your favorite books and why? The Prince of Tides, the opening line is so beautifully written.

What do you read with? (Kindle, Nook, iPad, iPhone, physical book).  Mostly Kindle, though I’ll also read on my phone or tablet. I don’t read a lot of paper anymore, but that might be changing since I’ve just acquired a new pair of reading glasses.

What do you think of traditional publishing vs. self-publishing? They’re both valid, and you have to decide which is right for you.

Would you say there is a stigma to being self-published? Yes, but there’s less of one now. The shift to ebooks has really helped because it’s made it easier to differentiate self-publishing from vanity presses.

Are you currently reading a book or just finished one? Yes. I have several books on the go at any one time.

What do your readers mean to you? Everything.

Is there a book you love you’d like to recommend to others? Father of the Bride, by Edward Streeter; it may be old, but it’s a great character study.

Tell us something unique about you. I have a science fiction novel signed by both the author and one of the characters.

Is there anything else you would like to add? Pulp is fun. If you’re a writer as well as a reader find the books you love to write and write them.

There ya have it folks! For more about Dave, his work, and getting your own copy, follow the links below:

Blog / Facebook / Twitter / Goodreads / Amazon

Meet Author Merle Temple

Howdy! Welcome to Interview FoxSeat with guest author Merle Temple

Merle Temple is the author of the Michael Parker series: Deputy: Once Upon A Time in Mississippi, A Ghostly Shade of Pale, A Rented World, and The Redeemed: A Leap of Faith.
The novels are written as fiction but drawn from his experiences as a deputy sheriff, an agent and captain in the first “drug wars,” a manager in the corporate world, and a campaign chairman. Hit men tried to kill Merle, politicians tried to crush him, and the tentacles of treachery led all the way to the White House, as he confronted the unholy trinity of politics, crime, and business.

Merle signed books for the casts of Criminal Minds and Major Crimes in Hollywood and dined with Morgan Freeman. X-G Productions has now taken an option on the books for a proposed TV series based on a life story that epitomizes the saying: “Truth is stranger than fiction.”

Ghostly was chosen by one college as required reading for English students, and his books are used in many middle and high school English classes. It is the all-time bestselling novel at the Barnes and Noble store in Tupelo, Mississippi, and his books are favorites in many church libraries. His books are in shelters and prisons across America and will soon be available in Jerusalem.

Merle signs books across America, and speaks to churches, schools, civic clubs, book clubs, prisons, and library groups. He has interviewed on radio and TV stations across the country and around the world to warn of the dangers and darkness of this rented world and to tell of his journey to the peace and purpose of Jesus Christ.

Website / Twitter / LinkedIn / Goodreads / Pinterest / Amazon / Instagram / YouTube

Here’s but a taste of The Redeemed: A Leap of Faith
Genre: Mystery/crime thriller, Christian
Synopsis: In the final book of the Michael Parker series, all of Michael’s chickens come home to roost. His worst fears are realized, he can’t wake from his nightmares, and he loses everything, but he finds the peace he has sought all of his life, and he has his enemies right where he wants them.
         
Excerpt: Tupelo’s Tammy Sue Jenkins, a sallow blonde of nineteen, was dreaming the dreams of concussions and contusions on the unsparing shoals of fantasia.

She was way down in a well of silent screams where oily, black waters were crushing and smothering her. The air was thick and as hot as the furnaces of Hades. She breathed in rasping, gulping sighs to fill her lungs with the acrid air that pinched her nostrils and burned her lungs.

Just as she was going under for the third time, she seemed to float up and up, away from darkness and death, to what should be light. But there was no light, only darkness.

As she strained for the surface, she suddenly raised her head and thumped it against something hard just above her in the gloom. Pain radiated throughout her head and neck, and shooting blasts of electrical pulses raced along her severed nerves.

The back of her head, which now felt pumpkin-sized, throbbed each time the percussionist in there struck the bass drum of her brain. There was no beginning and no end to the pain. Every pathway in her neural net was tortured, and all the fibers of her body were screaming. She was a broken ragdoll torn asunder.

Tammy felt her golden hair. It was matted and caked with a substance that smelled like old, burnt copper. She felt something crawling on her, but it was only a final, tiny trickle of blood running from her forehead to the bridge of her broken nose. Her elbows and knees ached, and as she began to squirm, her extremities bumped into the close confines of what felt to her like some sort of tomb.

Panic, confusion, and overwhelming claustrophobia seized her. Her blood pumped and raced to escape the confines of her heart, which only increased the throbbing pain.

Buried alive, buried alive! Oh God, oh God, oh God! she screamed inside her bruised head. She began to wildly thrash about, hyperventilated, and began to retch again and again until there were only dry heaves.

A new darkness swirled around her. She almost passed out before her mind cleared. She remembered the beating, the savage attack behind the old weathered house on Carnation Street in Tupelo. She grew quiet and still, fear gripping her. Tammy groped carefully in the dark and felt the cold steel of a tire iron. She could smell and feel the stickiness of her own blood there.

It was this they used on me…hitting me again and again, striking me like wild beasts, pounding me in the face and head until I no longer cared…until I couldn’t feel the crack of the iron against my skull, no longer whimpered with each blow, couldn’t feel anything…until I passed out.

Tammy moved tentatively in the blackness and instinctively tried not to moan. She bumped into a tire to go with the iron in her hand, and she remembered the two drug dealers talking.

The young one with the dreadlocks had a tooth cap with a gold heart cut-out. He had said, “She’s dead. Won’t cause no more trouble. Dump her for now, and we’ll come back and bury her. Tell the detective that his problem is solved.”

Then they tumbled her bruised, bleeding, and almost unrecognizable body into the trunk of the old Chevy, tossing the tire iron in after her. It bounced off the hard bone of her forehead, but Tammy was numb, beyond feeling pain. As the lid slowly closed, Tammy remembered squinting through one swollen, blue eye as her sepulcher was sealed, squelching all light.

Just before she passed out, she remembered thinking, This is how it ends…dead at nineteen.

Lapsing in and out of consciousness, she saw flashes of images, vignettes of her young life, and a tumultuous walk on the wild side.

The dealers were protected by local police, Captain said. Cops were wiretapping everyone. Beat prisoners at the Tupelo jail. He had to rescue two of his undercover men. Strapped them to chairs, put on leather gloves to beat them, until Captain arrived. Cops mad he didn’t tell them he had men in town. He told them they shouldn’t be beating anybody.

Yes, yes, that’s right. I remember. They taunted him, said this was their town. “You better watch that little blonde snitch who’s working for you, too!”

Captain told me to be careful. They were the ones who told the dealers. Must’ve been them. Saw ’em that day behind the Ramada Inn when I was cleaning rooms, peeking through the curtains when I heard the car. The second car came with Louisiana plates. The men, rough men, got out with a briefcase. It was full of money, never seen so much. They gave it to the police. I hid…afraid they’d kill me if they saw me. Captain told me to be careful, not to trust any local police. Maybe they saw me. I should’ve listened to Captain Michael.

Tammy became very still in the car trunk, quietly panting for breath, floating on a sea of pain, shock, and dehydration. She listened for what felt like an eternity, to make sure they hadn’t come back for her. She heard nothing but the morning song of a distant mockingbird and then the blaring of a train whistle. Must be at Crosstown.

She grasped the tire iron and muffled her moans by stuffing a piece of her torn skirt into her mouth where her perfect, white teeth once were. She began to cry softly.

She felt along to find where the trunk lid sealed with the body of the car. Searing pain burned through her at every joint, but she positioned the sharp end of the iron in the place that felt right and pried with everything left in her.

She screamed. She prayed. She called out to God.

Then, she saw her first glimpse of light and a burst of fresh air. She rolled over and forced her face into the opening to take breath after breath of the purest air she thought she had ever breathed. She gasped as her lungs filled with life, and then she put all of her weight and strength on the tire iron once more, until she heard the loud cracking and the thunk as the seal broke and the trunk lid popped up.

She squinted out at the world with one good eye like a young, disfigured Cyclops, saw no one, and thought…I must get a message to Michael.

* * *

Michael sat straight up in bed as he was wrenched from his tortured dreams of yesteryear by the bloody dream image of his one-time informant. He remembered the call from the Barber’s Milk truck driver.

“I found her crawling down the road, Captain Parker. I tried to call the police, but she wouldn’t let me. She kept saying, ‘Just get me to the ER and call Michael, take a message to Michael.’ I’ve never seen anything like that, Captain Parker. Don’t know if I can ever get that image of her out of my mind,” the shaken young driver said.

When Michael first saw the pretty young woman in the hospital, she was beaten beyond recognition: one eye swollen shut, the other eye moved way over to the left side of her face and leaking constantly. Her jaw was fractured and wired shut. The small button nose was crushed.

Her porcelain-white face was black and blue, and her blonde hair had been so matted with blood that the ER attendants had crudely sheared it in a patchy cut, giving her the look of a prisoner from a World War II concentration camp.

She recounted to him not just the pain and abandonment, but the suffocation—the fear that she was buried alive and forgotten, how the walls closed in around her and fingers seemed to be gripping her throat to choke the life out of her. She screamed and screamed inside her head until she thought her heart would burst.

Tammy looked up at Michael and whispered a hissing, guttural confession through the wires holding her jaws together, “I dreamed that this preacher was bending over me at my funeral, Captain. He said, ‘Leave the light on for these dearly departed on their long journey. Somewhere, someone loves them.’

“There was a big cathedral with a steeple pointing toward heaven, and I could see a door opening. A man was on a cross and his mother was weeping for him, but he was asking God to forgive me and the men who tried to kill me, too. His death was pleading for my life, you know? It was a scene that I couldn’t wake up from because it was real, you know? I felt so helpless, so alone, so confused. ‘I’m not ready. I’m not ready,’ I thought. ‘Please, please—not yet, not yet. It can’t end this way, can it?’ ”

She paused and looked at Michael with her one bloodied eye and said, “But there was this peace, too, you know. And love…such love like I’d never known. I always thought love was dead, Michael, that I was unlovable. It was like I had to die to live again, to know that love. Crazy, huh?”

Why do you write?  A promise to God to tell my story and His story.

How long does it usually take you to complete a book? The first novel in the series took several years, but the sequels were written and on the market in a year or so.

Do you listen to music or watch TV/movie while you write? Yes, always. I have a playlist of my favorite songs, downloaded from iTunes. I use songs in my novels. They transport people to the times I write about. They remember who they loved, who broke their heart, and how they felt years ago when they think of a certain tune. Songs also set the mood for me when I write. The great singer/songwriters are poets. Listening to them expands the mind, and the memories and emotions from the past get you outside the confines of the present and beyond the confines of writer’s block.

What have you written? I have written four novels: Deputy: Once Upon A Time in Mississippi, A Ghostly Shade of Pale, A Rented World, and The Redeemed: A Leap of Faith.

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just seeing where an idea takes you? I have general outlines, where to begin and end, but I yield to many of the back roads that beckon me to indulge their stories, landscapes, and side bars.

Do you design your own book covers or have someone else? I do my own. I select photos from Deposit Photos, and my designer and I combine, enhance, and create the look I need for each book.

Is there any marketing technique you used that had an immediate impact on your sales figures? Facebook and many interviews and speeches, and when I found that English teachers loved the book, I began to pursue that means to seed books.

Do you have any advice for aspiring authors? Don’t let the naysayers tell you what you can’t do. Keep at it, get better, find a good editor, and follow your dream. You may not write a bestseller, but you will do what few people ever do—write a book.

Give us an insight into your main character. What does he do that is so special?  Michael Parker is the central character. A knight-errant, he is idealistic, naïve, quixotic, too certain at first that he knows everything and has all the answers. He wants to right wrongs, defeat evil, and rescue damsels in distress. He takes a long, hard fall and learns that he can’t save the world. He is reminded that the world already has a Savior, and His name isn’t Michael.

Where do your ideas come from? All of my stories come from memory, my three or four lives in one. A dash of fiction is thrown in here and there for flow and to build bridges for storytelling. When Michael is ambushed, I am there, remembering it as it really happened. When he is taken hostage by drug dealers, and the one dealer eats razor blades and swallows fire, I jump into my time machine to live it all again and capture the horror of it to paint vivid pictures for readers. Most reviews comment on the descriptive writing in the books, like “reading a movie,” as some have said.   

What is the current book you are promoting? Deputy: Once Upon A Time in Mississippi. It is a prequel to the original trilogy but first in the timeline for new readers.

If your book were made into a movie, whom would you cast? Hollywood tells me that they see Sam Worthington as Michael, the main character in my novels.

What one person from history would you like to meet and why? Jesus. He is the central figure in human history. I would thank Him for dying for me and ask Him when He is coming back.

If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be? Implore everyone to practice forgiveness. It’s when we are most like Christ. As Corrie Ten Boom said, when you forgive, you set a prisoner free, and you may discover that  the prisoner was you.

 Do you or have you sat down and read your book fresh off the presses as if it wasn’t yours? And if you did, what was it like? Surreal! Christmas morning under the tree as a child and all those moments of wonder, pure joy, and pinching yourself to see if you’re dreaming…times a hundred.

What is one great lesson you have learned as a writer? Accept advice graciously, but stay true to yourself, your vision, and your nudges and guidance from above.

Do you ever feel self-conscious when writing love/sex scenes? No, because I don’t write explicit love scenes or use profanity. We have plenty of descriptors at our command with which to paint pictures without resorting to crutches. What we write today is akin to epitaphs on our tombstones. Each writer must choose their own path, but I just choose not to be remembered for that. I write books to honor God, books that I wouldn’t be ashamed for my mother and English teacher to read if they were still alive.

What do your readers mean to you? Everything—especially their notes and emails that always seem to arrive when I need them most. Some are so tender, as they detail what the books have meant to them, I sometimes cry a bit at my computer. I learn from the readers: what they like, what they want more of, what moved them, and what they think the characters are privately saying to each of them, that secret communication that is sparked when a reader thinks…“I never knew anyone felt that way but me.”

Tell us something unique about you. I hate no one, and I hope that is not unique.

There ya have it folks! Many thanks Merle for sharing! For more about Merle, his work, and to get your own copy, follow the links below:

Website / Twitter / LinkedIn / Goodreads / Pinterest / Amazon / Instagram / YouTube

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